Movie Review – Survival Code (2014)

Survival Code
Directed by David Frazee
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: May 6, 2014

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Although the DVD cover for this film appears pretty generic, the plot of this little science-fiction gem is not. SURVIVAL CODE is definitely a case of ‘don’t judge a book (or movie) by its cover)’; this is certainly not the movie I thought it was going to be. I expected more of a military-style flick, but instead got a gritty and intriguing futuristic political-mystery. And although I was surprised, I was also thoroughly entertained and pleased. This film is a nifty, unique foray into a (sorta) post-apocalyptic yet possible world.

If you are not familiar with SURVIVAL CODE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

In 2045 A.D., a steadily shrinking ice cap leaves several countries struggling for control of the town of Borealis and the last untapped oil, gas and mineral deposits on the planet. Vic, a former ultimate fighter, has bribed and manipulated his way into a position of authority, and controls the only way in or out. When the UN sends in corrupt officials, Vic must take matters into his own hands by returning to his roots to challenge a local Russian group to a cage fight, with the fate of Borealis in the balance.

This movie feels like the pilot for a TV show; there’s so much going on and so many interesting characters that you could definitely build a lot out of this. And it would certainly be on my Must Watch list for this season!

SURVIVAL CODE is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears high, which is evident in the digital special effects that are used to promote the technology on the show (i.e. holographic data displays, etc.). I love it when smaller-budget films and TV series use some of the budget to make sure the little things look good as well…it makes the piece so much more credible.

The acting is good as well. I particularly enjoyed Ty Olsson’s performance as the main character, Vic. I can’t recall ever seeing Olsson in a lead role before, but he does an excellent job. I hope he has future projects with a similar persona.

If I were forced to find a flaw with SURVIVAL CODE, it would have to be the very end scene. Not to give anything away, but it kinda leaves you scratching your head. I think I know what the final shot was, but I’m not sure. As a result, the vagueness of explanation left me with a frown.

But the rest of the movie is superb, and I highly recommend checking it out. The film is available now in a variety of formats, so give it a look.

MSB

Book Review – Lovecraft’s Monsters, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow

Lovecraft’s Monsters
Edited by Ellen Datlow
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Tachyon Publications

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What do you get when you take some of genre fiction’s biggest names and ask them to write original fiction based on H.P. Lovecraft’s works? The answer is simple: you get an amazing and diverse treasure trove of stories. As an avid fan of Lovecraft’s monstrous creations, THIS is the anthology I’ve been waiting for. And it certainly does not disappoint. The stories here are unique and wonderful, showcasing the best of Lovecraft’s wicked imagination and the endless talents of several of today’s finest authors.

If you are not familiar with LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Tachyon Publications:

Prepare to meet the wicked progeny of the master of modern horror. In Lovecraft’s Monsters, H. P. Lovecraft’s most famous creations—Cthulhu, Shoggoths, Deep Ones, Elder Things, Yog-Sothoth, and more, appear in all their terrifying glory. Each story is a gripping new take on a classic Lovecraftian creature, and each is accompanied by a spectacular original illustration that captures the monsters’ unique visage.

Contributors include such literary luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Karl Edward Wagner, Elizabeth Bear, and Nick Mamatas. The monsters are lovingly rendered in spectacular original art by World Fantasy Award–winning artist John Coulthart (The Steampunk Bible).

Legions of Lovecraft fans continue to visit his bizarre landscapes and encounter his unrelenting monsters. Now join them in their journey…if you dare.

I never seem to get tired of Lovecraft-inspired stories and books. Every year, they seem to get better and better as new (and veteran) authors add their creations to the canon. I would daresay Lovecraft is even more popular now than he was when he was alive. And hopefully, this is a trend that will continue for many, many years.

Each story in LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS is written well, and there is a very nice diversity of prose between the various authors. I particularly like how each storyteller highlights a unique take on these already-published creatures; the ability to bring forth something new from something that already exists is a true testament to each writer’s talents.

In addition to the writing, each story is painstakingly illustrated by noted artist John Coulthart. Reading Lovecraft is one thing…but seeing the man’s creations in ink is something on a whole different level. I love this aspect of the book, as it gives an even more heightened appreciation of the monsters within the stories.

My favorite story in LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS is “Only the End of the World Again” by Neil Gaiman. In this tale, a werewolf has a run-in with an avatar of the Deep Ones, sea-dwelling gods that are older than time. I pegged this as my favorite because it blends Lovecraftian horror with existing mythology. This is very original and extremely entertaining.

LOVECRAFT’S MONSTERS is a huge win for me, and I recommend this collection of stories to anyone who enjoys horror fiction. You don’t even have to be a fan of H.P. Lovecraft to enjoy this anthology; these tales have enough merit to stand on their own. The book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Book Review – The Art of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow by Martin Robinson

The Art of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
by Martin Robinson
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Titan Books

The Art of Castlevania

I am chagrinned to admit I have not played a CASTLEVANIA game since the 1990s, although I am a big fan of the series. I know, I know…right now, you’re asking, “How can you be a fan of something if you haven’t experienced it in a while?” Well…you just can. I mean, I like everything about this game series: the concept, the characters, the graphics, and even the gameplay (from what I remember of it). However, with this being said, one of my goals for 2014 is to catch up on what I’ve missed in regard to Konami’s hit franchise. The fine folks at Titan Books were kind enough to send me a copy of THE ART OF CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW to get me started, and I am so thankful they did! This game looks amazing, and the concept art in this book shows how it came about.

If you are not familiar with THE ART OF CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW, here is a description of the book courtesy of Titan Books:

Castlevania is a multi-generational video game series developed and published by Konami. The franchise was first released in 1986, but has evolved from a side-scrolling platformer into a full-scale action adventure series – and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The series is a fan-favorite, and has influenced generation after generation of games since first being released.

Rebooted in 2010, the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series explores Gabriel Belmont’s fall from grace as he is drawn into a world of demonic forces and supernatural terrors. Initially set in 1047 AD, the game boasts extraordinarily rich and stylized visuals, fusing Gothic imagery with a deeply archaic medieval vibe.

Combining concept art, game stills and promotional images from both Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and the upcoming sequel Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, as well as side story Mirror of Fate, the book will take readers on a visual guide through the supernatural world of Castlevania, following the Belmont family’s everlasting struggle against the forces of darkness. The book will offer an exclusive look at Gabriel and the rest of the Belmont clan, as well as the games’ allies and antagonists, supernatural creatures and otherworldly locations – and much more.

There’s something mesmerizing about the detail put into the images in this book. Some of the pieces are thought-provoking, while others are downright horrifying. But you can’t look away from any of them; much like your favorite horror film, they command your attention.

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THE ART OF CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW does not just showcase the origins of the artwork seen in the game…it also lets fans see the thought-processes behind many of them. Most everything seen in the game has some sort of significance or meaning, and this book helps explain why.

For this reason, this is a must-have book for any fan of the series or even diehard gamers, period. With lavish detail and stunning features, every graphic springs from the page, casting away the shadows and highlighting the beauty that can be hidden in the darkness of the game.

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THE ART OF CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW is a definite win for me, and I recommend this collection to anyone looking to appreciate Gothic artwork and exquisite design. The book is available now.

MSB

Movie Review – Special ID (2014)

Special ID
Directed by Clarence Fok Yiu-leung
Courtesy of Well Go USA
Release Date: May 13, 2014

special id

Way back in 1993, I saw a Quentin Tarantino-produced action film called IRON MONKEY. The movie blew me away, but it also showcased the talents of an up-and-coming martial-arts star who is almost a household name now: Donnie Yen. I’ve followed Yen’s career for several years now, and I’ve got to tell you: he just gets better with age. SPECIAL ID is one of his most recent films, and it’s chocked full of the intensity-fueled action that fans of Yen have come to expect.

If you are not familiar with SPECIAL ID, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:

The cops can’t control him. The mob wants him dead. And time is running out. Donnie Yen is Detective Chen Zilong but the criminal underworld knows him as Dragon Chen, a dangerous but effective enforcer. When rivalries explode with the reappearance of an old enemy and a brutal murder, the Triads close ranks and unleash a series of executions with Chen at the top of the list. Undercover and under attack, he has no choice but to rely on a new partner (Jing Tian) and his knowledge of the streets to get out alive. It’s the only chance he s got.

I can’t believe Donnie Yen is 51 years old. He still moves with the same fluidity, strength, and speed as he did when he was 20. And his role choices are impressive as well; there’s not a lot of pulp in his resume.

SPECIAL ID looks great onscreen and appears to have an impressive production budget. The cast is great, with Yen at the head and several notable names behind him, including Fang Jing, Andy On, and Collin Chou. I particularly enjoy Chou’s work as well, especially his role as Seraph in THE MATRIX films.

The storyline is intriguing and moves at a nice pace. I like how Zilong’s future is uncertain because the audience can never tell if the police are with him or against him. Likewise, the intensity is kicked up several notches when EVERYONE tries to kill him. This makes the fight scenes more ferocious as well.

And speaking of the fighting, SPECIAL ID has some excellent action. Whereas many martial-arts fights appear heavily choreographed, those in this film do not. The result is a more raw, vicious feel, which in turn makes for a more believable sequence.

SPECIAL ID is yet another plus for both Donnie Yen and Well Go USA. If you’re a fan of cop dramas and/or martial-arts action, you’ve got to give this film a shot. The film is available today in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – House of Dust (2014)

House of Dust
Directed by A. D. Calvo
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: May 20, 2014

house of dust

There are very few places as creepy to me as abandoned mental institutions and, as such, I find they are excellent locations for horror films. I am a firm believer that many things happen behind closed doors that the public may or may not ever find out about; and what better place to perform illegal experimentation on human beings than mental institutions? This is the premise for HOUSE OF DUST, an upcoming horror flick from Anchor Bay. But don’t let the mysterious title fool you; this is a haunting film that will make you squirm.

If you are not familiar with HOUSE OF DUST, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:

No one knows the real horrors that occurred 60 years ago in Redding House Asylum; all evidence was incinerated in its crematorium. But when a group of medical students break into the shuttered hospital, they literally stir up the ashes of the damned. For the mentally unstable new girl on campus (Inbar Lavi of MTV’s Underemployed), it will force her to the edge of sanity. And for those who accidentally ingested the cremains of an infamous serial killer, their nightmare of madness and murder has just begun. Steven Grayhm (Journey to the Center of the Earth), Eddie Hassell (Devious Maids), Holland Roden (Teen Wolf), Joy Lauren (Desprate Housewives) and Stephen Spinella (24) co-star in this chilling possession shocker inspired by true events.

I love the title of this film because it fits on so many levels. It is menacing and foreboding, but it also describes a bit about the film…in an indirect way. Not to mention it sounds scary as hell.

HOUSE OF DUST is shot well and has a nice, dark overtone throughout the whole movie. The production value looks high, although my sole complaint about how the film is made is the CG blood-splatter effect in the opening scene. I think I would rather see nothing at all rather than see cheap digital effects; the results tend to take me out of the film.

Thankfully, that is my sole complaint about the film. The concept is fairly unique, and the story moves at a steady pace. I particularly like the ending; I will not say anything about it, so as to not ruin the surprise, but it’s definitely something I didn’t see coming.

I am curious as to why HOUSE OF DUST is rated R, though. I don’t recall any major language (certainly nothing you wouldn’t hear in a PG-13 film), and there’s no gore or nudity to speak of…so maybe the horror elements are too intense. I’m not sure.

But HOUSE OF DUST is a definite winner for me, and I recommend giving it a look. The film will hit store shelves next week, so make a note.

MSB

Texas Frightmare Weekend 2014

Last weekend, my buddy Hayes and I (with our wives in tow) trekked down to Dallas for the 2014 Texas Frightmare Weekend. It was a blast, and I have photos to prove it! Check them out below.

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Hayes and I, itching to get started…but we were forced to stop for a photo op. Doh!

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Me and Scott Wilson from THE WALKING DEAD fame. Scott is one of the nicest guys and was very appreciative of his fans.

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Me with Thomas Dekker, who is also a great guy and loves to interact with his fans.

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Me with the ever-talented Jenette Goldstein, who you will recall portrayed bad-ass Private Vasquez in ALIENS. Interestingly, we are being photo-bombed by Mark Rolston in the background, who played Private Drake in the same film.

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Hanging out with the legendary Charles Band, who runs Full Moon Pictures, a company responsible for many, many great flicks.

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This year, I finally got to meet one of the greatest scream-queens of all time, the lovely Linnea Quigley. If you are not familiar with her work, then you are obviously NOT a fan of the horror genre. She’s been an icon of horror for many years, but I remember her most from her role as Trash in THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, way back in 1985.

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Me, Hayes, and another friend, Craig McCoy, hanging out with Parrish Randall, who we saw in the TFW film debut CIRCUS OF THE DEAD the night before. Parrish was a lot of fun to hang out with, as was Billy Pon (the director) and the rest of the cast.

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Me and horror author Dennis McDonald. Dennis was kind enough to give me a review copy of his novel EBON MOON, which I will review here on Shattered Ravings once I’m done reading it.

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Linda Blair attended TFW this year, however I never got the chance to meet her.

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Here’s my wife, Becky, with John Kassir, the infamous voice behind The Crypt Keeper from TALES FROM THE CRYPT. John made several announcements as The Crypt Keeper over the hotel’s PA system, and they were awesome!

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Me, Hayes, and horror author Brian Moreland. Brian is a heck of a guy, and even accepted our invitation for dinner on Saturday night. If you are not familiar with his work, you should definitely check it out.

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Hayes and I with the amazing Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia. They are responsible for some excellent but obscure horror films, including AMERICAN MARY and DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK.

That’s it for now…these pictures will just have to hold you over until the next TFW in 2015!!

MSB

Book Review – The Zombie Film: From White Zombie to World War Z by Alain Silver and James Ursini

The Zombie Film: From White Zombie to World War Z
by Alain Silver & James Ursini
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books

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Just when I thought I had an exhaustive knowledge of zombie films, a book like THE ZOMBIE FILM: FROM WHITE ZOMBIE TO WORLD WAR Z comes along and shows me just how little I know. Within the pages of this tome are the culmination of hours and hours of research, and the result is an amazing guide to zombies in cinema. If you are any kind of horror fan, this book is a must-have for your library.

If you are not familiar with THE ZOMBIE FILM: FROM WHITE ZOMBIE TO WORLD WAR Z, here is a synopsis courtesy of Applause Theatre & Cinema Books:

The Zombie Film is the most comprehensive examination of the zombie film genre to date. With a detailed filmography of over 400 movies stretching back to the genre’s earliest days, it begins with such classics as White Zombie (1932), starring Bela Lugosi, but also examines lesser-known films, such as The Ghoul (1933), with Boris Karloff, and the exploitation film Ouanga (1936). The book then moves through the hybrid science fiction zombie films of the 1950s, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and then slashes through bloody Euro classics by filmmakers like Lucio Fulci and Amando de Ossorio. The book details the revisionist work of director-writer George Romero, who revamped the genre beginning with Night of the Living Dead (1968), and the zombie film’s blossoming in the new millennium with mainstream works like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002), the comic Shaun of the Dead (2004), the popular TV series The Walking Dead (2010-), and the summer blockbuster World War Z (2013). Also given their due are thoughtful low-budget zombie movies, like Zombies Anonymous (2006) and The Dead Outside (2008). The Zombie Film features over 500 illustrations and entertaining sidebars on such subjects as zombie literature, zombie myth and history, zombie comics, and literary sources, such as H. P. Lovecraft and Richard Matheson.

As I’ve mentioned many, many times before, I’m a huge fan of all things zombie, and I have been for many years. And while the living dead are enjoying the limelight for now, it won’t be long before their popularity tapers off (much like vampires did after TWILIGHT). Yet, there will always be those like me, who continue to love the shambling revenants even after their hype wanes. This book is for us.

THE ZOMBIE FILM: FROM WHITE ZOMBIE TO WORLD WAR Z is a stunning introspective on zombies in cinema, but it is not a rating book. Oh, no…this collection is so much more. Instead of giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to each title, the book gives a plot synopsis for each film and then some interesting background. I particularly like how it discusses the state of the genre at the time of each film’s release, as well as audience reactions and input.

THE ZOMBIE FILM: FROM WHITE ZOMBIE TO WORLD WAR Z is written well and reads more like a casual book rather than a dry text book. It contains numerous essays from other authors as well, who look deeper into certain figures and concepts of the zombie realm. This outside perspective helps the authors ‘flesh out’ more of the genre (pardon the pun) and give even more insight into this popular horror category.

I highly recommend THE ZOMBIE FILM: FROM WHITE ZOMBIE TO WORLD WAR Z to every fan of horror film or fiction out there. You will be hard-pressed to find a compendium as extensive as this one. Regardless of whether you’re a minor zombie fan or a hardcore gore-hound, this book deserves a spot in your collection. It is available now in bookstores and websites everywhere.

MSB

Movie Review – Dead of Knight (2010)

Dead of Knight
Directed by Joe Grisaffi
Courtesy of Starship Films
Release Date: 2010

Dead of Knight

While walking through the vendor aisles at Texas Frightmare Weekend a couple of days ago, I happened across the booth of Joe Grisaffi, an actor and director based out of Houston. Grisaffi was promoting a couple of DVDs he had worked on, but one in particular stood out to me: DEAD OF KNIGHT. After reading the premise, I knew I had to see it. Grisaffi was kind enough to give me a review copy, and I’m glad he did; while the film is not perfect, it’s a great slasher flick with tons of heart, and it showcases the talents of an up-and-coming director.

If you are not familiar with DEAD OF KNIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Starship Films:

Someone is going medieval on Marla’s friends, brutally murdering them one by one. When Marla discovers the reason for the bloodshed—the spirit of a cursed medieval knight on a deadly quest—no one believes her. Marla soon learns that she alone possesses the power to end the mayhem in a family heirloom, the Amulet of Thorns. See why Lloyd Cryer of Texas Frightmare Weekend calls DEAD OF KNIGHT “one of the most original ideas for a slasher film ever!”

First off, I’m very impressed with the concept of this story. It is not your traditional slasher…but more of an intelligent horror film. Most slashers are simple and not hard to follow; DEAD OF KNIGHT is one of those films where you actually have to pay attention to the plot. This is not a negative at all, and I wish more filmmakers would follow in Grisaffi’s footsteps.

DEAD OF KNIGHT is a low-budget film, but you can’t tell that right off just by looking at it. The DVD cover has nice artwork (courtesy of Kerry Beyer of SPIRIT CAMP fame), and the overall production value of the film onscreen looks fairly high. The production team did a great job utilizing the budget in all aspects.

The acting is above average for a low-budget feature, although some of the performances seem a bit forced. This is easily overlooked, however, especially given the complexity of the plot. I do particularly have to recognize actor Kyle Greer for his portrayal of Truman; I laughed hard just about every time he was onscreen.

The special effects in DEAD OF KNIGHT are pretty good, and I’m impressed with how well the queen’s image looks on the water when the knight is speaking to her. This is a slick effect that could have looked hokey or cheap; thankfully, neither is the case here. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see a lot of carnage throughout the film, but again, that is understandable given budget constraints.

I could tell pretty quickly that DEAD OF KNIGHT is a labor of love, and it shows in almost every scene. The entire production crew, including the cast, is to be commended for the hard work they put into this film. Likewise, director Grisaffi should definitely be able to use this film as a stepping stone for his career. I recommend this movie, and I can’t wait to see what this team has in store for us in the future.

MSB

Guest post from author Jay Posey

All writers have a different way of doing things, and now that I am a published author, I love to hear how others do them to compare notes. Today, author Jay Posey stops by to give us his take on building new worlds (whether post-apocalyptic Earth, different planets, or in another realm of existence entirely) and what should go into the process.

If you are not familiar with Jay’s work, you should be; his Legends of the Dustwalker series is excellent, and the second book, titled MORNINGSIDE FALL, was just released a couple of weeks ago (I will have a review of it soon!).

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Check out Jay’s musings below, and be sure to stop by his website afterwards (click here to be redirected to it).


On Worldbuilding and Boring Guest Post Titles

Actually, this post isn’t so much about boring titles, even though it sports one. But it is about worldbuilding, so maybe it’s not a total loss.

Whether you’re working on a novel, a TV series, a graphic novel, a video game, or any number of other creative writery-type endeavors, knowing how to create a credible and compelling fictional world (or universe!) is a critical skill to develop. But the term “worldbuilding” gets thrown around a lot and it’s not always clear what people mean by it. For me, there are two big components contained within that term, and they’re equally important and valuable.

Part of the worldbuilding task is the process that a creator goes through to construct their imaginary world. That bit, depending on the needs of the project, might require a great deal of work, detailing out history, geography, political structures, languages, economy, or any other number of subjects. It’s far more than just providing a setting or a sense of place and time. Done well, this portion of worldbuilding lays a foundation for a consistent texture throughout the work that informs every detail.

But worldbuilding also contains the revelation of that created world to its audience. With novels, the way your readers experience and interact with this new world you’ve built for them relies heavily on your skill in introducing it to them. Readers need to be able to create consistent mental images, and they need to understand the significance of the events that unfold and, at a fundamental level, what’s possible within the world. If your epic fantasy world is all knights and sorcerers and dragons up until the last hundred pages when the space marines invade, that’s probably going to throw your audience for a loop … unless you’ve done enough proper worldbuilding leading up to that moment.

The big trick is in figuring out how to balance the two.

As impressive and amazing as you find the sixty-five verb tenses in your constructed language or the fourteen proper ways to hold a fork (and the one way that guarantees immediate execution!), most of that information probably doesn’t need to be known by your audience prior to beginning your story. It can be super tempting to build elaborate worlds with new cultures and cool technology and invented languages. But none of it is particularly interesting to the wider audience until they get to know the people involved. The history of the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire wasn’t all that compelling until we saw what it meant for a young moisture farmer named Luke Skywalker. That information should be layered in organically throughout the story, rather than whispered at the audience as an aside.

On the other hand, if you share too little, your audience might feel lost at sea and not be able to follow why or how things are happening, or why any of it matters. A lack of worldbuilding can end up making readers feel like they’re experiencing someone else’s fever dream and can prevent them from immersing themselves in the world.

There are many schools of thought on how much worldbuilding you should do, but I tend to ascribe to the one that says “enough to tell the story you want to tell”. Which probably isn’t a particularly useful thought for a school to have, even if it’s true.

For me, whether you’re creating a detailed World Bible before you start writing your story, or you’re making it up as you go along, your goal is to develop effortless familiarity with your world so that you can ensure a credible, consistent experience. Some people find it helpful to have a resource guide they can refer back to during the writing process. Others prefer to make it all up on the fly, and then go back and squash the inconsistencies as they arise.

Whatever an individual’s process, I think it’s helpful to always be mindful of the audience’s needs. You’re probably not writing a text book. (Unless you are, of course.) If you’re writing something intended to entertain your audience, then the ultimate goal is to provide a compelling experience, providing enough information to keep them engaged without turning things into a history lesson or treatise on meterology.

For novelists, it’s one of the key reasons to have multiple readers of your work, so they can tell you when things are too confusing or when you’ve gone into lecture mode. At the end of the day, being able to discern when to include world information and when to hold back is a skill writers have to develop and constantly maintain.

Movie Review – I, Frankenstein (2014)

I, Frankenstein
Directed by Stuart Beattie
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: May 13, 2014

I, Frankenstein

When I first saw the trailer for this film, my heart raced and a wicked smile crossed my face. The fight scenes and the Gothic imagery really amped me up for some reason. Maybe it’s because I love unique takes on existing mythologies. But regardless of why, I knew I had to see this film! And thankfully, the fine folks at Lionsgate saw fit to grant my request. I, FRANKENSTEIN is an adrenaline-charged reimagining of Mary Shelley’s classic horror story and one heck of a ride!

If you are not familiar with I, FRANKENSTEIN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Two hundred years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam, still walks the Earth. But when he finds himself in a war over the fate of humanity, Adam discovers he holds the key that could destroy humankind.

I didn’t realize this film was based on a graphic novel until after I watched it. But what makes this piece of information impressive is that Kevin Grevioux, who portrays Dekar in the film AND who wrote the screenplay, actually wrote the graphic novel as well! This guy is a major powerhouse!! I loved the UNDERWORLD series, which he also wrote and starred in, so this is just one more feather in his cap.

I, FRANKENSTEIN is shot well and looks amazing onscreen. Do yourself a favor and watch this in 3D; you will not be disappointed. The lighting and imagery make the movie burst from the screen in 3D, and the result is a visual feast for the eyes. The look of the movie is half of what makes it so good.

But the story is the other half. I’ve said before that I love unique twists on existing tales, and this is definitely one of those to love. Grevioux weaves several new elements into the Frankenstein mythos and gives us so much more to love. I particularly like the Gargoyles and how he makes them ‘guardians’ commissioned by the Archangel Gabriel. This is a wildly fascinating concept and shows the massive depths of the man’s imagination.

There are many folks out there that will not enjoy I, FRANKENSTEIN, simply because it is way outside the normal parameters of entertainment. Although it had a wide theatrical release, it is not a mainstream film. But if you loved titles like UNDERWORLD, then this one is right up your alley.

I, FRANKENSTEIN is a major win for me, and I suggest giving it a look. Filled with impressive visuals and original concepts, this film has many different aspects for appeal and should attract a wide variety of genre-lovers. Make sure you watch it on Blu-ray at least, though, so you can truly enjoy the effects. The film hits store shelves next week, so make a note.

MSB