American Horror Story: 5 Reasons to Love It

American Horror Story continues to gain viewers and attract more crazy people who can’t help but get sucked into the story – no matter how messed up.

And that’s what I love about it and one of many things that inspired this week’s post.

If you haven’t seen the show, it may not be your thing, but if you value a good story (as we often talk about here) and great acting it may be worth your time. Aside from the wicked stories and awesome acting, there are some special things I enjoy about the show:

1. It changes every season. New characters, new plot, new time period, and setting. It’s quite remarkable, and Entertainment Weekly revealed there is cross over, which only makes me want to watch it more, so I can put all the pieces together. It’s thoughtful, creative, and refreshing when things feel a little overdone in Hollywood.

2. The acronym. If you Google AHS, you will find American Horror Story. I love that. It wasn’t on purpose and just happened. When I text, “watching AHS,” that person knows exactly what I’m talking about. Not many shows develop a natural acronym.

3. Giving actors/actresses work. Before the show, I hadn’t seen Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, or Angela Bassett in ages. There are several people who want to work in the industry but simply don’t fit into the “popular” crowd of today’s Hollywood. And these people are more talented than the ones getting work. It’s a shame, but that’s what I love about AHS. This show gives them a place and purpose, and they can create a following of their own.
This season also (Freak Show) even more to work with featuring stars and acts from freak shows and characters based on real-life “very special people”.

4. Horror at its best (by modern standards). Some people complain that it’s too disturbing, slow, gory, dark, etc. Well, the horror genre is not a happy place. It is not rainbows and unicorns. The horror genre takes your worst nightmares and discomforts and slaps you in the face. AHS does that, and only true horror fans can appreciate the dark and often disturbing tone of the show.

5. Respect to the genre. With that said, the writers and crew pay homage to many real-life horror stories and work them in. They also use angels and visuals that pay respect to the greats like Hitchcock and Carpenter. The score creeps you out during the opening credits, and who can’t help but love this week’s cover as Come As You Are. Last season, a scene was so deep, it made me cry. The show evokes emotions, makes you think, and can rip your heart it. AHS defines modern horror in the most beautiful way.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and what you think of the show. Share and feel free to comment below!

King’s On Writing: The Intro

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is one of my favorite books ever. I’m on my second read and didn’t realize how much I enjoy his honesty and advise on writing, ideas, and life in general.

I decided to review it after one of our featured artists – Kevin Litwin – mentioned what the book meant to him and how it helped him as a writer. The light bulb went off, and I thought … what a great book to review!

So, here’s the intro. The book is not your traditional how-to write; it’s his story about what influenced him and how he got to where he is today. It’s not organized by chapters, rather sections that feel like stream of conscious but flow very well. Each section builds on one another, and you can easily read a couple of pages, laugh, and get back to life. You may not want to put it down though, so consider yourself warned…

I’ve always wondered what made famous writers famous. It’s not the writing quality (sometimes unfortunately), it’s not based on pop culture or what’s in style. Before everyone knew King, no one did. I’ve decided it’s the storytelling and its delivery.

With that said, here are some highlights and things I learned from the first 10 sections:

We tend to remember the traumatic events more than the good times. I’m sure psychologists would say because we are scarred and do not heal, they have more of a lasting effect. Maybe that’s true, and I definitely think it makes a writer better. Writers use that negative energy to tell their story and heal themselves.

We need the bad and the good. The hard times help us appreciate the good ones. They evoke emotion – negative or not – that we need to feel and act human. Artists have to have a muse, and no matter what, emotion is our muse. Certain things evoke the emotions we need, but at the core emotion fuels art.

Get ready to toughen up. I won’t spoil too much, but King refers to not being scared of literary critics thanks to a 200-pound babysitter farting on his face when he was a young boy. (Words wouldn’t scare anyone after something like that!) The point is if you plan to put yourself out there, get ready for people to talk about it. People love commenting – on everything.

Imagination is a wonderful thing. Think of some great fiction writers, Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, Shakespeare, King, and think about what you love about their writing. It’s not because it’s grammatically correct or a best seller, it’s the creativity they put into the story. It’s their incredible imaginations flowing onto hundreds of pages that create a world for the reader. That’s imagination.

Be yourself. I’ve discussed this many times, and the more I learn, the more I realize how true it is. No one cares about your education or social class. No one cares where you came from or who you know. If you pour your heart, soul, and everything that is you into something, people will notice and appreciate you for it.

This week I challenge you to a writing exercise: Pick something that evoked a strong emotion – good or bad – and write about it. No one has to read it, just let the emotions pour out onto the page. What happened and how you really felt about it. Don’t be afraid. Who knows, maybe it’ll turn into something great!

Scariest Horror Movie: The Ring

The scariest horror movie depends on who you ask. What scares us most hits at our core and disturbs us. That’s the beauty of the horror genre: it can appeal to the most simple or complex fears, and cause us nightmares and uneasiness.

For my scariest movie, I chose The Ring. I watched this movie in 2002 and was fine, or so I thought. I watched it pretty early at night, but when it came time to fall asleep, it was impossible. Every time I closed my eyes I saw Samara. Her image was burned into my brain, and when I did doze off, I’d wake up immediately thinking she was in the room. I stayed awake all night and refused to watch it again.

The Ring well

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Determined to face my fear, I rewatched it this weekend. I’m glad I did because I was fine, or so I thought again. I couldn’t figure out what freaked me out so much the first time. However, I realized as I heard the closing credits, I didn’t watch the last 20 minutes. Right before Samara appeared, I found myself keeping busy and only listening to the movie. She still scares me.

And I’m still not sure what about her bothers me so much. My heart races and my palms sweat thinking she may crawl out of my TV. She’s just scary.

It occurred to me that it’s not the movie that scares us, it’s the things in the movie. When scared, we tend to focus on the one or two things that make the entire movie scary. So, here’s a quick list of my scariest things in horror movies, which make these my scariest movies:

  • Clowns – As cliché as it sounds, I’m terrified of them. Thanks to watching IT, my lifelong fear stems from watching this movie as a child. It’s also interesting that I can look at Pennywise for short amounts of time but not Samara.
  • Clap game – The Conjuring‘s clap game freaks me out. I will never play that game and have become superstitious about it. My mind thinks if I play it, it will serve as a Quija board and conjure some demon or evil spirit.
  • Ghosts – Thanks to Paranormal Activity 3, ghosts make me a little uneasy. I’ve been around them throughout my life, but when the kitchen furniture falls to the floor, that was it. My comfort level diminished.
  • Rats/mice – This fear stems from childhood trauma, but movies such as Graveyard Shift and Ratatouille (yes, the kids movie!) make my skin crawl. I refuse to watch them and yell at anyone who doesn’t warn me of a rat scene first.

As we close out the Halloween season, we at RevPub hope everyone had a safe holiday and weekend. Here’s to costumes, candy, good friends and scares, and we hope you enjoyed our favorite time of the year!