Jezner Blog

Writing about Horror, Sci-Fi and Interactive Fiction

Top 4 Genre Movie Trailers in the Past 4 Years

I won’t lie – I’m a sucker for trailers. I know a lot of people hate them because of spoilers and such, but I’ve rarely had a movie-going experience ruined by one.

Trailers remind me of when chefs try to create a complete dinner experience on a single spoon. For me, trailers can even excel far beyond the movie they are based on.

Trailers are promises that may or may not be filled. Movies are a completed product. Trailers are the first kiss. Movies are long-term relationships.

Here are my top four trailers in the past year. I’ve only seen half of the movies presented because who wants to ruin a good trailer by watching a bad movie?

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Sometimes Boys Don’t Know by Donyae Coles

Growing up in the eighties, horror was everywhere. There were tons of magazines, anthology television shows, and my oh my, horror films galore. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this content was written by middle age white dudes.

Mind you, I have no problem with middle age white dudes. After all, I am such a dude. But in the eighties, white dudes had a monoculture of horror.

Donyae Coles takes that perspective and turns it on its head in her short story, “Sometimes Boys Don’t Know” and it is very much worth the read.

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Aliens: Colonial Marines made me Hate Aliens

Not too long ago, had you asked me to pick my favorite movie from the Aliens franchise, I would have said – hands down – Aliens. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen that movie. And then, not too long ago I played Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Now I hate it.

Well done, Gearbox Software. Insert nonsensical swearing here.

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Update Schedule

Years ago, I ran a blog that reported zombie news. It was actually pretty fun and during the peak of the blog, I was updating the site five times a day. Needless to say, I burned out on zombies far sooner than people around me (although I have a soft spot for zombies).

Restarting this blog, I figure it would be good to set a publication schedule. Not so much for you, but rather for me! A deadline can be a powerful thing.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Getting Loopy with Twine Loops

Computers love repetition. It’s what they are good at. Give a repeatable task to a computer and you will make a happy pile of silicon.

When writing programs, you end up writing lots of loops. With interactive stories, your mileage may vary. You may just write very text-centric stories, favoring links instead of code. In that case, you might not write a single loop.

Other times, you’ll want to utilize loops to process or act on your story data. This tutorial will get you started with Twine loops.

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Crystal Lake Memories

When I was a kid – and I’m about to age myself here – Friday the 13th was huge. With each year, we got a new sequel that featured sex-starved teens murdered by a very soft-spoken hockey enthusiast (or his mom).

Watching these movies was a rite of passage as a kid. Every sleepover party featured a Friday the 13th movie. We all pretended to watch when in truth, most of us closed our eyes during the bloody parts. Or at least, I did.

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Review: Cell by Stephen King

This is an old audiobook review that I wrote for Cell. I originally published it on this site in 2014. And hey, what is old is new again so enjoy!

A long time ago in a college far away, I sat down with a group of other beginning writers and started my first creative writing class. After the instructor went through all the necessary business, he asked the class a very easy question. “What writer has had the greatest influence in your life?”

My answer was Stephen King. The room went silent like I had farted the national anthem.

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Alien: Into Charybdis Review

When the movie Alien was made in 1979, it sent shockwaves throughout the public. Whereas Star Wars featured a universe teeming with adventure for every daydreaming farmboy, Alien was a cold icy void where a horrible death was all but inevitable.

Had Hollywood moved on, I think Alien would have been thought of as one of those revered cult favorites that surf just over the crest of obscurity. But as we know, that’s not what happened.

Rather, one of the best and worst things happened to it. It acquired a sequel and because of that sequel, the legacy of Alien lives on. In this case, by a book written by Alex White, author of what I consider the best Alien book of all time, The Cold Forge. (I’ve read a few of them). Does this book hold up? Keep reading to find out in my Alien: Into Charybdis review.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Branching Your Narrative With the If Macro

In this tutorial series, you defined some passages, created some variables and you even developed a simple inventory system. Unfortunately, your story doesn’t react to player choice.

For example, when the player starts your story, they choose the difficulty level of the story. In easy mode, the story places objects in fixed locations. In hard mode, the story places objects in random locations.

That’s just one choice and your story has lots of other choices to consider. Thankfully, there’s a macro for that; the (if: ) macro.

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DM Advice: Story Trumps Dice

Being a dungeon master is difficult. I want my players to have fun. I want them to feel like pulp genre heroes. Yet, I also want to be fair from a ruling perspective.

The other day, I ran into a conundrum. One player is a Goliath Barbarian aptly named Rocksmasher. His strength is pretty high and he runs Totem of the Bear, making him a muscle powerhouse.

So when he told me he wanted to tear a door I had no idea what to do. I mean, what does a DM do in that situation?

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