Archive for the Media Category

Movie Review: Found-Footage “Documentary” Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story

Posted in Horror, Media, Paranormal on December 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

First of all, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: Ash Hamilton is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for twenty years. We co-managed a Books-A-Million, we kicked around various comic projects, we’ve broken bread, I’ve been a guest on a couple of different podcasts he’s hosted, and we generally share a common love for horror, fantasy, comic books, and, well, all manner of pop cultural and conspiratorial phenomena.

That said, if this movie sucked, I would tell you, and I would bust on him gleefully until he started to whimper.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case.

Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story, written and directed by my pal, has raked in a Brinks Truck worth of awards and accolades… and I’m happy to report after finally viewing the thing, it’s worth every bit of praise.

Ever since The Blair Witch Project dropped many moons ago we’ve been waiting to see the found footage documentary genre taken to the next level. Hellier, that magnificent paranormal entertainment series from Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, and Connor Randall, tapped into this in their two season opus and legitimized the hunger for this type of storytelling. Holes in the Sky, while not quite elevated to Hellier standards, is in that same vein and a compelling and nail biting love letter to all those things that gave me thrills as a child growing up in the rural Midwest.

Holes in the Sky explores “a documentary film crew’s efforts to make a movie detailing the 2013 alien abduction of Illinois resident Sean Miller. A five-day shoot turns into a life-changing experience for everyone involved as events spiral out of control.”

The strength of the film lies in the superb performances by all those involved. This story feels real. All the people on camera are believable. Everyone seems natural. And the creepiest moments are beautifully shot. Ash does a great job of building tension and delivering legitimate chills.

Look, I grew up on UFO and Bigfoot sightings, ghost stories, and abduction narratives. Ash’s love for these same things really comes through on camera, and by firmly grounding it in the “Midwestern Gothic” atmosphere, it delivers a believable and ultimately terrifying tale.

This is a movie you’re going to want to watch late at night with the lights off.

On a scale of 1-5, this movie gets a solid 6 from me.

Addendum: I mentioned Ash and I kicked around some comic ideas back in the day. Here’s a little sample of something we were working on some 15 or so years ago. We should really get around to finishing it…

#OCCULTOBER: The Devil’s Own

Posted in Media, Occultober on October 11, 2021 by Occult Detective

In 2013 I was asked to send an audition clip into an agent for a Paranormal Reality series to be called, tentatively, The Devil’s Own. This show later became Portals to Hell, hosted by Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman.

The video is old and corrupt, much like myself. Please excuse the quality.

Hallowe’en, for all its sinister overtones, is just as good for a laugh now and then. Running across this video from 8 years back certainly gave me a chuckle. I hope it does for you as well.

Pity I didn’t get the gig, but as Portals to Hell is one of my favorite docu-series, it’s hard to cry foul.

Three for Thursday: Live-Action Joker Edition

Posted in Media on August 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

My top three favorite live action Jokers. Let the hate commence.

Number 3

Number 2

Number 1

Three for Thursday: Marvel Cinematic Universe Edition

Posted in Media on July 15, 2021 by Occult Detective

Long time no post. I’ve been busy, and you’ll see why very soon, but, after finishing up Loki last night, I felt it was time for me to evaluate the entirety of Marvel Cinematic output thus far. And I consider the Disney+ series to be a part of that, so let’s tackle this… from worst to first.

Captain Marvel

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 2

Black Panther

Falcon & the Winter Soldier

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Thor: The Dark World

Captain America: Civil War

Spider-man: Homecoming

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Incredible Hulk

Marvel’s The Avengers

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Infinity War

Ant-Man & the Wasp

Black Widow

Spider-man: Far From Home

Thor: Ragnarok

Iron Man

Wanda/Vision

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Ant-Man

Guardians of the Galaxy

Loki

Thor

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Doctor Strange

I was really tempted to go deep and add all of the Marvel output, you know, the tv shows, cartoons, Sony and Fox output and the like. Let’s face it, if I did, a lot of the recent Marvel stuff would slide south. I rate the original 1978 Dr. Strange tv pilot right behind the Dr. Strange movie, and Wesley Snipes’ first Blade outing would be right on its heels, but I’ve still a mountain of things to get sorted so that will have to be a project for another day.

Three For Thursday: National Television Heritage Day

Posted in Media on July 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today is National Television Heritage Day, so that leads me to presenting my Top 3 Favorite Television shows of all time. Are you ready? I doubt there will be any real surprises…

NUMBER THREE
CARNIVALE

“…the perfect show for those who thought
Twin Peaks was too accessible”

— Matt Roush, TV Guide

NUMBER TWO
LOST

“Name another network drama that can
so wondrously turn a ? into a !”

— Entertainment Weekly

NUMBER ONE
TWIN PEAKS

Twin Peaks disorients you in ways that
small-screen productions seldom attempt.”

—Tom Shoals, Washington Post

Three for Thursday: Occult Comics

Posted in Magick, Media on May 20, 2021 by Occult Detective

As promised, to avoid the confusion of last week’s Occult/Horror Comics List (emphasis on Horror), this week I’m sharing my favorite Occult Comics. I’m tossing up 10 and I’m not putting them in any semblance of order…

Enjoy.

Three For Thursday: Black Characters Matter

Posted in Media on May 6, 2021 by Occult Detective

BLACK CHARACTERS MATTER

“ORIGINAL black characters remain on
the shelf because of tokenization.”

— Eric July (YoungRippa59)

The internet is ablaze with talk of Black Superman and the casting of a woman of color in the role of Red Sonja. This is nothing new. Both in comics and on the big and small screens, unique characters of diverse ethnicities are often overlooked or downright dismissed unless they get slapped into another hero’s pajamas.

I’ve got to agree with Eric July on this. Taking a traditionally “white” character and putting a POC in the suit is not progress. There are a whole host of great black characters that deserve a seat at the table. A prime example is the demotion of the Falcon from a unique character to a “tokenized” Captain America. We don’t need a black Cap, what we need is the Falcon. Period.

That said, today I thought I would share my three favorite black comic book characters. This was a hard list to make. Why? Because it’s a long list of awesome, unique heroes and villains that need to be propped up. You know what? I’m going to cheat. Were going Top 5, baby!

Let’s get to it…

NUMBER FIVE
THE FALCON

NUMBER FOUR
BLADE

NUMBER THREE
MISTY KNIGHT

NUMBER TWO
ZULA

NUMBER ONE
BROTHER VOODOO

Tarot Tuesday: This Is Not A Love Song

Posted in Media, Tarot on May 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

I’ve known Amber Petty for a few years now. She reached out after becoming enamored by my High Priestess tarot design, which she licensed for her Tarot Tea House business in Australia. Subsequently she wrote a memoir and we collaborated on the cover art over the course of many months. Below is the finished artwork for her debut —This Is Not A Love Song: A Memoir About Mental Health and Love which is available wherever books are sold.

And for kicks, here are a few of the other ideas we knocked around, all Tarot related, of course.

Magick By Trial & Error: The LVX Files

Posted in Magick, Media on May 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today, I direct you to The LVX Files, a new podcast from my good friend Shawn Hebert of Lailokens Awen fame. Billed as “A Podcast for Occultists about Occultists”, Shawn expands on Gordon White’s “were you a weird kid?” opener to delve into the origin stories of today’s most prominent occult voices.

In the debut, we are treated to a fascinating introduction to Frater R.C., host of the Magick Without Fears podcast. I believe you’ll find Shawn a personable and erudite host, and if his discussion with Frater RC is any indication, we’re in for a spectacular season of in-depth analysis of the evolution of occultists from a very personal level.

Be sure to like, subscribe, & ring that bell.

And if you want to know a little more about what makes Shawn tick beforehand, you can check out his Last Rites from last September.

Three for Thursday: Wyrd Edition

Posted in Media, Wyrd on April 29, 2021 by Occult Detective

No Wyrd Wednesday post yesterday. I am almost exclusively devoted, during my daylight hours, to the OSR Authentic Magick RPG I’ve been tapped to illustrate, edit, and orchestrate. So, how do I make amends? Well, we bring a little Wyrd into our Three for Thursday.

Today, let’s have my list of the three best “Viking” movies.

NUMBER THREE

THE VIKINGS

Adapted from Edison Marshall’s novel, The Vikings. If you thought the Viking’s tv show was inaccurate, hold onto your horned helm because this tale of Ragnar Lodbrok is a doozy. Oh, we’ve got Ragnar and Aella, Egbert, and the like, but we also have Eric, Ragnar’s secret bastard and Einar Ragnarsson, and let’s not forget the Welsh Princess Morgana.

For all its playing fast and loose with history, the cast more than makes up for it: Ernest Borgnine, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, and Janet Leigh are all spectacular in this epic sword and sandal production.

NUMBER TWO

VALHALLA RISING

Where do you even begin with this Mads Mikkelsen tour-de-force? Mads plays One-Eye, a mute thrall who escapes his captivity with a young boy and is taken in by cruel Norse Christians intent on sailing for the Holy Land on Crusade. Blown off course, they end up in North America, where One-Eye sacrifices himself to the natives there.

Oh, yes, I have opinions about this film and its meaning. More than happy to discuss with anyone brave enough for an earful.

NUMBER ONE

THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR

Adapted from Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, The 13th Warrior is loosely based on Beowulf, merged with the chronicles of Ahmad ibd Fadlan. The cast is spectacular, particularly Jahn Dennis Storhøi who manages to steal every scene he is in.

“After my small role in The 13th Warrior, I said to myself, ‘Let us stop this nonsense, these meal tickets that we do because it pays well.’ I thought, ‘Unless I find a stupendous film that I love and that makes me want to leave home to do, I will stop.’ Bad pictures are very humiliating, I was really sick. It is terrifying to have to do the dialogue from bad scripts, to face a director who does not know what he is doing, in a film so bad that it is not even worth exploring.” — Omar Scharif

Well, Omar, I disagree. John McTiernan was the original direstor, and while he was responsible for films like The Hunt for Red October, Predator, and Die Hard, by all accounts he lit a lot of money on fire and delivered a wretched film. Crichton took the reins himself, reshooting the ending and delivering what I consider an exhilarating adventure film.

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