Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"I am a thing without a proper name," it pronounced...

"I am a wound in the flank of the world. " 
( "Human Remains," by Clive Barker)

Clive Barker is ten years older than me, and I've read so many of his stories and compared them against the work of other writers, that I've declared him to be my favorite writer. While I've never aspired to BE exactly like Barker, I do hope that one day I will produce a piece of work that reads with the fluidity and animalistic self assurance that he so flawlessly exudes.

I'd be interested to know when CB wrote this short story. It seems like a much later piece. (Shades of Imajica.) I've read Barker's ideological struggles on Twitter in the past, his musings over male on male relationships and so on and I noticed a couple of years ago his Twitter messages were much like what is in this short story.

I love that Barker created a new monster with this piece. Two new monsters really, and he does an excellent job of highlighting a few of the monsters we see every day. In some ways, the monster he creates is similar to the vampire and in other ways vastly different. I was immediately drawn into the beginning of the story of the young good-looking 'bumboy' and his material ambitions. Barker is a master craftsman of language. He teases the worst terrors imaginable from his brain and sets them down like a bear-trap on a waiting page, and then before you know it the steel jaws of his concocted nightmares spring up and grab you in a merciless death-shake. Amazing.

The main character, Gavin, is an odd protagonist. He is a nocturnal human making a living off of selling his body for other people's pleasure. I never really 'liked' him in the story, and I didn't ever feel sorry for him, even when he suffered at the goon hands of Preetorias (I'm guessing an adapted word-form of the Praetorian: a Roman bodyguard). It only took one slip-up of the night, one poor miscalculation of a pickup, and Gavin is led to the ending thread of his old life and ushered into a bizarre and twisted world of the new. The beautiful man who once used his looks to get what he needed/wanted out of life suddenly loses his physical perfection, his one claim to fame and perhaps he truly loses his soul. Perhaps he loses it to a spirit once encased (or created) inside an ancient artifact. Or maybe it's simply an exchange of the heart.

There's not a lot I can say that would do justice to this story. I loved the innuendos, and the subtle meanings woven throughout this piece. And the macabre play on words was priceless. Christian. Not Christian. Crime of Fashion. Barker's prose holds disturbingly endearing and dementedly engrossing passages woven into a short story filled with prickly precision and an 'in your face' punch. All of it revealed under the flicker of a golden light jumping up from the flame of a well-timed match. Which reminds me to say that this story brought my thoughts back to the famous lines in Macbeth:

"Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more." (~Macbeth. Shakespeare)

And Barker's tale reaches out and brings death to our door, unveiling the Reaper who always wants more...

~Factum Est

Friday, February 24, 2012

"'That orbed maiden with white fire laden...

...Whom mortals call the Moon.'" (Sir John quotes Percy B. Shelley in The Wolfman (2010), by Johnathan Maberry)

No semester of monster-reading would be complete without something that included a werewolf.

I watched the DVD (2010 remake of the 1941 film) 6 months ago. The film starred Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt. I loved the film. What's not to like about Anthony Hopkins breaking out into a swarthy hairy beast? But this blog isn't about the movie, it's about Maberry's book.

First of all, I thought it was clever to write a story/novel based on a short story and movie which had outlived it's copyright. I'm not sure, exactly, of all the legalities involved but it's smart to pinpoint a novel on something related to a topic (movie/short story) you love and write on it. If it's beyond copyright law, then awesome. Never mind that your story is already outlined for you and all you have to do is fill in the words. It seems sort of like painting by number. 

This is not to devalue Maberry's work, mind you. There's very good paint by number people, and those that suck at it. Some choose their own colors without paying attention to the number/color guide, some have no technique and just slap the paint on there, and some make paint by number seem like an original Picasso because they are  masters in understanding brush strokes, color and they have finesse. Maberry is the latter. If I hadn't seen the film I would have still enjoyed this story. Immensely.

I will have to admit (because I bought the Kindle version) that the editor in me highlighted the passive voice which seemed overused throughout the prose. I did wonder why, on page 18, Lawrence considers the moon 'threatening.' It seems illogical. He considers it threatening as he parts the curtains of his room only to see what he thought was the moon, was actually the face of Big Ben. It was a  foreshadowing, but it was something that didn't make sense to me since Lawrence hadn't transformed into a hairy were-beast. Not yet.

I had to look up the word daguerreotype, which was educational. It's French for the first successful photographic process. The novel was different from the 2010 film in that Lawrence received notice of his brother's disappearance via a hand-written letter from Ben's fiance' (instead of in person), but the part where the walking stick he received from a kindly old gentleman on the train (which bore a wolfhead design and parted into a sword-like/rapier weapon) was basically the same. More foreshadowing. (If I were to write a book, based on this story, I should like to do it from the perspective of the old Frenchman that Lawrence met on the train.)

Maberry writes the Frenchman's words: "It is one of the few privileges of the old,” the Frenchman said, “to pass on our burdens to the young.” (page 28). I loved that line, and intend to use it on my children. And maybe my grandchildren. Or my great-grandchildren. Time will tell. 

In the movie, Lawrence politely but respectfully refuses the cane. In the book he accepts it in trade for his own plain one. An interesting difference, but I think the later holds much more meaning.

The name of the town, Blackmoor, has a foreboding quality to it. Although I already knew the story, the name of the town still filled me with a certain...curious dread. Maberry's description of Talbot Hall was both poetic and frightful. The fact that Lawrence felt he had to knock on the door at a place he grew up in said so much. "...he had never been here as a man"(page 29). 

Sir John was as distant and unapproachable as seen in the film, and Maberry drew his countenance on paper as if it were a photograph. The fact that Ben's body was discovered, and that Lawrence's father broke the news to him seemed out of place somehow, but I went with it. And so it goes throughout this novel, certain things that are different, a twist here and there, which make the reading of the novel interesting after having seen the film. What I also enjoyed was Maberry's use of language. The story 'sounded' as if it were written in older times, as if crafted in the 1800's, and Maberry made the 'feel' of it equal to the tale at hand.

A hundred and eight pages in, we finally see a werewolf. And the way it wrecked havoc on the gypsy camp was painted in gory detail. Everything about the werewolf is speculation up until then, but after that scene there is no doubt as to the werewolf's existence, and how devastating the slash of it's claws can be.

When I first started watching the movie, and when I later read the book, I didn't get the splintered hints of the love story until the end. And it wasn't just one love story. From the slash and bite of the werewolf's claws and fangs on Lawrence's body to the final showdown at the end between Werewolf and Wolfman, there were the love stories of father and son,  mother and son, of brothers and that of man and woman. And finally there was the story of ultimate sacrifice.

Would I read this story again? Absolutely. Maberry did an excellent job with it. Despite the number of 'nods' I noticed in the sentences (Timons Esaias, you have forever ruined the 'nod' for me), and the frequent lapses into passive voice, the writing was beautiful and I enjoyed every minute of it. I think Maberry pulled this novel together with moonlit finesse. I heard the monster howl. I felt and smelled the blood. And I experienced the loss that perhaps not just humans, but beasts, feel as well.

"Fate’s way is a cruel one. But she seeks a greater end.”


Sunday, February 19, 2012

"I just cannot believe...

...in any of this voodoo bullshit." 
(The Thing. 1982. Directed by John Carpenter/Screenplay by Bill Lancaster)

It was 1982 when this film first came out. The same year as when I first joined the military. I hadn't seen many films that truly scared me. This was one of the few.

I watched this film with my kids, not long ago, before we went to see the new film (which I thought was a remake, because the title is the same). Imagine my pleasure when I found out the new movie wasn't a remake, but instead...part of the sequel...even better, "The beginning."  

But although this blog review isn't intended to talk about the new movie, and is specifically designed to discuss the older version, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the much older 1951 film, "The Thing From Another World." All of the movies are based on a short story written by John W. Campbell (Don A. Stuart) in 1938 (titled: "Who Goes There?). If I can get my hands on the tale, it will be my next read.

The John Carpenter 1982 film, The Thing, was (at the time) one of the most fantastic movies I'd ever seen. Watching it years later, the special effects I'd oo'd and ah'd at with the initial view, seemed a bit hokey (I guess I'm spoiled with the modern CGI point of view). Still there were things that remained suspenseful and horrific in the film. I'd never seen the VERY beginning before, with the ship coming from outer space, but I loved when the helicopter comes into view over the barren icy tundra and the husky-dog races over the snow (A discerning eye can now tell there were TONS of footprints and other traffic that traveled over the set before filming). And I adored watching Kurt Russell sitting at "Chess Wizard" at the American outpost, "chilling out" as it were. Back then I thought it was amazing to play chess against a computer. I guess I still do.

The setting for this story was perfect. What could be more bone chilling than to be stuck in a freezing environment with a monster that wants to take over your, and everyone else's, warm blooded body? And there were the scene enhancers, such as the sound of the arctic winds constantly blowing and the music which played like a deadly heartbeat, mechanical but rhythmic, slow but ominous. I think the combination of the wind sounds and the music made a huge contribution toward developing tension in this piece. 

I really liked the part where Kurt Russell's character (MacReady) flies to the Norwegian outpost to investigate why one of their members went on his bizarre rampage. As a viewer, I was able to 'investigate' through the character's eyes. I was part of the confusion, wondering what had happened, just as much in the dark as the people in front of me. It was a little different from books or movies where the reader or viewer knows something the characters don't. Instead of 'being in the know' I was surprised as the clues unfolded before me, and then I had to put the pieces together. I found I kind of liked that secretive approach. It added to the suspense because I knew just as much (if not less) than the main characters did.
It's hard for me to believe it was 30 years since the release of this film. It seems like just yesterday in many ways.  From the steaming corpse MacReady brings back to their unit, to the pack of dogs becoming infected and breaking out into whipping tendrils of "wild things" lashing out in the darkness, I was just as transfixed with what was happening 'modern day' as I'd been the first time I saw it.

The desperation of knowing you've got a monster who imitates human form, that there's not anything you can do about it AND that you're trapped in a place far from civilization, makes for a compelling tale. It takes on most of our fears of not being able to call for help, of being stranded with few options and of our bodies being invaded. Thirty years later, even without foo-foo technology, I saw 'The Thing' still rocks. From creepy autopsies by "Blair", Wilford Brimley (who kept reminding me of round boxs of Quaker Oats), to the tortuous incineration of misshapen aliens, I gotta say I loved almost every minute of it. Sure, there were inconsistencies (the foot-printed snow), but the story was excellent and I can't think of many ways it could have been done better.

Will there be a Thing Three? One never knows. But if it comes to the theater I'll definitely be there. I'll sit in my seat and hug my blanket of popcorn and wait to be scared to the depths of my core. When it comes to 'The Thing," I just can't help it. And who said letting it take over was even the worst? Assimilation can't be as bad as feeling the fear of it. 
~Give me a bottle of J&B and some forty below weather, and if I'm left in the dark listening to an alien roar I might fight to the end, but in the true end, Death will still scoop me up and carry me through its icy black door.~

Sweet 'thingy' dreams,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Don't worry,...

...everything's gonna be alright." (Gu, "World War Z" by Max Brooks)

My horror writing buddies will go into shock when they find out I'm not a zombie fan. Hell, I even dressed up as one (Thanks to Mama-Zom's excellent make-up skills!) during Seton Hill's 2012 winter WPF residency. It was then that I convinced myself that perhaps zombies had a tiny bit of merit. Miniscule.

But really, I don't get the dead flesh dustrags. They don't even creep me. They're messy, distasteful and they're not very smart (as a rule) so I don't understand how they got to be popular. I mean, at least a werewolf or a vampire has  a measure of intelligence and style. 

Zombies are nothing more than thrift store horror. Rags and old blood pasted onto walking decayed flesh. What's sweet about that? I think my next t-shirt's gonna say, "Got Brains?" A fun loving poke at those who tout a passion for the ghouls.

But I digress. I'm supposed to be spouting off my review of "World War Z." Honestly, I thought it was going to be a painful read. My thumbs flipped through the pages and I eyeballed the text and thought, OMG, there's f'ing zombies in this book. Apocalypse in my hands. What on earth shall I do?

I often look up writers that I haven't read before, see what they've written and so on. I didn't know Brooks wrote, "The Zombie Survival Guide." Guess when you're a writer and you discover your niche you stay there for a while. What I found interesting, zit-popped from our beloved 'Wikipedia,' was that Brooks did a lot of research for this book. Everything from the technology to military tactics. I think that's part of what made it so believable when I read it. A reader can tell (most of the time) when an author knows their topic well versus blowing smoke up the rectal canal.

I didn't understand how this book was put together at first. I was confused until I realized that each chapter was an interview with a different person. Now, while Zombies aren't my thing, interviews are. There's something about asking questions and listening to people answer that fascinates me. And it's not just asking questions, but asking the 'right' questions. So, where just any old Zombie novel might have turned me off, I found I enjoyed the interview style of this story.

Things I wondered as I read: How did the main character get to all of those different global locations ? There's no date/time-stamp so it's hard to tell how long it is between interviews. I understand he's a UN employee, but wow...despite the crisis he sure seemed to get around with no problem. And I didn't make any connection to the places he travels. They don't seem to have a purpose. They're completely random to me. 

The other thing is, as someone who does interviews, there would be more interaction/dialogue from the main character. It's not realistic to have someone launch into a long diatribe  about their experience or background. Still, it was a fun read. And timely, given the explosion of Zombie movies, novels, graphic novels and other media today.

And present day, Zombies are spreading across the airwaves. People play with the walking dead in games like Black Ops, and if you believe in any kind of hostile Big Brother, then the jokes on you. BB not only learns how you think, but teaches YOU how to think. Resistance is futile. Chew on that.

I blame my primrose path thinking today on the fact I'm almost 50 and plagued by a debilitating form of arthritis. It keeps me in bed on off days when it's cloudy and cold. But most days I have to say, "fuck it and gutt it," and go to work, or go to the gym to try to stay fit, or go surfing because it's one of the things I enjoy and the cold water actually helps reduce the inflammation of my joints. And yes, I have medications. Sad news is they don't usually help. Maybe if I was a zombie, I'd get around better. So hey all you zombies out there, bite me.


"Thou shalt not lay palm...

...upon thy victims." (The Law. Yattering and Jack by Clive Barker)

This tale was a fun short story that reminded me a lot of "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis. It is a fairly old story of the demon who fights to turn an innocent man into a corrupt soul. Barker's approach was a bit different since "The Lord of the Flies" wanted Jack's soul in payment for his mother reneging on a promise to be his and going to heaven instead. I read Clive Barker's commentary on the story, which became an episode adapted for the Television series, "Tales from the Darkside."

Despite the gross visuals of cat deaths, particularly Freddy the III, this story was oddly funny for a Barker piece. And later (as a vegetarian) the Christmas turkey, oozing stuffing, dancing in the kitchen, was a disturbing mix of dark comedy and grim food distortion. I'm not sure I'll ever see Christmas dinner the same way again.

As in Barker's short-story Rawhead Rex, the point of view of characters shifted often, although in this piece there was a protagonist and a main story theme. And similar to Rawhead, I didn't mind the shifts. Didn't bother me a bit. I also liked getting into the head of the Yattering demon, hearing his thoughts and suffering his angry frustrations at Jack.

I found it interesting that Jack thought of Yattering's abuses as an overall 'game'. From the kitty deaths to the spinning Christmas tree, and his daughter's injuries from pine-needles and multiple spinning flying objects in the house... at the end of it all Jack keeps his composure (for the most part) and seems to know just what to do to drive the Yattering to its maddening edge. He pushed the beastie past its point of binding law. And having crossed the line by laying hands on the human, the Yattering suddenly belongs to Jack . A demon held in abeyance by a gentle soul. 
"Che sera, sera."

Friday, February 10, 2012

“The bones are bent outward...

...like he exploded from inside.”

Dallas (Alien. 1979. Directed by Ridley Scott/ Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon)

I remember when the film 'Alien' first came out. It was 1979, and my mother wouldn't let me go to the theater to see it. After the first week it played, I endured all of the group jokes about the little Alien popping out of the chest of poor Kane, and I kept quiet during the movie discussions so my fellow high-schoolers wouldn't know how 'uncool' I was. Mind you, with my thrift store attire and mouth full of braces, it wasn't like I had any type of reputation to keep. I just didn't want it to get worse. (I was naive to think it could have gotten worse.) 

When the film was released, it was like every Monday at school after the latest Saturday Night Live only tripled, maybe quadrupled, in effect because I loved horror and I could have cared less about SNL. (I know, I know...sacrilege. Spare me. I watched the re-runs years later and finally got the Gumby jokes...) The first of the series of films I actually saw on screen was Aliens. It wasn't until the early 90's that I saw Alien. 

Viewing this movie again was timely, since the release of Prometheus is scheduled in June 2012.  I watched the trailer for the new movie, and I have admit I'm really exited. There is not one movie in the Alien series that has ever disappointed me and I'm expecting a lot from the newest endeavor.

From the moment I saw the Alien monsters, I adored them. Each gargantuan spine-tingling beast was the epitome of what I feared most. Larger than ordinary earthlings, spider-like limbs, a face fitted with several layers of bone-crushing teeth, bloody acid running through the circulatory system AND they were wet and slimy...what wasn't to love and fear about these creatures?

If you want a story breakdown, you can read the play by play on Wikipedia. I do recommend reading it, because there's some fun info-tidbits there like the fact that Alien was Sigourney Weaver's first leading role, and that the Alien was actually played by a 7'2" Nigerian design student named Bolaji Badejo. I had no idea.

One of the things I noticed while growing up in the 70's and 80's, was that there were very few strong female roles in modern film. Ripley was one of the first big-screen female heros that resonated with me. She wasn't wearing high-heals, she didn't try to be sexy...she was pure stone ovaries, determined to win against the odds.

What this film doesn't really bring out, but which is highlighted in later films, is the fact that the human 'monster'  exists among our species. It is, in many ways, much more horrifying. At least when you see the Alien, what you see is what you get. When you look at a human, you never know. The monster Alien used camouflage to 'hide' it's presence. Among humans, our flesh IS our camouflage, and we never know where the enemy hides until it's too late.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

"The town is burning...

...there's carnage everywhere."
"30 Days of Night" by Steven Niles (Compilation published 2008)...A Cinful Review...

I've always loved comics, and I'm a graphic novel snob meaning I only like to read the good stuff. I grew up smothering my eyes in  X-Men, Spider Man and many other comics too numerous to name. Lenore (Little Dead Girl) by Roman Dirge is one of my new favorites. I expect a lot from a comic or a graphic novel, and I'm envious of those who can team up and create a piece of work that results in a fun read. Naturally, I was anxious to devour this bit of horror. It was new for me, and ultimately refreshing. The fact that Clive Barker endorsed it in the intro only added blood to the fire.

The story starts out with one of my greatest nightmares...being stuck somewhere in an environment of intractable cold, on the eve of thirty days of darkness. The images are bleak, and I made it worse by reading this novel at 2AM during one of my insufferable bouts of insomnia. 

It's a petty item to point out at first, but one of the things that bothered me (as I planned my commentary) was that the first few pages had no page numbers. Bear with me because I'm hand counting as I go along...

Page 6: People are reporting their cell phones missing, and there's an image of a burnt pile of cellphones on the page.  I found myself wondering..."How the hell did people report missing cellphones if they didn't have a phone?" Maybe all of them had landlines too, but I think about Barrow, Alaska (so remote) and I consider my own phone bills and my conservationist attitude toward my hard earned dollars...and I wondered that many folks out there had both a landline and a cellphone. At my home (in California) our family all carry cell phones and we quit having a hardline. It was too expensive to have both, and the only people who called the landline were soliciters, so...

(Of course, the dates in the novel say the story occurred in 2001. Back in 2001, I barely knew what a cell phone was. It wasn't until 2004, when I moved from Japan back to the U.S., that I finally owned a cell, so having both back then is likely.)

 Later, call me petty, but on page 37, Niles writes, "Endless night, and an endless supply of blood and meat". The idea of vampires finding a place where there was 30 days of night was brilliant. Then the fact that the boss vamp showed up and claimed how idiotic the blood feast was, and how it compromised their mythological existence, was even more brilliant. The reality of the population of Barrow, however, was overlooked. In 2001, Barrow's entire population was listed as 4,581.  This hardly makes the blood and meat "endless", although Niles writes later that the population was only 462 (a big difference in number). He also mentions that people leave before the winter. I had a hard time believing over 4,000 people would vacate their home for that time period.  And, logically, one would think the blood suckers would like to go back to a place like Barrow in the future and have another red-cell banquet, so killing everyone just didn't make sense. 

Be that as it may (suspending my disbelief there....)...I found the protagonist's (Eben's) solution to taking on the vampires, interesting. After he turned himself into a vampire, he was still able to control himself well enough to fight for the humans, destroy the head honcho and not munch on his wife. In the end, it was a sappy love story, as Eben sacrificed himself on the first day of light because he couldn't endure not being with his mate. Ashes to ashes, and you know the rest.

Reading the back cover,  it's obvious this story continues on and now I'm curious about this series and would like to read more. Another thing that bothered me was, I had no sense of what part the Louisiana folks played. A mother sent her son to Barrow to get some video recording, he dies just after sending the video feed, and we never learn the link between the Louisiana folks and the vampires. I'm guessing that info comes later in other episodes. 

Overall, I loved reading this piece and the artwork was awesome. The monochromatic color with the exception of scarlet (maybe a yellow or green here and there) was an eerie touch. And Robbie Robbin's artwork was raw, rough and unrefined. The stark color increased the overall feeling of cold and brutality. One visual problem (for me) was that with my poor eyesight I had a hard time reading the 'vampire' script and I would have appreciated larger text. I found myself wishing I could read this in an 'enhanced' form online or in an e-book where I could enlarge the photos and the print. The entire time I read through the story, I kept thinking a graphic novel like this would be fun in an e-enhanced version. (Music for the background, maybe even a voice-over for the text.) Gotta admit I just bought the DVD and can't wait to see how it compares to the print.

In conclusion, high praise for "30 Days of Night" and now that I've finished the book at almost 4AM, I'm sure I'll have a couple of hours of fitful dozing before the sun rises. And when the sun rises, well, it's then that I'm sure I'll sleep like the dead.


Friday, February 3, 2012

"Fear was for those who still had a chance of life:

...he had none."
(Clive Barker, Books of Blood: Rawhead Rex. 1998

I have a bias toward Clive Barker. He's a mastermind writer that can do no wrong in my warped opinion (Let us not talk of 'Abarat', for that would be a lengthy discussion...)

Clive Barker has a unique penchant for story telling, and Rawhead Rex highlights his talent beautifully.

( I wanted to see the film for comparison, but the DVD on Amazon it sells for $94.99 used. That's right. $94.99. Used. Needless to say, I didn't pay to see it.)

Still, what an excellent story! I grew up on a farm and so I empathized with the trials and tribulations of the first character, Thomas. This was a man who found rocks, boulders and other soil impediments in the good earth and cleared them away with the (hopeful) goal of planting fruitful seed. As I read, I felt Thomas Garrow's desire to get this huge rock out of the fertile soil bed. His persistence won out over the troublesome boulder. Alas, persistence does not solely reap rewards. Thomas found that out first hand.

The POV switch Barker inserted as Rawhead rose from his prison, was spectacular. I felt as if I WERE  Rawhead, smelling the sky...drinking in a world of sensations I'd been deprived of for eons. Then I was Thomas again, bewildered, amazed... then dropped on my head... dead.

Barker does some things in this piece that writers are told never to do in a story (short or long). He switches POV often, and he introduces multiple characters who have little in common except the thread of their existence in the town of Zeal. All of those things, and he uses the word grimace (or a form of it) at least four times in the short story (OMG: What would author Tim Esaias say? There are no gargoyles in this prose. SHU'ers  you know what I'm talkin 'bout.) A sin in writing, for those of us taught by those who are great.

Regardless of the grimaces, and Barker doing all of the things we are taught NOT to do as new writers...he is the master of the macabre. His language, his 'page turner' ensemble of words is fantastical. I couldn't help but love each grossly detailed, sickening and twisted moment.  Clive Barker is, perhaps, the best (non-personal) writing instructor I've ever had. His is the work I study. His is the prose I most want to capture the idealism behind. He is frank, honest, visual and forthright. He is the mixed martial artist of the writer's arena, practicing with no holds barred. An aberration of the mat, and an opponent never to take for granted. If I were in front of him, I would bow low but I would never, never take my eyes off of him.

Did I find it hard to believe that the 'Venus of Willendorf' was the arch-enemy, the nemesis of Rawhead Rex? It was a bit of a stretch, but the story played on ancient history, and I loved the gender battle. In addition to the story-line, Barker wracked the limits of human endurance in the reader. An innocent  young girl dies, and an intellectual boy (writers might feel for because of his introverted self) dies as well. Granted we don't have enough time to fall in love with the boy too much...still...he was only a child), and we get to see the perspective of Rawhead as he revels in his own renewed greatness. He is God once more. We feel the beast's thirst, we hunger for dominance, we understand the confusion of a different world that meets us after centuries of burial in a prison in the ground. The world is strange. It has changed. And even with the last breath (and final urination), we are convinced that Rawhead's reign has not ended. That he will be back. As the female energy is omnipresent, so is the male, and like a male organ gone temporarily flaccid Rawhead Rex will rise again. All he needs is time.

Rawhead Rex Poster
 by Sibbs00000 (DeviantArt)