Movie Review: High-Rise

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High-Rise is an adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel by the same. It was directed by Ben Wheatley and written by Amy Jump.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch High-Rise. I had seen Wheatley and Jump’s Kill List, and while, in the end, I ended up really enjoying the movie, it took me awhile to warm up to it. The same applied to Crash, another work of Ballard’s that was adapted by David Cronenberg. And while these types of movies (the supposed decay of a supposedly civilized society) are interesting to me, they tend to follow a familiar course.  They kind of write themselves, and in lesser hands, write themselves in a way that, while intriguing, end up being forgetful.

Fortunately, High-Rise, while following many familiar beats, does enough differently to differentiate itself from its depraved brethren.

So what exactly is this movie about? Well, it’s about Dr. Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who has recently moved into a London skyscraper that, in a way, is a world all its own. What follows is an observation of his experiences inside the skyscraper as the lower levels and upper levels begin to clash with one another over limited resources and perceived differences between both groups. Simple enough.

So what exactly separates this movie from others of its ilk? A lot of things! The End!

Just kidding. The acting is this movie, while, at times, over-the-top, is well done. Beside Tom Hiddleston, it also stars Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elizabeth Moss. Each actor and actress do a great job in bringing their characters to life. You may not and probably won’t like them, but they do leave an impression.

The movie is also impeccably directed. The framing of scenes and overall atmosphere creates a constant pace that ensures the story, slow as it can be at times, is never boring. Set and costume design are stylish and seem to do a good job recreating the look of the 1970s. The music, as well, was very well chosen and compliments the film and the horrors on screen nicely. It’s a combination of classical music, popular songs for the time, as well as modern pieces.

But a movie can great feature great acting, music, and direction and still fail if the core of it is not solid. It’s hard to say that High-Rise is an enjoyable movie to watch, because it often isn’t. It’s a movie about class warfare, featuring a relatively unlikeable group of already most likely deranged individuals. What saves it, however, is some of the sheer absurdity of the events that unfold and the barely-veiled, biting satire that permeates every scene. While it’s pretty obvious how the movie will unfold, it’s these moments of madness that make the journey worth it (assuming you have the stomach for it).  Also, the movie features a great sense of very dark humor that helps introduce some balance to what could have been an overly serious film.

If you’re looking for a film of this nature that justifies its characters’ descent into lunacy, this is not a film for you. The descent is gradual, but it is a montage that acts as a transition into the disgusting lives these people slip into. Why it happens really isn’t all that important. We already know it is going to happen. And, really, how many ways are there for it to happen? The cause isn’t that interesting. It’s the scenario. It’s the what happens next, when people give into their impulses, when people have made this building their whole existence and have come to terms with their squalid, filthy, and repulsive lifestyles. They could leave at any time. There is a city on the outskirts of the High-Rise. But they don’t, because this isn’t that kind of movie. They don’t want to escape, anyways. There’s no hint that they’re not actually unhappy with what’s happened. They just want what they think they are entitled to have.

High-Rise isn’t a movie for everyone. Opinions appear split on it. It’s a disturbing movie, and to some, a pointless movie. It’s not a feel good movie. And it’s not one you can connect with on a character level. It’s a movie you appreciate for the visuals, the talent, the black humor, and themes. It’s an awesome movie, but only if you let it does its thing and are happy with the fact you may be unhappy at its end.

(Also, some have said the movie is incomprehensible. That the story is almost impossible to follow. The story is very basic. The events, to the sane mind, are incomprehensible. Some do not seem able to differentiate between the two.)

Rating: Awesome.

Recommended: Yes, but watch the trailer and read some reviews first.

“The Three Heretics” First Draft is Done! So What’s Next?

I’m glad you asked!

Well, as any writer will tell you, the first draft is not the last drive. As pretty as you make it, as much as you love it at that moment in time, when you go back to it months later, it ends up losing some of its luster. So while “The Three Heretics” is done, it still needs some loving before we move onto the editing stage. So for those who are interested, here is the plan for the months to come.

  1. Rewrite “The Three Heretics” completely. There’s not much to this. I open up the file, go to the beginning, pick an empty line, and start typing everything all over again, making changes as I go. This may seem like a long process, but honestly, it’s not too bad. This way, rather than reading it and correcting when an issue pops up, I’m reintroducing myself to the story, memorizing all the little details I may have forgotten, and fixing things on a more focused level. I anticipate the beginning chapters to take longer than the final chapters, as though were just finished and more representative of where I am at as a writer at this moment. All in all, I expect this process, as long as I don’t dick around too much, to only take like 2-3 weeks. It could be more. I don’t know. It is a really long book.
  2. Beta readers! Want to hear something crazy? People are actually coming to me, rather than me going to them, and offering to beta read my novel! That’s awesome. The fact that people are that excited and invested in the series already (and these are people that I met after I published “Bones,” not pre-existing friends) makes me very happy. So once the rewrites are complete, those who have expressed an interest in being beta readers will be contacted and given the second draft to tear apart, worship, read with a mild indifference, whatever.
  3. Hire an editor! Wait, no, no exclamation point. Hiring an editor is expensive, and like I said, this is a really long book. But, damn it, it has to be done. Unfortunately, Eve Marie, the editor for “Bones” will not be returning to edit this novel. While I wish that she could, editing was a side job that, at the moment, has to be put on the back burner as she works her full time job. No big deal! So while the beta readers are doing their beta reading business, I’ll be scouring the internet for an editor that I feel will serve “The Three Heretics” well … and make me look real good.
  4. While our currently unknown editor is editing, Hannah and I will be putting the finishing touches on the cover. We will also be getting the world map together, and I will be completing the introductory letter and the glossary. Also, we will be coming up with marketing strategies and community things we can take advantage to promote it. It is time to get serious!
  5. Editing takes awhile, so I anticipate I’ll have some time to do other things, too. I hope to have my horror anthology “Black Occult Macabre” out by October. While “The Three Heretics” is getting a makeover, I’ll be trying to write the last two stories for that anthology, which are “The Black Hour” and “Where the Dead Go to Die.” I’ll also be working on my brother and I’s Friday the 13th script. Who knows if anything will happen with that, but it will be fun and … you know … I heard the studio is struggling to move forward with the franchise. If you want some pointers or, like, a screenplay, don’t hesitate to e-mail me, bruhs.
  6. Once “The Three Heretics” is edited and my bank account is lessened because of editing, I’ll review all the corrections and integrate them correctly (unlike I did last time). Then, I’ll ughhhhh then I’ll format the Createspace and Kindle files so they don’t look like mutant freaks of novels.
  7. Then release! So what is the release date? I have no clue. I wanted it to be out this summer, preferably around when “The Bones of the Earth” was released, but who knows if that will happen. But I think we can get this done in the next few months. I want it out there real bad.
  8. June 10th is the one year anniversary of “The Bones of the Earth.” Obviously, going to have to do something special for that. But what? Hmm.
  9. Well, after all that is done, I guess I’ll just have to start on the next novel, which is entitled “The

See ya later!

“The Three Heretics” Cover is Coming Along Nicely

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A work in progress. A not-so-great picture of a screen, just to make the full reveal that much more fun.

To give each book in the series an identity that tells the readers “this is a Bones’ book,” commonalities will be shared between them. The front cover and back cover will generally mirror one another, with the protagonist being on the front and the antagonist on the back. However, in this case, an awfully familiar skeleton dude is chilling on the front. I don’t remember him being too nice. So who could possibly be on the back?

Dun-dun-dun!

Come and Meet Your Three Heretics!

Hannah and I have been working on the cover for “Three Heretics,” Book Two in “The Bones of the Earth” series. Here are some sketches for our three heretics, the main characters of the novel. Just like “Bones,” there will be characters mirroring them on the back cover, but you’ll have to wait a little longer before I reveal them.

(If you’re reading this on Goodreads, apologies for the wacky-ass formatting.)

edgar promo

Atticus Promo

Holy Child Promo

Want a Quick Look at the New “Bones” Series Map?

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I need to scan this bad boy, but until, enjoy this somewhat decent photo of the new map for the “Bones of the Earth” series. It is currently based off the locations from Book One. Jacquelyn Graff, Hannah Graff’s sister (illustrator for the novel), created the map for me for Christmas.

You can find some more of her work here.

All Things Zombie: Chronology of the Apocalypse

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Hello!

I have some exciting news to share with everyone today. An unreleased short story of mine entitled “Nights in White Satin” will be included in the upcoming anthology “All Things Zombie: Chronology of the Apocalypse.”

For people who are fans of zombies or the horror genre in general, this anthology is definitely worth checking out. As I understand it, there are quite a few big-named writers of the zombie genre who have contributed to this anthology.

For people who are fans of my work, especially “The Bones of the Earth” series, this anthology is most certainly worth your time, as “Nights in White Satin” contains some pretty revealing connections to the series. Also, until the release of my own anthology, “Black Occult Macabre,” this will be the only way to read my short story.

So, if you’re a fan of zombies, horror, or just well done, independent work, check out this anthology.

You can read their first anthology-All Things Zombie: The Gathering Horde-here as well.

Can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks.

Thanks!

 

(Pst. I think I’m going to finish Part II of “Three Heretics” this week. At last!)

To Celebrate the release of the AUDIOBOOK for “The Bones of the Earth” on Amazon and Audible

ad sale scott (1)

That’s right! I’ll be bombarding people more tomorrow, but until then, save this page and these links.

Amazon

Audible

 

What’s New: 9/29/15

Good morning,

Or afternoon,

Or evening,

Been a busy week! But a lot of fun as well.

Writing

The reports that “The Bones of the Earth” has errors in it is getting to me. I know it does but, damn it, I’m so tired of reading it, haha. I’ve read that book so many times in so many forms. However, I will read it once more to catch these obnoxious grammatical errors that people are mentioning. It’s weird, because someone won’t find any at all, while others will report a whole bunch at once. I hate knowing the book has them. For anyone who has one of the earlier editions of the paperback, contact me and I’ll send you some free short stories as compensation for the errors.

The Kindle owners are in a good spot, though, as I can just push out updates.

I continue to work daily on “Three Heretics.” I don’t have a set number of words I aim to write every week, but maybe I should, so that it’s finished sooner. I really do want to get it out there so that people can feel confident in the series, knowing that there is a continuation coming and that their questions will be answered in one way or another not.

“Easiest Job in the World” and “Black Occult Macabre Vol. 1 Issue 7” are currently being edited. I’ll let you all know when they’re done, and I’ll probably make them free as well when I’ve uploaded the new editions.

The screenplays … not sure what to do with them. They’re canon, and they’re important, but they’re screenplays. I may pull them from Amazon so that I can turn them into something else later on. Novellas or novels.

I have an unpublished short story entitled “Nights in White Satin.” It’s unpublished because it contains quite a big spoiler for “Three Heretics.” The goal was to put it in the anthology; however, I submitted it to a friend’s publication way back when, so if it ends up in there, you’ll get an early look at it. It’s a zombie story, but if you’ve read “Bones,” then you know it won’t be your typical zombie story.

Movies

What the hell did I even watch this week?

The Green Inferno: Eli Roth’s kinda newest movie. It’s been delayed for a while now. I’m not one that buys into hype, and he’d hyped this movie up a whole lot, but even so, I was disappointed. Moments of it are decent. But aside from the first kill, it is far too tame for something that wants to be considered alongside Cannibal Holocaust. The acting is lame (whatever, it’s horror), the camera they used looks like shit (low budget film, fine, but low budget digital? blah), and the weird humor sprinkled throughout really messed things up. If you’re going to use humor, then it needs to be more consistent. The good? I really liked the idea of it, I liked the digs at twitter and SJW’s. The tribe was really neat to see, as well.

Cannibal Holocaust: My brother and I came home to watch this after Green Inferno. This is the Duke of New York A #1 of cannibal movies. Oddly enough, it’s actually a really good movie. Usually, these kinds of things are, you know, oh cool it’s gory or shocking, but there’s no substance. Here, there’s substance, and its filmed really well. Badass soundtrack, too. Real animals are killed in this movie, however, which was totally unnecessarily and something reportedly forced upon the director by the producers at the time.

You know a horror movie has done it’s job when a judge orders the director to have the actors come to court to prove they weren’t actually killed on screen.

Eaten Alive: Seeing a theme? We watched this and the previous two all in one night. An early Tobe Hooper film regarding a wacked-out in and the alligator that lives beside it. Really weird movie with awesome lighting. Very slow, kinda dream-like. Trashy, too. The blu-ray is pretty impressive from Arrow.

Prisoners: Amazing movie. Snubbed so fucking hard at the Oscars. Easily one of my favorites.

Videodrome: Best Cronenberg movie? Maybe. Probably. The origin of my obsession with flesh and body horror? Definitely.

Games

Metal Gear Solid V: I know, I know. I’m slow, what can I say.

Bloodborne: Perfecto, as it always is.

Soma: Very Bioshock-y. Really starting to get into it.

Music

So, I kind of, like, oh my god, saw Ghost last week. Was fucking amazing. Here’s some pictures I stole from my friend’s facebook. Hail Satan!

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Reading

Oh yeah, I do read, too.

So my loyal, loving fans (and when I say this, I’m basically talking about two people; don’t get the wrong impression that I’m that cool) have been recommending a book to me.

The Library at Mount Char

Nothing says “you’re comfortable with yourself” like a shitty picture not long after you’ve woken up. Can’t wait to read this bad boy.20150929_123114

Ah damn it. Sideways. Oh well. Adds to its charm.

Anyways, back to “Three Heretics”

 

 

What’s New: 9/21/15

Hello,

Good stuff has been happening lately! Bones has gotten a couple new reviews over the course of a few days. And, thanks to my ever-diligent fans, it is now in the hands of a helluvalot more readers. Several these are pretty highly ranked on Goodreads as well.

Writing

“The Easiest Job in the World” and “Black Occult Macabre Vol. 1, Issue 7” have been rewritten. At last, it’s over! Now they need to be edited and updated on Amazon.

“The Bones of the Earth” has had several grammatical issues corrected. Paperback and eBook updated, but I’m sure there are plenty more errors to root out. That’s what happens when you self-publish, I guess.

Finally figured out an important question I’ve been asking myself about the Worms.

From now on, it’s “Three Heretics” all day err’y day until it’s in your hands.

Movies

So, apparently, it was Rob Zombie week this week? Didn’t even realize this until now, when I started thinking about all the movies we’ve seen this week.

House of a 1000 Corpses: How the hell did I not realize my short story sounds almost like this movie’s title? It took me like a year to realize it. Whatever. Horror prides itself on ripping off things. Pretty good movie. Not my favorite. If anyone should’ve directed the Texas Chain Saw Massacre remake, it should’ve been Mr. Zombie.

Lords of Salem: Tied with Devil’s Rejects for being one of my favorite Rob Zombie movies. The story isn’t anything special. If you’ve seen any satanic/witch movies, you’ve seen this one. But the direction is fantastic and the atmosphere delicious. Rob needs a little help with his writing (I’m available, fyi), but his direction is boss nasty.

Halloween: Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I don’t really much care for him explaining Michael’s backstory. But of all the aspects of the movie, it’s easily the best. The parts where he’s actually remaking John Carpenter’s film are kind of boring and poorly paced. Just there to be there. There are some good things here. It’s not a terrible movie. Lots of quotable lines. Joe Grizzly is the best.

Halloween II: Rob Zombie’s sequel. Totally fucking weird movie. I don’t mind the abstract nature of it, but I wished some of it would’ve been introduced in the first movie. It makes Michael’s motivation too similar to Jason’s. I do like the dark and brutal tone of the movie, and again, it looks fantastic, but I don’t know. Again, I don’t hate it. But it could’ve been more. This one is more watchable for me between the two, as it is more representative of Zombie’s vision, good or bad.

The Collector: Hannah has been wanting to watch this for the longest time. A good movie with a cool premise. Has a nice look to it. Enjoyable, despite some similarities to Saw.

The Collection: An Aliens-esque sequel in that it’s more action-y. I didn’t care for it the first time I saw it, but it’s grown on me since. I’d like to see a third movie.

Vampire Hunter D: Haven’t seen this in a bazillion years. The animation is amazing and the world, oddly enough, is very reminiscent of “Bones of the Earth.” Highly recommended.

Furious 7: Ah, pretty good. I enjoy watching these more with my brother than myself. The ending is pretty emotional, no lies 🙂

Sleepaway Camp III: My least favorite Sleepaway camp I’ve seen so far, but I still love it. Watched it again recently and it grew on me. Angela is an inspiration to us all.

 

Games

Bloodborne: Playing this again in preparation for the upcoming DLC. One of my favorite games ever. I absolutely love From Software’s games. They are huge inspirations to me and my work.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Finally got Quiet. She’s badass and has a totally ridiculous backstory.

Soma: Don’t have it yet. But I will tomorrow! Looks so much fun.