TOP 10 HORROR FILMS!

I love October. In fact, it’s my favorite month of the year. The temperature cools, the air is a bit more crisp, and the leaves change colors. I’m red/green colorblind. For the three weeks or so that the leaves hang around after changing colors I actually get to see something much different than the bland green color of the summer months…which I don’t see as green at all. It’s difficult to explain. For a couple of weeks I see an explosion of colors, or what I would consider an explosion of colors even though it’s very different from what most folks see.

The best part of the month is the non-stop horror movies on television. I’ll bust out my DVD collection (yes, I’m that guy) and stack up a couple dozen horror classics and swallow about two dozen bags of popcorn and more pizza than should be allowed. So let’s get this blog/show on the road. You didn’t come here to read about fall colors and pizza. You came here to see what movies I was dumb enough to leave out of THE TOP 10 HORRORS MOVIES OF ALL TIME!!! Insert evil laugh here!

So these may not be the greatest horror films of all time and are in no particular order, but these are a list of the ones that gave me a case of the willies! Just to be fair, this list is subject to change from day to day. Don’t forget to comment with what makes your top 10 list.

10. Salem’s Lot—Made for TV but damn this movie was good. This might have been one of my earliest experiences with a Stephen King story.

I’ve had nightmares about this scene!

9.  The Shining—Funny how Stephen King stories dominate lists like this. Heeeeere’s Johnny!

8.  Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3—Why part 3, you ask? Well, let me tell you why! This was about the time in my youth that I really started getting into horror. But, I’ve always have this weird sense of humor, too. Freddy started dropping one-liners in this one. Oh, and they brought Nancy back for this one.

7.  The Evil Dead franchise—Yes, the entire franchise. The first one actually scared the hell out of me. I watched it when I was a kid and the amount of blood and demon possession really freaked me out. I was a bit older when I watched the second one, but in that one I sort began to understand that Sam Rami and the others were trying to do with these movies. They were just having a good time. Everything was over the top. The blood, the gore, the demons…just thinking of Good Ash talking to Bad Ash and all of those laughing and talking objects in the cabin during that one scene. Oh, and let’s not forget the middle finger from the severed hand. Army of Darkness was the perfect end to the series.  

6.  Halloween—A classic. It was a classic from the instant it was made, always will be. I know some folks love the Rob Zombie version, but I’ll stick to the original. This movie just comes to show you that horrible things can happen, even on your street in your small town.

5.  Scream—This is likely the most unpopular choice for my list if you’re reading this. You’re thinking, “What is this guy thinking about. Scream was good…but top 10 good?” Well, to each their own. There was a serious dry spell of good horror in the culture at that time and when this came out it was an instant hit! Long live the Scream franchise, long live the 90’s, and Rose McGowan, if you’re out there…call me J

4. Friday the 13th Part III—Why Part III, you ask? Well, if you recall this is the episode where little Tommy Jarvis puts a machete into Jason’s head. Also, this is the movie where Jason tries on a well fitted hockey mask for the first time.

3. Nightmare On Elm Street—As good as Dream Warriors was, it’s hard to top the original. In my opinion, this movie defined and set the tone for horror throughout the rest of the 80’s. Jason and Freddy…BFF’s.

Great movie poster, too!

2. The Fog—Bet you didn’t see this one coming! I absolutely love this movie. History comes back to haunt the town and the heirs to the founders have to pay the price for the sins of their forefathers. This theme is so basic, but it is at the heart of many a great suspense and horror movie.

#1

Exorcist—Hands down the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. There is no need for anyone to try to do a remake of this one. Anyone would be foolish to try. Even to this day I get a bit nervous when this movie is on and I’ve seen it a zillion times already. Some scenes and some sounds you can never get out of your head.

A Civil War Brewing in the UFO Community

Fans of all things alien, UFO, and well…basically odd, are seeing a very serious rift in the UFO community come to light this week. Actually, a civil war inside the UFO community has been brewing for quite some time if you listen to the key players in the field of UFO research. This week Dave Scott of Spaced Out Radio took aim at a large segment of that community with an article titled Another Reason To Distrust The People In Ufology. You’ll find the link to it at the bottom of this article.

Dave Scott hits hard in this article from the start, calling into the question the IUFOC for their choices of those they presented awards to at this years’ International UFO Congress in Phoenix, Arizona. Scott went on to present a list of those in Ufology that he considers to be the more serious researchers. For the sake of transparency, I subscribe to Scott’s podcast and have been a sporadic listener (when time allows) for about two years. His show covers a broad range of topics in the world of the strange and he is a serious minded person when it comes to Ufology. Although he backs up to say that he intended no disrespect to some that received awards by the International UFO Congress, such as Jeremy Corbell, he still holds no punches on his intended target which appears to be the UFO community at large that he deems to be more about commercialization than about serious research. He seems to take offense to those that won awards at the conference and goes on to point out who he thinks should have won. Sour grapes? Maybe.

It seems that he reserved the most animosity for the organizer of the event, Alejandro Rojas. He claims that the UFO community has received another black eye from one of its own! Pretty harsh words aimed at the folks at the IUFOC. Does he have a point? Does the entire UFO community have a black eye after this week? Has it been discredited? Are the players at these popular conferences doing irreparable damage to Ufology? Only time will tell, but I seriously doubt it. I do wonder why the axe to grind for this particular event when Scott is scheduled as a guest speaker for UFO CON 2020 next year in San Francisco.

Back to the question at large; Does he have a point? He makes some good points in his article even though in the big picture I think he’s way off course. Reading the article does sound like sour grapes, his chosen ones didn’t get an award. He’s pissed. Hell, the Reds haven’t made the playoffs in years. Yeah, I’m pissed at the Cardinals and Cubs for dominating the division. I can relate, in a weird sort of way. As a so-called “fan boy” of all things strange, including Ufology, I read this article from a completely different point of view than from where Scott was coming from. So let’s hash out the differences and hope it doesn’t piss everyone off in the UFO community. If it does…so be it.

Before we go any further about Scott’s article, a couple more things about me for the sake of transparency. I am a UFO nerd and fascinated by all kinds of odd and strange things. I’ve listened to countless different radio shows and podcasts that address these issues for more than 20 years. I even address this topic, and other oddities, in my own books. Am I novice to this? No. Am I an expert? Not at all. I am one of the curious followers that watch all the TV shows, listen to a lot of the podcasts and radio shows. Is my opinion important? Depends on who you ask, but I’m like millions of others who have taken a strong interest in Ufology and follow what is readily available.

Ancient Aliens is a show on the History Channel that has been around for a long damn time. I’ve watched it for years and it has gotten some good ratings or it wouldn’t still be running after all this time. It is the influence behind the well known AlienCon and countless other conventions for us “fan boys,” as I’ve seen us called on Facebook threads this week. Fan boy/girl…not a real nice term, not that I give a damn. I have thick skin, but some don’t like that term. That has annoyed more than a few of the casual observers from discussions with people that I personally know and from the feedback from those at the International UFO Congress in Phoenix. In fact, after a first reading of this article one person in attendance said that they were “appalled.” And the folks at that conference should be. Scott put them in his crosshairs.

Heidi Gadd, a small business owner in Chandler, Arizona and host of Aliens And Beyond, took offense to the article. She attended the International UFO Congress in Phoenix. Gadd is regular at the International UFO Congress in recent years, previously working as press and this year actually working in AV and sound for the convention. Gadd was one of the people that felt insulted by Scott’s article. Although she does not personally know Dave Scott, she did say that is was unfortunate that he has to take this stance.

“There’s a lot of great people doing amazing things in the Ufology community,” Gadd said in an email response to me. “I’d like to emphasize that word community. Maybe I’m just a girl that was raised by hippies and has idealistic views of what our world could be, but the best I can tell everyone I’ve ever met in Ufology does it for the same reasons. Probably the main reason, and this is just my opinion based off of observation from conversations I’ve had with researchers, enthusiasts and the curious, is they do it to spread the knowledge. Learning and exploring, growing this field in the search for truth is vital. Because, don’t we all want the same thing?” 

I reached out to some folks on both sides of this argument for their thoughts, and it is clear that enough shots have been fired to cause a serious rift in Ufology. However, it isn’t one that can’t be fixed in order to help this field actually move forward and make real progress in the public eye if both sides can agree to just disagree.

Erica Lukes, one of the researchers mentioned by Scott, agreed to talk with me about this issue. I posed a few questions to her via email. Although she said she would get back with me the following day to address my questions and discuss the issue I never heard back. Lukes is the hostess of UFO Classified on KCOR Radio in Utah, a show that I highly recommend.

I think Scott is missing the big picture in this article. Most of us “fan boys” know that what we see on television is fabricated. It is made for mass audiences, just like like Ancient Aliens in which Lukes has appeared several times. In order to appeal to mass audiences you need a certain kind of showmanship that brings fresh eyes to the show because the show requires corporations willing to pay advertising dollars to keep it on the air. I don’t think Scott has considered the power of advertising dollars and the power of pop culture before he hit the submit button to publish this article. Odd, since I’d bet a vital organ that he must know the necessity of advertising dollars for his popular radio show.  

There are some of the guest experts on Ancient Aliens (and other shows) that pose my favorite question on every episode: What if? As a writer, that question has led to some wild creativity. It’s the same for that show. It leads the show off onto some pretty wild assumptions that probably piss off Dave Scott and others to their very core. Is some of the stuff they propose unrealistic and ridiculous? Hell yes. However, I don’t know one person who watches that show and believes everything they see. It is television and we’re not rubes. But it is those wild assumptions that keep people watching and fascinated with Ufology. And the more people that come to this field with an open mind then the better off this field will be in the long run.

Let me clear about the shows on television and those on podcasts and radio that try to appeal to popular culture. These folks have to make a living! Does it take away from real research that is going on in the UFO community? No. It’s a problem of timing. Those that sell Ufology to the popular culture have to do so in increments, at a pace those in the public seeking this information can absorb? Is it their fault that some of the in-depth research might be a bit ahead of the times for public consumption? Maybe a bit too boring for the masses right now? Not really. I’ve been listening to Art Bell (RIP) and George Noory since 1999 and I still haven’t heard of some of the names that Scott mentioned as serious people in the research.

Does that make tens of thousands of folks like me idiots? Not at all, it just means that we don’t hang onto every word he says or catch every late night show on the radio. We don’t eat, sleep, and breathe all things alien and UFO. Reading threads on social media discussing Scott’s article I noticed the term “fan boy” being tossed around a bit and I got the impression it wasn’t meant in a complimentary way. I’ve seen Lukes on television but if it wasn’t for a post on social media I’d not have known about her radio show that she shares on YouTube. She is a very serious researcher and has fascinating archives of the history of this field. And she makes great points, as does Dave Scott. But there’s room in the field for those that want to cling to the accuracy of their findings and those in the field that add to the research but also bring the attention to the field.

Should we take Scott’s advice and distrust people in the UFO community? Absolutely not! Here’s what he’s missing. I think maybe he’s forgotten what it’s like to be someone new to the fascination of this industry. That’s right, I said “industry.” If he’s willing to rail on the International UFO Congress, Rojas, and all those involved, he should step back and see the bigger picture. If you want Ufology to continue and grow stronger in the future you need events just like the UFO Congress and all those AlienCons out there. It is those events that reach a broad audience, just like Ancient Aliens. Are there some that stretch the limits and boundaries? Hell yes, there are some out there just for the money. But consider this. Would someone like me have taken a real interest in this field and even know who Dave Scott is, or Erica Lukes, without those pop culture events? Nope. And you know what got me interested in Ufology in the first place…Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Yep, Hollywood and all of their sensationalism got me hooked long before I ever knew who Art Bell was. Is sensationalism all that bad? In the bigger picture it is what drew millions of folks like me to the field of Ufology to take it seriously in the first place.

So, if Scott is going to hold a grudge against shows like Ancient Aliens and Rojas and the International UFO Congress, he should hold an equally strong grudge against Hollywood for sensationalizing the topic, and in many cases ridiculing it. Men In Black was a great movie and was big hit at the box office. They ridiculed the topic of aliens and the alien threat all through the movie. I wonder how many people tuned in to watch shows about Roswell for the first time after seeing that movie. Or how about Independence Day? After all, all aliens must be evil and are coming here to destroy mankind. Let’s get ‘em! Even in my own books I bring up serious topics such as the existence of life out there somewhere, missing 411, cryptids, and ghosts. I present these topics to people in a humorous way with the hope that they get curious enough about the topics to do some of their own research. Maybe Scott would think I’m part of the problem, too.

Perhaps there can be a happy medium between the two sides. Why not form another research organization and have a list of requirements that one must have to be a part of the more serious research? Perhaps a board that votes on who is in and who isn’t? Perhaps reaching out to Rojas and others to have a more balanced presentation at these public events such as AlienCon and Congress would be a great first step. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. Guess it depends on those that Dave Scott and others in that camp want to do. I do know that it would be better to stop taking shots at one another and work more constructively for the sake of good quality research, and yes, packaging of the product to sell it to the masses. Questioning the “trust” of the folks in Ufology so often will eventually burn the house down and set this field back so far that we’ll only have Hollywood for our alien fix, and the truth be damned.

https://www.ufoclassified.com/

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Aliens And Beyond https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk-eEUhyCjr0-_yXIbosDTw/videos

The Unexplained Scream

Have you ever experienced something that could not be logically explained? I asked this question on a random Facebook post and got some pretty interesting and disturbing responses. I asked this question for a reason, actually. I’m a healthy skeptic, although I do tend to be fascinated by the strange and macabre, not to mention every conspiracy theory you could possibly think of. This kind of thinking leads me to write the things I do, be it comedy or horror or anything in between. It’s the fear and excitement that comes with the unknown and unexplainable that touches something in each and every one of us. And like all the others that responded to that post, I also have more than a couple of things that I have seen that I can’t easily explain.

The first one that comes to mind happened back in 2005 in Cincinnati. A friend of mine lived on Sunset Avenue, a few steps away from the neighborhood hangout the Sunset Pub. Now, let me preface this by saying that I really liked the 3-story house he and his girlfriend at the time (Jennifer) had bought. It was one of the first houses built in that neighborhood back in 1917 or 1914. Not sure which year, but it was one those. So, a long damn time ago. The house always did have a strange feel to it, especially the basement. It didn’t look like a traditional basement. I lived two blocks away in a house built back then, too. The basement in mine was more traditional, his basement looked like it had dungeon rooms in it.

Like I mentioned before, I’m a skeptic. Just because something has a strange “feel” to it doesn’t really mean much to me. However, later I came to learn that sometimes doors to other rooms in the house would be open when they woke up, doors that were closed when they went to bed. They didn’t want to think much about it, so they brushed it off. One door that would sometimes be open was a door on the second floor that led upstairs to the third floor. The only problem with this scenario was that that particular door had to be opened with some force. They had hardwood floors on the first two floors of the house. The stairs leading from the second floor to the third had a thick carpet on them, as did the third floor. The door rubbed the carpet pretty hard, so to open the door you had to pull it with significant force. A gust of wind blowing through the house isn’t opening that damn door is what I’m trying to say. And you can hear it opening, that scraping sound on the carpet and the vibration of the door once you opened past the carpet. But that door would be open from time to time.

So, on to the weird event! One winter night I was at the house with my friend, Blaine, and another one of our friends named Jim. We were standing in the front doorway, putting on our jackets, and getting ready to walk down to the pub to enjoy a pint or two when there was a power outage in the neighborhood. The entire neighborhood had a blackout. Suddenly a sound coming from upstairs in the house scared the wits out of all three of us. Mostly because we were the only ones in the house. Jennifer was already down at the pub waiting on us.

This sound was something I’ll never forget. Allow me to describe it bluntly. It was a loud blood-curdling shriek from a woman the likes of which you sometimes hear in horror movies. I mean, a real scream queen let one out in the house that night. The lights were only off for a few seconds but when they came back on I was already up the first flight of stairs. Blaine and Jim were still standing right where they were when the lights went out, but their jaws were nearly on the floor. I knew at that moment they heard the same damn thing I did. Now, can you guess what door was open when I reached the second floor? Yep, that “stuck” door leading up to the third floor of the house, the one no one ever used. When I started up to the top floor I could hear the heavy footsteps of my friends coming behind me.

When I got to the top floor I looked around everywhere. It was dark, but the street lamps were back on. I even stopped to look at the windows, to see my reflection…to see if there was a reflection of someone or something else in the room with me. When I realized I was looking for that a cold chill went straight up my spine. I had never seen a ghost before, it never occurred to me to ask if I was even ready to see one if they existed. I still haven’t seen one to this day.

I tried to think of any reason to explain away what we heard. Maybe a short in one of the outlets that caused a loud shrieking sound? I don’t know. But deep down I know what I heard. We all knew. That scream came from inside that house. It didn’t stop me from going back, but that was always in the back of my mind whenever I was there.

I’ve had two other weird things that have happened to me since, but I’ll write about those another day. Have a story of your own to share? Well…you can always leave it in the comments.

Thank you to the folks at Big Walker Mountain Lookout!

These folks were kind enough to host me for a book signing on Saturday, June 15th. A lot of people turned out that afternoon. Mostly for the live music (Hollow Ground), but I won’t complain! I met the folks in the band and a lot of great people. The folks at BWML do a lot to support the local artists and culture and I appreciate them for what they do. I’ll be back three more times before autumn sets in. Stop by and see them if you’re in the area and make sure you visit them on Facebook and give them a “like.”
https://www.facebook.com/BigWalkerLookout/

Revelation Calling

Last April (2018) I took a trip to the small town of Elberton, Georgia. Why would I do that? Well, Elberton is no different than a lot of small towns in the south. They all have a unique history, they all have that comfortable small town feeling to them, they all carry with them a sense of local pride. Elberton is certainly a small and cozy town and having Hartwell Lake nearby certainly didn’t hurt.

However, Elberton has a secret. In 1980 a giant monument was erected that boasted of 10 Guides “for a new age of reason.” Many people felt like this was an attempt by a secret organization to plant a new 10 Commandments in the heart of Bible country. (*I noticed more churches around there than I did people!!) I’ll not get into the details of the conspiracy theory here, but the infamaous Georgia Guidestones stands tall on a hill just inside of the town limits in Elbert County, Georgia. The man who supposedly represented a group that wanted the monument built is still a mystery to this day. The only two people that knew the real identity of Robert C. Christian took that secret to their graves.

I used that mystery as a basis for a fictional book coming out in May 2019 titled Revelation Calling. This book was literally a year in the making and although it centers around a conspiracy theory and is a murder mystery, I would very much consider this book to be a Biblical thriller. It will be available in paperback and Kindle in May. Enjoy the thrill ride!

Special thanks to Gary Kwapisz for the cover art.