Movie: Saturn 3 (1980)

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Saturn 3. 

 

It’s funny, my memory is terrible. I can’t always remember what day of the week is, or what I walked into the room for. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve picked up something I was looking for and looked under it in an attempt to find it. I can usually remember my kid’s birthday, but I almost always get the year wrong. My dad was a heavy pot smoker, so I blame genetic damage for my memory issues. Or it could just be my forties….  That being said, I can describe for you in detail, the first time I saw Saturn 3. I wasn’t in the living room, it was in the family room off the dining room. I was watching it on the grey 25 inch color TV that sat on the wooden table in front of the window to the side porch. I’d say I watched it from the brown rocking chair, but that would be a lie. I actually watched it from either behind the rocking chair, or standing in the dining room looking back around the corner at the TV.

 

As a kid, only a handful of movies scared me like Saturn 3 did, and I can remember each and every one of them so vividly. I can look at Saturn 3 and slip back thirty plus years to watch it again through those child’s eyes. I can still feel the fear, my heart jumping as the robot Hector walked out onto the screen. Most of the rest of the movie disappears into a haze of time, pieces parts and images that spark recognition. But Hector… Every moment Hector is on the screen is burned into my mind. 

 

Before I get too much further, let’s set that child’s fear on the back burner and talk about the movie itself.

 

The movie stars Farrah Fawcett and Kirk Douglas as two scientists/farmers living on the third moon of Saturn. They live alone and are testing ways to produce food for an earth that has succumbed to pollution. At one point Alex, played by Farrah comments that she would love to breath outside air, and Douglas quips that by now their probably isn’t any air left on earth to breath. Douglas plays Adam, the ageing scientist who is fighting against the coming future, trying to hide away on his little moon with the innocent Alex almost literally half his age. He is the grizzled old man and she is the innocent, inquisitive youth, fascinated by the future ahead.

 

Adam’s struggle against the future becomes real with the arrival of Harvey Keitel, a dubbed Harvey Keitel mind you. This isn’t a spoiler, but the movie literally begins with a murder. Benson, Keitel’s character, starts the movie by murdering the man who was really supposed to go to Saturn, he then replaces him and slips away in his shuttle before anyone is the wiser. With him he brings progress made shape and form in the behemoth Hector. Hector is an eight foot tall unstoppable Frankenstein monster made of chrome and wire. Hector though is mindless, he is a child with no thoughts of his own. That is until Benson begins to teach him and plants his own thoughts, and his own deeds. In a way, Hector begins to become Benson.

 

Hector is the future, come to make Adam obsolete.

 

The movie is pretty heavy handed in its metaphor. We literally have a 63 year old man trying to hold onto the beauty of youth while fighting off the oncoming storm of progressive. We are never given any back story for anyone, we don’t know why Adam has turned his back on earth, and it really isn’t important. They tell us enough, they don’t feel the need to spell it all out ham-fisted.

 

Everyone plays their part well. Whoever cast Farrah and Kirk deserves kudo’s. Farrah is the embodiment of innocent beauty, and Kirk IS that tough old man full of machismo rallying against his coming obsolesces. Keitel… His performance is hard to judge. He comes off wooden, but that’s the character. He is the embodiment of the cold detached future. At one point he even goes as far as to ask to “use” Farrah’s body for his enjoyment. It’s hard to really gage his performance since they literally dubbed his voice with the voice of another.

 

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The effects and the sets are phenomenal. The seventies had their own special plastic version of the future that blended well with the neon highlights of the coming eighties. The Station itself looks like something that could exist in someday. The movie feels like it’s something that is in the realm of possibility.

 

Which brings us back to that child standing in the dining room looking around the wall as Hector takes center stage. The movie looks and feels like it’s something that could possibly happen. Yes, the Terminator is a more serious looking bad guy, but I know I’m not going to run into a robot that travels through time. Hector looks like something someone could create. He feels like something that could someday walk the earth.

 

The moment as a kid, that almost proved too much for me, and is part of the reason this movie haunts me to this day happens about the midpoint of the film. And no, I’m not going to talk about Kirk Douglas nude scene. I’m going to get a slight bit spoilery here, so be warned. At the midpoint of the movie, they realize that Hector is out of control. They realize they need to stop the half crazed robot who is full of lust for our sweet Farrah. So they stop him. They overload him, knock him out, take him into the workshop and takes him apart.

 

Then it gets scary. Then the part that frightened me so much as a kid. The robot, defeated and in pieces suddenly comes to life. It lights up and begins to send message to the machinery around him and Hector actually puts himself back together. As a kid, that blew my mind. I didn’t know how to take it. I will always remember that moment. I will always remember Hector putting himself together.

 

I don’t want to give anything away, but their some imagery later on that always haunted my dreams as well. When Hector begins his evolution to the next stage. That image has always gotten me.

 

Saturn 3 will hold a very special spot for me. There are very few films that I can say truly scared me. Saturn 3 hit me at just the right spot and introduced thoughts and fears into my head that I had never before imagined. To me, it will always remain a classic.

 

 

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Poetry: Diary of A Madman. The Poetic Prose of Joseph L Zbiegien.

 

Poetry: Diary of A Madman. The Poetic Prose of Joseph L Zbiegien.

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So, I took a small break and it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written anything here. I have a couple of irons on the fire, but I though in meantime I’d tide my one fan over with something a little different. Instead of talking about a movie, or putting up another story, I’m going to take a small trip down emo memory lane.

I know what you’re thinking, Gee Joe, you were pretty goth and Emo when you were a teenager, I bet like all self-absorbed teens you wrote some pretty epically bad poetry. And you would be right! Thankfully, I’m fortunate enough to still have one of my two poetry notebooks. The first one was lost to the memory of an ex-girlfriend, but I thought I’d share some pieces from the second.

Now, before I begin, I want to point a few things out. For one thing, I worked exclusively free form when it came to poetry. So don’t expect any of this to fit any format. Also, I was a pretentious little twit. When I signed my name I put flourishes in it and I felt every word I wrote was high art. Spoiler Alert, it wasn’t. And remember my comment a paragraph back about being an Emo Goth, Oh boy. Some of this is really awful.

So I’m not sharing this for you to go “Oh my god, that Poetry is so good”, because it isn’t. This is adult me looking at the overly self-absorbed kid I used to be and laughing at myself. So feel free to laugh along. I plan on doing this from time to time, because I have a couple hundred poems in this notebook.

Keep in mind, I decided to keep all grammatical and spelling mistakes as is.

So without further ado, a selection of Poetry from….

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– Living Room Sofa –

Face Down on the living room sofa.

I Tried to eat, I tried to Drink.

They are gnawing on the insides of my eyelids.

Face Down on the Living Room Sofa

I tried to live I tried to sing.

They are gnawing on the insides of my eyelids.

Face Down on the Living room sofa,

I tried to think I tried to scream.

They are gnawing on the insides of my eyelids.

Face Down on the living room sofa,

I tried to run and I tried to play.

They are gnawing on the insides of my eyelids.

Face down on the living room Sofa,

Face down on the living room sofa.

-jlz-

 

-alone-

As I Sleep, I search for you.

My Mind Cannot rest until I find you.

I wish I had you here.

To fill the Hole in my life.

My Soul is empty.

My Heart is Shattered.

My will to live has gone.

I reach out to you in the night.

My Hand returns empty.

I kiss you in the Darkness.

My lips remain Dry.

I grab you in the night.

My arms remain Empty.

My life remains a lone.

-jlz-

 

-two-

I have two feet.

I use them to walk.

I have two eyes.

I use them to see.

I have two lips,

I use them to talk.

I Have two kidneys,

I use them to Pee.

If so much comes in twos,

Why am I only one?

-jlz-

 

-Schrek-

I feed on the living,

I drink there blood.

My Body is alive and vital,

My soul is dray and dead.

I hunt them in the night,

To satisfy my thirst.

Your pain is my sustenance

Your fear is my feast.

I will find you,

I will drink you soul.

Soon, you will be like me,

A mad man in the night

-jlz-

 

-empty spaces-

This empty space is bothering me.

So I guess I’ll put something here.

It has to be short,

For I’m almost out of room.

It should be fraught with meaning,

Even though it’s really just filler.

I’m almost done so what I write here

It will have no meaning.

It will be just like me,

Filler.

-jlz-

 

 

-my poems-

Me poems are bad

And me stanza’s suck

Sometimes they rhyme,

But that’s really only luck.

Normally they’re really stinky,

But occasionally they are okay.

I can hardly write them,

They make me feel up tight.

I never claimed to be a poet,

I just like to write.

I’m sorry if they are bad

That really makes me sad.

It may be the lose writing them,

But at least I’m not the one with nothing better to do then read them.

-jlz-

 

And finally!!! The Ultimate in Emo Goth poetry, a small treatise on the meaning of life and my place in it, exactly as it exists in its paper form.

 

– Meaning in my life-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-the end-

-jlz-

 

 

I hope someone got some enjoyment out of my bad poetry. I didn’t even scratch the surface. I have literally hundreds of them, so I may pop them up again from time to time. Who knows, I may accidentally even post a good one…..  But I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

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Movie: Unhinged (1982)

Unhinged. 1982.

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The 1982 film Unhinged is an example of a film I bought based purely on cover art. The DVD box art features the face of a beautiful girl with cold, empty, lifeless eyes, looking out at us, her face splattered with bright red blood, the kind of blood that couldn’t exist in reality. The back of the box proudly announces that it contains Nudity, Violence, Language, and finally, Disturbing Themes! I must admit, disturbing are my favorite types of themes. The box also proudly boasts that Unhinged outsold Poltergeist before getting banned. If the back of the box is to be believed, the English Parliament actually banned the film and it was removed from shelves worldwide due to its graphic violence and full nudity!

Now I ask you, how could I have passed that up? Spoiler alert, I couldn’t!

Our cinematic experience lives up to some of its promise fairly quickly. Right at the beginning of the movie, just after the opening credits, we have brief shower scene that serves no purpose other than to show the audience how clean our main character can be. She’s so clean in fact later she showers again with her friend during some exposition dialogue. The second shower is hilarious. They were sitting in bed having a conversation, then all of a sudden fully nude and wet for no purpose what so ever. The term gratuitous has rarely been so aptly used. If I were to be honest with myself for a moment, I’d admit that I wish they hadn’t put the nudity in. It serves no real purpose and comes off very clinical and needless.

Unhinged begins with three college friends leaving home for a small road trip. For a movie with a run time of an hour and nineteen minutes we spend an unusual amount of time watching our cast drive through the woods. I want to take a moment to point my out the Shinning esque helicopter shot that follows the girls along the twisty wooden road. I imagine they either blew most of the budget on that scene, or someone who owned a helicopter owed someone a favor.

A car accident forces our trio of collegiate scholars off the road into a ditch. When they wake up they find themselves in a strange mansion in the middle of the woods, a mansion that is home to an old handicapped women her daughter. The storm that caused their accident in the first place, has blocked the roads, and the mansion has no phone. Our cast is now trapped in the house in the middle of the woods, waiting for the change to go home.

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It’s interesting to notate, that the cast is almost entirely female. We have two men, but they are much smaller side roles and play no real part of in the movie. The real focus of the movie is watching the dynamic between spinsterly daughter Marion and her mother. The movie reminds me in some ways of a gender reversed Psycho. While mother is still alive, Marion very much feels like the brow beaten sexually repressed Norman, stuck under the thumb of an overwhelming mother figure. Marion even resembles him physically. She’s long and thin, she seems uncomfortable in her own skin. Unhinged oozes sexual repression from its pores, and Marion is the centerpiece. Janet Penner delivers an excellent performance.

The rest of the cast, beyond Marion, aren’t the best actresses and at times come off a little wooden, but it’s not really an issue. The way the characters are written and performed they actually all come off pretty realistic. The feel like they could be real, normal people.

The movie looks and feels like a spiritual cousin to films like Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave. It’s not a rape revenge movie in anyway, nor is it that exploitative. It just shares a cinematic vibe with those movies, it looks and feels all three could happen in the same universe. There is another movie that this would go along with great, but I’m not going to tell you what that is. It would spoil the ending.

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This isn’t the disturbingly violent gore film that the back of the box promises. It’s something else. Somehow it manages to straddle the line between subtly and exploitation. The cast is small, so there aren’t that many kills, but the ones we get are brutal and filled with a satisfying amount of bright red exploration film blood. The infrequency of the kills help to make the ones we get seem even more powerful because they seem out of place with the film around them. The movie tries to be something beyond what it its exploitative box wants you to think it is. It’s actually a well-paced, psychological film with momentary gasps of brightly colored violence. The movie slowly builds to an ending that seemingly comes out of nowhere, but makes so much sense. It’s very easy to toss in a twist ending that you haven’t earned that just shocks for the sake of shock. Unhinged though, very much earns its ending.

I’m not going to say that this movie is for everyone. If you are looking for the movie on the box, you are going to be sorely disappointed. It moves at a slow pace, but builds a really nice atmosphere while doing. It doesn’t use every minute of its small time, because some of the scenes do seem a little drawn out. But again, it just adds to the mood and helps put you off kilter.

Unhinged could have easily fallen prey to the movies baser sentiments. Had it tried to be that movie from the back of the box, I don’t think it would have worked nearly as well. Its story would have become lost in the blood and sex of that movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with those movies, I have and love tons of those movies. Unhinged though, it’s something else. It’s hard to classify. Whatever it is though, whatever you want to call it, and the end of the day I think it’s just a good movie.

Movie: Friday the 13th, A New Beginning.

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I have a pretty clear memory of watching most of the Friday the 13th films as they came out. I remember being pretty excited for part five, especially after what ten year old me thought was a pretty good showing with part 4. I remember getting into an argument with someone in the playground over it. They were convinced that Jason was dead and no way would he come back for more. I held fast that they were crazy. Of course we were going to get a part five, only Tommy was going to be the killer…. I mean, you saw the end of part four, its obvious right?? What other direction could they go!

 

Then we saw the first trailer for part five and I walked onto the playground a vindicated man, granted one who still got beat up for being a smart ass.

 

When a New Beginning finally hit VHS, I rented it immediately. It was a Saturday afternoon, I sat down in front of the TV, notebook open. See, when I was younger I kept a movie journal. I wrote down the name of the movie, and as each character died I wrote down there character names and how they died. I had hundreds of movies logged. I wish I still had that notebook, no idea what happened to it.

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I sat patiently through the whole movie, enjoying all the right parts, cheering at the end, because obviously this means they are giving us what we all thought this was going to be in part 6, right! I clearly remember the credits coming up and I hit rewind, my first thought was, “yea, I don’t think I need to see any more Jason movies”.

 

It wasn’t that I disliked the movie, I didn’t. I actually rather liked it at the time. it was just that something always felt off, and it wasn’t what you’re thinking it was. I actually never had that big of a problem with that.

 

As I got older, and rewatched the movie over and over again, I began to see that part five was just different. I began to notice how out of place this film felt with the others in the series.  It gets pointed out again and again that this is a mean spirited movie, and it is, but that isn’t it either. I rather enjoy the films meanness and dark sense of humor. That whole opening with Vic and Joey is fantastic. And the exchange with Roy and the Sheriff? Priceless.

 

The thing is, for whatever reason, they make such odd choices in this film. It’s really bizarre the characters they decide to follow and how everything unfolds. The leather lads, the cocaine scene, the strange neighbor. Each one is just a little more bizarre then the one before them.

 

Yes we have Jason, the hockey mask, and every so often the machete, but that’s really it. They leave any semblance of Crystal Lake and instead follow a grown up Tommy who is now in a mental ward. Instead of stalking teens, a good number of the kills are either adults or seemingly random bystanders who just happened to break down in the wrong place.

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And the kids we do have, well… It’s not really clear how old any of them are. They don’t flat out say that it’s a home for children, so they could all easily be in their twenties. For the most part, none of them fit the stereotype that most of these characters usually fit in. It’s an odd mix. From the stutter to the goth in training, to the bully and the fat kid. They all felt out of place, like they wandered in from other movies.

 

Speaking of wandering in from another movie… I have to bring up Ethel and Junior. I don’t think it would be possible to make a more over the top character then Ethyl. She just chews up the screen every time she walks into frame. It’s a pleasure to see her go, but she’s just as much fun as we wait for it to happen.

 

The kills are mostly good, a few odd ones. Stabbing the guy in the stomach with the stick always seemed off, but still good. My favorites here will always be the belt and the tree, and junior driving around in circles pitching a fit. Great kill and I laugh every time.

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Speaking of Jason, let’s talk about Jason. If you haven’t seen this installment of the series, big spoiler, Jason ain’t in it! Instead we have an imposter ruining around with a knock off mask and a dime store machete. A lot of people disliked that, but I never had an issue with it, even though it does lead to the biggest issue with the film.

 

Before this, Jason seemingly died twice and came back. We really are never given any real reason not to assume that this isn’t just Jason, dodging death once again. The movie even begins with an opening dream sequence that Implanted in your mind the idea that Jason could come back. The movie is filled with red herrings about who is really in the mask, but they are useless. They are useless because we are never given any reason to pay attention to them. Instead you just get annoyed that we are hanging on the weird old farm hand for two long, never realizing they were setting him up to be a suspect.

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This movie got so much better to me on repeat viewings. It has a dark sense of humor and follows all the tropes of a slasher film, without being confined by them.. Maybe don’t watch this on a marathon, It stands pretty well on its own. When I first saw the movie as a kid, I chaffed against the parts of the movie that didn’t fit in, and now those moments are what I celebrate most about it. It’s a unique film in the saga, some will say that’s a good thing, others will disagree. Personally I think it’s a nice bridge between Jason’s two eras.

Book 1: The Prologue.

A few months ago i started playing a little fifth edition D&D with a friend, and as part of that i wrote myself a short character history. It got my imagination sparked and got me thinking about back in the old days when i used to DM… Sorry if that lowered anyone’s opinions of me, but i wear my DM badge proud.

As a DM, i never used canned worlds that some one else created. I always created my own. That was always one of my favorite parts. Creating my own worlds. The fun part about being self published, is why stick to just one genre? I love creating worlds, so as i’m working on my horror stories for the next book, why not run a fantasy world next to it?

My world doesn’t have a name yet, but it is coming. Since I’ve already shared the character history that started it, i thought i’d throw my Prologue out into the world to see what people think. It’s essentially the legend of how my fantasy world was created and few drops hinting at things to come. If you like it, please comment and let me know.

Keep in mind, all titles, and some names, are subject to change, and this likely isn’t the final version of this.

 

THE NAMELESS WORLD: BOOK 1

The Edge of Nothing.

Prologue.

With whispered tongues the old ones say that our world was built upon the bloated corpse of the world that came before it. As they say it, the time before now had been a time ravaged by war and destruction, plagued by a sickness called Hate that consumed gods and mortals’ a like. It was not a random sickness, guided by the whims of the winds. Instead it was guided by the blood-soaked hands of a Dark Prophet with no name. This Prophet created his bible of hate and spoke his gospel of despair, like a worm, into the ears of all who would stop and listen.

Like the disease hate truly is, It infected every soul it passed. It turned brothers against brother turned Mothers against Daughter, gods against god. In his footsteps sprung a river of bile that seeped into the water ways and brought blooms of death to deserts on which our cities and forests once stood.  Feast and famine followed him like loyal jackals begging to be fed.

Darkness of that kind, it does not go unnoticed.

The tales say that the goddess who holds all of existence in her hands called forth a great conference. She gathered all the gods together in the Tower of Sky, high above the world, looking down on Mortality. The god of Sunlight and god the god of Night, stood shoulder to shoulder with minor gods. Gods like the god of warm cupcakes and the God of A Cool summer Breeze Across a Sweaty Brow. For the first time, since before the darkness of history began, they stood together, each given an equal say in what was to come. Together they looked down upon the world, and together, one by one, after a parlay that shook the stars from the sky, they voted on what was to come.

Gods, no matter how great, are innately petty creatures. They looked upon this Mortal that was slowly becoming one of them, this Prophet, and instead of trying to stop him they let the poison of pride cloud their judgement. Never could he be as great as they were. In their eyes, he was not an aberration, but a figurehead for all mortal kind. Almost unanimously, they judged mortality and found us wanting.

Together they decided it was time to leave this world, and leave mortality to suffer and die out.

Almost unanimously. Almost. Almost, they say. For the vote was Beyond the imagination of man for, and only two against. Two, small, minor gods against forever. Two minor gods standing against the pillars that created reality. One was named Peace, and his eternal Lover we call Hope.

Still, It was decided. So, the great goddess opened a doorway back to where they came from before this failed experiment and one by one the gods left the world of violence never to return. As the last gods left this existence the goddess walked to well of life, and using all her might, she closed the well so that the waters would no longer flow. Given time, this world would now die of spiritual dehydration. Every last soul, the Prophets included would whiter and eventually die.

This world would be empty again. Then perhaps, they would return and start anew.

As she turned to leave though, she saw that not all of the gods had left. The god of peace had stayed behind, his face streaked with tears. Standing at the Edge of Nothing looking out at the world below. He was watching something. The Goddess turned her eye one last time upon the world she was about to abandon, she wanted to see what it was that had caught the young god’s eyes. She wanted to see what had moved him so. For a moment, they stood together and watched.

It was a man. To them, a tiny man, oh so far away. The man cried together with the god watching from the darkness. The man huddled in a corner, locked in a burning room, broken sword in one hand. In his other arm, what was obviously a child, cradled away from the fires. From when the gods were standing, they could tell that the child had long since passed. The smoke had taken him, but the man did not know. His death to was close. Thankfully it would not be the fire, but just like the boy his eyes would slowly close and he would drift away.

“How can we turn our backs on this” The minor god of peace looked at his Goddess whom holds all of reality in her hands.

“They have made their choices god of Peace.” Her voice stern like a mother scolding a lazy child. Placing a hand on his arms, she began to walk him towards the glowing doorway that the other gods had already left through. In the doorway stood the good of Hope, watching his lover, wishing that Peace would come with them, knowing in his heart that he would not.

Peace looked over his shoulder one last time and looked at the man. The Smoke had finally reached him and the man looked almost happy. He was at peace. The Goddess was right, they had made their choice, and there was nothing he could do to help. So, he reached out and did the only thing he could do. He couldn’t save him, for he was already dead. He couldn’t give him life again, and even if he could, why would the man want to live in this world? Instead he took the only thing the man still had. He took first his name and decided to take it for himself, then he took the man’s pain and sorrow and drank it like a bitter wine. Bonding with it.

It is known that gods have no name. They aren’t flesh, they aren’t blood. They are ideas. They are thoughts given strength given power. They exist only because we believe in them. By giving himself a name, even one that didn’t belong to him, the god of peace changed. He was now something more than he was, but less then he could have been.

The great Goddess Who Held the World in her hands smiled at him, for she understood. Once to, she had been a young god, so full of strength and purpose. But as time flowed, it took its toll on goddess as well as man. She was weak now, and full of fear. She had existed so long the thought of not existing filled her with a dread she could not name. Unlike the gods she led, she knew in her heart of hearts that leaving was a cold cowardly thing to do. She knew that the vote made today would someday come due, but not today.

“Hold out your hands God of Peace,” she whispered silently without words. “Julian” she spoke sensing his new name.

Without ceremony, the god that was Peace and now was simply Julian, held out his hands and the Goddess Who Once Held all of Reality in her hand, placed everything in his.  And with that charge passed, she turned and left the world behind forever without an end.

He was not yet left alone though. For a moment, still, there was one other. His partner Hope still stood in the doorway watching him, his gut torn apart by grief. Hopes hand shook as he embraced his lover. As they held each other for a time less then eternity, Hope whispered his last goodbyes into Julian’s ears, and turned, and was gone through the doorway to everything.

Sadness took hold of Julian’s Heart, for at that moment, he could see the end of the battle. He tasted his own failure. After all, Hope had left him. What chance did he have against the darkness of hate without Hope at his side?

Before he left the Tower Julian took the Great Axe down from the wall. This world two had its tales, and their legends say that the first God used that Axe to cut down the first trees and hew the first rock to create the first world on which they all sat. He didn’t know how to use it, for he was a god of peace. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, and he knew he was going to lose. But he did it anyway, because at the end of the day, he knew it was the right thing to do.

The god of Peace started by walking the battlefields and spreading his word among the lost and lonely. He talked to the masses huddled in caves crying out to his lover hope. He stood with kings in their high towers as arrows rained from the sky. He reaped the fields with the farmers to try and bring food to them all.

He fought when he had to, But he was not strong enough.

The Darkness of hate had already taken too much. It touched to many people and had destroyed to many hearts. He was after all only one god, and while very large to us, by the standards of gods, he was a very small one.

In his heart, he knew that this is not a tale of hope. It is a story of death and of tragedy.

Just when he was at his worst, just as the madness was about to take him and he was falling to his knees, his will so close to being broken. He saw him. Yet again he found what he needed in the hands of a mortal.

A small sprite, standing against an Army. His sword held high, his troops long since dead. He called to his enemy and spat in their eye. He promised death by his hand before the setting sun.  The pixie danced around ready to fight. And for what it was worth, the enemy did actually feel fear. They looked at the sprite and wondered, what did he know, what was he hiding?

Julian reached into the battlefield, and whisked the Sprite away to safety. A plan was forming, so he whispered it in the sprites ear.  He showed him the road to the Tower of Sky and recounted his trip so that the Sprite would know where to find them.

All of them.

The sprites job was to go to all those fields and caves, Keeps and farm, and lead them to the tower. With that done he was to send word to the mortals still fighting for what was right. To draw back. To come to the tower. Man, women, Dwarf, Elf, Sprite, anything. Anything that still held that small spark of goodness, anything that still had life. Anything that was just afraid to die. He was given the task of finding them all and bringing them together. He was to take them to the very tower of the Sky that the gods once called home.

If the minor god of Peace could not stop the death, perhaps he could use that door, so that the people could escape. All he needed to do, was raise his Axe and fight. Fight long enough to give them the time to gather. Then he would return, then he would show them the way out.

As they fled the battle, he would step between them and the Armies of Hate and protect them for along as he could. No matter what the cost.

He fought with all his life and soul. He poured the pain and the sadness that he drank from each refugee as they fled past him and used it. He coated the Axe of Creation with blood and used it the bring hell upon the enemy.

For every moment foot pushed forward though, they pushed him back a mile. Yes, he was a god, but they were an army. An unending army. As the dead fell to the ground they stood up something else. They became a river of death and only the god of peace stood before them. By the time it was done, by the time he stood with the tower at his back, the world was gone. It had been smashed into pieces and the stars had melted away.

In the end, he stood before. Pieces of himself missing, floating away through the nothing. A small piece of rock, holding a tower, holding any hope left in this world. Across from him, the Prophet, his armies long since consumed to increase his power. To make him an equal to the god before him. One former god of Peace and one Prophet of Hate. All remaining life, hidden away behind them awaiting a miracle.

The Battle was quick. Julian was a former god of peace. Whatever victories he had on the battlefield, were simply because he was a god. Not because he had any ability. He didn’t know how to use the Axe as a weapon. He didn’t know how to take a life, even though he had taken so many. He wasn’t fit for this last battle. He wasn’t the hearo who could stop hate. He did what he could, he fought as hard as he knew how, but in the end…

In the end, He Lost.

The battle was over, and Julian knew he had lost. He was not strong enough to stop this wave of hate on his own. Maybe with the others, he might have stood a chance, but this…

Even by the standards of gods and mortals, the battle was quick. Seconds at most. Julian struck out with his Axe, and in one move the Prophet slide to his side and stabbed the former god of peace in the side with his poisoned dagger. Again, and again he struck until Julian fell back against the Well that once held the waters of life, his Axe fell to the ground.

Laughing to himself the Prophet picked up the axe, raised it above his head, and brought it down as hard as he could into Julian’s chest. Splitting his heart in two, the light went out in the god’s eyes, and he faded away knowing that he was a failure. At the last moment though, just as his eyes closed forever, he had one last thought.

And with that, the fight was over.

At that moment, several possible futures played through Prophets mind. You see, He was now this world Hew looked down into the palm of his hand and saw it sitting there, broken and tiny. How easy it would be to crush. How easily he could end it all.

Without a word, he turned his hand over and dumped all of existence into the voice of nothing. With hate used up, Apathy was taking hold. Stay here and rule of a dead world? Or turn, open the door himself and follow those other gods into the myriad reality’s waiting for him. It was an easy choice. Stay here and waste away, or spend eternity growing stronger, drinking the blood of his enemies.

And so, he was gone from the old world, seemingly forever.

The Prophet though, his eyes clouded by malaise, missed several small things.

The first thing he missed, was a drip. A small drip coming from a crack in the side of the well. When he struck the dead god, he did it with such force he breached the plug that blocked the waters of life. It was a small drip, but a drip would become a trickle which given time would become a river. All it needed was a little hope.  Unwittingly, the Prophet of death, the prophet of hate, the Prophet of destruction had become an agent of rebirth.

It takes a lot to kill a god. Even a small one. In his haste, that was Prophet missed that as well. The sparks of life left in Julian’s spirit were small, but the waters could fan them into embers. Given enough time, he would never be the god he once was, but he could walk the world again in a sense. That spark though, it was more than just a spirt walking the world. It was life. The water would send the broken pieces of the god out into the void and someday, they could come together. Someday they could create a new world. All it needed was a little hope.

How it was, that the Prophet missed the final, and most important event to coincide with his leaving this realm, no one will ever know. Maybe he saw it written in the pages of the future. Maybe he saw what could become of this place he left for dead and knew that with a little hope, he could have something to come back to. One last land to destroy after he tore the rest of the worlds apart.

No matter what the reason, As the door closed on the Prophets blood stained robes, he never seemed to notice the shape standing in the corner watching it all. Maybe, though, maybe the god of Hope never came through the door. Maybe he was drawn back into this reality by the very last thought to run through the god of peace’s mind. A vision of a world rebuilt. A way that it could all work again.

All they needed, was a little bit of hope.

It was his hand that pushed the Axe in just a little farther so that the water would flow. It was his hand that fanned the embers so that water could begin to heal Julian’s spirit. He was the one planted the first seeds to regrow the field.

Hope.  Hope for them all, but none left for him. No hope that his hands would intertwine with his lovers again. At that moment, he felt the change. He was turning into something else. Just like Julian had stopped being the god of peace when he took a name, Hope was changing into something else. A change, he realized, that had started the moment he refused to stand by his loves side.

If Hope didn’t initiate his own change, he could feel himself becoming regret.

First though, before he changed into his new form, one of his choosing, he had one last thing to do. Behind him, a door closed, but not forever. Should the Prophet ever come back… Using the fires of eternity, he created a lock for the door, and then he created a key. Separating them into three, for the door could not open without the lock, and the lock could not open without the key, he tossed the three out into the void.

Then, as an afterthought he looked at the Axe that had broken the form his lover, and he took that to. He tossed it as well into the void, wishing it gone forever, knowing it would not be.

His business now done, it was time for the next step.

As the waters, grew, they would eventually turn into an ocean. They would create the great ocean ring that sits at the center of this world. Upon their waves, the pieces of the old god would spread to the corners of the void. Sparked with life they would begin to gather the debris around them. Given time, they would create the two halves of this world as they exist now. Two halves of a world desperate by a ring of water, with a Tower floating between them the center of the universe.

Still, though, it took more than water and hope to create a world. It took light. And so it was, that the god who stopped being the god of Hope, finally spoke his name and become what he knew he needed to be.

Sun. He spoke his new name into the darkness and he rose into the sky to light the void. He took his place to watch from above, traveling around his lover, keeping him safe should he ever become whole and wake up once more. Until then, he would be Sun, the protector and he would bring the light of hope and peace into the hearts of all who would have him.

And that is where the tale of the old-world ends. With a dead god trying to reform and his lover watching him for eternity. It is said that the ghost peace has become wanders the new world and can be found alone at the new day sun, smiling up at his lover. Reaching up to him to pretending their fingers intertwined once again. Pretending he could feel his kiss on his forehead like the warmth of the new day sun.

Furthermore, they also say there are eight who walked that old world, that still live and walk this new one. Among them, a King who never was king, but built himself a kingdom anyway, if only one of gossamer and string. A lost warrior, never sleeping, never stopping, always walking, always searching for his lost love.  The Teacher, whom we all know, with his library stolen from the tower of Sky. A Dark Knight, a Paladin, last known follower of the now gone Prophet, searching for a Lock, a Door, and A key.

The sun of hope, now traveling around the healing ground. In its center, the tower of Sky sits. Pointing up and down both at the same time on its small little island of Rubble. The waters of life flowing from its bottom floor replenishing the great ring. The great ring of water, separating two halves of the same whole. Our world itself, exists for now in two parts.

Two halves, separate, but not alone.

With whispered tongue the old ones end their tale with a warning. A whisper of what may come. Still pieces of this world grow together and touch. Once separate, the two halves have already started to come tighter, either by tunnel of by bridge. Touching each other, finally allowing us to travel between them. The old god wants to become whole again, so even though this world is now broken in two, it used to be four, and before that eight…. Before that Countless.

Someday, it will become one.

5/10/14

J L Zbiegien.

Movie: The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone.

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It’s so very rare that I can look at an actor and remember the exact moment I fell in love with their work. Christopher Walken was in so many things and I’m sure the Dead Zone wasn’t the first movie that I had seen him in, but for me it was the one that really made me notice him and recognize what acting was. Not that he really acts here, he’s more of a force of nature then an actor. People talk about actors chewing up the scenery, and I don’t think Walken does that. He destroys the scenery. With a flash of the signature Walken smile he turns into a damn charming tornado that does things to the scenery that nobody else can do. In every moment of the movie he’s moving, and he smiling, and looking. He transcends the character of Johnny becomes something more. Something… Real. Somehow by being so over the top he takes this guy who is going through the worst things that will ever happen to him in his entire life, and makes him real. It’s a brilliant performance and one of his best. One of. Deer Hunter is my favorite Walken, but this is a close number two. When I think of Walken I picture two things in my mind. First the smile at the end of Deer Hunger, and second the black coat while hunting for Frank Dodd.

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For me, the Dead Zone is a perfect storm. One of my favorite actors in Christopher Walken, one of my favorite directors in David Cronenberg, and arguably the greatest writer of Horror fiction ever in Stephen King. It was like someone was sitting around and wanted to make a movie that would cater directly to me. Thankfully, I think it really lives up to that. It’s not my favorite movie in any of their libraries, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be.

 

When the Dead Zone came out I would have been eight. I know I didn’t see it first run, more than likely I saw it the first time a year or two later when it hit cable. I would have just started reading King when this came out. Eyes of the Dragon was my first in 84 when it was new, and I ate everything I could after that. Dead Zone the book came out in my favorite period of Kings writing. He wasn’t yet writing the epics, instead he was writing these really nice shorter, more personal works. This was the beginning of the Castle Rock connective tissue that ran through so many of his earlier works. It’s fun to point out that the book Cujo is almost a direct sequel to this. In the book the monster in the boy’s closet is real and is actually the ghost of Frank Dodd. It’s been a while since I read CUJO, but I think they even insinuate that Dodd’s ghost might be possessing the dog through the Rabies.

 

As far as Cronenberg is concerned… I really couldn’t tell you what my first one of his films was. He was one of the first directors that I noticed. I watched as things like this, and Videodrome and the Fly came out, and I always saw that Cronenber name on it, and really made me start looking at what a director was. By the time Dead Ringers came out, I was hooked and was now actively looking for movies with his name on it. It’s funny, the first directors I remember noticing and seeking out are still my favorites. Croeneberg was closely followed by Lynch, then Waters, then Argetno. Still in my top five even if they now have more compatriots then they had when I was a kid.

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One more key element of this movie that I have to mention is of course, Martin Sheen. He does such a good job. He embodies everything that type of character should be. Hess smarmy, he’s slick, he’s manages to be charming and charismatic in a bad way. This character feels like a spiritual cousin to his character in The Little Girl who Lived Down the Lane, which is my second favorite of Sheens roles behind only Apocalypse Now. Sheen really is the icing on the cake her who makes the final act so much better. The movie wouldn’t be as memorable without him.

 

Growing up I was a huge Twilight Zone fan, and that’s what this always felt like to me. An episode of the Twilight Zone that was given time to fully flesh out its characters before dealing out the consequences at the end. Like all the best Twilight Zone episodes, not so much a twist ending, but more cautionary tale. A tale of what could happen. Again like good Twilight Zone, it takes fantastic elements and makes them seem real and human.

 

I’ve always found the Dead Zone to be such a unique movie. It doesn’t feel like it follows the same structure of most movies. The three act structure is there, but the middle act feels like more. It feels like we get something extra here. It’s like they stopped in the middle of the story and just let the camera roll watching Walken move through real life while we wait for the story to catch back up to them. If head that middle portion described as slow, but I really disagree. I find nothing slow here. It moves at the pace of life. It tells a sadly beautiful story of a man whose purpose is ripped away from him, and he’s lost for a while until he finds a new purpose.

 

Not to end on a bad note… But I do have to say one thing. Sure, I opened by gushing over Walken and his performance here, but something always bugged me about it that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention… What the hell was up with that Limp??? I don’t think real people move like that.

-jlz-

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Twin Peaks: Five things I want, scratch that, NEED from the New Twin Peaks.

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Twin Peaks: Five things I want, scratch that, NEED from the New Twin Peaks.

 

I’m loathe to admit I did not watch all of Twin Peaks when it first aired. I may have watched the first episode, but I might not of, I’m not really sure. I watched episodes here or their first season, and then more regularly the next. I remember enjoying what I saw, but it was on at a really bad time for me and I wouldn’t always be home in time to watch it.

I don’t remember what it was that made me revisit the Show the first time. I think I came across a cassette tape of a couple episodes of the first season cheap and picked it up based mainly on positive vibes over what little I could actually remember of watching the show. I remember it being weird, and I was already a Lynch fan so I figured what the heck.  I don’t remember if I bought that first seven VHS set in one lump or in pieces. I just remember seeing it on the shelf of Suncoast and the Record store and drooling over it.

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If you remember or bought that set, it didn’t even carry the Pilot. You had to buy the pilot separately and it was hard to find. So when I finally started watching Twin Peaks again, I started with episode two! Then, when they put out the VHS set that included the second series, I wasn’t able to find the tapes in order. It didn’t matter to me though, I watched them as I found them. And each time I found a new tape, I rewatched the ones that came before.

The last tape was the hardest to find, so at least I finally found the pilot before I watched that last tape. Funny part though was that it was the European pilot episode that told introduced Bob and was really confusing before you know what it was. When they released they season one and two on dvd, which I bought, it didn’t even have the European pilot lest the regular one. It wasn’t until they put out the gold box that that the Pilot episode became available and I got to see it as it was broadcast.…  So yea, I bought that as well.

If you add up all m Twin Peaks purchases across all formats, at this point I’ve bought season One five times, and season two four times. Plus, I’ll grab the Blu ray of the new series when it comes out, AND I’ll probably put down the cash for the inevitable full box set.

What I’m trying to say here, is that I’ve watched Twin Peaks a lot. I speak the lines in my head before they say them, I can watch full episodes in my head. I know what the get up and go get a snack from the kitchen during the awful teen angst James road trip storyline. Yet, after all this time, my eyes still tear up when Andy finally stands up to Albert. I still feel genuine dread when Bob shows up and my heart still breaks anew every time Sarah is on the screen.

Twin peaks doesn’t feel like a show. It doesn’t feel like entertainment. I genuinely feel affection for these characters. I can’t believe I’m living in a world where I’ve gotten new Star Wars, New Evil Dead, and now new Twin Peaks. It’s almost too much.

With Star Wars and Evil Dead, I was worried, what if it wasn’t good? I don’t have that worry here. I can go over Davin Lynch’s filmography over and over again and can argue why each film is a masterpiece. He’s never let me down and I don’t expect him to this time.

That being said, this is Peaks, so the expectations are high. There are certain things I’m going to need from this. Now, I’m sure I won’t get them all, and I’m sure I’ll be happy anyway, but here goes anyway.

 

Without further Ado….

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  1. First and possibly the most important thing I need from the New Twin Peaks, is Special Agent Audrey Horne. Her character arc from the original series is the best. She starts off the spoiled little rich girl, who becomes the doe eyed, love struck Lolita, before putting her neck not for her dead friend, but to gain the attention of the man she thought she loved. Only to realize that she didn’t really need him and found the self-worth in herself that he had seen from the get go. She went on to turn away from the dark legacy of her family and with the help of John Justice Wheeler went on to become a strong bright, positive character. I’d hate to see them tear away that progress by making her nothing more than a clone of her father. I want her to take the next steps and follow Coopers footsteps and become the one person who can ultimately solve the mystery of what happened to him. Special Agent Audrey Horne.

 

  1. If you have the blu ray set and haven’t watched the supplemental material, I highly recommend you do. It has on it a special feature that bring tears to my eyes every time I watch it. It’s essentially Lynch sitting down and interviewing the Palmers. He asks them each two questions. One in character, one out of character. I don’t know if Lynch scripted there in character answers or not, but the answer Sarah gave was utterly beautiful and what I want to see from her character in the new season. She described a shell of a woman, broken by the horrible things that happened to her trying so hard to be strong, trying so hard put up a good front while reality has collapsed around her. It was so poignant and heart breaking. If the Sarah Palmer we get in the new season is the same Sarah Palmer from that two minute conversation, it’s going to be the most wonderful and heartbreaking show on television. You spend the entire two minutes wanting to reach into the TV and hold her, and comfort her. Trying to make it all right.

 

  1. This is kind of something I don’t need from the new show. I don’t need them to answer everything. The show ended on a cliff hanger. Let’s face it, the show ended on A LOT of cliffhangers. Honestly, I don’t need to know how some of those loose threads were tied. I don’t need to know how Audrey escaped from the bank. It’s enough for me to just know she did. I don’t need to know what Little Nicky is doing now. I don’t think I need to worry about this, because let’s face it, when does Lynch answer things. As the show progresses, you can answer things here and there as they pertain to what is happening, but answering questions should not be the focus of the show. I don’t need answers. I love the ending of Lost for instance because it gave me the perfect emotional ending. I prefer when you don’t answer things.

 

  1. Now, I’m going to immediately contradict myself by saying that there are two threads that need to be tied. First, and I know we’ll get this so it’s not even worth mentioning, but what happened to Cooper after bashing his head in. I’m not worried about that. I’m sure that one will get mentioned. The bigger mystery thought that needs to be solved, and this one is purely Selfish and I am probably the only one who needs the answered, but really I must know… I know…. What the fuck is up with Josie ending up the knob on the dresser drawer?? I just don’t get. I watch it over and over and over again, I don’t understand. It doesn’t make any sense to my mind… Someone please explain it to me!!!! PLEASE!!!! It has to have a reason. I can’t accept that they just did it, just because some one thought it would look cool. It has to have a reason. Every time I watch Twin Peaks, this just drives me insane.  Someone once tried to tell me that she actually committed suicide and that her soul was trapped…. Okay. I can buy that…. BUT WHY IS IT TRAPPED IN THE DWARER KNOB!!!!  Arghhh…..

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And final…

 

  1. I love these characters. I know something bad is going to happen. I know the shows likely to start with a body wrapped in plastic floating down the river and it’s very possible it’s going to be the daughter of someone we know and love. I know someone else’s family is going to break the way Sarah’s did. I know it’s what’s going to happen. It’s the basic premise of the show. The darkness that lies just underneath surface of suburban life. That being said though, ultimately what I want, what I need from this Show… Is a happy ending. I need at the end some sense that everything is going to ultimately be okay for these people that I’ve grown to love. I need to know that Andy and Lucy are going to be okay, and that Shelly will become the strong beautiful character we all know she has the potential to be. I need to know that they are all going to be okay. I know it sounds weird, but Lynch has done it before. Just look at Blue Velvet. I’ve always felt that Twin Peaks was just an extension of the ideas first presented in Blue Velvet. What our hero goes through are horrible, life changing events, but at the end they are okay. We watch them sit together at the cook out showing they came out the other side. We survived. We become better people because of it.  Life isn’t perfect, but everyone knows it’s not going to be. Everyone knows you’re going to hit some bumps. It’s okay though, you watch Blue Velvet and you know from those last images that every one’s going to be okay, as the Beatles say, Life Goes On. That’s what I need from the last episode of new Twin Peaks. I need to know that ultimately, everything’s going to be okay. Life goes on, it’s going to be hard, but at the end of the day, Harry is still Harry, Hawk is still Hawk and life’s going to be okay.

 

I guess we’ll all know soon enough, when we first hear those familiar notes, when we see Andy waking up next to Lucy and going down to make himself some coffee before walking out to catch some early morning fishing, only to see that familiar shape resting on the beach……  I doubt it will be Andy who finds it, but imagine the emotional impact if it was! Worse, imagine the emotional impact if it turned out to be their kid…