Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boris Karloff And Bela Lugosi In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" And "The Raven"

Both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi have been in excellent horror films on their own and have also created monster icons in their own right, but some of their best work together lies in the two Edgar Allan Poe films made by Universal in the 1930s: "The Black Cat", and "The Raven".

"The Black Cat" tells the story of the strange and violent relationship between Dr. Vitus Werdegast and Hjalmar Poelzig. For once in his career, Bela Lugosi plays the dashing good guy, but this is to little affect because of his sinister aura. The ending is so shocking and masterfully shot that the film will leave a mark on all viewers! The film features a very modern Bauhaus type furniture, which is strange for a horror story and a pleasant departure from the usual cobwebs and staircases.

"The Raven" is the better of the duo and tells the story of a surgeon, Dr. Richard Vollin, who falls madly in love with a woman soon to be married. He takes in and disfigures murderer-on-the-run Edmund Bateman, who is soon unwillingly drawn into his web of murder. Boris Karloff gives another tragic-but-brilliant performance, and his final heroic act will bring tears to all eyes. Bela Lugosi also gives one of the genre-defining roles as Dr. Vollin, perhaps the greatest mad doctor of all time.

These two films are brilliant examples of Universal Horror. Although they do not feature the blatant German Expressionist photography that "Dracula", and "The Mummy" employed, they do takes us through a newer, more modern type of horror. The films are definitely not supernatural, and focus on psychological horror instead.

The true star of these films, though, is definitely Boris Karloff. His performances in these films are so unnerving (The Black Cat) and tragic (The Raven) that nobody will forget them. The sinister Poelzig will frighten everybody, and the tragic figure of Edward Bateman will definitely make all cry.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

First Halloween Special! Top 10 Horror Movies! AWM Awards!

Happy Halloween everybody! Hope you've all had a good halloween. To celebrate, us folks at AWM central (us folks meaning one guy) have cooked up a wild concotion of Halloween fun! So, to begin- an all new horror story written especially for this site! And so begins... Attack Of The Werewolf!

Attack Of The Werewolf
The moors were dark. The moon hung in the sky, weighted down by the heavy black clouds. The brilliance of the stars were gone, replaced by darkness. It enveloped everything, with it's musky smell. But wait- a footstep. Very small. A twig breaks.
Daniel was in the moors that fateful night. He would not have been, had he known the fate that would befall him. The mist encircled him. He was sweating. His overcoat was torn- almost completely- and there was a huge gouge in his leg. Someone, something had attacked him. And, with the mist as it's ally, it circled him.
A hand slowly rested itself near his foot. It had long, circling hairs, sharp nails. Wait, scratch that- it's finger's were sharp. And suddenly, the mist drew back. The hand had an arm, the arm a shoulder, the should a body. The body, a head. White, brilliant teeth and blood-red eyes staired at him. Daniel looked back at the creature. It was a wolf of some kind, only larger.
And deadlier.
The wolf attacked. He howled in pain, as he felt the vicious, stinking teeth tear into his throat, the black hairs engulfing him. The eyes stared into his. They were vacant. The eyes were vacant. And ever so hungry. The wolf buried himself in the sticky blood at his throat.
And now, Daniel knew his fate. He didn't bother to fight back. The wolf, or dog, whatever it was- pushed him to the ground, and slashed his face. Fresh, vivid blood splattered accross the dying grass.
Daniel looked beside him for help. There was none. So he simply sat there, wheezing and bleeding. The moon hung in the sky. The moors were dark. The moors belonged to the beast.

So... pretty wild, huh? The writer is planning to continue installments of this story. So check back soon, and we might have a new story for you, waiting to be read. And, if the story proves popular enough, we might make a seperate blog just for it...
So now, were going to start a new tradition right here and now. Every halloween, we're going to review our top ten horror films. Every year, you'll get a different list, as there are a lot of horror films. So now, get ready for our top ten!

Top 10 Horror Movies
  1. The Shining (1980)
    Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece is undoubtedly The Shining. Beautifully shot, with haunting music and great acting, The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance, a failing writer who decides to take his family on holiday. They decide to stay at the Overlook Hotel- as caretakers for winter. As isolation sets in, Jack Torrance begins to experience a special kind of cabin fever... one influenced by the rather frighteningly powerful ghosts that haunt the hotel.
    5 pumpkins.
  2. Nosferatu (1922)
    F. W. Murnau has crafted the greatest adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula to date... which is quite funny, really, considering it was the first. The powerful imagery and the disturbing appearance of the count started the Murnau style of German Expressionism.
    5 pumpkins.
  3. Dracula (1931)
    Bela Lugosi gives his legendary performance in this monster movie classic. Count Dracula, recently arrived in England, begins preying on the Harkers. With the help of the eccentric Van Helsing, they may have a chance at ending his reign of terror. This is the first of the Universal Horror line up, and really did start the gothic-ness of Dracula.
    5 pumpkins.
  4. The Wolf Man (1941)
    In The Wolf Man, Lawrence Talbot starts a legacy of horror when he becomes the so called "Wolf Man". Lon Chaney Jr gives a brilliant and heart-breakingly sad performance as Lawrence Talbot. The music, the visuals (particularly the moors) are brilliant. The only let down with the film is the 1-hour running time. Revisit the greatest werewolf horror film of all time.
    5 pumpkins.
  5. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
    The Blair Witch Project was the first in the classic line up of shakey-camera horror movies. Some ameteur film makers decide to film a documentary in a haunted forest. As all horror film fans know, horror ensues. I'm suprised the film makers didn't expect it. The only thing that brings down the power of this film is the mention of a child-murderer.
    4 pumpkins.
  6. Alien (1979)
    Ridley Scott makes movie history in this clausterphobic horror-thriller, apltly named Alien. Mixing the old school style of the classic Universal Monster movies with the new wave of American horror, Alien is like Alfred Hitchcock in space. It really is a terrifyingly powerful film. The only let down in the end are some particular shots that make the Alien look like it's from a 40's horror movie.
    4 pumpkins.
  7. The Mummy (1932)
    Boris Karloff, hot off of Frankenstein, makes movie history again with The Mummy. Photographed with lots of german-expressionism inspired shots, this film has some truly terrifying moments. Boris Karloff delivers an amazing performance as Imhotep. The only let downs are the often cheesy music, and the plot being all too similar to Bela Lugosi's Dracula.
    3 pumpkins.
  8. Horror Of Dracula (1958)
    Christopher Lee delivers an amazing performance as the evil Count Dracula. Set in Germanic regions (all though, everybody has an English accent), Count Dracula has been haunting people for decades. Dracula comes to the attention of Dr. Van Helsing when his friend and ally, Jonathan Harker, is murdered by Dracula. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing provide wholly believable performances. The only problem with the movie is the often cheesy one-liners, and the ridiculous expressions on people's faces.
    3 pumpkins.
  9. Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943)
    In this sequel to The Wolf Man, Lon Chaney Jr has risen from the grave, and has returned as the infamous Wolf Man. As if angry villagers aren't enough, he now has to deal with the very real threat of Bela Lugosi, dressed in black clothes and loads of make up as Frankenstein. It has one of the most unforgettable opening sequences ever. The only problem with this film is the frequent mistakes of trying to be a monster mash-up, which, I guess, is what it is.
    3 pumpkins.
  10. The Raven (1935)
    As it says in the opening credits, this film is "suggested" by the Poe story. Boris Karloff, acting as hunted murderer Edmund Bateman, goes to Bela Lugosi (acting as Dr. Richard Vollin) to have his appearance altered. However, Lugosi only makes him even more ugly and terrifying, and recruits him (unwillingly) into a plan of murder. This film will stick with you forever. However, it would have been a treat to not have been mislead by the title.
    3 pumpkins.
Well, that concludes our Top 10 Horror Movies. I know some of you are suprised that titles like "The Excorsist" and "Poltergeist" aren't on there; no worry- I simply haven't seen them yet. Next year, maybe you'll be in for a suprise. And now, for the AWM Awards!

AWM Awards
Right here, right now, I'm going to judge horror movies and books and anything else you can find that is related to horror. These movies, books, and television shows will have the special honor of having an AWM Award. Not that it means anything, but still. Sit back, and relax!
  • Greatest horror icon: Boris Karloff
  • Greatest horror novel: Frankenstein
  • Greatest horror actor: Bela Lugosi
  • Greatest horror director: Roger Corman
  • Greatest horror television special: 'Salem's Lot (1979)
  • Greatest horror movie: The Shining (1980)
  • Worst horror movie of all time: Halloween (2007)
So, that concludes our programming for tonight. But don't forget, the horror fun isn't over yet! Tune in between November 23rd and November 29th to read the AWM blog post for the Boris Karloff blogathon!

Good night. Sleep well. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Double Double Bills

You know, I've been going to the cinema a lot quite recently. I've discovered an art/rerun cinema right next to me (in Manhattan, it's not possible to not be in a strategic location), and a mainstream cinema opposite me. However, my stays in these cinemas have been... elongated. The reason why is both visits to the cinema have been a blast from the past... First of all, all the films I saw were reruns, and they were double bills!
The first double bill I went to see had "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2", in 3D. It was great seeing these classic films again, particularly the first one. The reason why is I haven't seen the film since I was 4 years old, and seeing it on the big screen was almost like seeing it for the first time. I really enjoyed seeing them. The double bill also announced that a new Wii game is coming out- "Toy Story Mania"- which is based on the classic ride in Disneyland. I've been on the ride in Disneyland, and it was brilliant, so I am excited.
The second bill- which I saw last night- was a little more frightening. As Halloween is coming round- one of the biggest holidays in America- There are a lot of Halloween events around. For example, on the tv channel TCM, there are multiple horror themed marathons going on. For example, there is a Boris Karloff marathon the day before Halloween, and a "Meteor Night" marathon that plays some really old sci fi movies.
Well, do you remember that art cinema I mentioned? They have a string of horror movies playing at the moment, and whilst most of them are very clever, they are also a bit too much to see at the big screen. However, there were a few that I would have seen, but unfortunately missed- "An American Werewolf In London", with a Q&A with John Landis, and Tom Savanni's remake of "Night Of The Living Dead". However, the double bill I went to see was better than any of that. It was (drum roll please)............... "The Horror Of Dracula" and "The Curse Of The Werewolf"! Two classic Hammer Horror films for the price of one (almost)! Anyone who knows me well will know that "The Horror Of Dracula" is one of my all-time favorite movies! Seeing it on the big screen was incredible. I had never seen "The Curse Of The Werewolf" before, and whilst it wasn't the best film I've ever seen, it was amazing to see on the big screen.
And if any of you hammer fans live in London, they have an upcoming Hammer event in London- The Hammer Festival, which includes ghost walks and screenings of classic Hammer films. If you're a Hammer fan, then this is worth checking out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


So, as you guys can probably tell, I haven't been updating this blog too much in the last month. I haven't lost interest, just a lot of important stuff has been happening all in succession. So, to start off this post with a bang, I'm gonna give you some bad news.
I entered an art contest about a month ago, and the rules were that you had to draw your favorite video game boss battle. The winner would get 60 dollars worth of video gaming money. This is all at an independent website, and they have about 4 contests a year. I entered, but didn't win. No biggie. Look at this to see my art on the internet!
So, after that, I found out that I had been accepted into the school play. This isn't a small thing, it's quite a big deal. There were auditions and everything. It's not the sort of thing that are made so parents come and say "awwww"- real reviewers come. I am playing the part of The Sentry in Sophocles' "Antigone". It's a pretty good play. Check it out sometime.
So, after those two important pieces of news, I've also started writing classes. I brought in my first piece yesterday. I aimed for something like Catcher in the Rye. It's OK, I'm not particularly proud of it, but who knows what will happen?

Monday, September 7, 2009

"The Death And Return Of Superman"

When I found out the news that Doomsday, one of my all-time favorite Superman villains, was the central antagonist for season 8 of "Smallville", I went into a frenzy of reminiscence. In Smallville, Doomsday is the alter-ego of Davis Bloome, a paramedic with an appetite for violence. His alter-ego, the Doomsday creature, looks a little different from the comics, but still, it is great that, for the first time ever, Doomsday has come to the silver screen.
As I said before, I was reminiscing. The main reason why is that Doomsday was originally introduced in a Superman story arc named "The Death Of Superman". Superman and Doomsday both die at the end of the graphic novel, and so it sets up events for the next two entries, "A World Without Superman" and "The Return Of Superman". These events were also recently adapted into an animated film, named "Superman: Doomsday".
Now, as many of my family and friends will know, I don't like the Superman character, but I don't despise him. Many of his stories don't appeal to me because he has no flaws- the only comic that had him in that I ever liked was "Superman: For Tomorrow"- one that I recommend to everybody. I do believe, however, that "The Death And Return" is Superman at his best. It was so successful as an arc that there was an audio drama, several animated adaptations (with lots of artistic liberty) as well as a video game.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Return Of Eddie Brock In "Spider-Man: New Ways To Die"

For those of you that don't keep up to date with the comics world, stories featuring the Eddie Brock version of Venom have been pretty naff since the two original story lines that were illustrated by Todd McFarlane and written by David Michelinie. There was the whole "Maximum Carnage" thing, and whilst impressive, it focused more on Carnage rather than Eddie Brock.
In the 2000s, Eddie Brock has willingly shredded his symbiote, after finding out he had cancer. The suit ends up with a new host- none other than Mac Gargan, formally known as "The Scorpion"- and things have pretty much been that way since. Hoping to redeem himself, Eddie Brock started working at a F.E.A.S.T. Center in NYC- a local charity that has refuge centers for the homeless. However, the leader is also the evil Mr. Negative, and when he destroyed the cancer cells in Brock's body simply by touching him, Eddie feels like he has a new lease on life. But not for long.
As Norman Osborn, who is viewed as a hero after the "Secret Invasion" storyline, and his team of Thunderbolts (Radiation Man, Bullseye, Song Bird, and Venom) clean the streets of non-registered superheroes (see "Civil War"), he becomes obbsessed with Spider-Man once again. He doesn't know who he is (see "One More Day" and "Brand New Day"), and all he knows is that Parker takes photos of him. He sends the Thunderbolts out to look for Spidey- Venom goes AWOL, thinking he has found Spidey (he senses a host) but instead has found Eddie. Something happens, and suddenly Eddie Brock turns into Anti-Venom, a Negative Symbiote that repels the original. Using his powers, he's destined to become a hero!
"New Ways To Die" is the only Venom storyarc I've read since the "Venom Returns" storyarc that I feel has portrayed Eddie Brock- and Venom- in a really good light. 90's era Venom was always portrayed as this tortured, sobbing man, and he was so mushy you couldn't stand him. However, with "New Ways To Die", he's portrayed as the ultimate evil he once was.
I'd reccommend anybody and everybody this storyline. It's pretty cool!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Andrew's Weekly Video Game Musings

Hello everybody!
Since I have become a little more pro-active on the video gaming scene, I decided I'd make a sister-blog for the blog you're reading now. It's called "Andrew's Weekly Video Game Musings", and here I'll be talking and reviewing... well, you know how this sentence ends (you do know, don't you?)
Check it out here, and whilst you're at it, why don't you follow it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hiroshi Inagaki's "Samurai Trilogy", and "Star Wars, The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance"

Whilst on holiday here in the Catskills, I was fortunate enough to find that the married couple who live in the house have a large collection of classic movies on VHS. Among them were "It's A Wonderful Life", "Best Years Of Our Lives", "Malcolm X", and "Scream", but by far the most unusual movies I found were in a box set and simply titled "The Samurai Trilogy". I've known about these films, but had never seen them. I thought I'd watch them.
The first in the series is named "Musashi Miyamoto", and is about how the brutal peasant Tazeko transforms into a graceful, elegant, and genteel man. He states his dreams about becoming a legendary samurai, and at the end of the film, ventures to complete the rest of his training. After watching the film, I could not help but think and wonder about Toshiro Mifune's heart stopping performances. He delivers such emotion in the role of Tazeko. Others may know him from his collaborations with Akira Kurowsawa, namely "Seven Samurai" and "Throne Of Blood".
The second in the series, "Duel At Ichijoji Temple", is about how Musashi Miyamoto finishes his samurai training, but learns that a samurai must have compassion against his enemies. This film also introduces his life-long nemesis, Hiroji Saseko, another legendary samurai. The film features a brilliant and grueling fight against 80 evil ninjas. Whilst the film slightly failed with character development, the film more than makes up for it with brilliant photography and action packed sword fights. I'd say it was as good as the original.
The third film in the series, "Duel At Ganryu Island", is about Miyamoto's final showdown with Saseko, and is the most emotional and violent of the series. This last film has it all: tragedy, romance, gory sword fights, and, of course, another legendary performance from Toshiro Mifune.
The entire series makes up a brilliant whole, and is a rare experience that nobody should miss. Even if you don't expect character development, there is plenty here. Although I am not familiar with Japanese films, and did not have any previous expectations, all these films will be in your top 10 if you ever watch them.
Other than that, I've been reading and harbouring a love for Star Wars. I've just bought a Nintendo DS exclusive video game named "Star Wars, The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance". It is a brilliant video game, and another experience that should not be missed. All the action takes place with the stylus, so there's no more button mashing in this video game. You can play as Anakin Skywalker, Ashoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, and Kit Fisto. For me, the highlight of the video game are the spectacular "Jedi Action Sequences". I won't tell you anything about them, you'll have to play it. And, surprisingly for a video game, there is plenty of video to advance the story. If you will, it makes it's own movie with these videos, and they are all fun to watch.
So, what have you been doing? I bet you couldn't write an entry as long as this!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Greg Mortenson's and David Oliver Relin's "Three Cups Of Tea"

How many of you fellow readers consider yourself charitable? Perhaps you've donated money in the past, went to an Oxfam shop and bought something, or perhaps even lent a pencil to someone in class or at work? Well, prepare to meet one of today's greatest humanitarians- Greg Mortenson.
Some of you may already know the name through the news media, but, if you do know his name, you will probably know it from a no. 1 New York Times Bestseller, "Three Cups of Tea". The book details the turbulant life of Greg Mortenson, starting from early 1993 to 2003. Greg Mortenson, in 1993, attempted to climb the worlds highest peak, K2, to honor his sister's memory, who had recently died of an epileptic fit. He fails, and wanders into a small village in the Karakoram (the mountainous regions of Pakistan) named Korphe. He was inspired by the uneducated children living there to build a school for them.
What started as one school has so far climbed to over sixty schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where children can get a non-extremist schooling that has propelled them to greater heights than anybody could ever have guessed.
If you'd like to make a donation, visit, the homepage of Mortenson's company, Central Asian Institute. If you'd like to find out more about Mortenson's work, I'd suggest reading his book "Three Cups Of Tea", as it is not only informative, but is a great read and a life-altering experience as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Marvel Noir" Covers

Marvel has recently released a series of new mini-series in which the different Marvel characters are recreated- not just a little, like the Ultimate series, but completely- in 1930's crime ridden New York City. The series has a visual style similar to that of 1930s and '40s crime movies. They are truly brilliant. They stray away from the superhero factor, and more to a detective/thriller story.
For those interested, I thought I'd share some covers with you. So far, there are four miniseries- "Spider-Man Noir", "Daredevil Noir", "X-Men Noir" and "Wolverine Noir". The series don't just change the characters a little- they change practically everything about them. Essentially, they create new characters.
  1. "Daredevil Noir"
  2. "Spider-Man Noir"
  3. "Wolverine Noir"
  4. "X-Men Noir"
I hope some of you check out these miniseries. Two have been released in complete hardcovers- "Spider-Man Noir" and "X-Men Noir". They will be shortly followed by more hardcovers, and some new miniseries are on there way: "Luke Cage Noir" and "Punisher Noir".

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Spider-Man Noir" Sequel

When I was in England, I read a short graphic novel named "Spider-Man Noir". It was a complete reimagining of the character in 1930s crime-ridden new york. The visual style of the book borrowed heavily from many noir films, like "On the Waterfront" and "The Third Man". I liked it so much that I decided the story should be taken further.
I'm currently writing a sequel named "Spider-Man Noir II: Carnage and Tragedy", and it is set two years after the rise of Spider-Man and the fall of the Goblin's crime group. The story deals with the rise of a new criminal mastermind, named Cletus Kassidy, alternatively known as "Carnage"- and how the events that transpire break Spider-Man and his soul.
It's going to be a lot darker than the original miniseries, and of course, this Carnage is the Noir version of the classic Spider-Man villain Carnage. But don't worry, there will be no symbiotic relationship between him and an alien, like there was in the comics. I was much more interested in the serial killer side of the story.
Anyone who wants a copy of the story once it's finished can get it by requesting it via email.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown"

So, as you guys probably already know, Green Day has just released their new album, "21st Century Breakdown". It is their second Rock Opera/Concept Album (their first was "American Idiot") and their eighth studio album.
At first, I was skeptical. I am quite a fan of Green Day, and I do like their stuff, but I thought before listening that the album was going to be garbage. They don't need to make good music now to have a bestselling album- they're Green Day! But, after listening to the album, my opinion has changed. It is their best album to date, and if you look carefully at each song, you will tear up when you realize what the story is.
The album is split up into three acts, with a small prologue ("Song of the Century"): "Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints", and "Horseshoes and Grenades". The album follows two legendary figures, Gloria and Christian. They are lovers, and the story is their experience and emotions during the reign of Bush. Gloria is an idealistic person, very light and happy, whilst Christian is moody, and simply wants to destroy everything. Although their is not a clear storyline per se, the album deals with their issues and emotions rather than their physical presence.
The story is told through 18 relentless assaults of songs that, at times, evoke such strong emotions that it is hard to hide them. Songs like "21 Guns" and "Restless Heart Syndrome" evoke sad, longing emotions, whilst "Song of the Century" and "Christian Inferno" speak and evoke emotions of rebellion and happiness.
All in all, Green Day has outdone themselves. Although it may be hard to compute, "21st Century Breakdown" is Green Day's masterpiece. If you thought that "American Idiot" was their best, you will be pleasantly suprised that you are wrong. The story of "American Idiot" is easy to disect: Jesus of Suburbia travels around, wanting to be free and happy, and meets St. Jimmy and Whatsername, whom represent opposite ideals. St. Jimmy represents destruction, whilst Whatsername represents happiness and contentness. "21st Century Breakdown" is different in the fact that it talks to us about emotions and feelings, rather than a storyline.
Imagine the greatness of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Sex Pistols all combined into one album. More or less, "21st Century Breakdown" is the end result, and one that everybody will be roaring about for millenia.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls and Dracula

Last Tuesday, school ended. Even though the school year was incredibly stressful and full of work, I found that it has been one of the best school years of my life. Part of the reason for this is my English and Social Studies teacher, Mr. Theisen, who, unfortunately, won't teach me again.
When we are on our summer holiday, we have to read three novels for school. This year, we have to read "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls, "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, and "When Asia Was the World" by Stewart Gordon. Although I was not particularly looking forward to reading any of these books (all of them are filled to the brim with disturbing and graphic images), I must admit that I am enjoying "The Glass Castle".
I won't tell you anything about the book, other than it is a memoir. I have only gotten up to page 19, but already I am in it's infamous grip! The writer's style is very open, and you really get the feeling that you are on to something when reading it.
Other than that, all I plan to do this holiday is make my own documentary. I chose to do one about Dracula, and his influence on modern culture. I am currently downloading the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula", and I have already downloaded "Nosferatu", "Horror of Dracula", and "Dracula", starring Béla Lugosi. I am using the films for footage which will be included in the documentary. For example, the title sequence is primarily composed of sequences from "Dracula".

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Funny Book!

Just a funny picture I found on the internet of a book... look at the title. Quite funny if you are a teenage boy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Star Trek", My Birthday, And More!

First of all, I'd like to thank everybody for my presents. Listed below are the presents and who they are from:
  1. "Seven Samurai" DVD- Grandad
  2. "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" DVD- Amanda
  3. "The Blair Witch Project" DVD- Amanda
  4. "Rear Window" DVD- Isabella
  5. "To Kill A Mockingbird" DVD- Nana Betty
  6. "Beauty and the Beast" DVD*- Nana Carole
  7. "Stanley Kubrick: A Biography" by John Baxter- The Williams
  8. "The Shining" by Stephen King- The Williams
  9. "'Salem's Lot" by Stephen King- The Williams
  10. "Skulduggery Pleasant 3: The Faceless Ones" by Derek Landy- Sue & Guy
  11. "Mad Max" DVD- Sue & Guy
  12. "Blow Up" DVD- Sue & Guy
*I am talking about the 1940's black and white one, not the disney one. This one is a lot more artistic, and very frightening, and very true to the original short story.
I also saw "Star Trek" this weekend, and I must say, I loved it. One of the best science fiction movies I've seen in a long time. And I'm kinda ashamed to say, but I watched a few of the original series... and I loved it! I started writing a few short stories, which you can read at this link:

Happy reading! And thanks for my presents!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Photo From "Iron Man 2"!

Anyone see the original Iron Man movie from last year? Well, die hard fans like me will be pleased to hear a photo from the sequel has just been released online! AAAAAAHH! SUGAR CRAZY!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine", "Doctor Strange: The Animated Series" and "On the Waterfront"

So... I saw the new Wolverine movie, and I have to say that it is the best marvel movie made as of yet. The only one, in my opinion, that has matched up to it in originality and... sheer art, was the animated movie of "Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme". I urge any and all to go and see it, but don't take any children who are less than 12 years old- there is a particularly nasty scene (or should I say, scenes) that features a beheading, and a character that looks like the Mummy, just without a mouth.
When you look at the title of "Doctor Strange: The Animated Series", you probably think that I was talking about the movie I just mentioned. Well, I can tell you this- you are wrong. I've begun a short, web-based television series adapting the original Doctor Strange comics. I have made two episodes as of yet, both of which are on youtube. However, a note- the first episode had the audio taken away, So i will upload both of the episodes some time in the near future. If you want them straight away, we can chat via MSN and transfer the files then. They are in .wmv format.
Also, I saw "On the Waterfront" with Marlon Brando for the first time ever. I must say it was a brilliant film, but I need to watch it again as I saw it immediately after "Wolverine" and it seemed pretty tame. Anything will after that film!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Holocaust: A Textbook Case

In my social studies class (a mixture of geography and history) we have just begun to wrap up our knowledge on World War II. I... felt quite strange reading about it; for me, it is one of the most interesting wars I've looked at, along with The Vietnam war.
We are about to start studying the Holocaust. Our teacher, Mr. Theisen, also teaches my english class, and he tries to make the two connect for a richer learning experience. So, for example, we read "Red Badge of Courage" whilst studying the Civil War, read "Fools Crow" whilst studying Native American culture... and now, we are studying "Night", by Elie Wiesel.
I have read some Holocaust fiction before- the graphic novel "Maus". And from the experience I had reading this graphic novel, I came away with something. It changed my life, so to speak. And now, just having started reading "Night", I wanted to share with you a small passage I found:

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in the camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even were condemned to live as long as God himself.

From this, and other Holocaust fiction I've read, I have derived a small fact: that you can never really learn about the Holocaust from a textbook. Sure, you can read about all the people that died, about the inhumane ways they were killed in.
But you will never learn the true horror from a textbook.
You need to read it from literature; preferably a first hand account, one such as "Maus" or "Night". And we need to learn this, because the enemy, even though physically defeated, will win this battle if we ever forget what happened.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Radioactive Man Comics" and "The Simpsons"

Hey all.
I could go on and on about how bad I feel right now, but... yah. Whatever. Anyway, being at home today, I had some time on my hands. I did a multitude of things- watched "Solaris", read comics, and er... read comics. Attempted to watch Alien 3, but I found it too disturbing and had to stop watching it.
So, to take my mind off of child murders and exploding dogs, I downloaded some comics of "Radioactive Man Comics". For those who aren't fans of "The Simpsons", "Radioactive Man Comics" is Bart Simpson's favorite comic book. It's about this guy who's like Superman, but he's braindead and way more stupid than Superman is.
The concept of the series was that "Radioactive Man Comics" had been around since the 50's, and that Bongo Comics (the publisher) is presenting six highlights of the series. Almost every issue is a rip off of a famous storyline- my favorite being issue 679- "Who Washes the Washmen's Infinite Secrets Crossover Knight Wars?"- a combination of cult classics "Watchmen", "Batman: the Dark Knight Returns" and DC Megaseries "Crisis on Infinite Earths". A hiliarious issue filled with stupid pranks.
For anyone who's interested in a painful, side-splitting laugh, read these comics. If you request, I can post some links later on in the month of the whole series.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Solaris", Strep and More!

Hey all.
As you can tell from my lack of positive sentence structure, I'm not feeling well. I think I might have strep. What the heck, just one out of a million bad days, right? And today's been OK, so it's not like I feel suicidal or anything.
Anyway, some positive news: first two pages of my comic strip are finished. It won't be up on the website for some time though, as there needs to be actual text to read it. Quite happy so far- very visual. Maybe I'll get an Oscar for this- Oh, wait, that's for movies. Never mind.
A movie I've been dying to see called "Solaris" arrived in the post for me (courtesy of, and I am so looking forward to sitting down and watching it. It's in the "1001 Movies" book, and in the Criterion Collection, both of which I adore, so this is a double whammy for me. I'll post a review on my other blog when I've seen it.
So... how're you?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Book Coming Soon!

Dear family and friends.

I am about to self-publish my own short collection of stories I have written. The book will not be out for a while (Only one of my stories are featured in it so far), but over the years my short fiction will grow, and so this book. Depending on editions, the book will be priced at circa $10-$25.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ventures Into Photography

Well... I started some photography. The reason why I've taken a sudden interest in it is because when I grow up, I want to be an art film maker. I just started doing photography to learn about composition. Anyway, I took  a great photo of my father- very noirish. I edited it in Photostudio, and created a Warhol picture of it.
I created two versions of the picture. In this post are both of them, a long with the original noir photo.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I know that most of you are probably familiar with the Alien Merchandise- started by Ridley Scott and killed off in the recent "AVP" movies. Well, I always thought of it as... somewhat stupid. I mean, I sort of saw it as one of those really violent video games, like "Halo", where there is not really any objective apart from follow the road and kill people.
I never liked those games. Too violent for me. And Aliens... where do I begin. I always thought it was some stupid movie that was all about seeing marines killing- or vica versa- Aliens. It always looked like it had the bones there, but where's the meat?
About a week ago, my view of the merchandise changed. First of all, we have to state that the creatures are what they look like- skeletal, bug-like and drooling. And yes, I admit that they look like they're out of a game like "Halo". However, The first film is supposedly very clever. I've heard many of my suposedly "clever" friends say it's somewhat like watching a haunted house movie in space. Similar in style to "The Shining"- which I saw the other day, and, frankly, loved.
Now that I know that the Alien Merchandise is somewhat clever and exciting, I've started dipping my toe in the water. I bought the "Alien Triple Pack" which contains the first three movies- and, if I like what I see, will go on from there. I won't bother with "Alien: Ressurection", however, as loads of people say it's a bad movie. So, if I like it, I may check out some of the comics and novels (depending on the violence- I don't want people being ripped apart in front of my eyes). But, I am going to say this- I'm not going to bother with "Predator", unless someone convinces me likewise.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Criterion Collection

You know how I put that other blog up? Well, I decided to take it down. Reasons are, that I don't think I'll ever keep up and post a review on every single film in that collection. Instead, I am going to focus on the films in the same book, but in the series of "The Criterion Collection". This way, it limits the number of posts I have to put up to a pace I can keep up with. Look for the link under "My Other Blogs.

Friday, March 20, 2009

World War II: In Requiem

I watched "Saving Private Ryan" today. A brilliant film. Let's just say, this is what I created afterwards.

"The Ting Tings" Concert at Terminal 5

Here are the photos from the concert of "The Ting Tings" concert that me and my dad went to. It was a brilliant concert, and they sound so much better live than on CD.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Batman: Arkham Asylum" and the Future of Comic Book Video Games

Today, I was just playing my PS2. I was playing "Fantastic Four: The Official Movie Game", and whilst I was beating up Diablo, I was thinking: this is an OK game. Most of the games I have are comic-book based. I tend to go towards RPG games, and stray away from shooters. I don't like games like "Doom" and "Left 4 Dead", as I hate the violence. Not many of the comic book games I play have been absolutley mind-blowing. The one that was brilliant, however, was "The Incredible Hulk: The Official Movie Game". The game was not great with the graphics; it was pretty simple, but the playability was brilliant. One of the most addictive games I've ever played.
When a comic book game comes out, I tend to screech and say "Oh No!", as they usually end up badly. The ones I get I get on the basis of other's reviews. However, when I saw the trailer for the upcoming "Batman: Arkham Asylum", I was blown away by the playability and the graphics. And, whats more, Mark Hamill is returning for his role as the Joker! The last time he did this was in the animated series.
Hopefully, with the release of "Batman: Arkham Asylum", we will see more brilliant comic book games coming out. I'd like to see where this is going as a medium. To see the trailer, click here. And to see the official website, click here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

One of the things I wanted to do when I started this blog was post reviews of my progress with the book "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die". However, I did not want the website to run slowly, so I have created a seperate blog where you can view my progress. No posts at the moment, but still, the link is:

Spanish Comic Book Help!

Hey all! I just found out that for Spanish, I got a big project due. I have to create a 10+ comic book in spanish (for those that cannot read spanish, I'll post an English version on as well as here). Any ideas would really help. I all ready know the plot. My only real idea though is that the comic book will start out real cheesy, like a 1940's DC comic book, and end up dark and gritty (similar to "Sin City"). Any ideas on what type of artwork to do?

Thomas Scioli- The Next Jack Kirby!

I just found an amazing artist on the internet. His name is Thomas Scioli, and he is famous for his work on the Godland series for Image. I have never heard of this guy until a few minutes ago, but his art is just amazing. Have a look at it at:
For those of you who do not know who Jack Kirby is, he is often considered the king of comic book art, very much like Elvis was considered the king of Rock 'n' Roll. His art style is very dynamic and explosive. Tom Scioli looks very much like his artwork!

"Ranger's Apprentice" by John Flanagan

I drew some fan art of this exceptional series... anyone intrested in reading some new and original fantasy works, read this, 'cause it's absolutley mind-blowing. I read the first book- "The Ruins of Gorlan"- and am in the process of reading the second, "The Burning Bridge". Who knows where I'll end up with this new obsession?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is a fairly famous video game originally created by Sega. It started off as a 2D brawler, very much in the spirit of Mario Bros.,  but has gone on to become a succesfull brand with many spin off video games. All across the internet, people have tried to create online flash versions of the original game. They are all pretty good, as they emulate the original graphics and pixels. For example, see the game below:
I was just wondering, do any of you guys know any where online that emulates the 3D versions of the games? It would be cool if there was, because the 3D versions are really addictive and have some of the most imaginative gameplay ever created.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"

I was looking in the school library today. I have just started a two week break from school, and it is sort of required that we have a book to read. 'Cause I've been working so hard at school recently and I haven't really had one seconds rest, I chose an easy book to read: "Diary of a Whimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney. I started it at 12:00, stoppped at 12:20, and then after school started reading it again.
I finished it in one sitting.
So for anybody looking for a good book to read, and not necessarily a hard book to read, I heavily suggest this book. It takes the concept of an illustrated book and makes it into a blend of novel and comic book. It was an intresting read.
The premise of the book is that there is this kid called Greg Heffley. His mom says that if he starts writing a journal and writes an entry every day, he gets out of his chores for the weekend. Always taking shortcuts, the boy accepts, and soon he enters seventh grade (year 8 for us english people). His brain-dead friend Rowely hangs out with him and he generally has a bad time- all this is happening under the watchful eye of "The Cheese", a slice of cheese that has been on the basketball since last spring.
Again, quite an easy read. It is based on an online blog that the writer has- but I suggest that you read the actual book, as it is superior to the online book.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I don't really know what to talk about. I am going through quite a rough patch at the moment. Every night I've been going to bed way too late, and I thought that "Watchmen" was really disturbing. It was by all means brilliant, But incredibly violent and upsetting. Don't see it if you are under 18 (or feel under 18 mentally).
As for the title... uh.
Ok. Now I am going to try and write about something...
And I failed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Watchmen" Tomorrow!

I got my tickets for "Watchmen"! Me and my father will be going for a 6:00 PM screening of it across the street from us. I've been scribbling like crazy, drawing picture after picture after picture of all the Watchmen characters... I've been looking at all of my copies of "Watchmen" (three copies of the actual comic and the book "Watching the Watchmen" and "The Art of the Film"), and I'm about to go nuts with all of the fanart of Watchmen located at DeviantART!!!!
How many of you are going to see the film? I've been seeing some reviews that say the film is ridiculous... I hope it isn't. I really, really hope it isn't. "Watchmen", from what we've seen so far looks brilliant- and amazingly, "Watchmen" is the only film that I've seen every sing TV-Spot for. Also, there are a series of "Watchmen Video Journals", and you can view them here:
And here is a picture I illustrated of "Watchmen", a long, long time ago:

See you soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Children's Post Apocalyptic Cartoons

Did any of you see "Wall-E"? I did. I was quite ill at the time, and when I watched it I found it really depressing. I mean, this is the plot: Earth has been destroyed by rubbish, and so they have robots called Wall-Es clearing everything up. Whilst that's happening, humans are living on a luxury cruise, and they are all fat. I mean, isn't that a depressing story line? I was suprised that children like to watch that sort of stuff.
So, I wanted to see if there were any other post apocalyptic cartoons that could mildly depress children. I found one called "9", which I've mentioned before, but I didn't really consider it a children's cartoon. I did, however, find two others. They are called "Peace On Earth" and "Good Will To Men". I must say that they were not as depressing as "Wall-E", but still, I think some children would end up with a post-traumatic-distress disorder. But what am I saying? Judge for yourself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", "North by Northwest" and the Precode Era

Hey, folks! I saw Psycho for the first time today. I must admit that it was quite a scary movie, but what the heck? I loved it. I felt that it was very different from other movies that Hitchcock has directed. All of his other films were clearly part of the time; for example, "North by Northwest" was very reminiscent of "Dr. No". "The Birds" was clearly inspired by the Cold War, what with the nuclear energy and everything. However, "Psycho" really was not part of any genre. It was very modern, and very, very terrifying. I can see clearly that the slasher genre had it's roots in films like Psycho- and then it went off in a different direction with films like "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
One thing that really striked me in the film was the very vague themes of necrophilia. I mean, Norman Bates actually loves the people he kills, so it is quite strange, as this is a sort of necrophilia. In reality, Hitchcock was a very adult director- he delt with very adult issues, but uses them subtly in the film. For example, when Northhill meets Kendel on the train in "North by Northwest", and they start making out, Kendel says some really, really rude stuff. She starts flirting with him- and saying some very innapropriate things for that time. I kept wondering if these films were pre-code films, but then I researched it and found out that the Hays Code came about in the 30's due to some sexual films being released because of the Great Deppresion. I think films like "Psycho" and "North by Northwest" were not targeted for general audiences; just adult ones. My reasons? Well, those before and the fact that when "Psycho" was released in director's cut format, it garnered an R-18 rating.
That reminds me- Bela Lugosi was in quite a few precode horror films as well- his most famous was that of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". That sort of had to be done at that time to avert the law, as it had things like ape blood being pumped into the victims bodies (Don't look at me, look at the original novel by Edgar Allan Poe). Have you seen any precode films?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

ClassicM and "1001 Movies"

Hi all! Just wanted to let you know, I've started a periodical called "ClassicM", which focuses on classic film. It basically just disects the form of film and there are lots of new articles going to be published. I'm going to get school friends involved and family involved, so if you want to get involved with it and get something published, please email me at my usual address (my gmail). Other than that, I've started a life-long quest to watch all of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die". I've seen quite a few already before actually getting the list, but those I've seen since I got the list are:
  1. Spartacus
  2. The Great Escape
  3. Notorious
And tonight, I'm going to watch "North by Northwest" and, if I get time, "Psycho". I just bought Psycho in the Universal Legacy Series, and it is a 2 Disc Special Edition. If you see it, get it, cause the packaging is brilliant, and there are tons of special features. With my pocket money, I am going to save up to get the two other Hitchcock films in the series: "Rear Window" and "Vertigo". And also, just because it doesn't hurt, I will also get "To Kill A Mockingbird". All three are in the "1001 Movies" book. If you want a copy of the checklist I made, just email me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spiegelman's "Maus" and Satrapi's "Persepolis"

At my school, every year we have a huge history project called a "LaGuardia". I just handed mine in (a biography of a writer called Howard Phillips Lovecraft) and am awaiting a grade. One thing, however, that I found trouble with was the research. I really was only able to find info about him on the internet, and not many specifics. So, for my next LaGuardia I have already started colllecting books. I've decided it's going to be about The Normandy Invasion of 1944.
I was looking in the library for books on World War II, and whilst looking through the WWII/Holocaust section I found one of my favorite graphic novels- "Maus". For those who have never heard of this work, it is perhaps the greatest underground graphic novel of all time. It tells the memoirs of Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Jew living in Poland. When the Germans invade, he starts hearing about a nightmare camp called Auschwitz. And, it turns out, he's going there. It's one of my favorites because it shows that graphic novels don't need to have complicated story lines or metaphors to be a classic. I started researching "Maus" online, read a few essays, and found another underground comic book classic called "Persepolis". I had heard of it before (forums are the greatest thing ever) but never really took the time to look into it. It turns out, the library has the first volume of "Persepolis". It tells the story of Marjane Satrapi and her experiences of the Iranian Revolutions in the 1980's. Although chock-full of metaphors and complicated art work, the book has become another classic.
I feel quite happy with my comics reading, as I am branching out from the usual superhero stuff and I am actually learning as well. I have learnt a lot about the Holocaust through "Maus". And now, I've become quite interested with this "Persepolis". And for those who don't really want to dedicate the time to reading the 300 page book of "Persepolis", the author and illustrator of the book co-directed an animated movie of the book.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Watchmen" Premiere and More

My life desire has finally been fullfilled. The fanboy in me is tingling. Zack Snyder, director of "300" and "Watchmen" has finally done the impossible.
For those who don't know, "Watchmen" is a comics masterpiece. Set in the 1980's, it follows the adventures of the psychopathic nut-job Rorschach, who is investigating a superhero murder case. What he finds leads him to a large conspiracy that brings together many retired superheroes.
"Watchmen" is one of my favorite comics, and now that the first review has been released online, I felt the need to steam off. The movie premiered in Leicester Square in London.
Today I turned in an eleven page essay called "The Destroyer's Hands". It's about how the Americans supressed the ideas of the Native Americans. I really am proud of it, so to let you know, it follows  threads in four written masterpieces. They are:
  1. "Fools Crow" by James Welch
  2. Chief Seattle's Speech
  3. "Shadow of A Nation" by Gary Smith
  4. The Arapaho Tribes
I heavily suggest "Shadow of A Nation" as it is an amazing piece of writing. You can read the article here. It was first published in "Sports Illustrated".

Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Coraline" and "9"

The other day, I went to a cinema at 84th Street in Manhattan to see a 10:15 screening of the new animated feature "Coraline". I must say that I really enjoyed the film. It was strange that such a scary book had been translated into an animated movie. I am glad it happened, though, because the book is one of my favorites.
I really like where animation seems to be going. With movies like "Coraline" out at the moment, it really seems to me that the form is growing into a respectable art form. There is so much uncharted terittory in animation it is hard to believe. It'll be like reading "Watchmen" all over again and realizing what comics can be.
Anyway, whilst I was at the cinema, I watched the previews. I don't do this often; I sort of daydream instead so that I can just get to the movie. The only time I really watch the previews is when it is for a film I've been waiting ages for. "Coraline" really wasn't one of those movies, but what the heck, you know? So, I was watching the previews, and the screen suddenly went dark. Errie music started playing, with views of a post-apocalyptic world flashing by. A heavy russian accent suddenly whispers, explaining that humanity has ended, and that he has created a rag doll called 9. 9 will continue life. And then, explosions leap out of the screen as giant mechanical robots are chasing these tiny, vulnerable warriors. I was thinking "what is this?". It looked brilliant, whatever it is. It turns out, the movie was called "9".
When I got back home, I finished my homework (a presentation on Theodore Roosevelt and an essay about suppression of ideas) and, afterwards, had a look at this "9" movie. I found out that it's based on an 11 minute C.G.I. animation made in 2005 by a guy called Shane Acker. He's also directing the new movie, which will be good. The short got tons of awards and nominations, so I watched it on YouTube, and I was blown away. I suddenly realized that animation could be capable of so much, and now that films like "9" are coming out, I think revolution is coming.
You can view the original short movie at this address:


Hi all! Here you can access my weekly journal. All I'll be really doing is talking about stuff going on in my life and posting things I've written. I'll also be talking about movies, books, t.v.... just loads of stuff that everybody is most likely interested.
Have a good day,