Thursday, August 8, 2019

Candidate #20

(May 2019)

Maybe we need to talk to somebody. He needs, uh, like a, specialist.”
“What?! And say what to ‘em?”
“I don’t know!”
“‘Hello, this is our son. We found him in a f*cking spaceship in the woods. Now what?’
“No! We should have done something a long time ago! This is on us!”

The above quote shouldn’t be a spoiler for anyone who’s seen Brightburn’s trailer. Hell, even the one sheet gives the game away.
Take The Bad Seed, the idea that a child can be a scheming, conniving killer, and graft some spandex superhero origin story onto it, and you get Brightburn.
Or, to use 21st century Hollywood pitchspeak, it’s Superman as an evil child horror movie.
What if a loving yet childless couple finds an infant under bizarre circumstances?
What if that child (which, after 81 years of conditioning, we’re led to believe will grow up to be a paragon of virtue) turns out not the way we hope or expect?

For longtime comic book readers, this is certainly not a new and novel concept.
But in this day and age of the box office supremacy of superheroes, any story that carries even the whiff of subversion (such as, say, Amazon’s adaptation of The Boys, which doesn’t so much as carry a whiff but reek of it) is certainly welcome, if only to mix things up and offer decidedly different flavours to the cinematic buffet that very quickly tastes all the same, all the time.

And while there is some effective horror and some brief, yet standout gore, what really sells Brightburn are the performances of Elizabeth Banks and David Denman, who play the loving yet childless couple, the Breyers.
Instead of rearing a superhero for the ages though (and through no real fault of their own), they find, to their horror, that their little bundle of joy is anything but.

(Brightburn OS courtesy of

Sunday, July 7, 2019


So these 12 'Verse issues

DAKILA: Lumilim
Issues 1 & 2
David Hontiveros / Elmer Cantada

DAKILA: Makadaot
Issue 2
David Hontiveros / Carl Corilla

DAKILA: Makadaot
Issue 3
David Hontiveros / Carl Corilla
DAKILA: Metronom
Issues 2 & 3
David Hontiveros / Romnick Magbanua
Issues 1 to 4
David Hontiveros / Romnick Magbanua

DAKILA / MASKARADO: Silver Like Dust
David Hontiveros / Reno Maniquis

KADASIG Volume One: "The Skeleton at the Feast"
Issue 2
David Hontiveros / Rafael Gumboc

which I talk about in more detail here, are now available to order at the Indie Komiks Market section of mervstore.

So if you haven't read some (or all) of these, then please click on down to the link(s) above and check them out.
And if you're so inclined, please feel free to spread the word and these links, to show your support for the local comic book scene.

you can’t drink just six,


Friday, June 21, 2019

Congratulations to Andrea Abulencia, whose presentation of her paper--at the POSTHUMANITIES IN ASIA: THEORIES AND PRACTICES International Conference held at the Umeda Campus, Kansai University, in Osaka, Japan, on June 8 and 9--was, in her own words "well-received."

For the record, the paper is entitled "Pirated Identities, Real Fictional Selves: The Posthuman Clone Narrative in David Hontiveros' Seroks Iteration 1: Mirror Man as Philippine Contemporary Science Fiction," as can be seen in the image below.

Once again, thanx so much to Andrea and all you other mighty fine folk who continue to spread the good word...

you can't drink just six,


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Candidate #19

(March 2019)

Then Sotuknang went to Taiowa and said, ‘I want you to see what I have done. And I have done well.’
“And Taiowa looked and said, ‘It is very good. But you are not done with it.  Now you must create life of all kinds and set it in motion according to my plan.’”
--“Creation Story” (written and performed by Tsonakwa & Dean Evenson; from a Hopi creation myth)

After the decisive statement of purpose that was Get Out, Jordan Peele returns with Us, which sees Lupita Nyong’o as a wife and mother whose family is besieged by red-clad, scissors-wielding doppelgängers.
Which of course, you’d know if you’ve already seen the trailers or the one sheets.
That is, however, all you’re going to get here, because, as always, to preserve as much of the cinematic experience as possible, I steer as clear of spoiler territory as humanly possible…

But I will say this:
Though Peele trades in the overt thematics of racism in Get Out for a follow-up that’s apparently a more straight-forward horror film that just happens to have an African-American family as its protagonists, what it looks like (as indicated by Us’ narrative) isn’t necessarily what it actually is.
So, yes, Us, like Get Out, is most definitely about something. It’s just a bit more under the skin though, so you’ll need to dig to uncover Us’ truths.

Another thing I can say:
It’s rare these days to point to a film with a nearly two hour running time and call it “tight,” but Us seriously just flies by.
The pacing, performances, and clear control Peele exerts over the narrative all combine to give (heh) us another ¡Q horror!-worthy piece from the comedian who’d always dreamed of becoming a horror movie director.
Well, thank goodness he finally got around to the horror…

Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
--Jeremiah 11:11 (King James Version)

(Us OS’ courtesy of

Friday, June 14, 2019

Candidate #18

(January 2019)

And the branch on the tree...
And the tree… in the hole…
And the hole in the bog…
And the bog… down in… the valley-o…”

Sarah O’Neill (Seána Kerslake) and her son Christopher (James Quinn Markey) have just moved to a new town--specifically, to a house on the edge of some deep, dark woods (are there any other kind of woods in these kinds of films?)--when she begins to suspect that Chris isn’t Chris at all…
That’s the central conceit of Lee Cronin’s feature directorial debut, The Hole in the Ground.

Working from a screenplay he co-wrote with Stephen Shields, Cronin gives us a potent dose of largely exposition-free horror that delves into the fears and anxieties a parent has for their child, relying on tone and atmosphere (and some excellent performances by Kerslake, Markey, and James Cosmo in a brief supporting role) to make its point.
And a fine, creeptastic point it is, punctuated by some unsettling set pieces (maaaaaan, that talent show number…) and wrapped up with Lisa Hannigan’s haunting rendition of “Weile Weile Waile” that runs over the end credits roll.

“The mirror always tells the truth.”

(The Hole in the Ground OS & UK quad courtesy of

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I've just been informed that Andrea Abulencia, who chose SEROKS Iteration 1: Mirror Man as the subject for her thesis in 2016, has written another paper on it.
And this time, she's presenting her paper at the POSTHUMANITIES IN ASIA: THEORIES AND PRACTICES International Conference being held at the Umeda Campus, Kansai University, in Osaka, Japan, on June 8 and 9.

And while I've always been both thrilled and humbled every time something I've written is chosen as the subject for an academic paper, I've never made announcements before.
This time though, the paper's being presented.
At an international conference.
In the land of Ultraman, kaiju, tokusatsu, and the late, great Satoshi Kon. (All of whom/which, incidentally, were referenced in SEROKS.)
For all that, I thought it was blog post-worthy...

So, if you happen to be in the Osaka neighborhood this coming weekend and presentations of academic papers are kind of your thing, then hey, check out the conference.
And tell Andrea (now a teacher at the University of Asia and the Pacific; hope the presentation goes well!) you read about it here at the Iguana!

And before I wrap up, I'd just like to say thanx so much to all you mighty fine folk like Andrea, who find resonances in my writing, and help spread the word about them.
Dōmo arigatōgozaimashita.
you can't drink just six,


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Candidate #17

(September 2018)

And why do we work so hard, Charlotte?”
“To be the best.”
“And why is that, Charlotte?”
“Because it’s what’s expected of us.”

Richard Shepard’s The Perfection turns on Charlotte Willmore (Get Out’s Allison Williams), “a rare and gifted talent” whose promise as a world class cellist was derailed when she needed to return home to care for her ailing mother.
Upon her mother’s eventual passing nearly a decade later, Charlotte reaches out to her former mentor and teacher, Anton Bachoff (Steven Weber), and in doing so, comes into the orbit of Anton’s latest star pupil and “most prized protégé,” Elizabeth Wells (Powers’ Logan Browning).
What follows is a taut and twisty tale that bears witness to the sordid costs that sometimes need to be paid to attain that titular perfection.

While some may argue The Perfection is more thriller than horror, I would point out that the things that characters do to each other in the film are chilling, gruesome, and ultimately, horrible.
The screenplay--credited to Shepard, Eric Charmelo, and Nicole Snyder--takes a number of pivots in its 90 minute running time, and with each turn, fundamentally changes the type of movie you believe you’re watching. You start off The Perfection thinking it’s this kind of film, when actually, it’s that, until you realize, No, wait, it’s really that other kind of film.
It’s the kind of narrative that, even if you sense the twist coming, it doesn’t significantly blunt its impact when it lands, and with each turn, light is cast on statements and sentiments made previously, forcing us to view them in hindsight as more weighted than they initially seemed.

All in all, it’s an elegantly sinister tale that builds to a savage crescendo, closing with Chromatics’ abbreviated cover of Hole’s “Petals,” a blackly satisfying story for those of you who treasure both narrative surprises and horror that speaks to its time.

“She’s the grace of this world
She’s too pure
For the likes of this world
This world is a whore”
-- “Petals”

(The Perfection OS courtesy of