Exclusive Interview With Author Jack Ketchum

(PCM) “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.” – Stephen King

I had the honor of recently interviewing writer Jack Ketchum. Ketchum is a masterful storyteller and has written over twenty novels & novellas. Five of his books have been turned into films The Girl Next Door, The Lost, Red, Offspring, and The Woman.

The Woman and I’m Not Sam were both written with director Lucky Mckee. Be sure to check out www.jackketchum.net for a full listing of his terrifying body of work.

Q: Are writers born or made due to their upbringing or social surroundings?

JACK KETCHUM: I’m no scientist, so I can’t speak for nature. But I do know about nurture. Were it not for my mother teaching me to read pre-kindergarten, encouraging my interest in and love of all kinds of reading — including comic books — I wouldn’t be here today. Then I had some great teachers along the way in high school and college, most notably my sophomore English teacher, Dorothy Senner, who assigned the class to write to a writer and see if they responded. Robert Bloch did, wrote back to me and subsequently encouraged my writing every step of the way until the day he died. A lot of doors opened for me. I owe a lot of good people big time.

Q: You have inspired a lot of writer’s including myself. What advice can you give someone who has a story they want to tell?

JK: Apply ass to chair. Make sure that before you do that you’ve read like a demon, all kinds of stuff. Then, when you think you’re ready, trust yourself and trust the story. And remember to have fun!

Q: Are there any upcoming horror movies that are coming out that you are looking forward to seeing?

JK: I usually don’t know what’s coming until it’s out. I rarely watch previews and never read the trades. Horror movies have always been pretty hit or miss — you wade through a lot of uninspired drek to get to a gem. Fine. I’m good with that. But it also means I don’t get my hopes up prematurely.

Q: You and Lucky Mckee have been quite the successful pairing. How did that relationship come to be?

JK: Lucky wanted to option Red for himself to direct and The Lost for his buddy Chris Sivertson. Once I saw May I was immediately on board. Then we got to know one another, and found that we’re so like-minded in so many ways about movies, books, and life in general that collaboration seemed a natural way to go. Damn glad we did.

Q: Any upcoming projects on the horizon?

JK: I’ve got a new story collection coming out soon called Gorilla In My Room, and the 35th Anniversary edition of Off Season, illustrated, and complete with bells and whistles. After that, I suspect Lucky and I will start a new project before too long.

Q: The first book of yours I read was The Girl Next Door I was both fascinated and horrified. Do you ever go back and read a scene and get goosebumps?

JK: Not goosebumps exactly. But last year I did the audio version of The Girl Next Door, and prior to that I’d never read it out loud. So, there were places where I had to stop myself and say, good grief, I wrote that? Really? That’s really harsh!

Q: You grew up in New Jersey and worked various jobs before writing full time. Do you ever run into childhood friends or coworkers that have read your work?

JK: Happily, there have been a few who’ve found me along the way, including a woman last year who I was absolutely nuts about in college. She went and read everything I wrote in a matter of a few months. And I gotta say, I loved it.

Q: Favorite place to get inspiration?

JK: Lying in bed with my nose in a book.

Q: Do you write every day?

JK: Perish the thought! I’m not driven to write. I take time off for actual life in between projects. Though when I’m doing a longer piece, a book or a screenplay, then I do write something each day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs, just to keep it flowing and hold onto the continuity. Otherwise I’ll lay back for a while and do a short story, essay or poem every now and then. It’s got to be fun for me, the way it was when I first started, or else it becomes a job…and I’m allergic to jobs.

Q: I’ve read that you loved Elvis Presley growing up. If you could have one conversation with him what would you talk about and would you give him any advice?

JK: Well, he’s dead, and I imagine that’s pretty boring, so that might limit our conversation. If I could have talked to him while he was still alive I’d have told him to dump that goddamn pissant manager of his, Colonel Tom Parker — or Uncle Tom to some of us — and strike out on his own. But if I’m talking to his spirit or something? I’d say thank you, for giving a thirteen-year-old who was just plain different a shot of courage.

The post Exclusive Interview With Author Jack Ketchum also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

President Bush Won’t Talk About UFOs On Kimmel Show

 

(PCM) George W. Bush was recently a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. The former 43rd President of the United States was on the show to promote his new book called, Portraits of Courage. Jimmy Kimmel chummed it up with the former President about a variety of subjects. One of the subjects Kimmel tried to get some information about UFOs, but Bush wouldn’t say “nuthin” about the subject.

You must be kind of blind to the fact that we are not alone in the solar system. Just a couple weeks ago, NASA’s                 Spitzer Space Telescope revealed the first known system of seven Earth size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The question remains when will the U.S. government reveal that there truly is life out there?

The system is about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.

All former Presidents have been asked about the existence of life out there beyond the stars in one form or another. The talk about UFO’s and past Presidents knowledge about them have been the subject of conversation for decades. But who has ultimate control over how much intelligence about UFOs is released to a President, should be a topic? There has been much speculation that during President Jimmy Carter’s term as President even his administration was denied access to files that contained top secret information about UFO’s.

It will always be a topic up for discussion: Does life existence beyond the stars? Do little green men roam around the galaxy far away? How much does a President know? All these questions are hard to ask yourself when hard scientific evidence is released every day.

 

 

 

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President Bush Won’t Talk About UFOs On Kimmel Show was contributed by a Myth

‘A Cure For Wellness’ Film Review

(PCM) Gore Verbinski has returned with a masterful tale called, “A Cure for Wellness”. The visionary director hit gold with The Pirates of the Caribbean series including: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) which made the industry record with the highest opening weekend of all time. Gore Verbinski would also introduce fans to the horror hit 2002’s “The Ring”.

Verbinski has returned to the horror genre with his latest film. “A Cure for Wellness” follows the story of an ambitious young business man who is sent to a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps to bring the CEO of the company back home. The young man soon realizes that the treatments at the wellness center are nothing as it seems.

Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider- Man 2, Chronicle) portrays the young business man named Lockhart. The character isn’t likable from the very start. DeHaan, does an amazing job portraying a character who is so self-absorbed that he is blind to the occurrences going on around him. This is done by showing Lockhart all about work and not really caring at all about his dying mother, and just having a cold exterior. Audience opinion of the Lockhart character slowly turn as we witness what he goes through to uncover the horrible secrets of the wellness center. Harry Groener portrays Pembroke the embattled CEO that seems to be out of his mind at times when talking to Lockhart. Jason Isaacs plays the mysterious Volmer, who is the facility director. The character of Volmer comes off as charming, but audiences can tell that something is amiss when he first appears onscreen.

Mia Goth portrays Hannah a mysterious girl who hangs around the wellness center. Hannah is shy and doesn’t speak that often. It is blatantly obvious that she knows a little more of what’s going on in the wellness center than other people. Mia Goth does an outstanding job with this role. It can be challenging for an actress to hold her own with two great actors that have more screen time than her, but she nails the performance of Hannah.

The movie is long, with a run time of 146 minutes, that is a lot of time to invest in a film. Verbinski does a good job pacing out the movie to catch the viewers interest. The story was written by Verbinski and Justin Haythe. The story is flawed in a couple areas. In one scene when Lockhart first gets to the wellness center he signs his name at the bottom of a clipboard presuming he’s signing into see a guest. What Lockhart is signing is his consent to stay. In the story, Lockhart is portrayed as a very meticulous person. Yet he does not read what he is signing.

The film is set in present day, but has a feel like it was set decades ago. The set designs for the wellness center are amazing and gives it an extra special creepy feeling. The team of Bojan Bazelli, and Verbinski, work marvels together. They first worked together on The Ring 15 years ago, and the two prove they can shoot a marvelous film that combines ambiance and horror. If you are squeamish you might be hard pressed to watch this film. This film features eels in all their wiggly glory. There’s eels in a bathtub, a pool, and a sensory deprivation tank to name a few.

20th Century Fox took a big chance with this film, but it looks like they hired the right man for the job. When first viewing the trailer many fans will see similarities between “Shutter Island”, but upon viewing the film “A Cure For Wellness” stands on its own.

The post ‘A Cure For Wellness’ Film Review first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Stranger Thing’s Season Two Release Date Announced

 

(PCM) The release date for Stranger Things Season 2 was released during the Super Bowl. The hit show which premiered on Netflix last summer will premiere there second season on Halloween. The thirty second trailer showed various clips of what is in store for the residents of Hawkins,Indiana. Looks like a new monster is walking around ready to strike. And eleven is back with hair.

The first season of Stranger Things is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy by his brother and traumatized mother and the local police chief, amid supernatural events occurring around the town including the appearance of a psychokinetic girl who helps the missing boy’s friends in their own search. The second season is set a year after the first, and deals with attempts of the characters to return to normalcy and consequences of events from that season.

There are many unanswered questions and hopefully Season 2 answers some of them. Some of the kids from the show will be in the remake of Stephen King’s IT, which will be out later this year. Stephen King’s influence on the show is apparent and he happens to be a fan. Make sure to take the kids out early and get your popcorn, and Eggo’s ready because Stranger Thing’s is back.

 

The Smiling Man Director A.J. Briones Interview

 

(PCM) I had the chance to interview the very talented Mr. A.J. Briones. The following is the interview I did. Be sure to check out his work he’s a very talented person who has a lot to offer..

1. What was your childhood like? At what age did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego. I was a pretty sheltered kid. I was the youngest of three to very strict Asian parents. I didn’t get out much because my mom was convinced that I would end up dead somehow. They did, however, let me pursue two of passions: computers and movies. This was in the late eighties, and even though they were strict about me being out of the house, I had free reign on what movies I wanted to see on TV or rent from the video store. The first horror film I can remember with clarity is the first A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was so scared that my uncle had to take me out of the theatre halfway through. As I got older, I got a bit braver. When I was about 13 or 14 I took over my dad’s VHS camcorder and started making movies. I would cast my relatives and friends in these slasher films and edit them by daisy-chaining our VCRs together. I never thought it would be a reality because I didn’t know anyone in the film industry, but that’s when I realized I wanted to make movies one day.

2. Who are your top 3 favorite directors and why?

Chan-Wook Park

He has a fantastic visual style that is very deliberate. You can tell just by looking at his films that every detail has been painstakingly designed and you are looking at exactly what he wants you to see and all of it drives the narrative and his vision.

Stanley Kubrick

He’s the master of creating unease. One of my favorite movies of all time is A Clockwork Orange. That movie just transports you to a different world. His films are great at that. There’s a great little mini documentary called Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (https://vimeo.com/78314194). It is a great little sneak peek at his research and his development process. I show this to people when they say he’s a genius. No man, he’s not a genius. He worked his ass off. There is no such thing as genius.

John Carpenter

John Carpenter has made some of my favorite films: Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, They Live. Great stuff. Big Trouble in Little China in particular was a big film for me growing up because I actually got to see an Asian actor on screen that was a normal person. One of the highlights of my life is when he said my name when introducing The Smiling Man on El Rey Network’s horror anthology: The People’s Network Showcase, Horror Edition. I can seriously die now. I’d rather not, but I can.

3. Can you describe your creative process when it comes to both storytelling & directing ?

I’m very process oriented, which comes from my experiences as a previs supervisor on some very big tentpole films that I’ve had the great fortune of working on. It’s an experience I am very grateful for. Once I have a script completed, I try to find a theme or allegory that I want to anchor the film to, something that is below the surface, that I hope that most viewers actually don’t pick up on upon first viewing. For example: the sub-surface theme in The Smiling Man is a woman’s realization that she is vulnerable in this world of men. Once I have a theme, it informs everything: from the casting to the costume design, makeup fx, the gestures, the camera angles, pacing, score, sound design… everything. Because of this, all of the disparate parts of the film come together in a way that can be a haunting experience for the viewer. I storyboard key sequences myself, and once we get a location nailed down, we take the time to model them in 3D and I pre-shoot the film on the computer. That way, we have fast-paced shooting days where everyone in the production knows what is going on: where the camera will be, what it’s pointed at, where we can put lights, how it will roughly be framed, and what to start setting up for next.

4 You have been credited as being a visual artist on many blockbuster movies. Do you have a favorite work experience from working on those those films?

I’ve had a great time on most of the films I’ve been lucky to work on. I’m always learning a lot on all of them. I think Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was pretty special because I didn’t even dream about working on a Star Wars film since by the time I became a vfx artist the prequels were already done. Avatar was great because I learned so much on that movie and made so many lifelong friends there, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was special for really pushing me creatively.

5. What movie do you think you could have made better visually?

I don’t know if I would want to answer that one without being seen as rude or arrogant. Let’s just say that I hope I get the chance to do a feature so I can show what I can do.

6. I’m a huge fan of horror and I recently saw your award winning short film, The Smiling Man. I was both terrified and curious. Where did the concept of the story come from ?

I had just finished my first short film, Carolina Parakeet (https://vimeo.com/89773402), and my team and I were brainstorming for ideas on what we could do next. My producer Tefft Smith II came up with the idea of a clown that used blood instead of makeup and I thought that could be a lot of fun. I wrote a draft of the script pretty quickly. It was pretty much fully realized then, but with some notable exceptions: the main character was a boy and the scares weren’t so refined. I like to weave allegory into my films, and I wanted to find a theme to attach to the film in subtext. For me, The Smiling Man is about a woman’s introduction into the world of men. Once I decided on that theme, I rewrote the script, putting in all the little details and flourishes that would be synonymous with the theme without stating it overtly.

7. Is there any plans to explore the Smiling Man ?

The Smiling Man was a film exercise for me. I thought my first film was way too dialogue-heavy and I told more than I showed, and I so I wanted to do something shorter that took the voice away so I was forced to tell a story without dialogue. That, and I wanted to scare the crap out of people. I think we achieved that. I think there could be a feature version of it, and I do have some ideas, but I am working on other things at the moment. With IT coming out and a lot of shorts and features that are doing the clown thing, I think it’s a bit saturated, so I think the best thing is to hold off and revisit it later. The Smiling Man was great. We were ahead of that whole clown curve. Once it dies down I’d love to go back and see if we can shake things up again.

8. If you had another occupation, what would it be?

I love my current day job. As a previs/postvis/vfx supervisor, I get to work with some of the greatest living directors today and help them craft their action and vfx-heavy sequences, and I learn so much from it. It’s basically like being paid to take a master class in filmmaking. It has honed my taste and my sensibilities and given me the confidence that I know what I’m doing. Of course, I’d rather work on a 200 thousand dollar film of my own than be an artist on someone else’s 200 million dollar movie, but it’s not a bad day job while I cross my fingers and hustle to make it happen.

9. Any advice for anyone trying to get into the film industry ?

Watch a lot of films. Good ones. Not just the ones in your desired genre. There’s a great documentary series called The Story of Film: An Odyssey. See it. If you have a large catalog of movies to in your head to draw from, you will have a bigger reference pool that is outside the genre you’re working in. That way, when you’re making your horror movie it won’t look like all the other horror movies out there.

Find people who are as obsessed as you and make movies with them. Make shorts. Short shorts, like 2 minutes. Don’t get caught up on making it perfect, just make it. Write, plan, produce, shoot, edit, grade, spit it out. Watch it, learn from it, then do it again. Pretty soon you’ll get amazing.

10.Do you have a preference between working on shorts or feature length films ?

I think the short film medium is great when you’re trying to find your voice and your style. It’s great because it’s kind of a sprint compared to a marathon. That said, now that I think I’ve found my -esque, I’m salivating at the chance to do a feature.

11. Any upcoming projects in the works ?

I have two feature film scripts that we are taking out right now, and I am very excited about both of them. I hope things fall into place and I get to tell these stories, because I think they’re very special.

The post The Smiling Man Director A.J. Briones Interview appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

Remembering The Irreplaceable David Bowie Ten Things You Might Not Know

(PCM) It’s been a year since the world lost a great man in Mr. David Bowie. Mr. Bowie was a worldly enigmatic chap. He was an amazing musician, an innovator, and an actor just to name a few. We look back at ten things you may or may not know about the late singer.

  1. Rock guitarist Peter Frampton was Bowie’s friend at school – his dad was head of the art department. He’s gone on to play guitar with Bowie many times during his career.
  2. On Jun. 19, 2004, David Bowie was playing for a crowd of around 7,500 at the Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, Norway. Due to circumstances that remain mysterious, a lollipop flew from the crowd to the stage area, miraculously landing and lodging into the performer’s left eye. The singer stayed on stage after help from an assistant. He ended up playing an incredible 27 songs. He remained on the stage for over two hours and 20 minutes.
  3. He started playing the saxophone when he was 12 years old.
  4. He later changed his name to Bowie to avoid confusion with Monkee Davy Jones.
  5. He released his debut album, the self-titled David Bowie, in 1967 after playing in a host of pub and club bands.
  6. Bowie’s first hit in the UK – 1969’s Space Oddity – was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing.
  7. David Bowie’s first US number one was his single Fame in 1975. It was co-written by John Lennon and features the former Beatle on backing vocals.
  8. In the 1986 Jim Henson movie Labyrinth, Bowie plays Jareth The Goblin King.
  9. Bing Crosby recorded his last-ever single with David Bowie. Their duet version of The Little Drummer Boy was recorded for Christmas 1977. It was a hit five years later.
  10. His hit Ziggy Stardust is about Vince Taylor, who wrote Brand New Cadillac – later covered by The Clash.

David Bowie will be sadly missed, but he left us enough material to fill a spaceship. Rest Easy STAR MAN.

 

 

Remembering The Irreplaceable David Bowie Ten Things You Might Not Know was contributed by a Myth

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