Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Humble Request For Assistance

Next week I will be at Westercon 63, a sci-fi convention in Pasadena talking to rooms full of people.

I'll be appearing on two panels next Friday and Saturday. I don't know whose idea it was to let me out of my cage, but I'm sure they'll regret it come Sunday.

I would like to sound intelligent. I could really use your help doing it.

Here's what the panels are:
Breaking taboos in horror fiction: By its nature, horror pushes the boundaries of what we're comfortable with. But how far is too far? Does shock trump story? At what point do the boundaries break, rather than merely bend?
and
Blurring the lines of genre: Urban fantasy is a catch all for everything from modern day high fantasy to a mix of horror and noir. What other crossovers are possible? Do some genres lend themselves to intersections more than others?
Neat, huh?

Now here's what I've been thinking about.

Much as it may seem that horror stories and films have no boundaries (Grace, anybody? Human Centipede? Deadgirl?) they actually exist because of them. Without taboos to challenge there would be nothing in them to make us uncomfortable, and uncomfortable is horror's stock in trade.

So the question is how far is too far? Above we've got demonic vampire babies, people surgically attached to each other ass to mouth, a zombie rape puppet in a basement vault repeatedly violated by teenage boys. Children, sex, death. Three things that really hammer on our buttons for good or ill.

I think it comes down to why the writer is trying to press those buttons. It's easy to dismiss films like these as nothing more than bloodbaths, torture porn, misogynistic hate fests. And if they're doing it for no other reason than to shock and sicken then I'd agree.

But if you look deeper in some of them (some, not all - I mean, come on. Human Centipede?) you can find meaning, sickening though it might be. Deadgirl is about a couple of teenage boys who find this zombie girl strapped to a table in a sealed vault in an old hospital and pretty quickly come to the conclusion that they've got their own sex slave.

This isn't porn. It's not designed to titillate. It's a metaphor for how teenage boys are acclimated to brutalizing women. It shows how easy it is for misogyny to become the norm.

And even if there isn't a deeper metaphor, disturbing and shocking images don't necessarily detract from the story. Clive Barker's Sex, Death And Starshine is great story and full of graphic undead fucking. Midnight Meat Train uses an almost erotic imagery to describe the corpses of men and women hung from hooks

But when it comes down to it, taboos and limits are subjective. It really comes down to what each one of us thinks and how we react.


But what about crossing genres? Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides mixes magic and Caribbean pirates long before Johnny Depp was even on 21 Jump Street. Joe Lansdale does a superb job... well, with anything. Steampunk, urban fantasy, paranormal romance.
What works? What doesn't? Personally, I think any genre can mix with any other. You just have to do it right. I'd love to see a vampire version of Permanent Midnight.

So, my questions to y'all:

What genre crossovers would you like to see? What kind work best?

How far is too far in horror? Hurting children? Graphic violence? Rape? Clowns? Scratching fingernails down a chalkboard? The word "moist"?

Tell me, O Readers Three, what do you think?

Friday, June 25, 2010

In Which I Attempt To Not Make An Ass Of Myself

And fail miserably.

The lovely and talented (No, really. She is lovely and talented. I'm not just saying that.) J.T. Ellison asked me some questions and posted the answers (and a truly horrific picture of me displaying a trademark facial tic) up at Murderati.

All because I wrote a book. Man, I really need to write more books.

I am such an attention whore.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Small Bookish Announcement

This thing on? Good. *Ahem*

via Publisher's Marketplace:
Stephen Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST, set in Los Angeles in which an enforcer is murdered and brought back to a twisted half-life only to find himself stuck in the middle of a 400-year-old battle for an ancient stone with the power to grant immortality, and DEAD THINGS, to Betsy Wollheim at Daw, by Allan Guthrie at Jenny Brown Associates (World).
Yes, boys and girls, I gots me a book deal. Two, in fact.

More correctly, The Amazing and Talented Mr. Guthrie got me a two book deal.

We now return you to your previously scheduled stories of dead porn stars, drive-by shootings and domestic disturbances, large and small.

That is all.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

If I'd Made 'Cum Fart Tsunami' I'd Jump Off A Cliff, Too

West Hills, CA

Steve Hill, AKA Steve Driver, the porn actor who went all John Belushi on fellow adult actor Herbert "Tom Dong" Wong last Tuesday, had himself a day-long stand-off with an LAPD SWAT team on a cliff up near the Chatsworth Reservoir.

Armed with a sword, presumably the one he murdered Wong with, Hill alternately threatened to kill himself with the sword or jump off the cliff.

He chose gravity.

Fifty feet, straight down. Deceleration trauma. It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.

The SWAT team tried to subdue him with a less than lethal munition, but aren't, at the moment, saying what it was. Oh, guys, please don't let it be a beanbag round that knocked him over or anything stupid like that.

Mr. Hill had a storied career including titles such as Epic Hardcore Femdom Cuckolding 1, Mope Squad 2 (alongside film veteran Arnold Schwartzenpecker - man, talk about pressure) and the ever popular 10 Man Cum Slam 23.

Now, I'm not one to make fun of anyone's particular fetish. Much. We all got kinks. It's not the kink I have a problem with. Seriously, 'Chubby MILTF Bobbing For Black Dick'? Who the hell puts the T in MILF, anyway?

Now, I don't know what Hill's problem was. What made him lose his shit and go off on his co-workers. He was losing his job, sure, but that's not a reason, that's a trigger.

As an industry porn attracts more than its fair share of the damaged and clearly Mr. Hill was troubled.

I'm just glad he didn't manage to take out more people.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Gunshot Wounds: Nature's Way of Saying 'Slow Down'

El Monte, CA

Sometimes the universe tries to give you a hint that you need to take a break from your busy schedule. Most times we don't listen to it, though. Like Rudy Barbosa, 24, of El Monte.

See, Rudy's a go-getter. Ambitious, driven. He robbed a 7-11 in El Monte yesterday. Stole some cigarettes. Then he headed to Downtown L.A. where he carjacked somebody at knifepoint.

Then he hit a pawn shop in West Covina. That didn't go so well. The proprietors shot him.

But did that stop him? Of course not. This man's a modern day Rasputin. Well, without the poisoning, castration, drowning and multiple gunshot wounds. He's just got the one. And still has his nutsack as far as I'm aware.

Then he went to a mall in El Monte and stabbed a guy at a jewelry counter. After that, he broke into somebody's garage and stole some stuff.

Cops caught up with him there but he took off in the car he stole. Cops chased him around a bit until he slammed into another car.

Guess he just needed to get hit by more metal than you find in a slug.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Samurai Porn Vendor

Van Nuys, CA

Oh, Porn Valley, what would we do without you?  

Not only do you give us more surgically enhanced breasts, freakishly engorged penises and close-up High-Definition rimjobs than we know what to do with, now you give us whackjobs with Samurai swords.

So there's this guy, Steven Hill, and he's not only working at this adult video company, seems he's living there, too.  Not the kind of work environment the management wants to encourage.  So, last night they tell him to leave and don't come back.

Guy snaps, grabs a prop sword, a decidedly sharp prop sword, and makes with the stabby-stab.

Three down, one dead.  

Mr. Hill was seen driving a blue 1996 Toyota RAV4 that has some damage on the right side and sporting California plates with the number 5YTC423. Presumably still wielding that sword, so keep your distance.

**UPDATE**

Any time shit like this happens in the porn industry the details come out half disturbingly serious and half disturbingly funny.

It doesn't get much more absurd than talking about a murder in one sentence and "Cum Fart Tsunami 2" in another (NSFW, by the way, just so you know).

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Because Tuesday's Taco Night

Lake Forest, CA

A couple of weeks ago James Edward Neal, 56, a former NASCAR driver, was sentenced to thirty days for a high speed chase from Orange County to San Diego. Cops actually called off the chase. Then his engine died and they took him into custody.

He didn't do the full thirty. He was released on Monday. And then, about four hours later, went over to the house of a woman he met while in prison allegedly raped her.

Four hours. Man, you really want to be in jail, don't you? What, is there a pinochle match you were just dying to be a part of? Couldn't be away from all those friends you made in the week and a half you were in there? Are the cots really that comfy?

Well, he tried so hard to get back in that it looks like the judge is giving him a hand. Bail's set for a cool million.

Enjoy your time on the other side, Jimmy. You fought hard for it.