10 Books.

So, this thing has been going around on the tweetbook, wherein you ante up your ten “defining/influential” books, from your life. Given how much I read (a lot. Everything. The cereal box if there’s nothing else) this has been flipped my way a few times. And I gotta say, I like the idea. There are books that stick with you. They don’t necessarily teach you anything, but they may settle around moments in your life, realizations, or just be books that really got you. THis is actually a kind of thing I talk about: I’ve talked previously about some of the formative Young Adult lit I read, and that has stuck with me. You’ll see some crossover with that list, for sure.

So, this is mine.

1. The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

Pretty self-explanatory there. I mean, I’m a fantasy guy, right? But the thing is, my dad read these to me, when I was very young, AND used the “proper” (and they’ll always be the proper) voices: thick, exaggerated Yorkshire accents (that’s my background, btw). And I’ll never forget that. It also fixed my love-affair with epic fantasy, right at the start of my life, and had a big part in turning me into the voracious reader that I am. That experience showed me the way a book can be in your head, not just visually, but audibly.

2. The Adventurous Four/ The Famous Five / The Secret SevenEnid Blighton

British kids adventure stories. Kids solving crimes. Books written for kids with kid-themes but serious adult overtones. The Adventurous Four especially, set during World War II, properly set me on a life of reading thrillers; the Five and Seven set me down the road of crime stories. I had all of them. Actually, let me correct that. I STILL have all of them, secreted away to be passed on at an appropriate time. Also, thoroughly and completely British, as I am. Given the modern criticism of the books, I will definitely have to re-read them before passing them along, but they’re definitely formative for me, and I turned out ok.

3. The Hitchhiker’s GUide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Another Brit! Go figure, right? This is another one I read with my dad: this time, found on a shelf in a rented house in the South of France, on holiday, when I was probably nine or ten years old. And as you can probably guess from the first two books on this list, one of those that cemented a love for not only science-fiction, but dry, caustic, black humour. It’s partly on the back of Douglas Adams Hitchhikers series that I fell for Monty Python, and continue to read things like Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin (check out Phule’s Company, and Robert Rankin (check out The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse.

4. Watership Down by Richard Adams

This was the first book I was told I wasn’t ALLOWED to read. I was in grade 5 (first year in Canada) and it was in the “young adult” section of the school library. WHich was, honestly, a stupid thing to have, in a school that only went to grade 5. I had to get permission to read it. To this day, it’s a hell of a book, and it really, really shouldn’t be. it’s about RABBITS, for god’s sake. British rabbits, at that. But it’s a phenomenal story, with brilliant characters in it. And an ending that STILL makes the room all dusty. You can write about anything, and make it interesting, if you want to. This was the one that proved it. It’s basically an urban-fantasy story and… yeah. I love this book. I’ve worn out three paperbacks re-reading it over the years, and even my hardcover has a broken spine from the same. And I never manage to damage hardcovers. As for the story, the world-buiding (something that comes up with fantasy writers a lot) is particularly stunning: it’s not something I clued into when I was ten, but today, the complexity and completeness of the world that Adams’ created absolutely boggles me, and is obviously a huge part of why this one has stuck with me: invented mythology, social order, language, everything is there. The depth, based on the volume of writing, is at least equal to Tolkien’s “Middle Earth”.

FYI, the movie has basically NOTHING to do with the book, except that it’s about rabbits. And they have the same names. Well, “nothing” isn’t particularly accurate, but there’s significant changes, so… read the book. It’s far, far better than the movie.


I just realized, all my authors so far are British. It’s not going to end that way, but… hunh. How about that?


5. Stephen King. Tough to call out one book: More like “most of the books”.

IT was the first book (at thirteen) that I put down due to content. I got to Stan’s suicide and was just “whoooo, no”. (It took me a couple of tries to get through James Herbert’s “The Dark” but that was later. The Stand: epic post-apocalyptic fiction. All of the Dark Tower: epic high-fantasy. I really just love pretty much everything King has written.

If, however, I have to pick one, it’s… none of the above. The Bachman Books is my pick. Specifically, on the strength of Rage and The Long Walk: The Long Walk is one of the finest pieces of writing I’ve ever read. It’s a study in character development and nothing else at all. If you’ve not read it, get to it.

6. FutureTrack5 – Robert Westall

Basically, everything I said in the YA post I linked to above still applies. I still love this one for it being the first “almost an adult” book. I’m pretty sure that this is the book that jumpstarted me into post-apocalyptic dystopian lit: yes, even before I got into Orwell. I really loved this book in its day: to the point that I’ve not re-read it in the last fifteen years, because I’m scared that it won’t be good anymore. One day, I will: because it may be better now, than it was then, just due to perspective. But either way, I can’t un-read it, once I do reread it. SOooo, still, I wait.

7. Helter Skelter

This is the only non-fiction that really jumped on me early on. It terrified me too: much like watching “Nightmare on Elm St”, I didn’t sleep properly for a few days after reading it. This swas the one that piqued my curiosity for true-crime. I still love these kinds of books… in moderation. And with the lights on. Every bit as terrifying as anything Stephen King ever wrote, maybe more so, being as it happened.

8. Illegal Aliensby Nick Pollotta and Phil Foglio.

There is no reason this one should be on the list, except that… I love it. I really do. It’s not especially well written, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony. It is, stylistically, trying (and failing) to be Douglas Adams. But in that failure, it becomes something of its own, and there’s a good story in there, too. It’s funny, and strangely, surprisingly compelling. And I’ve replaced the paperback twice, and recently bought the ebook, too. I just keep coming back to it. It’s fun and mindless, and I love it.

9. Shakespeare.

You know, you’re not even getting a link. If you don’t, and haven’t, read and loved Shakespeare, get out of here. Seriously. You’re not really into reading if you don’t have a favorite Shakespeare piece. I BITE MY THUMB AT YOU, SIR.

10. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

We’re finishing off with a fifth Brit: I didn’t even read it the first time: my family had these audio cassettes (and “Flash Gordon”) in the car as we drove around Europe when I was a kid. The voice characterization, the madness, the … just everything. This is one of those kids books that is so, totally, completely for adults. Except that it isn’t. I can’t read it without hearing Kenneth Grahame’s voices in my head. It is completely MAD. And I really do love it.

That’s it. That’s my ten. I always say more than I mean to, and lets face it, that’s more than ten (obviously). There’s a lot of mentions, and I could easily add another two or three dozen as “honorably mentions”, especially if I got into my new favorites.


Books, of the “Young Adult” kind.

Young Adult, is, I’m assuming, a tough write.

You’ve gotta cross that barrier. the one where it’s still technically for kids, you can’t go too far with language, violence, sex, the works. But at the same time, if you dumb it down too much, you’re not writing Young Adult, you’re writing children’s lit. Now, I like Children’s Lit, but CL and YA (as I’ll refer to them from here on out, because I’m lazy, fuck) are not the same thing.

Why am I talking about this?

Blame Chuck Wendig. Again. That damn blog of his always gets me thinking.

When I was a Young Adult (and I consider that basically fourteen to eighteen: which is the other problem with “YA” and keeping it in that groove. There’s a HELL of a lot going on with you between fourteen and eighteen, and it’s almost definitely not the same as what’s going on with everyone else, or at the same speed, so.. fuck? how do you WRITE appropriately for such a potentially broad audience? I digress) I consumed EVERYTHING. I still do, but at the time, my small-ish-town library had a pretty strict policy on who could sign out what, and I was not of the who that could sign out adult-classified books.

Which sucked.

Especially as the YA section was MAYBE a dozen shelves (two stacks, side-by-side, six shelves each), and not everything appealed to me, and I read quickly.

So, I ended up re-reading a lot, until my folks put a tag on my Library card saying I was allowed to sign out anything I wanted. By then, however, I was working part-time, and a good portion of my paychecks went to books and comics, where I had no restrictions based on age).

Again, I digress.

I re-read a ton. And that’s kind of when you find your favorites.

I don’t know why FutureTrack 5 became one of mine.

(That’s actually the cover I remember, not the re-release: and I don’t want the paperback. I desperately want to find a copy of the Library edition/original hardcover).

I don’t know if it would have the same appeal to me today, at thirty-nine, either: Whether it would stand up. I’m certain I’ve blogged about FutureTrack 5 before, too, I just can’t remember where. I think I was probably nineteen the last time I read it. Maybe younger. And I remember a desperately bloody, dystopian story. And yeah, there were literary boobs in it. And I read THOSE scenes carefully. HEY, I was sixteen, what do you expect?

It’s the first book my mind flashes to, and the bar I hold all other YA lit to when I read it.

And I do still read YA. There’s some fantastic story-telling in the YA world that gets passed over (some, like, say, Hunger Games hits a societal chord. Some CL books become YA. Harry Potter, I’m looking at you.)

So, now we get to the grist of it. I have RECOMMENDATIONS. YA is tough, for sure. That balancing act of not getting too brutal or too ‘adult’ (for lack of a better word at this moment) versus keeping the interest of a more-varied-than-normal group of near-adults.

1] Harry Potter I think this one is obvious. Ridiculously so. The characters grew with the readers, which is nearly perfect. But, you can still go back and re-read, because you know what’s coming. There’s all the adolescent awkwardness and confusion, but no isssues with language or actual sexual content, but people die. And they don’t come back. It’s a YA win, and there’s a reason the serious sold a bajillion books, and was credited with getting kids to read again.

2] As also mentioned before: Hunger Games. No language, no overt sexuality, but still, all the ‘stuff’ that goes along with being that age. Death is a real thing, not just for the games themselves, but because that’s what happens around yoU: the developing adult fears of the surroundings show really well. And no punches are pulled in terms of “reality”: the Good Guys don’t always win.

3] Futuretrack 5 Obviously. It’s another dystopia, much more bleak than Hunger Games, but there’s hope: I do have to read it again, but I remember a brightness, a sense of future starting to appear at one point in the book. At the same time, there is overt sexuality, and violence, and death. I’d recommend it, but only for the mature/older YA reader.

4] Scott Sigler’s GFL series. The “GFL” is “Galactic Football League”. The series follows the career of Quentin Barnes, and his coming-of-age as he gets off a backwater world, with a rigid structure, and has to evaluate, and re-evaluate, the world around him in his own terms of his own learned bigotries, and his own so-called truths. Light on language, mid-level on violence, and epic in terms of football and alien action.

5] The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings. No need to say much here. I firmly believe that, by age fifteen, pretty much everyone should have read these. If you haven’t. GET OUT. I don’t care if you liked them, you should have read ’em. Because the kids in your life almost definitely will. Go read them now, no matter how old you are. Go on. We’ll wait.

6] The Narnia Books by C.S.Lewis, because NARNIA. I know, I’ve said it already, and I’ll probably say it again. If you’ve NOT read these… just go read ’em. I don’t care how old you are, these are FUN.

7] Pretty much anything by Monica Hughes, but for me, I always loved Crisis on Conshelf Ten, but Hunter in the Dark was great, as were a multitude of others.

8] Absolute classic: Tom Swift. I’m still trying to remember which of these I read: there’s more than a hundred of them. I read ’em around… 1985? I guess? And they were fun stories. Very typically “adventure stories for boys”, and I’m pretty sure they were Third series.

9] Watership Down: Ostensibly, it’s about rabbits. It’s pretty heavy, emotionally though, and it’s definitely a ‘cusp’ read: I read it at thirteen, but parents might not want to have their kids into it until later on. I know my grade school made my parents give me a note saying that I was allowed to read it, even though it was in the school library. This is, to this day, still one of my favorite books. It builds a mythos, and maintains it brilliantly the whole way through. And the last ten pages KILL ME every time.

10] Geoffrey Trease, but again, mostly Bows Against The Barons: YA historical fiction, set in medieval and rennaissance time frames. I read this one on my own, and I can’t remember why.. but the Shakespeare-set story, Cue for Treason was assigned in my grade nine class. A long, long time agao.

11] Lord of the Flies Again, HEAVY SHIT here. But definitely some of the good stuff as far as YA goes. If you don’t know what I’m talking about? Go read it.

12] Holy CRAP, I almost forgot about Gordon Korman and the McDonald Hall books! I love these for so, so many reasons. they’re irreverent, and funny, and well-paced, and honestly, they’re National Lampoon adventures for fourteen-year-olds. They’re brilliant.

There’s tons more, honestly. Some of it’s YA on the twelve-to-fifteen end of things, some of it’s … well, honestly, it’s heavy enough in its topics to not only cover the fifteen-to-eighteen level, but will keep adults entertained over and over. As you can tell, even as a kid I was heavy on the Fantasy and Sci-Fi.

More? Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, anything by Enid Blyton, but personally, I always favoured The Adventurous Four. It didn’t stop me buying every single Famous Five and Secret Seven though.

If there’s a more modern sci-fi fan at that age? The Robotech books to keep ’em going. The Robotech/Macross story still holds up really well. I’d take Stephen King’s “Silver Bullet” or “Eyes of the Dragon” over “Twillight” or “Sookie Stackhouse” any day of the week, then or now. Your mileage may vary, because, and I don’t know if it’s weird or not, my dad had me reading Tolkien and Douglas Adams (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy specifically) before I was ten, and introduced me to Piers Anthony’s Xanth books by the time I was eleven. I was always a reader, I may have mentioned that, and I devoured everything I could find.

Seriously, I could keep going. There’s great worth in “young adult” fiction, for both the young adults they’re intended for, and for the so-called adults they become.

I’ll shut up now.

Go read some YA, already!

Going To The Movies

Movies, and movie theatres, can be magical things. They may have become a normalcy, especially with the level of advertising, both for, and in, theatres, and our knowledge of profits on a per-movie basis (which now seem to be touted as a measure of how good a movie is: A good movie is not always a successful movie, and a successful movie is not always a good movie. Case in point, Fast & Furious), and sheer speed at which one blockbuster is replaced with another. I could, quite easily, go to the movies twice a week, and still not see all the movies I think I want to see.

But there was a time…

When I was a kid, the very, very first movie I remember going to see in the theatres was 1979’s “The Black Hole”. I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was on cable TV the first year I came to Canada (that would have been 1984). I loved that movie. Oh, I know there’s complaints about *ahem* continuity and flat out “What the Fuck..?” moments, but still. I was 7, and it was Sci-Fi, and there were robots, and there was special-effects, and it was GREAT. It’s still great in my mind, because I’ve not seen it in twenty-five years. The second I remember going to see was E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. you know, before they fucked it up by replacing guns with walkie-talkies and shit, to make it ‘less threatening’ and ‘less interesting’. That, I saw in a theatre in downtown Brussels, Belgium: it was a full day trip for my little brother’s birthday. My turn was to come: we went to the same theatre (and stood in line!!) for my birthday, for Return of the Jedi.

The first movie I saw in a Canadian Theatre (the Cineplex in Milton) was… Ghostbusters!. It was the last movie I had to go see with a parent, I think. Saw it with my Dad and little brother (said little brother was scared to death by the Library ghost), and loved every second of it.

Fastfoward to 1987, and it was time to start sneaking into movies. Not without paying, that never seemed like a good plan: we’d buy our tickets for a PG movie, and then ‘sneak’ into the movie we wanted to see. Movies like The Gate.

I saw the commercials for The Gate, and man. That was a movie that I wanted to see. I’d just turned 14, I could go see it, it was PG13!! I didn’t have to ask or ANYTHING. I could get the ride out to the theatre, put my money down, and go see that movie.

So, on a Thursday night in the summer, my friends at the time and I did just that. All got rides, planned on the 7pm show. Got out there, got up to the gate (heh. Fewer demons at the ticket gate than in the movie, but still…) and…

“You can’t see that.”

My fourteen-year-old indignation knew no bounds. Unfortunately, neither did my public humiliation. I was being turned away from a movie I’d technically been legal to see for more than a year, because…

I didn’t look fourteen. I looked, truth be known, about eleven. I was small all the way through high-school, and I was probably 4’8″, 80lbs, and still thoroughly baby-faced in 1987.

But I was fourteen! And damn her for not being able to tell!

And me, for not having anything that would pass as ID with a valid date of birth on it: it’d be two years before I got my driver’s license, and the validity of ‘realpersonhood’ that came with it. We were turned away.

My friends at the time, geeks and nerds all (and bless ’em for it) didn’t buy tickets as a show of solidarity. We burned ten bucks each playing video games and pinball in the lobby. Which was good, but not what we wanted. We wanted to see that movie!

So, next week rolls around, with another payday (yeah, I was working by then. Day I turned fourteen I started looking for a job, and worked at KFC on Main St, in the kitchen, for the princely sum of $3.85 an hour. Fifteen cents more than minimum wage, I’ll have you know!) to provide the necessary funds for a movie.

So, we went again. We bought tickets for … something else. Strangely, THAT I can’t remember. It was PG, and we’d picked something that would both appeal to ‘us’ (guys, age fourteen) so as not to appear obvious, and had a start time approximating that of “The Gate”.

It was our own (unbeknownst to us) carefully planned Ocean’s Eleven.

So, we got our tickets, our drinks, our candy. We posted our lookout. And we went for it.

It would probably be a better story if we got busted. But we followed a crowd into the theatre we wanted to be in, grabbed some seats in a good spot (but slightly off to the side), made sure there was an adult in the row (so it kind of looked like we were with a ‘chaparone’ even though we weren’t) and watched the movie.

And yeah, if you’re fourteen, in 1987, “The Gate” was a pretty scary movie. Especially when the “workman” falls out of the wall (at 1:17 of the trailer).

Actually, twenty-odd years later, that’s actually still a pretty decent bit of special effects. Well ahead of what was given to us in the rest of the flick. Especially the acting. The acting? Definitely sub-par.

But, it’s one of those movies, at least for me. It was a marker, a milestone for me doing stuff. Yeah, I should have just been able to buy the ticket, and it would probably still have had the same memorable quality as that “first”. But it was maaaaaaaybe better that we had to sneak in. We all still looked young, despite being old enough: Hell, we probably still referred to those around us as ‘big kids’ or “little kids”, and counted ourselves among them. It was fun sneaking in, and I’m sure it made the movie better.

We never tried to up-the-ante and sneak into an “R” movie, either. Don’t get greedy, that’s the thing!

It’s strange. Very few movie outings these days are “memorable”. You go, see the movie, leave, and forget about it. But the ones that hit me, were really good.

The Gate, obviously.

Nightmare on Elm St. Freddy’s Dead IN 3-D! was awesome, at least partly because of screaming girls, and pretending to have the car die on the way home.

On Elm Street.


The first Fast & the Furious movie. Partly because it was free, and really, really, really loud, but also watching the really young’uns leaving the theatre, thoroughly incapable of driving safely.

The Mist, which has not aged well, even in three or four years, but at the time, was what I thought a Stephen King movie was supposed to be: it captured EVERYTHING about that story brilliantly, and all three of us (Jay, and I) were just boggled by it as we left.

Pan’s Labyrinth did the same thing. Partly because it’s a brilliant movie, but also because it was free. And also because of watching someone walk out of a free advance-showing of a movie because “I ain’t stickin’ around to READ a movie! I hate to read! They should tell you that before you come into a movie!”

LOTR Fellowship of the Ring, because, after fifty years, we (my brother and Dad) found a fantasy story that not only did my mom enjoy, but desperately wanted to know “what happened”. All three of the LOTR movies were marker’s for me, because they were a family event, we looked forward to it (always boxing day, for three years) and after we got mom into the first one (“Oh, I’ll go. But it’s not my kind of movie. But it’s a family thing so I’ll go” to “YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS” which was answered with “Go read the books or wait until next year” and was followed with my mom beating my brother and I with whatever was at hand. Ok, that last bit is made up, but you get the idea)

The memorable ones aren’t memorable because of the movie. They’re memorable because of how they make you feel, and who you’re with when you see them: because of their ability to bookmark a moment in your life. And they don’t do that often anymore. Mostly, they’re consumables. And don’t get me wrong. There’s a place in the world for movies as consumables: things you enjoy in the moment, but don’t stay with you. But that spirit has to show up sometimes. They can’t all be defining moments for you, for sure. But some of them should be.

I wrote most of this, here, pretty much everything before this line, in fact, in May. Never got around to posting it! Since then, I’ve seen a few movies: the latest Fast’n’Furious; Thor; Drive Angry In 3D; Priest; Cowboys & Aliens; you get the picture?

The one that got me, though, was Super 8. Super 8 is a throw back to those movies that get you. There’s a lot that feels like them in it: The cast is fantastic, the writing is good, the pacing works. Is it a simple movie? Well, yeah, it is. And it’s not as… naïve.. as a lot of movies used to be. It channels, witout being, a bunch of those movies.

Which ones? Well, The Goonies, for one. There’s something of the ‘kids vs adults caper movie’ to it, as well, things like BMX Bandits, and to a lesser degree, Hackers. A lot of people have compared it to E.T., but I don’t think that’s actually a fair comparison. There’s far more violence in it than E.T.: and while the government cover up has a similar vibe, there’s actually a lot more validity to what the government is doing in covering the situation than in E.T. for whatever reason (telling you would be a major spoiler!) There’s some Stand By Me in there too.

But don’t think for a second that Super 8 is those movies. Those are at best comparative: more, for me to write about it, I’ve got to be able to tell you the feelings that the film drew out of me. And for the most part, it’s very similar to the feelings that those movies got from me.

Temporal setting was important too. You couldn’t make Super 8 in a modern setting. It’s all about, not only the naivety of the seventies and eighties: a naivety that I don’t think most kids have now, but it’s about a lack of communication. All the kids in it, today, would have cell phones and internet connections: they’d be making digital high-def movies themselves, not waiting for 8mm film to be processed; they’d be CONNECTED, and a huge part of that flick is being disconnected. They do something I’ve not seen in years: they communicate, bedroom-to-bedroom, via walkie-talkie.

Super 8 is, in a phrase, what I loved in a summer movie as a kid. I don’t think it’ll ever be a classic. It might. But I doubt it. Classics are few and far between these days: a movie lasts weeks, at best, in the theatre, and if it doesn’t get to number one in its first weekend open? Then it doesn’t get to number one, and that’s that. Gone are the days where word-of-mouth makes the second weekend bigger than the first: we already know (the commercials tell us) that the movie is a blockbuster and everyone loves it, before it even opens.

That was the other thing with Super 8. I skipped all the lead-up. I miss the days where you went to see a movie based on a thirty second spot on TV, that maybe, maybe you’d see twice, and seeing the poster up in the theatre. Now, by the time you sit down in the theatre to see the movie, you already know the plot, you know who the bad guy is, you know who all the primary players are, you probably know the twist, and, something that’s disheartening and becoming more and more common… you’ve already seen the climax in the trailer. Trailers which, I might add, are now approaching double-digit percentages of the movie they’re promoting, in terms of length.

Do we need to be spoon fed that much?

But Super 8, they at least waited until the week before, from what I saw and read, to really give up some details. It ‘felt’ older than it was. Once I figured out that it was going to be one of those, to use a terrible, turn-off of a phrase, nostalgia-inducing movies, I switched off. I actively avoided all the promotional materials, reviews, trailers, and changed the channel when a commercial came on. Because I didn’t want it spoiled for me.

Keep in mind, it wasn’t as bad as most: but if I’d have watched the material, I’d have known was going to happen. And I don’t get that. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, the audience appears to have told the producers and marketers that they don’t want to be surprised: they want to know what they’re getting ahead of time, completely. It’s like North Americans going to Japan, and eating nothing but McDonalds, because it’s familiar. “I wanna go see foreign places, as long as they’re just like home and I don’t feel uncomfortable or out of place”. I don’t get it. What’s the point?

Super 8, I managed not to be spoon fed. And it was far better for it, I think.

And that’s the thing. Movies have taken one further slip, I think. They’re at best product, rather than entertainment (and there’s a difference), and at worst, they’re simply commercials. See the movie of the videogame and comic book and toys, oh, the glorous toys! (sidenote: the toys are rarely glorious these days, either) It used to be the ‘things’ supported the movie. Now, the movie is simply often just a vessel by which other products are sold: a gimmick, a label to put on things so that they can be sold and consumed. More and more rarely, movies are made and sold as movies. Oh, it happens, but that’s the land of art and drama, which are sold less as entertainment, as well, and more as high-brow product.

You can go to a movie, switch off, and enjoy it, without buying the video game, or the toys, or the fastfood-related-bonus-item. Just like you can go to a movie and enjoy it AND think at the same time.

But they don’t appear to want you to.

And what it means is it’s very unlikely we’ll see another Poltergeist, or Real Genius. And I don’t have a lot of hope for the reboot (and how I’m starting to hate THAT phrase) of FrightNight despite the new cast they’ve tapped.