book: craving

"craving" by david hontiverosthere’s something about putting small children in danger that terrorizes almost everyone. and it is this fear that david hontiveros evokes in CRAVING.

still part of the filipino horror book pile (three more to go–four, if i ever find a copy of NINE SUPERNATURAL STORIES), CRAVING was recommended by blogger will. he said, “Have you read anything by David Hontiveros? Craving was okay.

and i agree with will’s statement; CRAVING is okay.

the novella centers around married couple lester and anne who heeds the suggestion of their ob-gyn, to take an extended vacation in the province. that’s because anne is having trouble with carrying a pregnancy, and a change of pace in life might just be what she needs.

this is not a supernatural worry. this is something that really happens in real life. and this, i think, is the reason why CRAVING is effective in building up the fear ante. because it builds up on something very much taken from real life. and it showcases fear in its most popular guise: “fear of losing a loved one.” albeit, in the novella, the loved one in question is yet to be born. but that just emphasizes the fear more.

when lester and anne start to experience chilling conversations with locals, and a stare of owls suddenly take interest in hanging out at their backyard, the novella takes a turn to the foreboding.

fear continues to grow, which is a very good thing when it comes to horror. but when you keep building up fear, you’re expected to give a fitting end that would either give your reader a scare to haunt them for days to come, or at the very least, an ending that would satisfy the reader’s hunger for the macabre.

david hontiveros delivers with the macabre. and then ends with an epilogue that took away the horror from an otherwise promising book.

from the books i’ve read, the movies (and television shows) i watched, i understand this: horror works best when there is emotional attachment involved. but for horror to actually scare people, you should keep the emotional scenes to just an involvement–don’t let it work its way into the limelight. otherwise, the horror falters.

so, like blogger will, i would recommend CRAVING to other people too. but i would add one more recommendation: when reading the book, skip the epilogue. unless you like your horror with a dose of self-imploring drama.

movie: legends of the guardians

"legend of the guardians" directed by zack snyderLEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS is a movie about owls. obviously. and i really wasn’t interested in watching it. i don’t know. ever since i quit my previous job, i’ve been really picky with the movies i watch. probably because i didn’t want to spend on a bad movie–even before i knew for sure it was bad.

and then i was asked to attend the advanced screening of LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS, and i didn’t decline. it was: (a) a welcome distraction from all the research i’ve been doing, (b) it’s been a while since i last wrote an article for http://www.wmn.ph, and (c) well, it’s a paying job. you don’t decline jobs.

well, i don’t usually.

it was a good thing i did accept the writing job. i was wrong about LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS. it was a good movie. but it’s still not a movie i’d be willing to pay for. because it’s in 3D.

of course there’s also a 2D version of the movie, but i’ve already written about my gripe with 3D movies before. i actually readied myself for this movie: taking an aspirin in advance. it did help my 3D experience a little bit.

now, where was i.

i wrote about the LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS movie for www.wmn.ph, so you can read my article there. but i’m also going to be writing about it some more over here. as i couldn’t go that much into detail for my writing assignment.

"legend of the guardians" featuring the voice of jim sturgessLEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS is a story about sibling rivalry gone extreme; two brothers are kidnapped, taken into an evil lair and made to choose: join the supreme race, or be one of the enslaved many. obviously the two brothers make different decisions.

one brother, soren, goes on a quest to search for the legendary guardians: owls that would prevent the rise of the evil “pure ones”. and the other brother, kludd, goes into training to become of the best “pure one” soldier.

truth be told, i felt that the movie was too short. we get the exposition where we see the world of owls, we get the conflict of the kidnapping, the escape, and the quest. and then after that, it was just a matter of minutes before the movie was over. it didn’t just feel like the movie was too short; clocking in at 90 minutes. so at the end of it all, you get this sense that not everything was told, and that a lot of things were rushed so we could get an ending.

but i commend the writer of the movie for the premise. it’s a great film to put up for discussion. as i mentioned in the article i wrote, parents should be ready to discuss the themes of the movie with their kids. because it’s that kind of a movie. you get a lot of questions, and you get some of the answers. the rest, you have to discuss with your family, or your friends. because for some of the movie’s questions, there’s no right or wrong answer.

now, why do i commend the writer of the movie and not the writer of the book series? (yes, the movie is based on a book series for those who don’t know.) mainly because i don’t think it’s the same story. i’ve read the synopses of the books, and while they have the same structure, the same journey (for the most part), and maybe a bit of the same premise, they’re really not the same.

the books had the brothers on opposite sides of the battle from the get go. the movie gave kludd a chance to go back to the good side–by splitting his book counterpart into two characters, if i understood the synopses correctly. and i think this is a very important deviation since it offers up a chance for the characters to have complete happy ending.

not that they get it. and take from that what you will.

i have no major complaint about the movie, it is solid if a little rushed. but there is one tiny detail that i can’t let go: the lack of consequence. in the end of the film, and this is a little bit spoiler-y, the parents of soren and kludd show up again. and they never talk to their children about what happened to kludd.

as parents, i believe it is their responsibility to confront that issue: why did kludd go bad? so i’ll leave that to the movie-watchers to explain it to their kids, or younger siblings. confront the issues of the movies. don’t waste the lessons from the owls.