The latest series in the X-Files began last weekend. Was it any good? Let me start by explaining…
A few years ago in Melbourne I managed to do some unsupervised shopping (X-Files folks, bear with me here). By “unsupervised”, I mean without my wife. When it comes to clothing I tend to buy shit that’s useful for standing around barbecues and drinking beer. My wife prefers that I buy shirts that offer some kind of… visual improvement.
Anyway, I stumbled across a specialty tee-shirt shop. Three shirts for fifty bucks – bargain. But after a while I discovered it wasn’t easy to choose three designs I liked. There was lots of stuff about Justin Beiber, “I ♥NY” and obscure American basketball teams, but eventually I selected three relatively innocuous designs including one that said, “It Was All A Dream”. (Sound familiar…?)
Months later a mate of mine pointed at my tee-shirt and said, “Bobby Ewing”.
I’m like, “Who?”
“Bobby Ewing, in Dallas.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” (I was never a Dallas fan).
To briefly explain for some younger readers, Dallas was pretty much the first, enormously successful US mega-soap opera and Bobby Ewing was a hugely popular character who the producers killed off at the end of a series. The viewer backlash was unprecedented – especially for before the days of the internet – until the producers were forced to somehow resurrect Bobby and bring him back to life and into the show. How did they do it?
By beginning the next series with the revelation, “It was all a dream…”
Just like the beginning of The X-Files Series 11. What a crock of complete shit. And that’s coming from a number 1, card-carrying, tattooed (not really) X-Files nutjob fan.
At the end of Series 10 we were all going to die. Everyone was going to die. Mulder had the shit beaten out of him, Scully’s plastic surgery was peeling off, the whole world had a deadly virus… then, to top things off, Mulder and Scully apparently get sucked into a UFO. Mulder must have been happy as a pig in poo to be finally vindicated and Scully… well, she’s not going to talk her way out of this one, right? That was THE END. In fact, even the usual, “The Truth Is Out There” graphic was replaced with, “This Is The End”. No more X-Files, although I suspected that Mulder and Scully’s younger dopplegangers, Einstein and Miller, hinted at some kind of future reboot.
The new Series 11 starts, and what do we get? Apparently it was all a dream in Scully’s head and the storyline’s been booted backwards about five episodes. We’re back into the confusing, tired, incomprehensible conspiracy theory of some vague, secret government agenda about alien DNA, chain-smoking and – for fuck’s sake to make things worse – a fake moon landing. What a pain in the arse – and I’m not talking about any alien anal probing here.
I really enjoyed the “normal” X-Files when they’re chasing flesh-eating monsters, homicidal poltergeists and demons in bad, latex body-suits. And I loved the occasional funny episode where they took the piss out of themselves. If Series 11 is just going to be some garbled, over-complicated unravelling of the big “conspiracy”, it’s going to suck. Because the writers have already written themselves into a corner. I don’t care. I reckon the majority of X-Files fans don’t care. We just want more Loch Ness monsters, creepy shit hiding in the walls and light switches that never work when you need them.
But hey, hopefully I’m wrong – and I’ll be watching it regardless with my tinfoil beanie on and wooden vampire stake close to hand.
If you’re interested in zombie stuff, coming back from the Dead, ghosts, ghouls and shit that goes bump in the night, you might like to try my horror stories. The link to the first in a series (so far) of six is below. They’re all available in audiobooks too.
Take away the mustache and…yep, he still looks like a psychopathic, meglomaniac, genocidal dictator. Never mind, worth a try.
I’m going to break all the rules and do a blog about Hitler. In fact, I’m even planning to mention Hitler and Foxtel in the same sentence (ah… actually, I just did already). But not quite how you’d imagine this will work.
We recently signed up for Foxtel’s satellite service—and I’ll be blogging about that next time. Our problem is diminishing television reception. Because we live in the country, and among the picturesque hills and valleys of south west Western Australia—our television reception is utter crap thanks to the increasing number of neighbours and their bloody trees. Nothing short of some clandestine, late-night chain-sawing will fix the issue or a really, really big antennae will cost a fortune without necessarily guaranteeing it will work. Foxtel, on the other hand, at its lowest “bundle” presents a reasonably cheap alternative with limited free-to-air channels included.
So what’s this got to do with Hitler?
At the risk of angering some people, I’m going to suggest Hitler and the Nazi’s tyrannical, murderous, despicable reign of genocidal terror had a couple of positives.
First, Hitler and his whole gang of Nazi followers have provided for the world of fictional action and spy films, and books, the most politically-correct villain ever. Think about it. Most of fiction’s Really Bad Guys risk a backlash of people whinging that you’re marginalising a minority—like serial killers and those Nigerian guys on the phone. And next you’re expected to apologise to somebody about something. But if your Really Bad Guy is a Nazi, everyone’s cool about it. A sort of, “Yeah, fair enough”. No one complains, Nazi villains are always no-risk, politically correct evil dudes. Just look at the helmets worn by storm troopers—sorry, star troopers—in Star Wars. They ain’t baseball caps, folks.
Second, Hitler and the entire Nazi empire have provided endless grist for the documentary film industry. Without Adolf and his jackbooted lads there would be no SBS, let alone a History Channel. Foxtel’s “Documentary” package would collapse. There are documentaries about Hitler’s childhood, his politics, his shoes, his girlfriend, his dogs, his favourite pudding and that he wore his undies inside-out for luck before every invasion… alright, I made that last one up. But Hitler and Nazi documentaries are an industry all of its own, employing thousands of people over the decades. I’ll admit, I’m interested in this stuff. It was, for want of a more compassionate description, a fascinating period in history.
Now, you’d expect the first prerequisite for any documentary about Germany and World War Two is that the actor playing The Great Dictator should actually, at least vaguely, fucking resemble Hitler a bit, right?
Nope, apparently not.
It’s not like we don’t know what Adolf looked like. Okay, he doesn’t have a Twitter account (I hope, I’m not going to check) but there are plenty of pictures and movies. It’s not difficult to research what Hitler looked like.
Despite this blatant and easily accessible information, documentary producers insist on casting just any old noddy as Adolf and sticking a silly mustache on them. It’s like the mustache is all it takes.
Last week on Foxtel it was the “Battle of the Bulge” story. Hitler, planning his last great offensive, resembled Mr Spock with a Mars Bar glued to his top lip. Then it was “Nazi Megastructures” and Adolf, unhappy with the price of concrete at the Berlin DIY store, was possibly Meg Ryan—the mustache may have been real. Seriously, it’s like documentary film makers believe that Denzel Washington can do Hitler, as long as they stick a stupid mustache on his face.
How hard can it be to find an actor who at least roughly resembles Adolf? A bit short, a bit lined in the face, a bad comb-over… most of the judges in MasterChef will do the trick. Fucking Yoda is closer than some of these so-called Hitler doppelgangers. It’s ridiculous, annoying, historically inaccurate and just plain lazy on the producer’s part.
There should be some kind of test. Show the producers pictures of Kanye West, Donald Trump and Walt Disney. Ask them which one looks most like Hitler. Anyone who picks Walt Disney should get fired.
By the way, one of my horror books, Footprints in the Snow, is based in World War Two and during the Battle of the Bulge. It’s got your standard, nasty, homicidal Nazi sergeant and a ghostly abbey in the middle of a snowbound forest. But if you want real evil, wait until you meet the Mother Superior and the rest of the nuns.
It’s not free, but give me a break. At US$2.99 it’s only slightly more than the budget allocated for Adolf Hitler lookalikes in Foxtel’s History Channel documentaries.
Follow this link to the right page and scroll down for the book.
My latest release in the Horror Story series is out and available at Amazon. At 75 pages it’s not exactly “short” as I keep saying these stories should be, so you’re getting a bargain. Here’s the blurb behind the book.
It was just an old bed — rather ordinary, bought for the spare room. Except that a hundred years earlier a woman called Rose, who practiced in the occult and dark magic, slept in it. Now Rose’s unhappy spirit comes as part of the deal – Rose’s angry ghost comes with the bed. That’s not what you’d call a bargain.
Angela and Nathan are a young couple, married only two years before, both of them professionals. They’re happy and in love, although the pressures of modern life can be challenging some days. The antique bed is just right for the spare room in their expensive apartment.
Rose’s spirit doesn’t like happy marriages unless you’re prepared to wed the Devil.
Sleeping in the bed promises erotic dreams with perfect lovers — more passionate and daring than your wife, more considerate and satisfying than your husband. Before long, the dreams are much better than reality.
Three’s a crowd in any relationship even when one person is already dead.
Readers please note: This story contains some strong sex scenes that aren’t common in my previous Horror Story releases.
I love space shit. Fill the screen with cool-looking planets and spaceships and stuff, and I’m happy as an alien pig in extra-terrestrial crap. We don’t really need to mess up any of the plot with too much explanation of how all this quantum-physics impossible shit can happen — you know, faster than light travel and super-secret space stations that no one notices. We can ignore all that.
But the movie Interstellar seriously tested my patience.
Not because of the script or storyline — which does have its weird moments. Example? Okay, like the incredibly sophisticated robot/droid thing that looks like a Coke vending machine and can pretty much do anything, but NASA still needs a top-gun human pilot for its last remaining spaceship to “fly” it properly using a little joystick thingy.
No, Interstellar pissed me off because I spent 2 1/2 hours asking myself, “What the fuck did Matthew McConaughey just say?” Between the indecipherable southern drawl and the “I’m so cool I’m never going to raise my voice even when the whole world is turning to shit” delivery I spent most of the movie trying to hear what McConaughey was saying. The useless mumbling bastard needs subtitles — damn! Why didn’t I think of that last night? Sod it, no — sub-titles annoy me.
And then, to really get up my nose, it took headphones and about five rewinds to figure out what Michael Caine was whispering on his death bed scene (sorry, but that’s not really a spoiler) — only to discover it didn’t make sense anyway. Caine gasps and gurgles that apparently the whole thing didn’t have to happen (or something) and Smelly McConaughey (a few years back one of his co-stars complained he never uses deodorant) was on a wild goose chase. Which is utterly at odds with all the urgency and drama powering the story up to that point. But okay, maybe McConaughey muttered something earlier that explains this better and I missed it.
Matt Damon makes a fat appearance as a stranded astronaut on another planet. It’s only a small role in the overall movie and obviously allowed him to spend more time in the catering tent. Otherwise, existing alone on a remote planet at the other end of the universe is apparently a good way to pack in the calories.
And the ending? No surprise that there seems to be a blatant device for a sequel, but perhaps not. Maybe the director just said, “We’d better stop there, the audience will have had enough by now”. No argument from me.
Tonight it’ll be “Oblivion” with Tom Cruise running around some planet and carrying lots of big-arse guns. Or maybe they’re normal-sized guns and just look big, because Tom Cruise is such a short arse? I’ll let you know.
By the way, if you’d like to see my own efforts at a space shit story, check out Ghost Beyond Earth. Here’s a link to my web page and it’s available as an ebook. Lots of readers reckon it’s science fiction, others say it’s space opera, but I’ve always insisted it’s a ghost story — with a particularly nasty zombie-like dude included, too.
Really, it’s a ghost story.
This is the now-famous Cooper Family ghost photograph. I’m fascinated by pictures like these. Years ago I borrowed a book from the library called (something like) “350 Famous Ghost Photographs” and it contained – no surprises – 350 pictures of ghosts, fairies (Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was a big believe in fairies or “faeries”) ectoplasms and lots of other paranormal stuff. This picture wasn’t one of them, but the concept behind the book was interesting. Every photograph included was, to the photographer’s knowledge, genuine. In other words, they may well have been the victim of some kind of hoax, but the person who took the picture believed it to be real. With that in mind, it only needs just one of those pictures to be genuine and ghosts exist – and at odds of 350 to 1 what’s the chances…? Actually, you can apply the same thinking to UFO sightings. Really, is every single UFO sighting over the past, let’s say even just a hundred years, completely false? Every… single… one? (Hmm… worth another post I think)
Anyway, one of the pictures in that book prompted my short story called “The Girl In The Back Seat” a totally creepy photograph of a family that got lost driving to friend’s house. They used a pay-phone to call and ask directions, so their hosts were waiting in the driveway to take a photo of their arrival. When the picture was developed, a ghostly girl was sitting in the back seat. It’s the kind of innocent, utterly out-of-the-blue ghost photo that has infinitely more credibility than any team of ghost hunters running around haunted castles.
So what do you think of this one? The background story is distorted and retold by countless websites – many debunking the picture, some suggesting it’s real. Basically, it was a straightforward family photo that proved very, very different when it was developed. Is it a hoax by someone? Well, you’d have to say it’s an imaginative one. Hardly your standard “unexpected ghost in the background” picture.
I think it could be real and no amount of 21st century internet analysis about “wrong” shadows or angles and can lessen the impact of its original form. What possibly caused the hanging man is another debate altogether. Bottom line for me is that they are simply too many of these incidental ghost photographs for each and every one of them to be a hoax. They can’t all be fake – one of them must be real. Just one, remember? Maybe it’s this one?
Buy At Amazon US $0.99
The Hangman’s Ghost
I’ve released a new horror story, called Horror Story Volume V: The Hangman’s Ghost. This book is more like what I’ve been planning for these stories – shorter, traditional tales of ghosts, evil spirits… you know the sort of thing. As the latest in the series you can buy it for just US $0.99. I’m always keen on feedback about my books. Bring it on!
Here’s the new Momentum cover for Voices of Evil. The general storyline is about a man who is haunted by ghosts of Gallipoli soldiers, so you can see how Momentum have layered in images from the trenches and the sniper’s crosshairs on the skull. Awesome!