Jordan Peele Does It Again with Us (Review)

In a famous interview with François Truffaut, Alfred  Hitchcock said, “Psycho has a very interesting construction, and that game with the audience was fascinating. I was directing the viewers. You might say I was playing them like an organ.” Jordan Peele’s first two feature films, 2017’s Get Out and this year’s Us are doing the same thing. Watching them in a crowded theater, it’s clear that Peele has audiences eating out of his hand. People laugh when he wants them to. The theater goes silent in moments of suspense. And when he decides it’s time, his viewers scream.

Peele is taking a page from Hitchcock’s book (or would it be a frame from Hitchcock’s film?) in Us, using dopplegangers as Hitch did in Vertigo. These doubles — “the Tethered” — show up outside of Adelaide’s (Lupita Nyong’o) recently deceased mother’s beach house about 15 minutes into Us. They invade the home and sit face to face with their doubles. Adelaide’s, Red (also Lupita Nyong’o), handcuffs her to a table. Red’s voice cracks from lack of use as she explains, “We are America.” Then she sends Abraham to kill Adelaide’s husband Gabe (both Winston Duke), Umbrae to kill Adelaide’s daughter Zora (both Shahadi Wright Joseph), and finally Pluto to kill Jason (both Evan Alex).

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

Nevermore Edits Writing Contest

I’m the Contest Committee Chair for Nevermore Edits 3rd Annual Writing Contest! Check out our guidelines here!

I made a few changes from previous years to make the contest more accessible. The most important of those is giving any writer one free submission and doing scaling fees from there ($1 for a second submission, $2 for the third, $3 additional for each submission after that). The goal with that decision is to make our contest more accessible to people without money.

We also upped the prize by $10, making first prize $50, second prize $30, and third prize $20, again, with the goal of getting more submissions. We added some other tiny bonuses to go with it — a free workshop for the first prize, publication for all three winners.

The other major change from last year was getting rid of the first line requirement. We want your best work 500 words or under with no set theme or required first line.

Please submit! Even if you don’t win, you’ll be supporting our non-profit writing group in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Symbolism (Podcast)

I got together with the Merry Murderers and we talked about symbolism and whether or not author’s should admit that it slips in unintentionally. What do you think? Do you take credit for things you didn’t intend in your writing? Let me know in the comments, and listen to the podcast here!

Editor of the Season: Mac Boyle

In 2015, Mack Boyle, of Sparta, Missouri interviewed for multiple positions at logging company. When they didn’t hire him, he shot the tires of one logging tractor and lit it and two others on fire, saying, “if he couldn’t work, he didn’t want anyone else to work either” (Springfield News-Leader). The President of Nevermore Edits and Editor of the Season Mac Boyle was delighted when I shared the new story of the other Mack with him. Mac-without-a-k’s novel, Orson Welles of Mars tells the story of a young Orson Welles in the 343rd parallel dimension. He’s got no knowledge of what the other Orsons have been up to, just as our Mac had no idea what Mac-with-a-k the arsonist was doing. Sometimes fiction imitates life, and sometimes life imitates fiction.

Boyle jokes that, “Orson Welles of Mars is 10% more accurate than any biopic, even with the spaceships.” In the follow-up, The Devil Lives in Beverly Hills, Welles teams up with another great filmmaker, Charlie Chaplin, to hunt a monster. He started the series as a screen play when he was sixteen. With a third Orson Welles book on the way, it’s a surprise that while Boyle believes that Welles “has made some absolutely fantastic films,” Mac is “more of a fan of his biography than his work.”

Continue reading in the October issue (I know I’m late) of the Corvidae Courier!

An Author Interview… with Me!?

A few months ago, my short story, “Safe at Home,” was published in Sorry, We’re Closed. They were crazy enough to interview me, and turns out that I’m still pretty mad at a man named Nate who wronged me enough that I wrote a short story about it and cursed him out in an interview years later. Give it a listen here!

NSFW. I just said I cursed a person out.

Rebelling with a Cause: Know Your Tropes Before You Break Them

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where a trope starts. If I had to guess, the badass biker in the leather jacket apotheosized into pop culture with James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. It’s a film that seeped into my brain through parody and homage. I’ve never seen it, but when I see a leather jacket in a film, I’ve got an idea of who the character wearing it is, or at least how they want to be seen.

It’s harder to pinpoint when a trope evolves, how it turns. One of the things that comes with the badass biker trope for me is the emotional baggage. It might not be for everyone, but I can’t see a leather jacket (even though it was a jean jacket in this film) without thinking of the scene in The Breakfast Club where Judd Nelson talks about his father putting cigarettes out on his arms. At that point, the rebel started having a cause. A deep, dark one.

Keep reading at A Murder of Storytellers!