I have always found it interesting when Hollywood comes out with an original idea, and then I find out that there are two films with the same idea at the same time. (Twin Films) The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Bewitched all started and ended at the same time. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Babe and Gordy. After Earth and Oblivion. And this Christmas, there are both Krampus and A Christmas Horror Story, which advertises a fight between Santa and Krampus. Both were pre-released as VOD, but only Krampus made it to theaters.
First off, they both really live up to their names. A Christmas Horror Story is just that. It’s a horror flick with blood, killing, monsters, psychos, and ghosts. Krampus is a straight monster flick. Family trapped in the house with a creature coming for them. It seemed very appropriate that Universal was the distributor.
When I went to see The Martian, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve heard wonderful things about the novel, and it’s been on my to-read list for a very long time. (It’s a long list that gets very little time, and I’m a slow reader.) But, this was the movie. And it was the opening weekend, so Facebook and Twitter hadn’t yet given away the entire plot, which I will attempt to not do as well.
I saw the trailer once, so I knew I was going to see a story about Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut left behind on Mars when the mission goes FUBAR. I also knew from the trailer that at some point, the crew that left him behind would be heading back to rescue him. What I didn’t know was if he would survive, and if so, how. Once I decided I was going to see it, I ignored everything about it, and even missed the fact that it was directed by Ridley Scott. And I’m glad I didn’t know, because even knowing that would have given me some expectations, and I often find those to be toxic to my enjoyment of a movie.
I got to the theater a half hour early, got a prime spot in one of the theater’s new recliners, and chowed down on a hotdog. When the movie started after twenty minutes of trailers, I was eager to get started, but I wasn’t prepared for it.
I want to just start off by acknowledging my estranged relationship with Mr. Shyamalan. I saw Signs not knowing anything about it. (This was before Mel had melted down and long before I knew how to pronounce Jacqueline or Shyamalan.) I had not seen the previews, so I was not among the throngs who thought they were going to a wall-to-wall alien invasion horror film. So as the Family Drama in a haunted house vibe rolled out, I was on board, and I was hooked.
Of course, where do you go after that? IMDB tells you that this is the same guy who gave you The Sixth Sense, and you now have to rent Unbreakable (from a ma and pa video store). Do you remember that time period? People were getting all hyperbolic on him: ‘The second coming of Hitchcock!’ ‘The next Spielberg!’ (This was two years before War of the Worlds, so that was still a compliment.)
I’ve seen a good number of blog posts recently from fellow authors focusing on the issue of reviews, which can be, and often are, posted by folks with rude dispositions, grudges, agendas, etc. For a new author, even an honest negative review can be soul crushing. To the experienced author, with thicker skin, negative reviews can be a distraction. So the advice being given is generally this: don’t read reviews for your books. Sounds good on the surface. By not exposing yourself to these negative opinions, you are protecting yourself from the pain delivered by Internet trolls with nothing better to do than harass an author. The troll might be angry after reading the first line of a book sample, or might disagree with the pricing, or might be annoyed that Harriet Klausner gave your book 4 stars, or any number of silly reasons for an anonymous rant. And YES, these people should be ignored. They’ve likely taken to the Internet for attention, because the people in their real lives have begun ignoring their sour mood.