Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I AM . . . "Sheriff Deon Gilbeau"

Call me crazy.  I can hardly believe it myself . . . .

I've decided to explore a new creative avenue.  At least for the next 2 months.  Who knows if it's just a one-time thing.  Maybe it is.  What I am sure of:  I plan to have a blast with it.

It's definitely not replacing my writing (contrary to what my lovely wife claims, but then she's always crackin' the whip when it comes to meeting deadlines, etc., and I admit I never would have accomplished the things I've accomplished as a writer if it wasn't for her; unfortunately, she has accused me more than once of "finding a new excuse not to write" since I told her I was gonna give this a shot . . . she said the same thing about the blog you're reading right now).  This new endeavor is something I'm doing solely for fun, because I want to prove to myself that I can do it.  And, truth told, I think it can only help my writing, through a new way of looking at character and dialogue.  It's something that's always interested me a little, but I've never thought about trying it out before now.  An awkward stint as drunken "Simon Stimson" in a performance of Our Town way back in high school followed by a year of Drama class don't count.

Yep.  You guessed it. 

Believe it or not, I'm gonna try my hand at acting.

My cousin Joseph Guice is responsible for "planting the seed" in the first place.  Over the last few years, I've watched Joe decide what he wanted to do with his life and he went for it.  I've seen him chase his dream, work hard at it every day, and tirelessly hone his craft.  Words cannot describe how proud I am of my cousin.  I only wish I could have seen more of his projects through the years, but we kinda lost touch for a while when he first started working as a full-time actor (mostly because he moved away to New York City, where he studied at the reknowned Circle In the Square acting school -- Joe has indefinitely moved back to NYC again as I type this, in fact, and just finished a very successful run in the off-Broadway play The Tragedy of Tupac)Fortunately, I've been able to catch up on some lost time this year, as I've seen Joe star in the fantastic plays Buried Child, How I Learned To Drive, and in the short film Men of PersuasionAnd he's got many more exciting projects on the horizon.

Here is Joe (along with the spectacular Claire Bowerman) in a lil' film I co-wrote this past summer for the 48-Hour Film Project:

So, anyway . . . before this post turned into a drooling lovefest for Joe, I had intended to tell you how I've always enjoyed a trip to the theater, and what first got me to thinking about trying my hand at acting.

My wife and I have gone to see a few plays before.  We're not avid theater-goers, but we enjoy it when we get a chance.  I've always admired folks who can not only memorize so many lines, but get up there and move you with their delivery.  Folks who can make you forget that you're sitting in an uncomfortable chair watching a single stage with some cheap set dressing and a few props scattered about.  Folks who could make you believe you had stepped into another world, their world.

It's something I thought I could never do.  Never even gave it any thought.

Then, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called August: Osage County came into my life.

A couple weeks ago, out of the blue, I got a message on Facebook from a wonderful lady named Jennifer Treadway.  Jennifer is the Drama Teacher at our local community college; she and Joe became good friends while Joe was the Artist-In-Residence at said college.  I've seen her work a few times in the past, as not only have I watched Joe act in several plays she has directed, Jennifer was kind enough to teach my twelve-year-old son, Jamie, how to mix the fake blood and brains -- and then splat 'em against the wall for a wonderfully gruesome shot -- in our 48-Hour Film Project entry above.  I also have to mention that her own kick-ass short "Serial Love" actually took home the award for Best Film in our local 48HFP back in 2008.

Anyway . . . I got a message from Jennifer.  She wanted me to try out for this new play that was gonna be coming up at the college, August: Osage County.

"You're talking about acting?"  I replied.  "You are off your rocker."

She gleefully admitted the latter was true.  Just as I suspected she would.  But then she proceeded to tell me that she was deadly serious about the first part.  Yes, she was talking about acting.  And, by God, she knew what she was talking about, 'cause she's been doing this for 20 years.

We went back and forth for a while.  I called her crazy at least two or three more times.  She might have called me "chicken".

What the heck.  I'm always up to a challenge.

I borrowed the script from her, read it the weekend before auditions.

And I loved it!

August: Osage County is the story of one verrrrrry dysfunctional family.  Think Six Feet Under (my all-time favorite TV show) if the setting were moved out of a Los Angeles funeral home and into an old homestead somewhere in the hottest part of Oklahoma.  There's a lot more to it than that, of course, but in a nutshell that description will do for now.

I couldn't wait to try out, after reading the script.  I was sold.

What was the worst that could happen, I decided.  I'd have fun with it, prove to Jennifer I was no "chicken"; I would give the audition my all, but then it would lead to nowhere.  No harm done.

Ultimately, I didn't get the part I tried out for (which I didn't think I was right for anyway, appearance-wise, even if that particular character has all the best lines).  But I got a part.  A very cool part.  And rehearsals began this past Monday.

Holy crap . . . I'm gonna be in a play.  Acting.

November 17-20 I will appear as "Sheriff Deon Gilbeau" in a local production of August: Osage County.  It's a fun role, pivotal but small enough to be the perfect fit for a newbie like myself.  I'll be acting alongside so many wonderful folks, incredible talents I've admired on more than one occasion from the other side of the stage.

Now I'm up there with them. 

I was invited to be up there with them.

And that's just about the coolest thing ever.

I admit I'm pretty terrified.  But at the same time I'm so excited I can barely sit still.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

JUST FOR FUN: "We Do Not Have a Dinosaur"

Over at the Shock Totem forums they host a creative exercise every other Saturday.  It's called the Flash Challenge.  I guess you could call it a contest, though the only thing the winner "wins" is bragging rights.

Mostly, it's just fun.

The rules are simple:  participants are given exactly one hour to write a short story.  The story can be anywhere from one sentence to a thousand words in length.  Each story must be built upon the foundations of a prompt provided by the "Flashmaster" (the winner from the previous Flash Challenge); said prompt can be anything from a photograph to a word or phrase.  Of course, participants don't know what the prompt is gonna be until the 'Challenge begins.  You get the picture.

I gave it a shot one night.  And while I'm normally a very slowwwwww writer, agonizing over every word and turn of phrase, editing again and again and again, I obviously didn't have that luxury with the Flash Challenge.  But that's what makes the whole thing loads o' fun.  And creatively stimulating, to say the least! 

The story I turned in seemed to be a hit, among my fellow participants.  I don't think it's a tale I could ever sell, as taken out of context it doesn't make a whole lotta sense and . . . well, to be perfectly honest, it's very silly.

Still . . . I kinda dig it.  I was reading it again tonight and it made me laugh.

Maybe you'll get a chuckle out of it too.



     “Goddamn rip-off’s what it is. I fuckin’ told you, Merv. You wouldn’t listen.”

     Merv didn’t respond. He just stood there staring at the thing. His eyes were watery.

     “You gonna cry now? Did I hurt your feelin’s? You deserve it. You’re the one who led us on this wild moose chase to begin with.”

     “Goose. It’s a wild goose chase, you ignoramus.” Merv’s eyes never left the thing, his head tilted up toward it, shaking back and forth even as he corrected his brother.

     “Yeah. Right. I’m the ignoramus. Whatever. You seem to have forgot the danger we’re puttin’ ourselves in just by bein’ here.”

     “Shut up, Virgil. Please? Just shut up. You’re givin’ me a headache.”

     Two hours ago, they’d been on the road. Most Wanted Men in four counties. Six liquor-store robberies in the last four months, all along the western part of the state. All it'd take was one hero cop passing by at the wrong time, spotting their pick-up outside of this place. Straight jump to the Big House from there.

     But Merv had to have it his way. Couldn’t pass by the opportunity when he saw that sign out front.

     Virgil was really starting to worry about his brother lately. Sometimes he wondered if the guy wasn’t going crazy, slowly losing his mind just like their mama had.

     “I mean, Jesus, Merv . . . did you really think this shithole was gonna have a live Tyrannosaurus out back? You gotta be the most gullible son-of-a-bitch I ever seen.”

     They had seen the sign from the highway. It was blurry from the shimmering heat of the desert, but still legible. Legible enough, at least, to make Merv slam on the brakes when he’d seen it: REAL, LIVE T. REX . . . COME SEE IT FOR YORESELF!

     Merv had always been a sucker for shit like that. Ever since he and Virgil were little tykes, and they’d grown up viewing the world from the backseat of Daddy’s Buick as he traveled from town to town selling Bibles (this would have been before Daddy finally up and left them all for good, decided he’d make a better living in the arms of a rich widow he met on the road). They were all over the Midwest, places like this. The signs were the same, even if they advertised a different impossible wonder: THREE-HEADED CALF! REAL FROZEN CAVEMAN INSIDE! 100% GENUNIE MERMAID FROM THE AMAZON RIVER!!!

     This time, the weathered wooden sign out front of the place promised customers a living, breathing dinosaur.

     They had argued about it until they nearly came to blows but Merv had gotten his way. Merv always got his way.

     “Ten minutes,” he’d promised. “Just ten minutes, then we’ll be on our way. You know I’m a sucker for this shit.”

     “Yeah,” said Virgil, staring down at the .38 in his grip like he’d love nothing more than to use it on his brother, just put the poor bastard out of his misery. “Unfortunately, I do.”


     The thing was a friggin’ joke. Just like Virgil knew it would be.

     It was tall, sure. But nowhere near tall enough. A dozen feet, maybe. Its head didn’t even touch the battered tin ceiling of the hot-as-hell barn the old man who owned the place had ushered Merv and Virgil into (he’d said he was gonna leave them to gaze on its spectacle by themselves as he had some errands to attend to, they could just let themselves out and thanks for droppin’ by).

     But what the geezer had advertised on the sign outside wasn’t what they got.

     It sure as hell wasn’t no living, breathing Tyrannosaur. Wasn’t even close.

     “We’ve been fuckin’ lied to,” Merv said as he stared at it.

     The thing was built out of crooked lengths of PVC pipe and two-by-fours. Its plastic-and-wood skeleton was clearly visible through its green-painted paper-mache body. Its teeth appeared to be made from butcher knives, blades that glistened in the thin beams of sunlight that sneaked through the slats of the barn. Its eyes were blinking Christmas lights.

     From somewhere behind the travesty, a pathetic pre-recorded roar issued from a battered old speaker.

     Merv’s face had turned bright red, almost as red as the eyes of that bullshit “dinosaur.”

     “We’ve been fuckin’ lied to,” he said again. “It ain’t right.”

     “Yeah, well,” said Virgil, “you live and you learn, brother. Let’s just get the hell outta here.”

     “No,” said Merv. “That old dick, he owes us.”

     “Aww, come on. We need to just hit the fuckin’ road, Merv!”

     “Not until he’s been shown the error of his ways.”

     “He’s a crazy old bastard, Merv. And he reminds me of Grandpappy! Do we really have to hurt him?”

     “I didn’t say anything about layin’ a finger on him.”


     Well, he’d finally gone and done it. Merv had gone off the deep end, completely lost his fuckin’ mind.

     Virgil didn’t know what to do anymore. His brother got it in his crazy head he was gonna do something, he’d do it no matter the consequences.

     Idiot. They were lookin’ at a trip to the pokey for sure.

     If they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb before, they sure as hell did now . . . .

     Hard to remain inconspiculus (was that the right word?) speeding down the highway with a thirty-foot Godzilla strapped to your pick-up truck.


     Although, Virgil had to admit, he couldn’t help but chuckle when he thought about one thing.

     Merv was right: Sure woulda been classic to see that old fucker’s face, when he realized his “real, live dinosaur” had gone missing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Novella Available For Pre-Order

Trapped. In a room that smells of death and sickness. Your food is running low, along with your resolve. You know you must leave here soon if you wish to live through the night.

Outside, the Others wait. Their numbers are legion. Their shrieks echo up and down the corridor. Occasionally they pound at the door, trying to get inside so they can tear you limb from limb.

But mostly they wait. So patiently. As if sharing one mind. A single dark purpose.

They can be killed. You've seen it for yourself.

But this isn't like the movies. Nothing you've ever seen in any old horror film could have prepared you for what is happening here.

You love them. Once upon a time, they loved you.

Now they want to watch you die.

Delirium Books will be releasing my novella OLDEN in November.  OLDEN is my take on the zombie craze . . . then again, not really.  'Cause in OLDEN there ain't a single zombie in sight!

I think this one may just see expansion into a big, fat, epic apocalyptic novel one day.  We'll see.  Until then, I hope folks check out the novella and lemme know what you think . . . but hurry, as the titles featured in Delirium's novella line are limited to only 150 copies each . . . .


BTW:  How about that cover (by the uber-talented Daniele Serra)?  Definitely one of my faves to date, and hands down the creepiest to ever grace one of my stories, as far as I'm concerned . . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011


So I used to have a blog.  Ages ago.  Kept it updated pretty regularly, for a little while.  Then I didn't anymore.

My pals John Boden and Ken Wood, of the great Shock Totem magazine -- which I strongly urge you to buy and read, if you haven't yet -- have talked me into trying this again.

What am I getting myself into here?

Maybe this time it will be no different.  Perhaps I'll have a blog, keep it updated semi-regularly, but then, eventually, I'll end up giving the thing about as much attention as I give my MySpace page these days (read: can't remember the last time I looked at it).

That's not the plan, though.  It's time to "kick things up a notch", to quote John.  And since this thing will soon be taking over completely as my official website, I guess I have no choice but to keep it going and update it at least every time I have a new book to plug, right?

All joking aside:  Hopefully you'll see a lot more here than sporadic "buy my book!" posts.  Oh, you'll see plenty of that, but I'd like to do more with this.  I doubt I'll update every day, I might not even update more than once a week if I don't have anything to say that I think folks'll wanna hear, but the plan for now is to use this site to post occasional opinions on a movie I just saw, a book I just read, etc.  More often than not, said posts will be short n' sweet.  Simply put, I don't write nonfiction (I like to make stuff up!), so it's highly unlikely you'll see rambling 3,000-word rants/reviews/what-have-you from yours truly.  That is, after today, with this very first post.  It's gonna get pretty wordy. 

Essentially, this site will be a home for exactly what it says above:  "random thoughts from a Southern hippie writer dude with a taste for the dark side of life."

Yep . . . that about sums it up. 

Ken, John?  Hope you're happy, fellas.  I'm counting on you to help me spread the word.

So . . .

To kick things off, here's a fun lil' piece I wrote back in the day on that old blog.  It was later published.  I've cleaned it up a bit here, updated it a tad, but not too much.  Hope you enjoy it, warts and all.  It's all about who I am, and how I got to be this way . . . .


"Come play with us, Danny. Forever . . . . "
--- the Grady twins, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

     I've been asked on more than one occasion why I'm so obsessed with "the macabre," with "doom and gloom and death and violence."  With things most folks don't like to think about.  With "that horror stuff."

     Okay.  Obviously when such a thing is asked, it's a question loaded with condescension, but screw it.  Doesn't bother me.  I'm not ashamed of my beloved genre.  And I'm about tell you why I dig this stuff, as best I can.  Here goes nothin' . . . .

     Just about everyone I know likes horror movies(1), but I know few people who are as -- okay, I admit it -- obsessed with the genre to the extent that I am.  At least in "real life".  The few fellow horror freaks I do know I find out there in cyberland, and outside of the rare horror convention I correspond with them only via e-mail, message boards, etc.  I'd be willing to bet my entire DVD collection that nobody here in my hometown in western North Carolina -- other than my lifelong pal and occasional co-writer Donn Gash -- lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps horror films and horror literature like I do.

     Is there something wrong with me (sniff)?  With those "weirdos" who are like me?

     Nope.  Just 'cause I dig this stuff -- just because I wear Night of the Living Dead, Hellraiser, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre T-shirts as part of my everyday attire -- that doesn't make me some psycho child-molesting necropheliac in drag.

     One thing I do not do is molest children, thank you very much.

     But seriously . . . I consider myself to be a decent enough fellow, a dude with his head on straight.  I have a beautiful wife, we've been together for twenty years this November (married for the last sixteen) . . . we have two wonderful sons, a twelve-year-old and a one-year-old.  Although in my wilder days I dabbled, I don't do drugs anymore and I rarely drink alcohol.  Last but not least, I can step into a church without spontaneously bursting into flames(2), believe it or not.

     This all may sound like I'm trying to make excuses for my love of the macabre, as if I'm "apologizing" for my genre, but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.  Before I got off on a tangent, my goal with this essay was to tell you a little about why I'm the way I am.  No pop psychology here, no analyzing why people love to be scared -- you've heard all that before (for a fascinating study on such things, I highly recommend Chris Treagus's Primeval Fear).  I thought it might be fun to give you one man's history on how I came to love this scary stuff.  Why I'm "sick," as I've been called in the past.  If you're reading this in the first place, it's probably safe to assume you've been called that once or twice yourself.  Usually it's all in fun -- I rarely take offense at such a jab (not enough to punch anybody in the mouth, anyway . . . yet) -- but then, why classify me that way because I enjoy reading books and watching movies about "the dark side?"

     Makes 'em feel safe.  That's what I think.  Sane.  Because everybody wants to feel sane in a world increasingly marred by such depressing realities as cancer, AIDS, terrorist attacks, and those infernal reality shows like Jersey Shore(3).  What kind of person would choose to dwell on death and darkness and things other folks don't like to think about?

     Well, for starters, some really good people.  Normal people, contrary to popular belief.  Who woulda thunk it -- doctors, lawyers, fathers, and wives.  Professionals!  Less than one percent of them, I betcha, are those psycho child-molesting necropheliacs in drag I mentioned earlier.

     In my own case, it's my dad's fault, why I love this genre.  I've blamed him on more than one occasion for my being the way I am (he usually chuckles when I tell him this, gets a big, proud, shit-eating grin on his face as if he's just discovered the cure for cancer), so why stop now?

     Thanks, Dad.

     No, really.  I mean it.  Thanks!

     I remember when I was merely four years old (!), my father took me to the movies to see The Incredible Melting Man.  I haven't seen that movie since, and I'm sure if I went back to revisit said film I'd find it nothing more than a piece of B-movie trash(4), but my memories -- blurred by time and hundreds of better movies since -- suggest that it could be one of the greatest genre films ever made.  It's called sentimental value.  I can vaguely remember covering my eyes, yet always peeking through just a little . . . then a little more . . . terrified to see what nightmare creature might lurk up there on the big screen yet at the same time even more horrified at the thought of missing a single second of the carnage.  Vaguely, I remember some running man swathed in filthy yellow bandages, his crimson skin leaking through and trailing behind him as he melted down to nothing like some grotesque, human-shaped candle.  That is the lone image I can recall from The Incredible Melting Man, and it will always stick with me.  I trembled, I quivered in my seat, I knew that dripping fiend would get me when I went to bed that night and I would soon be melting along with him.

     Yet I could not turn away.

     Because, man-oh-man, this shit was cool!

     God only knows why dear old Dad thought it wise to take a toddler to see something like The Incredible Melting Man.  A case of bad parenting, some might say?   Perish the thought. 'Cause every time I finish writing a new story that I'm especially proud of . . . for every shiver that runs up my spine when I read a particularly creepy scene in the latest Bentley Little novel . . . every time goosebumps stipple my forearms during those last few nerve-wracking minutes of The Blair Witch Project or Ringu, or when Leatherface slams that warped metal door in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre . . . I peer back on what started all this.  And I subconsciously thank my father.

     'Cause, Dad, you started all this.     

     But it doesn't end there.  Oh, no.  My parents were repeat offenders.  A year or so after 'Melting Man, my mom and dad took a trip to the drive-in(5) to see John Carpenter's Halloween.  The only thing I can remember during this pleasant "family outing" is the scene in which Michael Myers bursts through the closet doors, blindly swinging his knife at Jamie Leigh Curtis as she cowers in the corner.  I remember crying to go home, to be rescued from the lunacy.  My mom turned around every few minutes (after a glance at my dad as if to say "was this really a good idea?"), looked down at me where I cowered in the backseat.  "It's okay, honey," she reassured me as I fought back tears. "It's just a movie.  It's almost over."  I shielded my eyes from the terrors onscreen, covered my head as if it would all go away if I only didn't look, until my father said, "Okay.  Okay.  You're right.  We'd better go."

     I promptly popped up from the back then, and frantically pleaded with my parents:  "No!  I don't wanna go!  I wanna see the movie!"
     Because I loved every horrifying minute of it.

     After making it that far, there was no way they were gonna take me home . . . I had to see if Michael got Jamie Leigh!

     Well, Ms. Curtis survived to fight the Shape another day, for a few more shitty sequels at least, and here I am.  Little Jamie Newman survived that night without dying of a heart attack right there in the backseat of his parents' '76 Nova.  And since that fateful day, Halloween has become one of my favorite films.

     There have been similiar incidents that fueled my obsession with this genre, that "planted the seed" if you will, though none compare to the aforementioned viewings of The Incredible Melting Man and Halloween.  There was John Carpenter's The Thing in a hotel room one night on a family vacation somewhere(6), another film which -- as if I have to tell you -- has since become one of my all-time favorites.  I also recall a first-time viewing of Poltergeist at some point, as well as The Fog, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course The Exorcist (the latter was the edited-for-television version, but that hardly mattered to yours truly back then(7)).  Great stuff.  Thanks, Mom . . . thanks, Dad.

     As far as the first novel I ever read in my beloved genre (adult novel, I mean -- all through my childhood I tore through anything and everything for youngsters that might contain the slightest bit of "darkness"(8) . . . surprise, surprise), that honor belongs to Anne River Siddons's The House Next Door.  I tore through it in high school, and there's been no looking back ever since.  I've re-read The House Next Door several times in the last few decades, and it stills affects me the same as that first time I read it.  Ms. Siddons' novel is considered by many to be one of the best in the haunted house genre, as her prose pulses with a constant sense of dread, the horror building oh-so-subtly from page one until its not-so-happy ending.  If you haven't read this one, run don't walk to your nearest used book store and pick up The House Next Door.  It's fairly easy to find, and it will stay with you forever.  Trust me.

     Horror is a genre that has kept me pumped with adrenaline for almost thirty years, a genre that has given me a world in which to escape.  When things get to be too much in the real world, when bills pile up or the boss just chewed out three-quarters of your ass . . . what better way to push it all aside than to witness Seth Brundle's worse problems in David Cronenberg's The Fly?  Or to laugh at Ash's escapades in the Evil Dead series?  What better way to forget about it all than to sign up for Bentley Little's The Association, or cross the great pond to the bloody Old West with none other than Jack the Ripper in Richard Laymon's Savage?  Step away from the real world for a while and pray that a vanful of harmless hippies guilty of nothing more than believing in astrology and picking up hitch-hikers ultimately survive The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

     Everybody needs that now and then, I think.

     I love to "embrace the darkness" (to paraphrase Clive Barker's Lord of Illusions).  I always will.  Why try to explain it to those who'll never understand?

     It's a gift, this obsession(9).  For those who have been "chosen".

     And we wouldn't have it any other way.


1 Although, admittedly, this usually consists of more "mainstream" fare like the Scream series, the latest installment of Final Destination, and sub-par remakes such as 2010's A Nightmare On Elm Street and this summer's Fright Night. Not to mention, as far as horror literature goes, Stephen King . . . everybody knows King's work, even if the casual reader in question "doesn't read horror" (yeah, I don't get that either).

2 Believe it or not, despite being a horror writer and lover of all things horror, I'm a Christian. Albeit a very liberal one.

3 Perhaps the scariest thing of all? You decide.

4 Although, in many cases, this isn't really a bad thing, is it? Trash can be fun . . . far be it from me to denigrate the "fun factor" of such lovable junk as The Toxic Avenger, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Roger Corman's Galaxy of Terror, and Night of the Demons.  I could go on and on.

5 May those fine institutions of American cinema rest in peace.  Sure do wish I was old enough to remember more about them.

6 Alongside a made-for-TV chiller called Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Carpenter's The Thing is one of the first movies I can remember giving me nightmares.  I will never forget the first time I saw that spider/head thing scrabbling across the floor of that arctic outpost.  "You gotta be fucking kidding," one character proclaimed, and even at the age of 8 or 9 I had to agree.

7 Oddly enough, the scariest thing about The Exorcist for me that first time I saw it wasn't the pea-soup, the head-spinning, or the rampant sacrilege.  It was those damn hospital scenes.  Needles (shudder).

8 Those Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz were always a fave.  Still are, for that matter.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a masterpiece.  No, Charlotte's Web wasn't scary by any means . . . but Charlotte was a spider.  And let the record show that I don't like spiders (even nice ones)!  Props also gotta go to Where the Wild Things Are, of course.  And believe it or not, it's probably just my over-active imagination . . . but I always found Green Eggs and Ham, by the late great Dr. Seuss, to be a tad creepy.  What the hell caused that damn breakfast entree to be green in the first place, Trioxin-245?  And why was that little dude so persistent in getting the Cat In the Hat to eat them?  (Okay, so that particular book is a stretch.  I'm strange.  But there you have it.)

9  In fact, it's a gift that I am proud to say I have passed on to my oldest son.  He's a voracious reader, and usually the books he chooses to crack open are those of a darker variety (surprise, surprise)!  Just a few of his favorite movies at the moment are Cronenberg's The Fly, The Mist, They Live, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Butterfly Effect, the Terminator series, and Insidious.  Folks, how cool is that?!