It Comes At Night Review

This was a film I heard a lot about going into this halloween season. When I asked my Instagram followers about it there was definitely a mixed response. A close friend said he loved it and that it as one of the best psychological horror films he has seen. Plenty of other people said the film was nothing but a waste of time. Since I normally agree with my friend, I still had to check this film out, while also trying to erase any biases or preconceptions from my mind.

It Comes at Night follows a family living in a post-apocalypic world where an unnamed infection has infected most of the population. Paul (Joel Edgerton), his wife Sarah (Caremen Ejogo) and son, Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) live a secluded life in the woods that is soon interrupted by the presence of another family.

Firstly, I have to say that the film barely falls under the horror category in my opinion. Even if I consider a wide range of films, from Inside, Saw to Train To Busan and The Babadook, this film barely qualifies. There are some creepy scenes and some creepy imagery, but overall, It Comes at Night can fit squarely as a post-apocalyptic survival film, similar to The Road. Like The Road, there are disturbing scenes, but I don’t think that is enough to call it a psychological horror film.

I think this classification might be a part of the reason for all the hate for the film. The poster, the marketing, the title all hint at something coming at night. For those thinking of it as a horror film, and ignoring the “psychological” part, they probably imagined some sort of physical threat. Instead this film hints that the “IT” is fear and paranoia.

The actors are all great in their roles, especially Edgerton and Harrison Jr., who is the main character in many ways. The film focuses on his perspective for long stretches, revealing the nightmarish images that haunt him in this desolate world. It is these stretches of the film that fit most closely as psychological horror, especially Travis’s visions of his deceased grandfather, who fell victim to the illness.

I have always loved post-apocalyptic stories that focus on how humans react in dangerous situations, revealing how desperate and cruel we can be when we feel threatened. This is a big part of why I love(d) The Walking Dead. While the zombies in that show are an omnipresent threat, a lot of the conflict in the comic and the tv show comes from other humans in a society where people are more tribal than ever, killing each other for food and other resources.

It Comes at Night captures a similar dynamic, where Paul wishes to help another family out but must also remember that his family has to come first. The focus on this conflict within the home is probably what led some people to say “nothing happens” in this film. I have to disagree with that. The director succeeds in building tension throughout, and my biggest complaint is the ending.

The main conflict is revealed but there is another development that I, and plenty of other people are trying to pick apart. It is one that leaves you asking questions, but debate about theories falls somewhat flat since the foundation of information we get isn’t quite there. We get hints of some external threat in one of Travis’s visions. Could he be sleepwalking? Could something else truly be out in the woods? However, there isn’t truly enough info. It is not like other ambiguous endings that leave us interpreting a character’s motive for something, or wondering what actions a character will take after the credits roll. It Comes at Night leaves us with a simple question of what happened? The great build up falls somewhat flat at the end, bursting like a balloon and leaving nothing behind.

What Horror Movie Scared You The Most?

I don’t think my costume will be as awesome as @prince.deguzman’s but I’ll try.

Halloween season is upon us, and I have already embraced it. I watched Sinister yesterday, a film with great performances and a lot of creepy scenes. Spoilers Below.

Interestingly, the creepiest scenes in this film don’t directly come from the supernatural villain, Bughuul or Mr. Boogie. What is terrifying is what he makes his child surrogates do to their families.

These tapes are by far the most terrifying thing about the film, although Bughuul’s mask is definitely creepy. The ending to the film is perfect and since the sequel wasn’t as well received, I’ll avoid it and leave the first film untainted in my mind.

I have never been a huge horror fan, mostly because I probably scare more easy than the true fanatics, but It may have rekindled my interest in them. It was my first time seeing a horror film in theaters and the atmosphere in the theatre added another dimension to the experience. With that in mind, I wanted to reflect on the film that scared me the most when I was a child: Darkness Falls (2003).

As one reviewer put it, “The movie’s cleverest notion is its demonization of a benign childhood phantom.” In this film, the Tooth Fairy is not a ghost who simply takes a child’s tooth when they lose it. She is a vengeful spirit who will kill any child who sees her when they visit her. The reason for her hate? She was hanged by the townspeople of the eponymous town when they believed she kidnapped two children. She was already known by the Tooth Fairy at this time since she would give gold coins to children who lost their teeth. After Matilda is hanged, the two children are found and the townspeople bury her body and wash their hands of their crime.

After a house fire, Matilda’s face was disfigured and she would wear a white porcelain mask to hide it. Hence her supernatural form also sports a creepy porcelain mask.

Having to go to Google Images to get these pictures brings up a heap of night-light accompanied bedtimes. Since I was afraid of the dark I probably shouldn’t have watched this movie, but I wanted to show my step-dad I could handle it. I could not. It also didn’t help that he ran out of the bathroom with a white rag over his head right after we see this movie…douche.

Anyways, The Tooth Fairy’s only weakness is light, meaning she is omnipotent when in darkness. Hence, why I shouldn’t have seen this film if I was afraid of the dark. Darkness Falls is pretty much universally panned by critics but it is the concept itself that still sticks with me. To think that you are sleeping in the dark and hear something in your room, and to think that if you look at it it will kill you. Also to know that it will stalk you for the rest of your life, hence our protagonist who rarely leaves his house and always travels with flashlights.

It took a while for me to outgrow my fear of the film and looking up these images also brings those fear-stricken days back in all their glory.

What film scared you the most?

It Sequel

Regardless of your opinion about It, it’s box office success undeniably makes it a box office success. More than that, its box office success makes it the highest grossing R-Rated horror film (unadjusted for inflation) and is on track to become the biggest September/October release ever.

The sequel, which fans of the book knew was coming, is now set for an official release date of September 2019. The Losers Club will return as adults, 27 years after their first encounter with Pennywise. Check out the video below to hear the cast give their own fan castings for the adult versions of their characters.

This sort of box office success is something that can’t always be predicted. Some people are saying that the success of Stranger Things might have made people more interested in a 80s themed horror film centered around children. Maybe they are right, but let’s get this straight: It is not influenced by Stranger Things.

Stephen King is a popular author so I think some credit has to go to him, but I don’t know if this level of success can be solely attributed to his name. After all, how well did The Dark Tower do? Either way, It is now the biggest King horror film ever, even adjusted for inflation.

It’s release date was one that was devoid of too many other big name entries, staying clear of the summer season and avoiding the Christmas period as well.

Good word of mouth gave It legs, avoiding some of the big drops from weekend to weekend that help to sustain its numbers.

The question that looms over my mind is if the sequel can replicate or even surpass this success. Like Kingsman a certain idea might manage to capture people’s attention a certain way, making the first time a special one that any successor can’t live up to. Of course, we know a second movie is needed to tell the story. Fans of the book will be there for the second. From what I have read online, people who have read the book are more accepting of the new It than the people who only know this property from the 1990 miniseries.

With that said, I hope that this sequel gets a bigger budget. Some subpar CGI tainted some of the better moments in this film and hopefully the studio has more faith in the project, and hopefully that increased faith is rewarded with more box office success.

It (2017) Review

Next to “The Shining”, “IT” is one of my favourite Stephen King books and I was probably one of the few people that was actually excited with the initial announcement of a remake. The book follows a group of eleven year olds, “The Losers Club”, battling the shape-shifting entity “IT’ in Derry, Maine. IT has the ability to transform into their greatest fears but it’s most popular form is that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. In the book, the Losers Club battle It in 1958, and then again 27 years later as adults. This film places the kids in 1989, and part II will follow them 27 years later.

The 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry as the titular IT is a childhood memento for many people, who refused (and still refuse) to see anyone else in the role. I watched the miniseries when I was about twenty, and although some scenes were definitely creepy I found the overall film somewhat campy.

Devoid of childhood attachment, I was able to accept that a new actor would be portraying Pennywise. Since I didn’t hold the miniseries near and dear to my heart I was also curious to see what another director could do with the source material. “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga was originally slated to direct, and although his departure was unfortunate I had faith that Andres Muschietti (Mama) could also deliver. Mama had its flaws but was a great horror film for the most part.

Due to all the comparisons to Tim Curry and the persisting attachment to the mini-series, I can’t do a proper review without comparing the two interpretations. Firstly, 2017’s “IT” actually looks more like the version described in the book, in terms of his clothing. King never described Pennywise’s facial details in detail, but he described the silver suit, the orange pom-poms, the white hair and reddish-orangish hair. Due to people’s poor reasoning skills or inability to read the “From Stephen King” banners that accompany every trailer, many people forget that this film is not just a remake of the miniseries. It is a different adaptation of older source material.

There were plenty of people who immediately rejected the new Pennywise, saying it was trying to hard to look creepy, too different etc. This brings up one point I have to make. To this day, you can find people who think Jack Nicholson was a better joker than Heath Ledger, simply because they saw him first and got attached. If you are attached to Tim Curry, there is pretty much nothing that can make you accept a new take. The same people who complained about the new Pennywise looking too serious and not as jovial as Curry’s, are probably the same people saying the 2017 Pennywise was too goofy after they saw the movie (if they bothered seeing the movie at all). There is no point trying to convince these people that the new adaptation also does the character justice.

Skarsgard had big shoes to fill, and he shines while doing it. The mannerisms, the voice all make you forget about the actor underneath. Skarsgard truly inhabits the character and the writing gives us something inhuman and creepy. Pennywise has his own sense of humour, and for the most part, I think the humour doesn’t bring the character into the campy realm. There are some jokes added in that weren’t in the book, some work better than others but overall Pennywise strikes a great balance between utter terror and black humour.

What ultimately diminishes Pennywise, and the movie the most, is the use of weak CGI. Practical effects are used for some shots, but there is also considerable CGI for Pennywise’s face and the various forms he takes. When Muscietti was attached to the project, I expressed worries that the biggest weakness in Mama, the poor rendering of the title monster, would carry over to this film and  bring IT down. It looks like I was right. Even some of the practical effects look poorly done, with make-up that seems cheap and dulled the tension of key scenes since I couldn’t help but critique some of the effects when I was supposed to be scared of them.

Every horror film attracts hordes of people who brag about how funny the movie was and how little they were scared. I definitely don’t claim to be one of those people but I have to say that some of the scares would have been more effective with better visual effects. The infamous (if you’ve read the book) opening scene springs to mind as one that was tense and frightening, but also hampered due to the CGI. Then again, the budget was $35 million so I guess Muschietti once again made due with what he had.

Some of the trailers left me worried the film would rely too heavily on jump scares. Jump scares are my least favourite since their impact dies once you have seen the film once. There may have been one or two many, but there is also one jump scare that stands out as one of the film’s best scenes. Fortunately, It doesn’t rely on jump scares and my mind keeps going back to scenes where my heart rate quickened because of the atmosphere and imagery that the director subjected me to.

Thankfully the performances are solid for the most part. Finn Wolfhard, of “Stranger Things”, is a stand out as Richie Tozier but It boasts a stable of talented young actors. Jaden Lieberher is also amazing as Bill Denborough, along with Sophia Lills as Beverly Marsh and Jack Grazer as Eddie Kasprak. I mention these actorss first because they were amazing, but also because their characters get the most development. Balancing seven character intros and backstories was a tall feat for a book, which is why the book was over 1000 pages. Trying to condense all that history into a two hour film is a tough task, and it resulted in casualties. Mike Hanlon probably suffers the most in relation to his book counterpart, and then Ben Hanscom. I felt like Stanley Uris was the least developed in the book but Mike has that status here, while Stan has the weakest actor in my opinion.

Some characters get less backstory, which also means some of their fears get glossed over in the film. In the book, we understand what the characters fear before they are exposed to it. Ben, who is a central member of The Losers Club is confronted by Pennywise before we see what he is afraid of. This also serves to dull the impact of the scene since one of the most interesting things about Pennywise is how he feeds of their childhood fears. An extra fifteen minutes could have helped to spread the love in terms of backstory and development for Mike and Ben.

There are some scenes that I am very glad the director cut, such as the scene where a young Beverly Marsh has sex with all of the members of the Losers Club, one by one. Yes, really. I was reading that scene on the bus while the girl beside me peered over. That was a very awkward bus ride.

One thing I did love about the film was that it did not shy away from the themes and violence in the book. IT is ultimately about friendship and the loss of innocence, while Beverly’s story offers the clearest indication of this message, we don’t need a child orgy to get that message. The main character, Bill loses his little brother to IT and that loss becomes the domino that unites the club. The characters face their fears and face challenges that adults are unable to help them with. They become independent in a sense and learn to find their own place in a world that is often hostile to them. Although the Losers Club has some members that weren’t developed as well, I loved the chemistry between the actors and the bond that they were able to portray on screen. This bond is the glue of the film and the book, and I think it is what allows me to say I liked the film, despite my seemingly numerous critiques.

As I have also said in my previous post, this film does not borrow anything from Stranger Things, except one actor. All of the accusations that It is inspired byStranger Things” reek of idiocy. The time period has been changed to the 1980s, but that is only to modernize the next film, which will take place in the present day. King wrote It in 1986, so he set the kids earlier in 1957/58 and set the adults in the 1980s. Either way, one of these films will take place in the 1980s.

Also, It started filming prior to “Stranger Things” being released on Netflix. Why would filmmakers decide to copy a Netflix show that hasn’t been released yet. What else reminds you of “Stranger Things”? Kids fighting a monster? That goes back to the 1986 book. A group of kids who are considered losers fighting a monster? That goes back to the 1986 book.

I digress, IT is a new adaptation of King’s work that breathes life into the terror from the book, while also offering a story of friendship that makes the film greater than the sum of its parts.

It Trailer #2 Thoughts

 

The summer movie season is winding down, and after seeing Dunkirk, there are still a few films I am excited to see. I still need to see Baby Driver and War of the Planet of the Apes. I have some reservations about Justice League but the fanboy in me is still very excited. However, the film I am most excited about at this point is IT. 

The book is one of the first Stephen King ones that I can remember reading, and I definitely plan to re-read it before this film comes out. The book involves a group of eleven year olds known as the Losers Club: Bill, Ben, Bee, Richie, Eddie, Mike and Stan.  Together, they try to combat IT, a supernatural entity in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. IT has the ability to transform into any child’s worst fears, but often takes the form of Pennywise the Clown. The book also follows the Losers Club thirty years later, returning to Derry to combat IT again. From what I understand, a second movie will focus on the Losers Club as adults.

Cary Fukunaga, the director of the first season of True Detective, was originally slated to direct during the film’s long stay in development hell. Andres Muschietti (Mama) was finally brought on board in 2015 to give us the film we’ll see in September.

The marketing campaign has been amazing so far, preceded by promotional images and the two trailers (technically one teaser and one trailer) that preceded. Everything from the music, to the more restrained use of dialogue and images of The Losers club and Pennywise has kept the film mysterious but also interesting.

I usually avoid watching too many trailers so that I don’t spoil the film. Fortunately, this third trailer doesn’t appear to give away the film’s best moments.

We do hear Pennywise speak for the first time, “Here…take it.” His voice was one of the things that book fans speculated about most, and these few words leave me happy that Bill Skarsgard will be able to embody the role.

 

There are more shots of Pennywise this time, and some shots leaves me slightly worried about an overuse of jump scares. Most of the memorable images in the trailer come from its use of unsettling music or imagery and I believe those are always the most effective scares in horror films. Looking back on all the moments that scared me as a child, they were never jump scares. However, I don’t want to rant about jump scares too much since the editing of the trailer itself can make them appear more plentiful than they will be in the actual film.

Bill’s dialogue at the beginning of the trailer, about losing the feeling of being protected as you grow older hits close to home and is a microcosm of the book’s themes about the loss of innocence. I am sure the film will cut out the orgy (yes, really) that happens in the book so it will be great to see this theme portrayed in other ways.

Along with the scenes in the previous trailers, Bill’s lines make me less worried about the child actors’ abilities. I wasn’t worried about Finn Wolfhard specifically since I already saw him as Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things. There are exceptions, but there are numerous times when child actors are either a weak link among stronger actors, or are absolutely dreadful. The Jungle Book (2016) comes to mind.

Let’s move back to the film’s most divisive element, Pennywise himself. YouTube and Instagram are littered with comments by people pining for Tim Curry’s version of Pennywise from the 1990 miniseries. This happens with pretty much every adaptation or remake. Some people didn’t want to see Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man before Amazing Spider-Man came out, some people thought no one would ever top Jack Nicholson as The Joker etc. People get attached to the adaptations they see first. Some people might grow up with Tom Holland as their first Spider-Man, and maybe they won’t want to see anyone else in the role if a new series is made twenty years from now. Likewise, this may be the first Pennywise for many people and if another IT adapdation is made in thirty years, they’ll refuse to accept another version.

I don’t like the attachment mindset, but I can understand it. What bothers me more is one of the biggest complaints brought up by Bill Skarsgard detractors. Tim Curry’s version wasn’t as faithful to the books, in terms of his look or his behaviour. He behaved like we expect a clown to. He was energetic and jovial. Lots of fans of the miniseries miss this sense of humour Curry brought to the adaptation and interpret this one as too grim or trying too hard to be scary. However, 2017’s IT (from what we see so far) is what we got in the book. There was no dancing or whimsy. Adaptations typically try to emulate their source material, not just other adaptations. The people who criticize this Pennywise for being too serious make it clear they never read the book. Also, we get little dialogue from Pennywise in the marketing so we can’t judge his level of whimsy just yet.

 

Moving on from misinformed people, I have to say that the music in the trailers continues to stand out. We get more of the creepy chimes from the first trailer, but also get the chants of “You’ll Float Too” throughout the latter half. The chants get louder as the trailer progresses, and your heart beats faster to match it. The music might not scare you per se, but it gets you excited. It’s the horror version of pump up music.

Hopefully, this trailer will be the last. At the very least it will be the last one I watch, I don’t want anything else revealed before I see IT, hopefully on opening weekend.

Get Out

Note: Spoilers Ahead

After much delay, I finally got around to seeing a film I’ve heard nothing but good things about. I must say, the film lives up to the hype for the most part. Since the film was released a while ago I didn’t really feel like doing a review of it, which is why I want to sum up my thoughts on the film itself and move on to the interesting questions/issues it raised.

Firstly, the performances are all amazing. The only other film I have seen Daniel Kaluuya in in Sicario, and he was alright in that. The role was smaller and didn’t allow him to demonstrate the range we see in Get Out. It looks like things are looking up for Kaluuya since he also has a role in 2018’s Black Panther.

The Armitages, the family that Chris is expecting to join, are all outstanding. Caleb Landry Jones was particularly interesting as Jeremy, Chris’s prospective brother-in law. Keith Stanfield, probably best known as Darius on Atlanta, isn’t in the film that much but stole the spotlight when he was present.

Get Out works well as a comedy when it is intended to be comedic, as expected from Jordan Peele. However, it is also masterful as a horror film. The horror isn’t the type you would expect from a franchise like The Conjuring. There are no jump scares to be found. Instead, Peele forces an air of unease upon us that permeates most of the film. I was reminded of an episode of The Twilight Zone, where its strength lies in its ability to unsettle you and get your mind and heart racing. More importantly, it also gets you thinking.

Peele has described Get Out as a “very personal” story“. A friend at work pointed out that Peele has a white wife, and it is very easy to see Get Out as a satirical, cathartic reenactment of encounters with his wife’s own family. I forget the exact wording, but I remember a tweet that said Get Out isn’t about ‘hang that nigger’ racism, it’s about ‘I’m not racist because I have black friends and voted for Obama’ racism. I think that tweet is a perfect distillation of what Get Out offers.

The Armitages’ are a rich, white family who are openly welcoming to Chris when they meet him. The dad is quick to mention he voted for Obama and that Obama was the best president in his time. With this statement, the film starts to delve more into the issue of the fetishization of the black body. Jeremy is the one to bring up the idea that black people’s genetics make them superior athletes, expressing his own quiet disdain and envy at this fact. This stereotype is also brought up by the extended family, and the comments all bring back memories of comments I’ve head all through my life as well. I was recently involved in a Twitter conversation where @adamant919 had the audacity to call our supposed natural gifts “black privilege”. Funny enough, it looks like the user has since deleted his account.

This fetishization reduces the black body to something that is either a threat, a conquest or a toy. Get Out is one of the first films in a while that generally surprised me with a third act reveal. Initially I thought that Chris would simply be brainwashed into submission, becoming another Andre Hayworth via Missy Armitage’s hypnosis. It was genuinely chilling to hear the breakdown of the surgery that would be performed to turn the black body into a vehicle for someone else, reducing Chris to a passenger within his own body. The Armitages’s could easily do the same process with white bodies, but it is clear that they are appealing to a desire specifically for black ones. In Chris’s case, Jim Hudson only wants his eyes so that he can capture the kinds of pictures he envies Chris for. However, the groundskeeper (Walter), is being controlled by Rose’s grandfather. Walter’s role on the estate becomes more chilling when we realize it is an old white man reveling in what his new body can do. The infamous Walter sprint, which grandpa calls his “exercise”, becomes a man testing out stereotypes for himself.

Peele is currently being considered to direct The DC Extended Universe’s Flash film and I was hesitant when I heard this, since the role seems far removed from his skillset. After seeing Get Out and how it manages to combine satire, horror and comedy, I am sure Peele can find a way to handle any project that comes his way.

Outcast

I’ll be back to writing for comicommand soon, and should have an article for them around January 15. My first piece for the new year will be a piece on Ed Brubaker’s Kill or Be Killed. Until then, I wanted to share some thoughts on another ongoing series that I’m reading.

Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is undoubtedly the comic that turned me into a serious comic book reader. It started with Rick Grimes, then moved on to Spider Jerusalem, Jesse Custer, Billy The Butcher, Mark Grayson, and now Kyle Barnes.

After binging on Invincible and then having to wait until February for the next issue, I eagerly sought out Kirkman’s latest series. After giving us a post-apocalyptic zombie tale, and then a superhero story, Kirkman delves into demonic possession.

Outcast follows Kyle Barnes, a man whose life is plagued with demonic possession and who is ostracized in his hometown after allegedly hurting his wife and daughter. While Kyle knows something changed his wife, making her attack their daughter, no one else believes him. As he returns home, Reverend Anderson helps to open his eyes to the truth of demonic possession.

Although I have not seen many films related to possession, I have always been interested in the subject. Firstly, Paul Azaceta’s artwork truly helps to bring the story to life from the first frame onward. The style is somewhat simple, compared to works like Punisher: Max, but is reminiscent of Invincible. Azaceta fits the comic’s atmosphere of horror by seamlessly transitioning from relatively simple frames, to ones that are genuinely unsettling.

 

Kirkman is also able to explore a religious theme, without creating a story that is pro or anti-Christian. Kyle represents the skeptic, while Reverend Anderson is the holy man who slowly makes Kyle accept the truth of exorcism. The story could come across as formulaic with this set up, but Anderson is a layered character who believes in the Lord, while also having his own doubts about institutionalized religion and God. Anderson’s thoughts are some of the most interesting parts of the story.

Kirkman also adds interesting modifications to the exorcism mythos, which are slowly explained as we get further into the series. In some ways, the exorcism links to several other issues in Kyle’s life. His mother abused him due to her possession and his wife abused their daughter. Both of these periods have significantly affected Kyle’s psyche, which leaves him in a dark place that aligns with the overall tone of the comic. Every triumph that Kyle faces is followed by another revelation that causes more pain or a setback from the forces that are working against him.

With each issue, we learn more about the possessed and the overarching conflict continues to build with Issue #24, which was released today.

Like The Walking Dead, Outcast currently has its own television show as well. One season is complete, and it has been renewed for another. Clearly, it isn’t the phenomenon The Walking Dead is, but maybe the show isn’t as hampered by filler. That’s a post for another day.

Hunter

Hello everyone,

I’ll be doing a review of Preacher for comicommand, which should be up on the site early next week. I am currently reading The Boys and will be writing a piece on that next week as well. I found 100 Bullets to be somewhat overrated but I loved Preacher and I am also loving The Boys so far. With that prelude, I present a poetry piece for you all, which is inspired by an earlier post on my @wmoviegrapevine (instagram).

The next blog post will be on Monday. Have a great weekend.

***************

My legs were burning almost as much as my lungs,

I couldn’t hear it behind me anymore,

Yet I knew it was still there,

I could feel its eyes watching me,

Looking around,

I could only see trees,

Dark towers illuminated by the moonlight,

Dry leaves shuffled under my feet,

A tell-tale sound that would give me away,

 

I moved on my toes,

Hiding behind the nearest tree,

If I couldn’t see it,

It had to be far behind,

It would give itself away as it made its way closer to me,

When it got close enough,

I would slip away in another direction,

I tried to steady my breath,

 

One minute passed, maybe two

My legs were still sore,

My breathing was slowing down,

My lungs and heart were relaxed once more,

Until I heard dry leaves behind me,

Less than fifty feet away,

It didn’t make sense,

I should have heard the steps sooner,

I looked to my left,

Barely holding back a scream as I saw a paw land on the grass beside me.

 

 

 

 

Alive: Part V

Hello everyone,

This piece will conclude the Alive series. I have finished a draft of The Visitor, and plan to start editing it in two weeks. I want to let it sit for a little while so I can return to it with fresh(er) eyes.

*******

The six-foot thick sheet of glass fell to the ground,

The scientists already vacated the room,

But their scents lingered,

Forming a trail that I could easily follow,

There was a door on the left side,

I knew I couldn’t fit through it,

With one slap I tore down the brick wall around it,

Showering the ground with tiles and revealing a hallway that led to the surface,

I could see the scientists now,

Running as fast as their legs would carry them,

They were about fifty feet ahead of me,

While a line of armed soldiers were less than ten feet away,

 

I screamed as a barrage of bullets hit me,

With the scream coming out as a growl,

Bullets pierced my chest, arms, legs,

I fell to the ground,

Knowing what the soldiers would do next,

They kept shooting for a few seconds,

More bullets hit my skull,

Grazing the skin but failing to break through the thick bone,

I barely refrained from smiling as I heard the click of empty magazines,

 

My body was already expelling the bullets,

Slowly pushing them out to make way for new muscle,

The pain would persist for several hours,

My mind would block it out,

My body was ready,

I leapt off the ground,

Swinging my right arm in an arc,

My claws severed necks,

Cleaved skulls,

Lacerated faces,

Five hits,

Five soldiers dead,

 

One more problem to take care of,

I waited a few more seconds,

I could feel some of the bullet holes were healed,

There were just a few more to go now,

One bullet was still being dislodged from my left knee,

Tearing through nerves and veins as it made its way out,

I heard it hit the ground,

Then I could feel my muscles stretching to sew up the hole,

I planted my legs beneath me,

Feeling their strength,

Knowing that I was ready,

 

I pushed off,

Sailing over the soldier’s bodies,

Another leap,

Then another,

The gap between the scientists and I continued to dwindle,

I could only make out grey figures with my eyes,

But my nose and hearing showed me more,

Their coats flapping,

The rhythm of their steps,

Sweat on their skin,

The scent of food on their tongues,

 

With ten leaps,

There was food on my tongue,

I tore through the first scientist’s shoulder,

My teeth collided with one another,

Rattling my jaw,

Compressing bone and flesh,

The man’s scream was almost deafening to my ears,

So I brought my right paw onto his head to silence him,

I felt his skull flex under the weight before it stretched and crushed his brain,

As I raised my paw,

His head was a single splatter on the metal floor beneath me,

Three more to go,

They were all running at a similar pace,

Separated by only a few feet,

 

Five leaps,

One swing of my right arm,

Two more carcasses,

I wanted to take my time with the last one,

He was the mastermind behind my imprisonment,

I wanted him to stare into Frankenstein’s eyes before he died,

Two more leaps,

A claw tore through his Achilles tendons,

Sending him crashing to the ground,

 

I heard screams again,

So loud, so grating,

Worse than gunfire,

The mastermind kept moving forward,

Trying to crawl to safety,

I slid a paw underneath his chest,

Lifted my arm to effortlessly flip him onto his back,

 

He saw me now,

Red eyes,

Bloodstained teeth,

Five hundred pounds of fur-coated muscle,

The scent of urine became more pungent,

The screams died down to a whimper,

Tears mixed with sweat,

Forming a tapestry that I found deeply satisfying,

Not because of the smell itself,

But what it signified,

The mastermind now realized that I was not his pet,

I was his damnation,

 

My teeth tore through his face,

Penetrating his eyes, mouth and skull,

As I pulled my teeth away,

I could only make out a severed neck beneath me,

A macabre fountain that was decorating the ground with coppery blood,

 

The scientists picked this area because it was remote,

Now that would be their undoing,

The sun wouldn’t come up for eight more hours,

My new body would carry me far away by then,

To freedom,

To peace.

 

 

Parasite

Hello everyone,

The below piece is similar to Worms, which is one of the first creative writing pieces I posted to the site.

***********

The pain kept building over the last hour,

It was an inconvenience,

Then an annoyance,

And then agony,

It forced me out of bed and to my bathroom mirror,

The pain seemed to move throughout the night,

But now it was firmly planted on my back,

I pulled off my shirt,

Twisting my torso to see what pulled me from my slumber,

Once I saw it,

I knew my next slumber would be my last,

There was a black lump to the left of my spine,

Pulsating,

I shuddered involuntarily,

The lump followed suit,

But it didn’t shudder,

It moved,

Gliding halfway up my back,

Until it was resting just beneath my left shoulder,

The mirror showed that my mouth was hanging open,

I wanted to scream,

But no sound would come,

I saw saliva drip from my mouth,

Yet I barely felt it,

I was hoping I would wake up from the nightmare soon,

It was a clichéd thought,

But a comforting one,

The lump started to disappear,

As if it was being absorbed into my skin,

Maybe my prayer was answered,

Once the lump was gone,

I held my breath for a few seconds,

Worried it would surface again,

I scanned the rest of my body for any signs of it,

Nothing,

I was safe,

For a few seconds,

The pain returned,

It was behind my eyes this time,

Pressure,

I looked in the mirror,

My vision was becoming blurry,

I could barely make out my eyes expanding,

Two white balloons that looked like they were ready to pop,

Everything went black,

Just before I felt my eyes burst,

Just before I heard them splatter against the mirror