Tag: critique

My Horror Memories on the Bleeding Critic: Hellraiser

I was looking for new reviews of my work on the Internet when I ran across this blast from the past. This is a video of me talking about the first movie that truly terrified me: Hellraiser. I made this video in 2015 and submitted it to The Bleeding Critic. This was the first time I made a video, so I come across as somewhat stiff. You can also tell that I am reading my monologue from some cue cards that my then fiancée, now wife, was holding.

The background is an abstract expressionist painting that I created. It is entitled “De Profundis”. Here is a link to an overall view at my art website philslatteryart.wordpress.com, which I have not updated in some time.

“De Profundis” is the opening line in Latin from Psalm 130 and means “out of the depths. It has been used extensively in literature and art.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

King James Version

My painting is supposed to represent boiling magma in hell, the greatest depth to which a soul can fall. It’s a good theme for someone who like to write horror.

I will embed this soon in an appropriately prominent spot on the weblog.

Let me know your thoughts.

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Film Review: “Body Bags” (1993)

Poster for Body Bags
Poster for “Body Bags”, 1993

Last night, I managed (we live in a remote part of Arkansas) to hook up Roku to our bedroom TV and finally get a decent stream of TV into said bedroom. Now my wife, on summer vacation from teaching, has spent much of last night and today watching Shudder (I more than she having had a bout of insomnia). I expect this to continue for some time. She is a big horror fan, the more modern the better. However, she does enjoy some blasts from the past. She caught a glimpse of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” from 1974, starring Jack Palance, and instantly proclaimed it a classic.  This was immediately before succumbing to Mr. Snooze and Mr. Snore after imbibing our version of a Sea Breeze cocktail (1:1 Malibu Coconut Rum and Ocean Spray Cranberry juice, shaken and on the rocks). Shudder, by the way, is a fun, little Amazon Prime horror channel.

The first thing we watched together though was John Carpenter’s “Body Bags” from 1993. This is a cheesy film, but so cheesy that it is quite enjoyable. Wikipedia accurately describes it as “… a 1993 American horror comedy anthology television film originally made for television, featuring three unconnected stories, with bookend segments featuring John Carpenter, Tom Arnold and Tobe Hooper as deranged morgue attendees.” As Wikipedia also notes, it is most notable for its celebrity cameo appearances. 

The three stories are fun for television horror of the early 90’s. My first thought on watching about the first five minutes was that John Carpenter must have gotten together with some of his horror director pals and done this on a drunken goof. The stories are not worthy of any directors

Mark Hamill in Body Bags
Mark Hamill in “Body Bags” (1993)

involved. They are rather silly and amateurish in terms of plot, etc. The first, “The Gas Station” involves a pretty girl pursued by a serial killer on her first night shift at a local gas station. The second story, “Hair”, has Stacy Keach as a vain executive type undergoing a radical hair growth technique and then discovering its horrifying consequences. The third story, “Eye”, has Mark Hamill as a baseball player who loses an eye in an automobile accident and then has it replaced (unknowingly, of course) with the eye of a serial killer. You can pretty much figure out where that one is headed from that brief description.

Now, on to the interesting part: the celebrity cameos. Note that I said in the above paragraph that this film is not worthy of any of the directors involved. That’s because this film has cameos from most of the most famous horror directors of that era: Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, and Wes Craven. If you are curious about what these guys are like in real life, this is your chance to find out. I won’t go into long, meticulous detail about each of their roles. It will be more fun for you to just watch the film and watch them pop out here and there, then watch the credits to see if you’re right.

There are also a few other non-horror celebrities making an appearance: Stacy Keach, Sheena Easton (for you younger set, she was very popular and very hot in every sense of the word in the early 90’s), and Charles Napier. One horror star that crops up is David Naughton of “An American Werewolf in London” fame.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with much else. I have some writing to do and a light supper to eat, so I must be signing off.

Bottom line: watch this movie just for fun. Don’t take it seriously. It was obviously made to be camp and silly. Just enjoy it for the silliness and the trivia value.


At the Midpoint of “The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath”

poster by vggonzalez, 2009 at www.gatostudios.wordpress.com Please observe any copyright restrictions.
poster by vggonzalez, 2009 at http://www.gatostudios.wordpress.com
Please observe any copyright restrictions.

One of the several books I am reading currently is an anthology of Lovecraft’s dream cycle.    Its story that I am reading now is “The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath”.   I wrote up my views on the work today for Goodreads.com and thought I would share them here as well (though in a slightly modified version):

I am a Lovecraft fan, but I find “The Dream-Quest…” very tough reading.  I want to finish it, if for no other reason than to be able to say I managed to struggle my way through it and achieve my goal in spite of the hardships I encountered like the explorer of a literary Amazon.

The language is cumbersome and the plot is just Randolph Carter escaping one bad situation after another by luck.  Still, I am only about half-way through, and the optimistic side of me keeps hoping it gets better.  I don’t have much hope though, particularly after reading part of the Wikipedia article on it, which gives Lovecraft’s own views, which echo my own:

“Lovecraft himself declared that ‘it isn’t much good; but forms useful practice for later and more authentic attempts in the novel form.’ He expressed concern while writing it that ‘Randolph Carter’s adventures may have reached the point of palling on the reader; or that the very plethora of weird imagery may have destroyed the power of any one image to produce the desired impression of strangeness.”[8]

In the paragraph preceding this one in Wikipedia, Joanna Russ sums up the work nicely:

“The Dream-Quest has evoked a broad range of reactions, “some HPL enthusiasts finding it almost unreadable and others…comparing it to the Alice books and the fantasies of George MacDonald.[6] Joanna Russ referred to The Dream-Quest as “charming…but alas, never rewritten or polished”. [7]

Count me among the ones who find it almost unreadable, with its awkward, first-draft phrasing and its confused attempt to set a tone using an imagined scholarly, courtly language somewhere between Shakespeare and Poe.

However, I do love this awesome poster, which I found at http://gatostudio.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/the-dream-quest-of-unknown-kadath-poster/.  Please visit this beautiful site.  If you decide you would like to use this poster, please check with gatostudio and adhere to all copyright restrictions.

I just wish Lovecraft had written the story as masterfully as Mr. Gonzalez drew his poster and H.P. had lived up to the promise of the fantastic adventure to which the poster alludes.    The poster really outshines the story.    Given another two or three drafts, this story may have outshone all of Lovecraft’s other works.

Thoughts?  Comments?


Comments on “Murder by Plastic”

Since “Murder by Plastic” was published by Every Day Fiction on March 24, I have been getting some interesting comments on it:  some critical, some laudatory.   For those of you who haven’t had a chance to visit the site yet, here they are:

9 Responses to “MURDER BY PLASTIC • by Phil Slattery”

  1. lizardyoga Says: March 24th, 2013 at 2:54 amChilling and brilliantly economical
  2. Binnnie Dot Says: March 24th, 2013 at 4:21 amVery well-paced and intriguing. Well done.
  3. Paul A. Freeman Says: March 24th, 2013 at 4:22 amWekk written, but one huge pothole. How could Joey be certain Don Antonio Vespucci would not take the duct tape off?
  4. Tina Wayland Says: March 24th, 2013 at 6:52 amI can’t help feeling like this one needed another rewrite. The story shines through so wonderfully in spots, but it feels hidden beneath some predictable plot twists and un-careful writing. The repeated words, like “heartbeat,” got caught in the writing instead of really reverberating.That said, I think the story itself takes us by the hand and runs. And what a ride!
  5. Amanda Says: March 24th, 2013 at 10:04 amI think Joey may have been involved in a similar scenario before with Don Antonio and was aware of how it would play out. And, like the Don says, who wants to listen to a bunch of denials?Well written and enjoyable, but I also agree that repeated words took me out of the story a couple of times. The first line was brilliant, but the second reference to duct tape diminished the line’s impact.

    Overall, a very enjoyable read.

  6. Paul A. Freeman Says: March 24th, 2013 at 10:26 amBelieve it or not, I was perfectly sober when I posted #3.‘Wekk’; ‘potholes’? Maybe I should have loosened up with a drink or two before posting.
  7. JenM Says: March 24th, 2013 at 10:51 amFabulous story! Five stars!
  8. Michael Robertson Says: March 24th, 2013 at 12:48 pmI liked this. It was a good story. I agree with the rewrite comments. Overall an enjoyable read. Well, horrible read but that’s the point.
  9. john malone Says: March 27th, 2013 at 8:39 pma terrific read; i loved it. I was tensed up just like ‘Mr. Wilson’ throughout the story