Posts Tagged ‘movie’

Being home for summer, you have to get creative to keep yourself entertained. And I figured a good way to keep busy would be to start putting a dent in the infinite stack of books I have purchased but not read.

I decided on Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I bought this book a while back. It was on sale for $5 at Barnes and Noble in honor of the upcoming release of the final book in the series. The book had a really interesting cover and a great sale price. The synopsis written on the back cover was interesting enough for me to seal the deal.

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So here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Awkward high school girl, Nora Grey, is assigned a new lab partner in biology. He is elusive, uncooperative, and refuses to answer any of her questions. She figures out that his name is Patch, but that’s about all she learns. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and despite being endlessly frustrating, she finds herself strangely attracted to him. He begins showing up at the same places she is, claiming it was coincidence. She later finds out that he is something more than what he seems. Their romance plays out in a gloomy, rainy locale (for example: Maine or Washington.)

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Nora Grey is basically a reinvented Bella Swan. Nora is more annoying than the book version of Bella, but less annoying than the movie version of Bella. Patch and Nora meet in biology class, just like Edward and Bella. Patch descends into frustratingly mysterious behavior, also just like Edward. Nora’s friend Vee Sky is seemingly intended to be the comedic relief, but just comes off as kind of annoying, not unlike Jessica Stanley in Twilight. Nora gets into trouble when she travels to a nearby town, Portland, only to be rescued by her elusive love interest. Maybe it’s just me but that sounds strikingly similar to when Bella gets scared in the alley while on a trip to Port Angeles, only to have Edward come to her rescue in the nick of time. There was no secret in beginning Twilight or Hush, Hush that the male leads were superhuman.

I don’t know about you, but when I read Twilight, I knew Edward was a vampire from the beginning. I read the book before all the hype began to generate from the movie, so there weren’t endless spoilers everywhere I turned. It just wasn’t that hard to figure out. As for Hush, Hush, all you had to do to realize that Patch was a fallen angel, was look at the cover of the novel. If there was any doubt left in your mind, the summary on the back would surely clear it up for you.

There were some good things about this book, and some bad things. I think Becca Fitzpatrick does a good job of creating this Hush, Hush world that readers just fall into. Some may disagree, but this book was a page turner for me. I finished it in just a couple hours. While it was easy to read, that doesn’t mean the story was great. It most definitely doesn’t mean that the story was original. I am certain I would’ve appreciated this book if it was the first of its kind. I read Twilight when I was about 12 years old, and I was completely enamored by it. I had never read anything like it. Now, 7 years later, Barnes & Noble has a section dedicated solely to “paranormal romance.” Hush, Hush just seems stale. It was entertaining and I enjoyed reading it, but books like that are a dime a dozen. There wasn’t really anything special about it. I intend to read the rest of the books in the series (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale.)

This is the summary from the back of the novel, if you want a better idea of what the story is about:
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? As their connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

Upon doing a little research for this post, I learned a film adaptation of Hush, Hush is in the very early stages of production (fingers crossed for Thomas Dekker to play Patch.) Patrick Sean Smith, writer behind ABC Family’s Greek, has been commissioned to write the script for the film. If you want to get ahead of the movie hype, now is your chance.

If you enjoyed Twilight, and are just looking for a quick, easy read, Hush, Hush isn’t a bad choice. If you’re looking for groundbreaking literature, I don’t think I need to tell you to look elsewhere.

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Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

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I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

I stumbled across this excerpt from a commencement speech that actor Jim Carrey gave at Maharishi University of Management. You can find the speech in its entirety here, but what Carrey says in this excerpt is so profound. He talks about why you should go after your dreams, and how his father inspired him to do so.

Carrey’s father, instead of embracing his talent as a comedian, decided to take a safer course and become an accountant. Later on, his father ended up losing his accounting job, leaving his family to do whatever they could to survive. So Jim Carrey brings up a good point; you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. He claims that we come to believe that our dreams are too big and too far out of reach, that we can’t ask the universe to make them come true. Instead, we choose our paths “out of fear disguised as practicality.”


I’m sure I’m not alone in that I have struggled in choosing between the safe route and what I truly love. As long as I can remember, writing has been my passion. I knew I wanted to write stories and make movies. And yet, everything I did was to ensure my path to medical school. Then I realized that, while I did find it interesting, and it would probably be a satisfying job, I didn’t think I could ever be satisfied with not following my dreams.

It started with me changing my major at Appalachian State from Natural Science (a psychology major that includes all the classes necessary for applying to medical school) to Creative Writing. At first I was worried that I was throwing away a sure thing based on a chance that my dreams might come true. Already fearing that I may had made a poor decision, naturally I decided to take it a step further.

I made the decision to not return to ASU this fall. Instead, I will spend the year working, and compiling a portfolio to apply at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I’m hoping to get into their school of filmmaking, concentrating in either directing or screenwriting.

I always think of the quote: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” 
My mind always fills with ideas. The sky is the limit. Then I step back and realize how much fear of failure truly holds us back.

Have any of you ever deviated from the “safe route” in order to pursue your dreams? What was it, and what made you decide to take a chance?

Thanks for reading!

What is the greatest movie ever made?

It’s a loaded question. There’s no possible way to ever get a definitive answer, unfortunately. How would you even go about deciding? You could look to box office success and decide that way (accounting for only theatrical revenue, that would be James Cameron‘s Avatar). You could poll movie critics, movie-goers, filmmakers… But it’s unlikely that you would get more than 3 people to provide the same answer.

As for the top ten highest grossing films, the list is as follows:

1. Avatar (2009)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
5. Frozen (2013)
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
9. Skyfall (2012)
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

My personal favorite of the films listed above is Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, and it is likely that there are plenty of people who don’t think Avatar is worthy of the title of “Greatest Movie Ever Made.” Great? Sure. The greatest ever? That’s debatable.

Most of these films have not won any Oscars (Avatar, Titanic, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Skyfall were the only ones to snag an Oscar, [or 2, or 11 in the case of Titanic] but a few of the others were nominated.)

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There are plenty of factors a movie can be judged on. I prefer the story in The Avengers to that in Avatar, but there’s no question that Avatar was deserving of its Oscar wins in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects. You could also base your decision off the performance of the actors. I prefer Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to Sam Worthington in Avatar, even though Avatar is higher on the list. You could also merit the films based on the quality of the plot, the overall look of the film, and many more factors.


 

After scouring the Internet for “The Greatest Movie Ever Made,” I found about a dozen different lists from different contributors. You can check out IMdB’s list of the 250 greatest films here – this list seems to encompass most of the films listed by other contributors. There were many lists that covered just the greats of one genre, but I omitted those, and only counted the ones that looked at movies overall. A lot films were on nearly every list. Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 film, The Godfather, was the most common film listed, taking the top spot on quite a few of the countdowns. Other films that appeared on numerous lists include Citizen Kane (1941), Vertigo (1958), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Casablanca (1942), and Psycho (1960). There is no doubt that all of these films are considered great by many people, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of them could be considered classics. (Notice that though Avatar was the highest grossing film ever, it didn’t top any of the lists I encountered.)

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I found myself pondering this question, “what is the greatest movie ever made?” and I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t, nor can there ever be, one definitive answer.

So now I am posing this question to you: In your opinion, what is the greatest movie ever made and why?

 

Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading!

Last night, I went to the theater to see 22 Jump Street. This film is the sequel to 21 Jump Street (not to be confused with the TV series starring Johnny Depp).

The films, 21 Jump Street (2012) and the new release, 22 Jump Street, star Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill.

I know quite a few of the reviews I do are about horror films, but I’m a fan of all genres so this review is going to be a little different! Admittedly, I am typically pretty hard on the comedy genre. It really reminds me of horror, in that it is a very polarizing genre. I don’t think there is a lot of middle ground. It’s either really funny/scary, or just stupid. I know there are many viewers who will be critical of the “silliness” of the Jump Street films, but if that’s not your thing, that’s okay. When I saw 21 Jump Street once it was released on DVD, I was impressed. I would be lying if I said these movies had characters who are hardened into emotional stoicism only to have their heart of stone changed by the love of their life, or an unpredictable, mind-bending plot, but what comedy does? The comedy is more witty and clever than Dumb & Dumber, Zoolander, or any Will Ferrell movie (I’m not a fan). Clever and witty humor, in my opinion, makes the best comedy. (Poop began to lose it’s comedic effect around roughly age 6 for me). I would say I have a pretty eclectic taste in terms of comedy, but smart humor usually prevails (I won’t lie though, as stupid as the film was, Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator made me laugh enough for me to watch it more than once.) Previously, Horrible Bosses was my favorite comedy, but Jump Street has surpassed it in terms of how funny the films are. However, watching Charlie Day pretend to be on cocaine and sing “That’s Not My Name” in Horrible Bosses will always be hilarious.

In 21 Jump Street, Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) go undercover to find the supplier of a new drug at the high school they graduated from, while the drug is still contained to their high school. While they were actually students, Jenko was a hunky jock, who has beauty, but not so much with brains. Schmidt was the Not-So-Slim Shady, who, while he wasn’t popular, is intelligent. Jenko and Schmidt end up at the Police Academy together, and become friends. One thing with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is that they have incredible chemistry. I imagine that they’re pretty tight off screen with a chemistry this dynamic. After being taken off bicycle cop duty to go undercover because of their youthful appearances, they find that high school is different than it used to be. After accidentally switching their assumed identities, Jenko ends up in AP chemistry (“Fuck you, science!”) and becomes friends with the tech nerds, while Schmidt falls in with the mellow, environmentally conscious popular crowd (“Ja feel?” “Ja feel. Ja definitely feel.”) Schmidt befriends Eric (Dave Franco) who they figure out is the dealer. You can get a better idea what the first film is about by watching the trailer.

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21 Jump Street ends with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) telling the guys their next assignment (“You two sons of bitches are goin’ to college!”)

22 Jump Street takes everything we loved from the first movie and amplify it. They are similar; same type of comedy, similar characters (“It’s the same case! Do the same thing!” “It’s not exactly the same case, ’cause one of us got laid last night.”) But if you liked the first film, you will love the sequel. First of all, it’s hilarious. I was laughing through the entire movie, and even into the credits. From the moment they arrive in their dorm, hilarity ensues (Pop-up hamper. Bean bag chair. Hot plate. Hilarious shirt that signals we drink alcohol.) Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) has a larger role in this film. His mental breakdown at parent’s weekend at MC State University had me in tears. Jenko and Schmidt are up to their usual antics, but the comedy isn’t stale or, in my opinion, overused. Another positive note worth mentioning is nearly 2 hours of Channing Tatum, and his new frat-tastic football dude bro, Zook, played by Wyatt Russell (but sadly, Dave Franco had less than two minutes of screen time). If you even remotely enjoyed the first movie, I highly recommend you guys check this one out! You won’t be totally lost if you haven’t seen the first film before seeing 22 Jump Street, but it would help; plus, it’s another great film that’s worth the watch.

If you’ve seen either of the Jump Street films, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think! Also, what is your favorite comedy and least favorite comedy? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

 

Oh, and there is no Korean Jesus in 22 Jump Street. Instead, Vietnamese Jesus. Word.

So this will be my first post after my unannounced (and unintentional) hiatus. Fortunately for you all, my hiatus was filled with tons of movies to review, after binge watching for the better part of a week.

Directed by Frank Darabont, based off the novella by Stephen King, The Mist was my favorite of the horror films I gorged on this week. You can read the NY Times review here.

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To be completely honest, the premise of this film may sound kind of stupid. A small town is plagued by a mysterious mist that holds a horrible, tentacled monster that preys on townsfolk. The majority of the film is set in the supermarket, where many people are scurrying to stock up on groceries before a storm arrives. Not surprisingly, the mist arrives, leaving them trapped in the store. The movie examines the interactions between the people in the supermarket as their situation grows exponentially bleak. The group is divided and turned against one another as the story progresses.

There is quite an interesting cast chosen in this movie. The hero of the story is David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane. David is accompanied by Amanda (Laurie Holden), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), Dan (Jeffrey DeMunn), Irene (Frances Sternhagen), Private Jessup (Sam Witwer), Ollie (Toby Jones), and a few other less notable followers.

The loathsome Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) goes head to head against David and his “team.” Mrs. Carmody believes that the mist is God’s wrath against the less wholesome people in the store, claiming that they deserve it. (“Those of you who aren’t local should know that Mrs. Carmody is known in town for being unstable.” “No shit. What was your first clue?”) Mrs. Carmody drones on and on about the second coming and tries to stage a coup d’état against David, and the more likable characters. Due to the obnoxious nature of Harden’s character, a shining moment of the film was when Irene, a badass grandma, throws a can of peas at Mrs. Carmody (“Shut up you miserable buzzard! Stoning people who piss you off is perfectly okay. They do it in the bible, don’t they? And I’ve got lots of peas!”)

For those of you who didn’t notice above, this film features Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn, both of which starred in AMC’s The Walking Dead, as Andrea and Dale, respectively. Though she doesn’t have a large role in this film, Melissa McBride, known to TWD fans as Carol, also appears in The Mist.

This could just be me reading too far into what is meant to only be 2 hours of mindless entertainment, but I think there’s more to this movie than the characters trying to defeat a giant tentacled monster. It is always interesting to me to see the way different movies portray characters when they are thrown into a dangerous fight for survival. Each instance spurs a different reaction from the characters. You get to see who is loyal to the group, who would betray the group for their own benefit, the relationships that form, and who will emerge as a leader. It seems like this movie does a pretty good job depicting a group of people put into a dangerous situation and seeing how they react. As their fear becomes more intense, their relationships are strained and they begin to make more questionable decisions.

I’m not sure how many of you have seen, or are even familiar with this movie, but I recommend it. If you are a Stephen King fan like me, you should definitely see it. Any of you who have already seen this film, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading.

I did my last post about starting a bucket list.

So I started.

My goal was to have 100 items on the list. I’m going to post #1-45, seeing as I’m not finished. I’m thinking maybe some of the things I wrote will give you guys some ideas. Continue to give me suggestion to add to my list!

 

Bucket List

1. Make a short film.
2. Write a novel.
3. Stay overnight in a haunted house/hotel.
4. Attend a Hollywood movie premiere.
5. Go on stage at a rock concert.
6. Donate at least $1,000 to a charitable organization.
7. Ride in a hot air balloon.
8. Drive on the Autobahn.
9. Get an actor to introduce himself/herself to you as a character they have played.
10. Go whitewater rafting.
11. Leave a $250 tip for a waiter/waitress.
12. Eat at least one meal in every state.
13. Be an elementary school teacher for a day.
14. Eat pizza in Italy.
15. Be on Ellen.
16. Donate 100 blankets to the homeless.
17. Go to Times Square for New Year’s Eve
18. Pay for a family’s meal in a restaurant.
19. Be a bridesmaid.
20. Throw a dart at a map and travel where it lands.
21. Stay overnight in an abandoned asylum/prison.
22. Go to a Superbowl.
23. Live in another country for at least 6 months.
24. Take a picture every day for a year.
25. Go to a “coffee shop” in Amsterdam.
26. Go on a cruise.
27. Visit at least 5 European countries.
28. Make a scrapbook.
29. Go to Comic-Con.
30. Befriend a complete stranger.
31. Play with a baby cheetah.
32. Go scuba diving.
33. See the 7 wonders of the world.
34. Go to Mardi Gras.
35. Drive a Lamborghini.
36. Hold a snake.
37. Go to Buckingham Palace.
38. Do a pub crawl in Ireland.
39. Take a tour of Alcatraz.
40. Ride a gondola in Venice, Italy.
41. Drink at an ice bar.
42. Pull an all-nighter in Las Vegas.
43. Write a letter to myself and open it in 10 years.
44. Learn to play poker.
45. Learn how to ice skate.

I’ve decided to wait until May 10th to start the 30 day writing challenge that I posted on Monday. I will be out of town this coming weekend, and the following week will be finals week, so I figure it would be best to start with summer.

 

On to today’s post: The Bucket List.

Many of you may be familiar with the TV show, The Buried Life.

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Basically, Ben Nemtin, Jonnie Penn, Duncan Penn and Dave Lingwood go around the world marking items of their bucket list, while helping others cross items off their bucket lists as well.

These guys have crossed off some major bucket list items over the course of their project:

#89: Play ball with the President.
#59: Ask out the girl of your dreams. (In this case, it was Taylor Swift.)
#124: Be on Oprah.
#91: Get married in Vegas.
#25: Capture a fugitive.

Ok, so back to reality. Most of us don’t have MTV funding our bucket list adventures.

Creating a bucket list has been on my bucket list for a long time (see what I did there?) but regrettably, I’ve never gotten around to it. What does one add to a bucket list? I think we all have a mental bucket list, whether we realize it or not. If you see the a picture of the Eiffel Tower and say to yourself, “wow, I would love to visit the Eiffel Tower before I die!” That sort of counts, right? That’s been basically the extent of my bucket list making, but I’ve decided I want to actually write 100 things I want to do before I die. Also, are there rules for bucket lists? Are you allowed to add and immediately cross out something really cool that you’ve already done? I’m sure that around #50, I’ll start getting desperate for ideas and my list will begin to look a bit like this:

#51: Visit England.
#52: Go shopping in England.
#53: Eat shepherd’s pie in England.
#54: Buy an umbrella in England.
#55: Take a picture in England.
#56: Sleep at a hotel in England.
#57: Fly home from England.

While all those items (ok, maybe not #54) are [somewhat] legitimate, I want 100 original ideas. I have quite a few already, but I want you guys to give me some insight.
If any of you have a bucket list, what items do you have on it? Or if you don’t have a bucket list, what would you put on it if you did? Have you done anything that you really enjoyed that I should consider adding to my own bucket list? Leave me some comments and let me know, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

Also, this is a really cool website you should check out if you’re interested in making a bucket list for yourself. You can look at what other people have on their lists, and you can also keep track of your own on the site.

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“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” -Thomas Mann

To anyone reading this blog who is a writer (more than college essays, less than Ernest Hemingway) I know you’ve been in the same boat. Sure, it’s comforting to know that even the most renowned authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling struggle with writer’s block, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant as you sit in front of a blank page waiting anxiously for something to happen. All the how-to articles tell you to “just write.” They claim that all writing is good writing (*scoffs*) and that it doesn’t matter what you write. Just begin to get the ball rolling. It’s not always that easy when you absolutely can’t think of anything. Every writer has their own technique for writing; some are highly ritualized – same time, same place on the third Wednesday of every month, while some write best in a spontaneous decision to jot down some ideas while you’re drinking a macchiato at Starbucks. Once I get going, I will be glued to my laptop for (literally) hours on end. Other days, when I just can’t muster up anything interesting, I give up after about 30 minutes (if we’re being honest, the last 20 minutes were probably spent browsing Pinterest).

It’s hard, for me anyway, to create a fool-proof formula for success with writing. I would venture to call it impossible, in fact. There isn’t a technique that will magically turn me into Charles Dickens every time I sit down at my computer. So, I come to you all for advice. What is your technique? What is the process that you go through when you have a successful (or unsuccessful) writing session? Do you have any tips that you find helpful in either busting writer’s block, or keeping you focused on your writing.

One technique that I really think helps break writer’s block is to go online and find “story starters.” You can Google it, and find them for any and all genres. They are either prompts for you to write about, or a basic thought for you to elaborate on and build your story from. (Like I said, you can find them for any genre, but here are some horror story starters.) Even if these prompts don’t serve as the premise for your next New York Times best seller, they can help you brainstorm. The prompt will inspire a new thought, and you can build and build, and before you know it you will have the premise for your next New York Times best seller.

Please don’t hesitate to post a comment telling me about your writing techniques, and tips on how you overcome the dreaded writer’s block. I’d love to hear it, so let me know! Thanks everyone!

“You just have to trust your own madness.” – Clive Barker

What makes a horror movie? Is it a charismatic protagonist that everyone is rooting for? Is it an iconic villain like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers? Is it the suspenseful music that floods the speakers as the villain approaches? (I know you’re humming the theme for Jaws as you read this.) Are the reality based horror films that are the most frightening? Or are the supernatural monster movies the most horrifying? Is it the film’s ability to produce genuine fear in the audience? (Do you guys agree with this list? Top 50 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time.)

In my opinion, horror movies are typically a hit or miss. I usually don’t feel neutral toward horror films; I either really enjoy them or really hate them. I have a hard time identifying what it is that makes a horror movie worth watching. Obviously an interesting, well-executed plot is important. Horror movies have a reputation for being predictable and repetitive. There are only so many times we can watch a group of obnoxious teenagers get hacked up one by one, while on an overnight camping trip. However, when you get a horror movie with a never-before-seen storyline and an exciting ending, it really works. Acting is important in all films, but I think it’s somewhat difficult to give a convincing performance in a horror movie. Conveying genuine fear in a staged situation often comes off as fake and off-putting. Playing a deranged, psychotic killer can either come off as unconvincing or too exaggerated.

As horror films developed throughout the 20th century, viewers were given a bounty of horror films that have achieved status as cult classics. Films like Tod Browning‘s Dracula (1931), Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), Tobe Hooper‘s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1964) are all milestones in the evolution of the the horror film.

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Most often, it takes time before movies are considered classics. Looking back, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at the time of its release, was probably not iconic. However, after countless remakes and global recognition of the film’s antagonist, Leatherface (a name given to the character by fans of the franchise), I think it’s safe to say that this film is a classic. While we’re only in 2014, it seems like 21st century horror does not provide us with as many films that have the potential to be, one day, considered classics. It sincerely saddens me that Sharknado (2013) is as widely recognized as it is, however I find solace in the fact that its claim to fame is just how truly terrible the film is.

There have been a few films released this century that are either well on their way to reaching the status of cult classic, or have the potential to do so. The Paranormal Activity film series has been wildly popular since its release, prompting 4 sequels (most recently Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones). From filmmaker Oren Peli, the first film in the series was made on a budget of next to nothing. Filmed with handheld cameras giving the appearance of home footage, the film was released into select theaters after generating some buzz at film festivals. Having five films with a continuing storyline in the horror genre is fairly uncommon. These films are also pretty exceptional with the fact that none of these sequels have been largely disappointing for fans.

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Another horror film that I am particularly fond of is Insidious. Starring Patrick Wilson (I am mildly obsessed with him) and Rose Byrne, Insidious was released in 2010, and the second installment of the series, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released in 2013. The expected release of the 3rd film is April 2015. This film definitely had an original storyline (you can watch the trailer here) . There were just enough moments of comic relief, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the actors. The convincing performances of the actors in Insidious were precisely why I was very excited to see that Patrick Wilson had signed on to play Ed Warren, alongside Vera Farmiga (another one of my favorite actresses) in The Conjuring. This film is also one of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the trailer for it. Anyone else who also enjoyed The Conjuring will be happy to know that Wilson and Farmiga have signed on for a second installment of the film.

So I have, in this post and a few others, told you guys a few of the horror films that I really enjoy. My point for this post is that I really want to know what you all think makes a horror movie? What is it about the film that makes people want to watch it? What makes a horror cult classic? Please leave some of your insight in a comment below!

I added a poll with just a couple answers, but feel free to add your own. I want to know what you think!