Monday, August 3, 2015

Looking to a More Positive Future...

I know I always apologize for my extended absences from this blog, but this is going to be much more than an apology, and it is going to be the longest and most personal thing I think I have ever written here. The easiest excuse or reason I have for not updating in the past few weeks is that I had a lot of other writing projects going on simultaneously. They all had deadlines or needed to be posted as soon as possible - one of them was also a book review, so you know, I had to actually take time to read the dang book. Nothing on my blog is really timely, I just do it because I enjoy it and it gives me a chance to talk about movies in my own way, but since I don't technically have to update this thing every day or whatever, it often gets thrown to the side while I do other stuff or indulge in various obsessions.

But something has been changing in me over the last few months that has been making me very nervous, and I guess more cautious, about what I put on this blog. I almost feel like a totally different person, or at least one with a much better attitude and point of view on a lot of things. But let me start at the beginning really...

Screencap of the first thing I wrote for Wicked Horror

This year so far has honestly been one of the best years of my life. For one, by the time 2015 rolled around, I had already been writing for a few months at my new horror home on the web, Wicked Horror. We're not quite on the level of Dread Central or Bloody Disgusting just yet, but hopefully we're getting there and hopefully a lot of people are enjoying the content we're putting out. I know that I have really enjoyed writing all of the articles that I have had published on WH, and my managing editor, Tyler, has been so incredibly encouraging and helpful to me, and I cannot thank him enough. The professional and friendly relationship I've made with him and one of the other writers on the site have definitely helped me grow as a writer, and also as a person. I'm very grateful for all of the opportunities that I have had so far working on that site, and I know it's going to lead to bigger and better things in the future. Recently, I did my first interview with somebody who played several roles on my favorite TV show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you can imagine what a surreal and amazing experience that was. I also just made the call today to inquire about doing my second interview with somebody that I am incredibly excited and nervous about talking to if the interview happens.

Then in April of this year, I turned 30. Now, as my birthday was approaching, friends and family were all like "Oh, you're turning 30, hitting the big one, getting old" blah blah blah. But I wasn't feeling like that at all. I was excited to turn 30 and to put all the aimless wandering of my 20s behind me. Because for the first time in my life, I felt like I was heading in the right direction of what I wanted to do with my life and the kind of person that I wanted to be. I had spent my whole life thinking that I wanted to be one thing (a writer), then I had gone to college and found this other thing (filmmaking), pursued that, got kicked in the gut once, failed a couple times, and now I'm back to pursuing that thing that I said I wanted to do when I was a child - writing. And I was focused on that and fucking determined to do that, and I still am and I am doing my best to never, ever lose that determination.

Also, my family finally picked up on how important all this horror shit is to me and they threw me an awesome zombie-themed birthday party. Thank you for that!


A couple weeks after my birthday was Texas Frightmare Weekend, the one horror convention that I go to every year. Usually the time leading up to the convention is just full of excitement and jitters, but this year was different because I was sick as a dog for the week and a half just before the convention. I wasn't watching horror movies to get myself psyched, I just wanted to sleep and I didn't have the strength or the energy to remember that this was going to be the best time of my year, you know? I finally figured out that I had a nasty sinus infection and got some drugs, and the day before I left for Texas was when I finally felt like a normal human being again. Even when I was travelling to the convention it didn't seem real, because I wasn't mentally prepared. When I arrived at the hotel and saw some of my "people" there and saw the hotel staff wearing Frightmare t-shirts, it hit me hard. I was back. I was home. So then I went to the convention and of course it was fucking awesome as hell. I saw some great movies, bought some sweet swag, and of course, met some singularly amazing people - Brad Dourif, Alex Vincent, AJ Bowen, Don Coscarelli, not to mention all the other vendors, authors, and fellow attendees that I met and talked to and had wonderful conversations with. It was the best convention experience I've had so far.

But after three days it all comes to an end, and maybe some of you have had this same feeling, but those couple of weeks after a convention are a weird time. You're still flying on the high of all the cool things you got to see and do - but at the same time you're SO FUCKING DEPRESSED that it's over and you have to go back to real life. Seriously, how do they expect us to get over being surrounded by all the stuff that we love for an entire three days and then go back home where we have none of that??? But on the flip side of all this, being that depressed over it made me realize just how much I really do love this world of horror and the community for it that exists. Most importantly, I realized how much I never want to let it go. I have to be involved in horror somehow, and being a real horror journalist would satisfy all that just fine.


So while all this determination and hope was rattling around in my head, I discovered something else that hit me with an emotional wrecking ball. At the convention, the people from Killer POV recorded a live podcast, so I was all, Oh, I'm going to listen to that when I get home. I had never been a podcast person before, but had guested on few of them by this time, and listening to this particular episode of Killer POV (with my man AJ Bowen as a guest host) definitely piqued my curiosity about them more. After some web surfing, I stumbled upon The Movie Crypt podcast with Adam Green and Joe Lynch. I wasn't as familiar with Lynch, but of course I knew Adam because I completely love Frozen and all of the Hatchet movies, so I went to iTunes to check it out. What immediately caught my attention when first looking through their feed was the episode where they had Leigh Whannell as a guest. I LOVE LEIGH WHANNELL. So I honestly listened to that podcast just for him (and he's awesome, by the way, it's a great episode), but perhaps moreso, I found myself falling in love with Adam and Joe. I loved their enthusiasm and their fun personalities, so I knew I had to hear more about what these guys had to say. By that time (May of this year), they were already on episode 105 or something, so I began the daunting task of going all the way back to the beginning to episode 1 and listening to every single minute of the podcast, which averages about 2 hours for each episode, sometimes longer. I've still yet to listen to four episodes because they are all film commentaries and I didn't have access to the films at the time to watch it along with the podcast, but yeah. That was A LOT of The Movie Crypt for those two months where I would listen to as much of it as I could almost every day to get caught up, because they were still putting out new episodes every Monday.

I can hardly put into words how much this podcast has affected me. Even just writing that sentence, I had to stop for a good ten minutes to think about what I was going to say. The Movie Crypt contains quite possibly the most inspiring and heartfelt words I have ever heard about what it's like to have big dreams and the struggle to make them a reality. Sure, I've laughed and had fun listening to stories about some of my favorite movies from some of my favorite filmmakers and actors, but goddamn. I have cried so many times listening to this podcast. There was one time that I was listening to it while I was in my living room working out. It was the episode with Pat Healy, who is not only an amazing actor but an amazing human, and something he said really fucked me up in a good way. Pat still has a wonderful outlook on the world despite the cruel hardships he has endured in his career and life. I already had tears in my eyes just from the overall emotion of the episode - not just from Pat, but from Adam and Joe, as well - but then Pat said, in a dead serious and sincere tone, that things will get bad. Things will always get bad, but they will always get better, and quite often they will end up turning out better than before, and you just have to hang on to that hope that it will get better. I was listening to him saying this and really thinking about it in terms of my own situation, and my own past experiences, and where I was and where I wanted to go... and out of almost nowhere, I started SOBBING. Not just tears in my eyes, but full-on sobbing. I had to stop working out, I had to pause the podcast, and I had to just sit there and cry for a few minutes. I cried because I felt frustrated, hopeful, depressed, and determined all at the same time, though that doesn't really sound possible. And it felt awesome to get that out. All the happy tears and sad tears that I've shed over the 200+ hours of listening to The Movie Crypt have been wonderfully needed, and all the words of inspiration have more than fueled my fire to continue pursuing what I want to do.


When I first started listening to the podcast, I had not seen the horror sitcom Adam created, Holliston, yet because I was one of those people who did not have FEARNet when it was still on the air. I of course had heard about because it was Adam Green and because it was a horror sitcom - a horror sitcom, how weird is that, right? But because I didn't get to see it, I eventually just forgot about it. The Movie Crypt was originally created for Adam and Joe to help promote Holliston so the first batch of episodes are pretty Holliston-heavy. I realized I finally had to see it, and ordered the Blu-Rays from Adam's website, ArieScope.com (I include the website because you should go there and buy shit), and settled in for an experience I knew I was going to love. Just like with The Movie Crypt, Holliston affected me on a level that I was not expecting at all. Any horror fan who has seen it hopefully appreciates the positive way that Adam portrays horror fans - that we are not gothic freaks sitting in a dark basement jerking off to bloody death scenes. We just talk about and enjoy horror movies in the same way that the guys at work talk about sports or whatever boring shit other people are into (sarcastic voice there, I'm not that big of a bitch). More importantly, though, we do also have hearts and feelings and emotions, and we feel them HARD. So, yeah, there were a lot more tears and feelings while I watched all of Holliston in two days.

(I'm avoiding saying too much about Holliston here because I think I'm going to do a series of reviews on each episode... We'll see...)

All of the things that Adam has created have been deeply personal to him, and he puts himself out there in a way that is so rare for anybody in the entertainment industry. He makes himself very accessible to his fans, and acknowledges how much he loves and appreciates them whenever he can. The personal things he has admitted to and talked about on the podcast are all about him being real and honest, not only because it is probably like therapy for him, but also maybe because he realizes that him saying it, being the public figure that he is, that somebody else will hear it and relate to and hopefully be helped by it. The number of guests that have done the same thing - Darren Bousman, Travis Stevens, Kane Hodder - have also been immensely helpful to me personally, often telling me exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it.


Maybe you're wondering what is the point of me telling you all this, if anybody is actually still reading. Basically, I feel like I have a totally new outlook now. I've always been aware of the certain amount of negativity that exists in the horror genre - all the trends that everyone is sick of, what is considered "good," what is even considered horror to some people - and I suddenly realized that I'm just over it. I think back on all the snarky things I probably said in my reviews, and I don't want to be like that anymore. I don't want to read about negativity, and I definitely don't want to contribute to it. I've always felt like even my reviews of movies I didn't like were still pretty fair, because it has always been really hard for me to write a bad review (Project Terrible perhaps being the one exception because the movies we talk about there are usually well known and loved because they are bad). People made that thing, and maybe it was the most important thing in the world to them. I know they'll understand that some people may not like it, but there is no reason for them to read anything truly scathing or mean-spirited. That's why I always try to write my reviews in a way where it is very clear that this is what I, and I alone, thought of the movie, and that I'm not making any definitive statements about it. I'll really talk about and explain the things I may have a problem with, but again, hopefully not in a way that will offend or hurt anyone (although one comment on one review showed that I didn't do that very well that one time...), and then I'll try to focus on whatever positives I found with the movie. Or, if I see a movie and don't like it, I just won't talk about it. The Internet is a cesspool of douchebags who say whatever they fuck they want, things they would probably never say to someone's face. And for someone like me, a female horror fan living in the middle of the country, that one convention every year and the Internet is the only place I have to go to if I want to commiserate with other people about the thing I love - horror. And seeing as how horror really is a community made up of some of the nicest, most giving people I have ever met, why would we ever want to bring negativity into it? 

Now, I'm definitely not saying that nobody should ever voice their honest opinion or never write a negative review ever again, or that I'm not going to be as honest as I always have been in my reviews. That's actually the one thing that a lot of people have commented to me about why they like reading my reviews (which still surprises the hell out of me and freaks me out). But there is a respectful way to do that, and even then, I have never taken pleasure in it. Movies are subjective, and everyone has a different opinion about them, which can bring about great discussion, and that's what makes being a movie lover fun. But I am going to try to focus more on the positive than the negative, and revel in the things that I love rather than bitch and moan about the things I hate, because that is just exhausting, and talking about the things I love is way more fun. I've also found out that I want to be a real champion for movies and filmmakers from now on. I want to tell other people about and support the people whose work I enjoy because many of them really deserve it - and because if you support their work, guess what? That means that you just might get more of that work that you enjoy, and horror will continue to grow and expand.

Well, it's been a rant and a half here today, but all of this is something that I really needed to get out, and you fine readers are the recipients of it. I don't even know if I got across what I was trying to say. Basically, I'm more inspired now. I have a deeper appreciation and respect for people in the genre, and I want to start showing that more and supporting them more. I'm going to work harder to achieve my personal goals, and I'm going to have the same kind of excited, infectious attitude that I am drawn to in other people. Things can only get better.

Stay spooky you horror fiends!

- Michele

21 comments:

  1. a "spark of Hope"... and a bit of determination.... can get you rather far....
    You have to believe in yourself....
    ... as for your "Reviews" ...you point out the good qualities of even poor films... we think you are very "Fair" in your reviewing of Horror...
    Post "whenever" you feel like doing so, dear Lady...
    A very pleasant day to you and yours....

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    1. Thank you. You are always very kind and supportive.

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  2. Thank you for sharing and I think your reviews are great and one of the reasons I like and prefer them is that they give me good information and opinion. I have an idea that I'd like the film even if you didn't, or it will be just not for me even if you loved it. That is one of the most important thing to a review reader and you have it in spades.

    I hope that you'll keep up the good work and allow me to say one more time that your reviews are appreciated.

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    1. Thank you, Eliza. You just said the exact thing that I want people to think when they read my stuff. "Okay, this is what she thought, but I'm still going to go see the movie for myself." Which is what anybody should think when they read any review. I hate it when I say I didn't like a movie and then someone comments, "Thanks, now I won't bother to watch it." And I'm like No, no, no, no, go see it!! It could be your favorite movie ever! So thank you for saying what you did, and thank you for reading!

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  3. I've definitely appreciated your takes on the horror genre since discovering this site. Snark about how thing X sucks is the easiest thing in the world to find on the internet (not to mention the easiest thing to write). This blog made my regular reading list because it makes an effort to bring more than that. Looking forward to future reviews (and now I'll have to check out Wicked Horror)!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and I'm glad my efforts come through to other people. I really do believe that there is something good in every movie and those good things should be pointed out and rewarded.

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  4. I just wanted to say that as a female horror fan that only attends one convention a year (also Texas Frightmare Weekend) and relies heavily on the internet to make connections with fellow horror fans, your post really resonated with me. I'll definitely have to check out your content on Wicked Horror and wish you much success in your endeavors. Thank you for putting your heart and thoughts out there.

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    1. Thank you so much, Meagan, I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels the same way. It's hard to make those horror connections in real life, so we really need to make the Internet a more positive place for people in the community to go to.

      And hey, if you're at Texas Frightmare Weekend in 2016, come find me and say hi! I'll probably be by myself, except for the little Chucky doll I like to carry around...

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  5. This is a great post and I'm so happy you're feeling inspired. It's a great outlook to have, even if we can lose sight of it occasionally. As for your reviews, they're some of the best around. An odd sarky comment can be fun to read when its witty, but your reviws have always come across as respectful and honest. You sell me on movies often. I wrote a post recently on my gratitude for internet horror fans. We're a good bunch but far too spread apart. The internet is our medium to communicate and talk horror. Keeping it as positive as can be is the way to go. I'm rambling now and should sleep lol. Keep chasing your dreams. You're a fine writer and I love reading your stuff

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    1. I've gotten that feeling from people sometimes, too, when I talk about my online relationships with people - it doesn't seem really real to them, or at worst, kinda weird. But this community is amazing and I feel like I have made some true friends. Thank you for your nice words, and I promise to never give up if you do the same!

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    2. Yeah my real friends aren't horror fans or even movie buffs. Thankfully I've met some amazing people who share my enthusiasm and passion, and even though I've never met them they're still people I feel I've been hanging out with for years lol. It's a deal :)

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  6. As a long time lurker ( and firs time commenter), I wanna say that I really like your reviews, both here and on Wicked Horror ( wich i found out through this blog, by the way). As one previous commenter mentioned, simply badmouthing a movie is easy ( and horror movies are probably the biggest targets, righ after Michael Bay movies, eheh), but making a level headed review, even if it means acknowledging that a particular movie is flawed, is more difficult, and you seem to pull that off.
    I wish all the best for your life and future, and i´m looking forward for your future reviews!
    All the best!
    Francisco Taveira

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    1. I always love a lurker, thank you, Francisco! And thank you for more words of inspiration, these comments from people have been amazing! All the best to you as well!

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  7. Wow, now that was long! ;) Well, glad you finally found your place among the horror community! *woohoo* I admit, I have a hard time fully understanding your emotional connection to the community, because I never had that connection and I actually don't really want it, simply because my connection to horror is much, much more pragmatic, much more... I daresay, much more 'European'. And I also prefer talking about movies to peeps in real, not online. Alec Pridgen is probably the only person with whom I semi-regularly discuss movies.

    That said, it's still nice seeing someone like you who's so enthusiastic about the whole horror thing. Happy belated birthday, Dudette, and rock on! Love ya <3

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    1. Well, a lot of it for me has to do with almost a lifetime of loneliness and not feeling truly understood by anybody when it comes to my love of movies and horror. Finding people online who were practically just like me and had that same connection was a huge relief for my psyche. Sometimes I wish it wasn't that important and that I could have stronger connections in real life, but that's just not happening, so I really need this.

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    2. A lifetime of loneliness sounds dreadful to me. No friends? No relationships? In some kinda way, I was never truly understood either, but it didn't affect me. It was more like: "I know Horror and you don't Fuck you. I'm awesome." ;-)

      Though I admit, it's really wonderful being together with a person who digs Horror too, so fingers crossed that you will soon run into some handsome Horror-guy who will love you for what you are :)

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    3. Well, I didn't mean no friends ever, I had lots of great friends and some that I'm still close with when we get the chance to talk. I always felt like that aimless dreamer, but now I think I have that attitude that you had - "Hey, this is what I'm into and I've gotten to do lots of cool shit because of it. Yeah, I'm pretty awesome." It has made me feel so much better lately!

      If you find a horror guy, please send him my way!

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  8. A great read - thanks for sharing it with us. As the "older guy" of your Constant Readers - I totally understand what you've written about here. I'm still experiencing some of the confusion about who I am as a writer - some of which has been exacerbated by writing the blog, and interacting with the people who read it and comment. I feel like I've mostly done fairly positive reviews - even when they were negative (if that makes any sense), I have gotten snarky at times, but mostly I try to keep things light and even when being negative be good natured about it. I even gained one follower because of this - as that blogger also tries to avoid the snark and liked that I did. I was pleased to read that. Congratulations on your success with Wicked Horror - I will try to get over there soon. Can't wait to see where your new outlook takes you in your writing - but know I (and lots of other people) will be right there with you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Craig. That really means a lot. I imagine many writers go through the same cycle of determination, inspiration, then feeling like you're not good enough or that it's a directionless or feeble pursuit. But those moments of inspiration are SO GOOD and you really have to hold onto them and not forget that feeling.

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  9. Hi! I just wanted to tell you that I found your blog while searching for horror themed blogs since I recently started my own. I've loved reading it! I just want to say that I relate to this post so much I just had to let you know. I also love horror and want to be a writer. I'd also like to start my own online horror t-shirt shop. I've always been very quiet and it's been hard for me to make friends especially since my interests are so different from everyone around me. Like you said you're a female horror fan living in the country, that's me too! I'm lucky that my mom likes horror and so did my dad. I also have an aunt and a cousin that love it too but other than that I haven't ever had friends into it. I also understand the feeling of being happy at a convention and wanting that feeling to last. I'm also a huge Foo Fighters fan so I get that feeling after leaving their concerts too. I only have a few posts on my blog so far and it's something I'd love to continue. I just wanted to say that this article resonated with me. I understand everything you're saying. Being and outcast and bullied from a young age I have spent a lot of time in my inner world but I have made so many friends through horror boards, facebook horror groups and twitter. Horror fans are really the most down to earth and nicest people and I think we get a bad wrap for being into something like horror cause non-fans just don't understand it so much. I get people shaking their heads at me and saying how terrible and predictable they think horror and suspense movies are.
    Do you have a facebook where we could talk some more? Or maybe you could check out my blog? I'd love some opinions. Sorry that this is probably pretty long, I just needed to let you know that I loved this article. Thank you for taking the time to write it and to read this. Steph.

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    1. Hi Steph! I'm very happy to hear that you got something out of my post - it's always hard to put yourself out there like this, but it really means a lot when it actually resonates with someone else. Congratulations on your writing ambitions! Blogging is how I got started and after a time, it has led me to some really cool places (and will hopefully take me much further) so work hard at it and never give up! You will have so much support from other horror friends on the Internet - you're right, they (we) really are some of the best people in the world.

      Just look for Michele Eggen on Facebook and I would love to talk more!

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