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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Watching Black Swan With My (almost) 15-Year-Old Ballerina

So those of you who know us, know that October and Halloween hold a special place in our household.  We start watching horror movies in September as we countdown to Oct. 31, mostly because we have too many we want to see and not enough free nights to watch them.   

One movie in particular has been on the waiting list for a few years because of its content.  That movie is Black Swan.

Spoiler Alert:  Don't go further if you've never seen it.

For those that don't know, my daughter is a ballerina.  She's been dancing for more than a decade and she's about to turn 15 in a month.  After a few discussions with those that had seen it, my wife and I decided that she was old enough and so last Saturday we settled down and fired up the television.

Put simply, Black Swan is about a ballerina who is so intent on being perfect that she's losing her mind.  Along the way, we're subjected to watching her deal with jealous rivals, an overbearing director, brutally graphic injuries and we watch her display some weird tendencies and nervous tics before we start to question just what the hell is happening to this woman.

As my family sat down to watch this, I thought I knew what we were getting into but I figured my wife and daughter probably did not.  I mean, I hadn't seen the movie yet, but I'd heard a few spoilers.  I knew it would have some graphic violence and gore.  I also knew that my wife and daughter love "creepy" horror movies but aren't as into the insanely bloody stuff.   

Imagine my surprise as I became the one cringing and my daughter became the jaded expert.  Some examples:

Scene - Our main character splits a toenail while dancing and graphically deals with the bleeding herself.

Me (squirming on the couch):  Ugh!  

My daughter (nonchalantly):  Yeah, that happens all the time.  Most of our feet look like they've been in a car crash.

Scene - Our main character steals some lipstick from the woman whose place she desperately hopes to take in the cast.

Me:  That's a little bit psycho.

My daughter (shrugging it off):  We had people stealing stuff for a while.  It seems to have stopped now though.

Scene - Our main character has a tendency to nervously scratch to the point of breaking the skin.

Me:  Yeah, I think she's losing it.

My daughter:  Not necessarily.  I've seen people do that. Or play with their hair incessantly.  Stuff like that.  It's just a nervous tic.

Scene - Our main character takes a piece of glass and stabs a rival.

My daughter:  Okay, I've never seen that happen.

Me:  Thank goodness! 

Anyway, the bottom line according to both my daughter and my wife is that except for the insanity and murder, Black Swan was the most accurate portrayal of a ballet company they'd ever seen.

I already knew my daughter was a hell of an athlete (the kid has a six-pack for crying out loud) but watching her not bat an eye during that toenail scene made me realize just how tough she is.

If you haven't seen Black Swan, watch at your own risk.  We all loved it, but we're kind of twisted that way.

Other movies we've watched in September.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Wolves (2014)
The Monster That Challenged The World (1957)
31: A Rob Zombie Film (2017)
Them! (1954)
The Mummy (1959 - Hammer)
Lifeforce (1985)
Southbound (2015)

Coming next week:  How about a free short story about vengeful Louisiana ghosts?  I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Coming in October - My New Book and Some Stories!!

In the last few years I've made half-hearted attempts to jumpstart this blog, but I never really got it off the ground.  When I look back at it, the bottom line was that I didn't really have much to say.  

After years of writing movie and music reviews, I took to heart the old saying that critics are just bitter/failed artists themselves.  I began branching out into fiction writing.  I applied to and was accepted by O.C. Fictionaires about three years ago.  They are a fantastic group of authors here in Orange County who have taught me a lot about the craft and now, now telling stories has become my passion.  

Which leads me to this blog.  I've got some exciting things coming up.  

1.  My first novel will be coming out in October.  It's a romance novel for those that think talking coyotes, drug smuggling, ancient resurrected demons and mass murder make a good romance.  Actually it's a horror novel but there's a love story in there somewhere.  It will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all the usual online retailers in both ebook and physical formats.  Details to come.

2.  My short story "The Postmortem" is being published in an anthology also coming out in October.  It's titled Murder, Mystery and Mayhem: An Orange County Fictionaires' Anthology.  I'll post more details on that and also on the book launch and signing as it gets closer.

3.  Just to entice you to follow this blog, I'll be posting some links to other stories of mine that you can download for free from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. next month.  There will also be coupons for The Wash available only on this blog.

4.  Finally, if you know my family, you know we love October. This year, I'll be posting regularly about the horror movies the Christopher's are watching as we count down to October 31.  We've got quite a list that we've already begun to work through and I'll try to check in weekly with an update.

So please, check in regularly.  Invite your friends to check out and comment as well.  I'll do my best to post things to distract them from their day jobs.  

See you soon!