Movie Review: SAVE YOURSELVES! (From This Movie).

So, when I saw the trailer for SAVE YOURSELVES! (available for rent or purchase through Amazon) I was really excited. The premise of this movie is just awesome. A young, NYC couple decides that to rekindle their stagnating lives, they will go completely off-grid and stay for a week at a Cabin In The Woods owned by a friend of theirs. They do this right as the alien invasion begins.

The aliens, as shown in the trailer, are monstrous, carnivorous tribbles. So we have this city couple, who knows nothing at all about country survival, attempting to survive the Death Tribble Invasion all by themselves. And I thought, this is exactly the movie I want: a ridiculous space-horror spoof. It looked like it was going to be a cross between GalaxyQuest and Cabin In The Woods, two of my all-time favorite films.

And at the end of it, all I can say is that the title should be taken as an earnest warning to the viewer.

Tragically, this effort fell short. Far, far short.

It begins with a very, very slow build-up to the actual invasion. And I do not mind slow-build movies. Some horror movies work very well this way. The original Alien comes to mind. But Alien was not supposed to be a comedy. And in this case, the slow burn only serves to become tedious.

Once they get to the cabin, there are a few funny moments, as the protagonists miss signs of the invasion going on at the edge of the camera, but the movie relentlessly focuses on their boring, cliched relationship, leading me to conclude that this movie either a) did not really know what it was supposed to be about nearly as well as the trailer-writers did, or b) this script was born of the conflict between two factions: one of which wanted to make the goofball/spoof movie the trailer had promised, and the other of which was trying to make a sensitive movie about love in extremes and first contact with aliens, a la Arrival.

This combination did not work well.

The upshot is that just as the protagonists realize the Awful Truth, and Team GalaxyQuest‘s film is starting to take off comedically, Team Arrival’s film raises the stakes by introducing, among other things, a traumatically orphaned baby. And with that, dear readers, the comedy is dead. Adding a baby to anything even remotely resembling a real situation — and by that I mean anything less goofball than say, an Airplane! movie — is going to kill the funny faster than potassium cyanide. It just raises the emotional pitch far too high.

From there, the film staggers on to a complete non-ending. I really don’t want to do spoilers, here, but the whole serious/horror thread was much better done by another Amazon film, The Vast Of Night, which is a available to watch for FREE on Amazon Prime. And if you’re in the mood for it, I sincerely recommend you watch it instead.

The Awful Secret About Our Village, Son

With sort of, but not very sincere apologies to a well-known horror writer whose name may or may not rhyme with Even Thing, but who certainly isn’t the ONLY writer to fall back on this trope…

“Okay, Dad, you said you’d explain it when I was older, and now I am. And in fact, last night it happened AGAIN. They’re dead, aren’t they?”

“Who?”

“Dad, come off it. You know exactly who. That nice couple that showed up last night. You let them stay in the old Hockstetter place, and get eaten by the carnivorous frogs.”

“It’s the Rain, son. You probably don’t remember the last one, but…”

“Don’t remember it? Are you kidding? I was seven years old. It was the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me! The clouds came, the carnivorous frogs fell everywhere, we spent the night sealed up in the basement, and then in the morning that couple had been eaten. And the frogs all evaporated. the next morning. Why didn’t we warn them if it happens every ten years?”

(Sigh) “We did warn them. We always warn them.” <Deep, Pensive Breath> “It’s time to tell you the Awful Secret About Our Village, Son.”

“I think I just said it. We let this happen to people every ten years? Why?”

“Well, if we didn’t, the frogs might not evaporate. They might stick around and eat all of us.”

“Seriously? What makes you think that would happen? Has it ever happened before?”

“Well, of course not! Because we always let the frogs eat the visitors.”

“Really? How did we survive the first rain of frogs?”

“Eh? I told you: we let the visitors get eaten.”

“So, what, someone showed up and said, hey, here’s how this will work? Innocent visitors will arrive, you have to warn them off, but they won’t go, so let them stay in a rickety house and let them die, or carnivorous frogs will rain from the sky and kill you all? And did all the people in the town hurt themselves laughing?”

“Well, I never heard about anything like that. My grandfather, he just told me…”

“Really? Okay, let’s think about this: One day a young couple came to town, and wanted to stay. And somehow, that night, everyone except them didn’t get eaten by the frogs. I mean, did we warn them that night?”

“Well, obviously we…”

“Said what? ‘You might not want to stay here in case carnivorous frogs rain from the sky?’ Even though that had never happened before?”

“Well, I don’t know exactly how…”

“And then, when it happened the first time, did everyone just say, ‘Hey, that was weird, I guess we’re lucky that only the strangers got eaten; I sure hope that doesn’t happen again in exactly ten years, but if it does, I hope that another two innocent strangers show up and get eaten AGAIN so that the horrible carnivorous frogs melt away AGAIN before they eat all of us?”

“Son, the important thing to remember is…”

“Can I get in on this? If I invite my stalkerish ex-girlfriend, or my psycho Econ prof down for a weekend, can I charge out of the house screaming and shoot them in the face and then have you tell the whole village that it only happens every five years, and that if they don’t help you bury them really quietly in the ravine without telling anyone, then I might have killed the entire town?”

“Um…”

Is The Book Mightier Than The Sword…?

Okay, you know how this Christmas, I got the coolest fan gift ever when someone anonymously sent me a sword?

Well, I just got a gift that rivals that for awesomeness:

Behold, All Things Huge And Hideous… THE PILLOW!!

This piece of brilliance is courtesy of incredible superfan Kat Adams and the folks at Brassington Hollow. Apparently, this is their thing. I didn’t even know this was A thing. But I LOVE it!!

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Yes, that’s the original Paul Maitland artwork, there, converted into truly nap-worthy pillow size and thickness (see below).

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And as if that weren’t cool enough, you can open up the cover and get a super-sized dragon caduceus, and the first page of the novel!!

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Just enough for a great teaser!

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Happy author relaxing with awesome fan merch! Thank you, Kat!!

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New Snippets! And a New Blog Post! And New Links!

Hoo-boy, what a month it has been.

Folks, starting a school year with elementary-school age kids, AND a new job, AT a new school, when it’s the first time both your wife and you have ever worked full time?

It’s no joke.

I am incredibly blessed to have all these opportunities, but I do not deny that it has been frantic and hectic. Good, but not relaxing. And some things have suffered.

This blog is definitely one of them. But I’m starting to be able to bring it back.

Over the past week, I have been fixing and improving book links. My new books are available over on the right sidebar: $3.99 for ALL THINGS HUGE AND HIDEOUS and $2.99 for THE GIRL WHO WASN’T THERE. In addition, if you want a taste of each, I have brand NEW SNIPPETS UP FOR EACH ONE in the SAMPLE SNIPPETS link above.

I hope to have new snippets up soon. Also, I have confirmation that I have sold a new short story: no shit it’s a CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE LOVECRAFTIAN NIGHTMARE. Never thought I’d sell it, but Stupendous Stories has picked it up!

Thanks for reading, friends.

All Things Huge And Hideous: Edits Done

Short blog post today. I am happy to announce that All Things Huge And Hideous has been returned to the publisher for edits.

I less pleased to announce that my laptop is limping along sadly due to the catastrophic failure of its battery, and it is now effectively a desktop until such time as the new battery arrives. Oh well.