Monday, November 17, 2008

I Prompted A Post From Alex

On Murderati, Alex has posted an expanded response to a comment I made on her blog. Go here to read the full post and go here to read the initial post, comment, and response.

It's got me thinking, which could also come under the title of procrastinating.

I'm thinking about what stories, books and movies, are in my all-time favourite list, and more importantly why.

I'm going to have to go back and rewatch/read these again to better break them down but so far my pathetically short list goes something like this:

Somewhere In Time

This has always been number one for me. An emotional sci-fi flick with a beautiful musical score and wonderful characters - particularly Jane Seymour (although I had a huge thing for her so I may be biased).


Both the book and the film but for different reasons. In the book, I felt a kindred spirit for the writer, but in the movie I was more strongly attracted to Anne Wilkes. Not in a physical sense, but as the character who made a bigger emotional impact on me.


Only the first movie. A classic good versus evil with lots of dark undertones for both characters throughout.

The Return of Count Yorga

This was released in 1971 but I didn't see it until 1982 when I was an impressionable 14 year old. A friend and I were only just beginning to get into horror books and our parents allowed us to stay up and watch a horror marathon. It was the first film that really scared me.

Bram Stokers Dracula

Again full of sexual undertones, dark topics, larger than life characters, and good versus evil conflicts.


Yes, I mean the big Hollywood flick with Leonardo and Kate. My wife and I love it. Yes, I guess I can be just a big softy at heart. But I also love the underlying conflicts between Jack and Rose, Jack and Rose's mother, between Rose and her mum, between Rose, Jack and Hartley, and then there's the whole issue of knowing the ship is going down at some point in the flick and then all the action and emotion when it does. And the screen shot of the woman in the white dress floating under the central dome just after the priest finishes his sermon as Jack and Rose rush toward the back of the ship: "Jack, this is where we first met", gets me every time with its calmness and beauty in the middle of such chaos and destruction.

Romeo & Juliet

The linked to movie version, the original play, and a version I saw the state theatre company do where the only set was a couple of huge red curtains. The play on words, the classic love found and lost, the conflict between families, the humour, the tragedy.

So there's my first seven, but I need to expand things. I am very much a person who picks up a book or enters a movie theatre ready to be entertained and willing to immerse myself into the story to allow that to happen. In other words, I'm willing to put in a little effort to ensure I enjoy the experience, I'm not someone who grabs a book or goes to a movie and expects to be entertained, kind of like a heckler in the front row of a comedic performance.

But now I have a start to a list, I need to be able to break down the titles on it. It seems to me I enjoy conflicts at different levels within a story, both within a scene and at the over all plot level. I like it to be relatively fast paced but not break-neck. I want to be able to digest what's going on.

I like a little bit of humour and probably a little bit of irony.

I like a sexual undertone - preferably subtle. Occasionally in your face type stuff but I'm a big believer that a woman should only hint at her womanly charms.

Now surprisingly in this initial list, there is no children specific stories. True the women in Dracula would be teenagers, but in that day and age, they were regarded as adults. Rose was only 17 but again classed as an adult. Same again with Romeo and Juliet.

I considered books by John Saul, but have found on rereading them. I didn't get as much from them as I did when I read them as a teenager. Other books under consideration would be: Carrie; The Omen; Books of Blood; Pet Semetary. (Yeah, I like horror - is that really a surprise?)

I gained some enjoyment from other blockbuster movies such as MIB, Final Destination, SAW I, Nightmare on Elm Street I, Armageddon, and lots of others, but I'm looking for books or movies which have had a lasting effect on me, because that's what I want to do with my books - have a lasting effect on my readers.

Lets see of you can help jog my memory. What books and movies are in your top ten lists? And more importantly, why?


  1. How about Richard Laymon's books? He is (or was - he is dead now) one of my favourite horror writers. He really gets in touch with your inner sociopath.

    Movies - Saving Private Ryan, Heat, Clockwork Orange, Logan's Run, Star Wars (the first one - not the later rubbish), Aliens I and II, Rocky, Predator, and The Life of Brian.

  2. I haven't read Laymon - but I will now.

    An interesting and diverse list. I'll admit to having some of them close to my top ten list as well.

    Logan's Run is a good one. I'm going to have to go back and break that one down - good movie.

    Thanks David - hope India is being kind to you.