Tag Archives: Youtube

Halloween Carols 2015 – Songs of the Slashers

As is tradition here at Dreams of the Shining Horizon, I’ve spent the last few days collecting Halloween Carols so I could celebrate my favorite month of the year with my readers.  This year, I’ve collected more songs than usual, to the point that I felt the need to divide them up into two posts.  Looking them over, I noticed that some of them fit…shall we say…a certain theme.  And that is how we now have this post, with its musical celebration of the great slashers of the past.

We begin by returning to the source – the soundtrack songs that honored these beautiful monsters directly:

Next, a song from the same era, with a somewhat more humorous attitude:

Next, a modern song with a bit more humorous attitude:

(I don’t know about you, but one in particular of those pictures on the wall jumped out at me.  Rest in peace, Mr. Craven, and thanks for everything.)

And finally, a glimpse of how the monsters themselves celebrate Halloween!

By the Great Pumpkin, that video was thick with references.  Did anyone catch that the snack he brought for their study session was The Stuff?  Red Molly was the one who caught that.

A quick thought – I don’t mean to start a nerds’ cafeteria-table argument from the Eighties here (or maybe I do), but while Jason (at least in his later movies) could disassemble Leatherface in seconds, and while he and Michael are probably equals (with whatever advantage Michael may take from being the archetype from which Jason was drawn), isn’t Pinhead far and away more powerful than every other character in this video put together?



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The Reality of Fantasy – Recommended Videos #2

About a month ago, I put up a post on “The Reality of Fantasy”, featuring videos by the redoubtable Skallagrim, where he shared with us his knowledge of medieval arms and armor, along with his assessment of which arms and armor from our favorite fantasy media are viable, and which…really, really aren’t.

I meant to follow up on that post much sooner, but life interfered, as life will do.  Still, we’re here now, and I have a whole new set of entertaining and educational videos to share with you.

The Youtube scholar we’ll be viewing today is the erudite Lindybeige.  Where Skallagrim is a weapons enthusiast, Lloyd is a historian, archaeologist and historical re-enactor.  This means that while he certainly does know a great deal about weapons and armor, he can also comment on things like what pre-modern wars actually involved:

Aspects of battle that we usually don’t think about:

Things that we’ve probably been imagining wrong for a long time:

(Including some that we’ll probably want to keep imagining wrong because honestly, the misconception is so much more awesome than the truth.)

And of course, the simple, humble things that we take completely for granted today.  Things we don’t even think about, but which could make a universe of difference in terms of verisimilitude in your writing:

Funny, isn’t it?  You never picture Arthur or Aragorn or Sturm Brightblade or Sparhawk pausing in the middle of battle to take a swig from their waterskin, do you?  It’s almost like we forget pre-modern people had the same needs we do.  Honestly, there’s no excuse for it, considering that there is a very famous poem on this very subject.

Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?  Not to mention a recipe for Trench Foot.  So grateful for my modern boots right now.

I must confess, I never thought of it that way.  It’s funny what little, overlooked things make civilization possible.

Oh.  And yeah, like Skallagrim, Lloyd tells us which fantasy weapons and strategies are viable, and which…really, really aren’t:


Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Links, Writing Theory

The Reality of Fantasy – Recommended Videos #1

Quite some time ago, I wrote a post that proved to be one of my most popular to date.  The post was titled “The Reality of Fantasy”, and it discussed the reality of weapons, armor and fighting techniques that are often depicted inaccurately in fantasy fiction because, well, most fantasy creators aren’t historians.

In the years since, my Internet wanderings have turned up several interesting individuals who’ve made YouTube careers of doing the same thing, in much greater detail.  The first one I’m going to introduce you to is a fellow who goes by the nom du Net of Skallagrim.

Now, while there are riches to be mined from Skallagrim’s entire channel, my favorite playlists (and the ones most relevant to this post) are the ones on weapons, armor, martial arts, and evaluating video games and movies.

You might notice that that last one is the most relevant of all to what we’re talking about here today.

Anyway.  Skallagrim answers reader questions on such topics as whether the swords shown in the Game of Thrones TV show are practical designs (short answer, yes):

And he lets us know why other weapons, such as the Kurgan’s sword from the original Highlander movie, would be complete disasters:

But for my money, my favorites among his videos are the ones where he discusses little-known martial arts techniques, such as half-swording:

And debunks such favorite fantasy/cinematic combat myths as the one-hit kill:

Of course, no writer of fantasy will want to miss his bread-and-butter videos, where he discusses what the weapons and armor that we so love to outfit our heroes with were really like:

So that’s one important source.  Highly recommended.  More to come…

PS – I wasn’t originally going to include this one, but I just have to ask – have any of you out there ever heard this one?  I had no idea that this was a thing:

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Short Horror Cinema

So I was poking around the r/horror subreddit the other day, and I found this Listverse list of horror shorts.

Some of the shorts are better than others.  The best, the nerve-shattering Lights Out, I’ve already discussed in another post.

(No seriously, that short changed the way I get ready for bed.  I didn’t used to check the closets…)

The rest are good enough to be worth checking out, but I must warn you – the text basically gives you the entire story of the short.  “Spoilers” doesn’t begin to cover it.

I must admit that, while there are others that are better, I have a sneaking fondness for this one, probably for its brevity and brutal simplicity:

Of course, by the very nature of horror shorts on the Internet, watching the shorts from the article sent me on a Youtube crawl.  As I’m sure most of you are aware, most of what’s out there isn’t really all that great.  As the original Listverse article warns, it’s mostly long stretches of nothing followed by jump scares.  However, I did find a few I liked:

I’ll admit, that one isn’t all that great either.  In the end, just a slasher, with a plot hole or two even at its short length.  But it does press a few of my nightmare buttons.  This one presses the same buttons, with much more skill:

When did we all decide that a psychotic grin is scarier than any snarl or grimace?  Has it always been that way?

Anyway, the next one didn’t push any particular triggers, it was just damn good:

But at the end of the day, the best of all was from that very first Listverse post, and it’s not even a horror short, but a music video.  Warning, a bit NSFW even compared to the horror shorts on this page:

A reminder that horror, of all genres, doesn’t always need to make sense.  Sometimes there’s nothing scarier than when reality just…breaks.

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Under the Bed

So I found this on Youtube, and if I’d watched it any later in the evening than I did, it would have cost me some sleep.  As it was, I was particularly diligent about checking the locks that night.  So of course I figured I’d share it with all of you:

Any one of those things would be terrifying to find under your bed, but #5 and #1 just hit my nightmare buttons.  All of them.

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Honest Injuries

As a horror writer, one of my major concerns is injury.  What will kill?  What will blind or cripple for life?  What will put someone into shock – and what will the shock do to them?  What will do less damage than you might expect?

The problem with this is that the media often gives unrealistic depictions of violence and its results.  Mostly because if they were depicted realistically, the stories would be over very quickly.

Admittedly, my chosen genre often treats human bodies as more fragile than they really are – here I’m thinking of Pamela Voorhees, psychotic but lacking any of her son’s super-strength, shoving an arrow through the muscle and bone of Kevin Bacon’s neck (not to mention a bed).  Of course, Pamela herself shrugs off some pretty serious head trauma later in the same movie, and the Saw series seems to think humans can be pruned like trees as long as they have enough will to live and no vital organs are hit.

Still, whatever horror’s sins might be in this regard, the greatest culprits are still action and slapstick comedy.  Everyone knows that they’re exaggerated – but how exaggerated?  And they’re still so ubiquitous that they can’t help but distort our understanding.  Usually, I turn to my sister the doctor for a more realistic assessment, but today, action and slapstick comedy themselves volunteer to help clear up some misconceptions in Honest Action:

My only issue with these clips is that they don’t discuss the affects of the accumulation of injuries.  How many times can John McLane get punched in the head before it starts to cause lasting damage?  But I suppose when you’re discussing a long series of instant kills that he waltzes through and keeps coming, that gets lost.

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Here’s To Us, And Here’s To 2015

New Years Eve at Rosa Parks Circle  The ball drops in 2009

Last year, I bid farewell to 2013 with the a wish that 2014 would be better.

In some ways, especially for me personally, it has been.  The best news, of course, is that Red Molly and I got engaged back in November.  I don’t know if I shared that with y’all before.

In a close second is the fact that I got hired on permanently at my day job, after years of nomadic temping.  For the first time in a long time, it feels like my resources are growing instead of dwindling.  The fact that I can now take days off without counting the money I’m not making is a nice bonus.  It’s…a bit frustrating to have to start preparing for retirement as I approach middle age, but even in that I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

In a very close third (almost neck-and-neck with number two) is the fact that Red Molly got a new job, one that is better in every way than the one she had.  Better working environment, better pay, better location – that location is key to plans for the future.  Now that her commute is more reasonable, we can start making plans to move to Brooklyn, thus creating a situation where we don’t have to travel ninety minutes to visit our friends, nor they us (nor me to visit Coney!).  But that’s going to take more than one year to set up. Stay tuned.
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