Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

Alita: Battle Angel Vs. Captain Marvel—The Fabricated Fight That Should Not Be

I thought about doing a review of each film separately, but after watching both I came to realize how integral both films currently are to our culture, why the cultural “catfight” being brewed (seemingly by design) between the two fandoms is both silly and a distraction to what makes these films so important, and how it’s entirely possible to love both, or even dislike one, without having to automatically be a racist misogynistic bigot troll (blah blah blah)…or a Russian bot, or even an SJW.

But first, let’s start with a brief one-sentence synopsis of each film:

Alita: Battle Angel—Female heroine with amnesia goes on a quest of self-discovery to learn who she is. Stumbles from time to time due to her pride getting in the way, but overall has a good heart. Along the way she discovers that she’s the most powerful weapon ever.

Captain Marvel—Female heroine with amnesia goes on a quest of self-discovery to learn who she is. Stumbles from time to time due to her pride getting in the way, but overall has a good heart. Along the way she discovers that she’s the most powerful weapon ever.

Granted, each story treats that theme in different ways, taking different paths, with different revelations, and providing different plot twists. They’re even in completely different genres (Post-Apocalyptic Cyberpunk for Alita: Battle Angel, Superhero Sci-Fi/Fantasy for Captain Marvel). But essentially, both stories are about the same thing: a story of empowerment by coming to terms with one’s true identity. And that is why the entire “us vs. them” dichotomy seen in the reviews of certain critics ring hollow and disingenuous while relying solely on vague, shallow phrases vapid and meaningless while resorting to idiotically trivial nitpicks like the size of Alita’s breasts or whether or not a butt double was used for Carol Danvers. None of which matters in the slightest when it comes to how relevant that is to the story or the execution thereof. And the fact that such established publications like Vanity and Salon, or even the New York Times, would allow such trivial garbage “reviews” to grace their pages (online or off) solely for the sake of clickbait, or to pander to a corporation (*cough* Disney *cough*), or hell, for any reason whatsoever, merely shows how far the mainstream media in the U.S.A. has fallen.

And don’t even let me get started on how some even misrepresented certain scenes or even flatout made things up just to maintain a predetermined, obviously biased, and (dare I say it) sexist and puritanical narrative. All of which they have every right to do. They can put anything they want in their publications, it’s their choice. Just don’t expect rational, sane people to take such publications seriously when they print such low quality, trivial, trash. It’s almost like fact-checking and vetting has become nonexistent.

Also, to the mainstream media: for the record, it is impossible to “whitewash” a Martian Cyborg. Did these people even bother to research the source material? Or, hell, even watch the movie?

So yeah, let’s nitpick over trivial crap instead of talking about the relevant and timely themes in these films. Such as the dystopian nature of Alita’s world or Alita’s willingness to risk death just to get her memories back, demonstrating how important identity is to the human condition. Or how humanlike her berserker body molds itself into, in response to how Alita subconsciously sees herself as, in contrast to the cyborg monstrosities she battles who look as inhuman as they themselves are on the inside. But I guess such discussions are too “deep” for modern day “critics” to handle.

And let’s completely forget how Captain Marvel, after finally breaking out of Kree brainwashing, realizes she had just spent six years as a soldier serving in an unjust war. Or how Nazi-like Kree society resembles in their views of Kree superiority, collectivistic attitude and disdain for individualism, or their desire to genocide the Skrulls. Because how could that possibly be relevant to modern day, right? Nah, the size of her ass or the actress’s out-of-context remarks in regards to a completely different movie are what everyone should talk about instead. Proving that sometimes, the Internet media can be just as lame as the mainstream. Granted, a lot of that was in response to how Captain Marvel was marketed. But criticizing a film before it was even out based solely on how it was marketed is, to quote Iron Man, “not a great plan.” Also, it’s not good film criticism.

It’s almost like our clickbait media with their clickbait ways are in the process of turning our society into a shallow, vapid, clickbait society. And if that’s so, we’re doomed. Because if our views on entertainment can be so easily manipulated, then one can only imagine how much more easy it would be for more important views (like on politics or science, for example) can be just as manipulated. But then, hasn’t that always been so, at least to some extent?

I went and saw both movies, and here is my honest opinion on both. Both movies had their good points and a couple flaws here and there like every movie does. Both movies made me laugh. Both movies made me cry. And both movies had me cheering on the protagonist. And both movies had me thinking about things I hadn’t thought about for a long time. And that is all anyone can ask from art.

Both movies were entertaining, and both movies had important messages about the nature of identity, the individual vs. the collective, and how under the right conditions good people can be manipulated into doing the wrong things (Hugo, in Alita: Battle Angel, and Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel). They are both movies worth seeing, both for their entertainment value and for what they can teach us about the human condition. And they are worth seeing multiple times because each time you watch them you discover something new; that is, as long as you’re looking for answers to much deeper questions than whether or not a female cyborg from Mars should have breasts and/or look Japanese, or whether or not an actress should smile more.

My advice: go watch both movies and see for yourself how good or not these two movies are. And if you like them, watch them again. Especially if you like Alita: Battle Angel because of the two that film is certainly the underdog of the two and needs all the support it can get (Marvel will make sure their movie makes what they want it to make). Fuck what all the critics with political agendas say, on both sides of the extreme. If there is a “culture war” being waged (fabricated or not) then it is imperative for all of us as individuals to take the power back and make up our own minds on what should be considered part of our overall culture, and not let collective extremism on any side dictate what we should or should not enjoy as our entertainment.

Feel free to like both movies, or to dislike either one, or to dislike both. But make sure your opinion is based on what is actually there and not some fabrication created for you by so-called “critics” with obvious agendas. And I’m not talking about all critics. I’m sure that for every faux “critic” with an agenda, there are hundreds of true critics who have reviewed these films honestly and based their opinions on what was actually in these films. I even personally know a few of them. But alas, the outrage mobs have been drowning these voices out for quite some time now. And it’s getting tiresome, for everyone.

Alita: Battle Angel Trailer

Captain Marvel Trailer

 

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March 15, 2019 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Adventure at Fandom Fest

In the usual weird-things-always-happen-on-my-way-to-a-convention fashion I spent the bus ride from Columbus to Cincinnati on a bus that smelled like an outhouse due to maintenance not cleaning the crapper tank, possibly because a massive wind came out of nowhere followed by a torrential downpour as soon as my bus arrived to the station. My Bus Ride from Hell continued through a tornado zone that left the bus delayed due to a traffic jam. But at least I got to see a semi truck laying several feet from the road with its front cabin crumpled like a wadded up piece of paper—an interesting image and one likely to end up in a story some day.

The Cinci to Louis bus ended up three hours late, this on top of a two hour lay-over. Not too bad since I got to spend the time with a couple Iraq vets. We avoided boredom by performing a Three Stooges routine followed up by a game of bloody knuckles. They also described to me an interesting new game they learned in Iraq: I believe it involved an auto grenade launcher and a crate of bean bags….

And all these years I thought Bottle Rocket War could get painful. Silly me.

By the time I arrived at the Galt House (I’ll let other folk blog about the problems with that hotel) it was around 3 am Saturday morning. Since I didn’t have the money for a room, I did what I normally do in that situation; I did the catnaps-in-bathroom-stall-while-avoiding-the-security-guards shuffle.

Got my badge, etc., around 9 or so. At which point I was locked, cocked, and ready to rock.

There were quite a few crickets on the literary panels I was on, and it seems that was pretty much standard for the whole entire literary program track. The plus side was that 10,000 people came to see Bruce Campbell. The downside was that apparently 9,990 of them came only to see Bruce Campbell.

Ah well. Shit happens.

I still managed to sell and sign a couple anthos there, so I’m not complaining. Especially since I can say that H. David Blalock got my autograph. 🙂

The major plus was all the cool writers I got to meet and hang out with, like Selah Janel and D.A. Adams, the Zimmster, Shrews, Charlie Kenmore, Gary Wedlund, Maurice Broaddus, Michael West, Alexx Miller, Marian Allen, TammyJo Eckhart, and many many more (If I forgot your name, drop me a comment and I’ll add it—yes, I’m still that hung over). I also got to party with Paul West and Taylor Kent, and Taylor let me crash in his room and even fed me, and bought my drinks.

You rock, Snarky!

There wasn’t a con suite with free food like at the other conventions I attend, so I didn’t exactly come prepared. If it weren’t for Snarky and Zimmster I probably would’ve starved to death.

You rock, Zimmster!

And a whole lot of interesting discussions went on, ranging from spec-fic stuff to political stuff and other intellectual stuff and…stuff….

Yeah, it’s been two days since I got home and I still feel hung over.

Overall, I had a blast, despite the hotel preventing simple basic things that could’ve made the convention more successful marketing-wise. Oh, and the hotel upping the parking price on everyone at the last minute. :/

Good thing I didn’t come by car.

July 4, 2012 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Dead Matter DVD Set

Special edition The Dead Matter DVD set including two bonus Midnight Syndicate CDs available at all HOT TOPIC stores nationwide on July 30th.   New The Dead Matter trailer released.

May 26, 2010 (Cleveland, OH) Midnight Syndicate Films has announced plans to release a special edition of The Dead Matter DVD that will include two bonus CDs by gothic Halloween music artists Midnight Syndicate.  It will be available at all Hot Topic stores nationwide on July 30th.  The specially-priced set will include The Dead Matter DVD, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD byMidnight Syndicate, and a new Midnight Syndicate 13th Anniversary greatest hits CD entitled Halloween Music Collection.   Midnight Syndicate Films has also released a new official trailer for The Dead Matter movie which can be viewed at the film’s revamped website, www.TheDeadMatter.com and YouTube.

The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD contains the score composed by the film’s director, Edward Douglas of Midnight Syndicate, as well as several limited-edition remixes of Midnight Syndicate songs and other music that appears in the film from bands like Lazy Lane, HipNostic, and Eternal Legacy.   Midnight Syndicate’s Halloween Music Collection CD features over 60 minutes of songs hand-picked by Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka to celebrate the band’s first 13 years.   Both new CDs will also be available at Halloween retailers nationwide in August.


About The Dead Matter movie:
A guilt-ridden young woman desperate to contact her deceased brother discovers a powerful ancient relic that controls the dead.  Her dark obsession drags her into the tangled world of two warring vampire lords (Andrew Divoff of LostWishmaster and Tom Saviniof Friday the 13thDawn of the Dead) each with his own sinister plans for the artifact and a vampire hunter (Jason Carter of Babylon5) who will stop at nothing to destroy it.
This chilling gothic dark fantasy co-produced by Robert Kurtzman (creator of From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB FX) features a haunting score by Halloween musicians Midnight Syndicate.  It’s a mix of classic horror themes with modern twists and a touch of dark humor that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

About Midnight Syndicate:
Midnight Syndicate has been creating instrumental Halloween music and gothic horror fantasy soundtrack CDs for the past thirteen years.   The group’s music has become a staple of the Halloween season worldwide as well as a favorite in the haunted house, amusement park, role-playing game, and gothic music industries.   From Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties to Monday Night Football, X-Box games, the classic Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, and Barbara Walters specials, their CDs are designed to take listeners on a journey into the darkest corners of their imagination.

Trailer:


May 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dead Matter Movie Release and Contest

The Dead Matter movie to be released on July 30th.  Midnight Syndicate gives filmmakers chance to have their work featured on The Dead Matter DVD and win prizes with their 13th Anniversary Video Contest.

 
(Cleveland, OH) Midnight Syndicate Films has announced that The Dead Matter movie and soundtrack will be released on July 30th.  Production on an interactive website that allows fans to delve deeper into the world and characters they will encounter in the movie is underway.  A set of three new trailers, the first of which will be released in February is also in production along with a mini-documentary produced by Smudgeline Productions and other behind-the-scenes featurettes.   All of these items and more special features to be announced soon will be included on the DVD release.  
 
Midnight Syndicate Halloween Music is hosting a 13th Anniversary Video Contest where filmmakers and animators can create a silent film or music video to an existing Midnight Syndicate track.  The winner will be featured on “The Dead Matter” DVD as well as win prizes from sponsors: Screamline Studios, Conquest Graphics, Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps, Van Helsing’s Curse Halloween music, and Midnight Syndicate.   Other finalists will also win prizes and special promotions.
 
Judges include legendary frontman and horror fan Dee Snider (Twisted Sister, Strangeland), Horror FX-legends Tom Savini (Friday the 13thDusk Till Dawn) and Robert Kurtzman (producer From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB FX, Wishmaster), as well as Edward Douglas (The Dead Matter) and Gavin Goszka of Midnight Syndicate and producer director Gary Jones (Xena, Hercules, Boogeyman 3).
 
Additional information on the video contest can be found at www.MidnightSyndicate.com.  The official rules are posted at www.MidnightSyndicate.com/videocontest.htm.
 
 – – – 1 / 13 / 10
 
ABOUT The Dead Matter
Why rule the living when you can control the dead? . . .
Inspired by Hammer Horror Films and Tales from the Crypt.  The Dead Matter tells the story of a relic with occult powers that falls into the hands of a grief-stricken young woman, whose desire to reconnect with her dead brother draws her into the supernatural world of vampirism and the living dead. Scored by Halloween music legends MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE and co-produced by Robert Kurtzman (Producer From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB FX, Wishmaster) and Gary Jones (Xena, Boogeyman 3), the movie features a mix of classic horror themes with modern twists that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Starring Andrew Divoff (Lost, CSI:Miami, Wishmaster), Jason Carter (Babylon 5, Angel), Tom Savini (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead), and legendary television horror hosts Dick Count Gore DeVol Dyszel and Big Chuck Schodowski.
 
ABOUT Midnight Syndicate
For the past thirteen years, dark music pioneers Midnight Syndicate have been creating soundtracks for the imagination and their music has become staples of the Halloween, gothic music, haunted attraction, and role-playing game industries. With a catalog of CDs that blend dark, orchestral horror and fantasy movie score-style music with sound effects, the band consisting of Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka has had its soundtracks to imaginary films featured in everything from Hugh Hefner’s infamous Halloween parties, Barbara Walters specials and Monday Night Football to X-Box games, tracks by the Academy-Award winning rap act, Three Six Mafia, and Twiztid as well as concerts by dark music pioneers The Misfits and King Diamond. The music has also been featured on countless television shows and documentaries relating to horror films and the supernatural.
 
Often referred to as the first Halloween band or Haunted House band, Midnight Syndicate is the industry standard for the world’s top haunted attractions and amusement parks. From Siberia and Hong Kong to Europe and the United States, whether it’s a store, neighborhood celebration, or even a themed-cruise, Midnight Syndicate’s music has become synonymous with the celebration of the Halloween season.  In September of 2009, AOL released a list of the Top 10 Best Halloween Music CDs of all time as ranked by AOL/CBS Radio listeners. Three of the ten CDs were Midnight Syndicate discs (#8, #4, and #3) ranking only behind Danny Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas and John Carpenter’s classic Halloween soundtrack.
 
In 2003, Midnight Syndicate made an impact in the gaming industry when it teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the classic role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. Midnight Syndicate’s 2005 release, The 13th Hour, was the first music CD to ever receive the industry’s top two awards: The Origins Award and the ENnie Award for Best Gaming Accessory.
 
2007 saw the band, take on three new projects as they composed music for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights XVIII, scored Robert Kurtzman’s drive-in thriller, The Rage, and began work on their biggest production to date, The Dead Matter movie.  In 2008, the band released it’s tenth studio album, The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates.  One of their most critically acclaimed releases to date the disc was inspired by the themes from the upcoming movie.
  
In January of 2010, Midnight Syndicate began a year-long celebration to commemorate the 13th Anniversary of the release of it’s Midnight Syndicate debut CD.   A reboot of their website, the July 30th release of The Dead Matter movie and soundtrack, a 13th Anniversary Halloween Music compilation CD, fan appreciation contests, and special appearances, are just some of the major announcements the band will be making in the coming months. 
 
WEBSITES
OfficialThe Dead Matter website: www.TheDeadMatter.com
Official Midnight Syndicate website: www.MidnightSyndicate.com
 
VIDEO CONTEST SPONSORS
Conquest Graphics – www.ConquestGraphics.com/Greg
Screamline Studios – www.ScreamlineStudios.com
Van Helsing’s Curse Halloween Soundtrack – www.VanHelsingsCurse.com 
Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps – www.CreatureCorps.net

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

My Time at MARcon 44

Here’s a quick run-down of my 2009 MARcon experience:

Friday:

Got my badge and went to the consuite for some grubb. Talked to a couple fellow convention-goers while Samuel T. Clemmons had a Mark Twain tea party thingy. I was too deep in conversation to catch the whole thing, but that’s okay. I found it on YouTube when I got home:

At the Dealer Room, I ran into T. R. Chowdhury, who I met once before at Context 21. Since I owed her a book purchase, I bought hers and T. M. Crim’s book, Shadow Over Shandahar: Child of Prophecy. As of this date, I’m currently on Chapter 4. Pretty good so far. The writing style reminds me of Ed Greenwood a bit.

I checked out the Twilight panel before going to the panel I was on with Brian Mosteller, Rebecca Kernaghan, and David Pitstick: “As a Gamemaster, What is Your Goal?” Prior to the panel I had a conversation with a Klingon about the new Star Trek film.

People got a laugh at my idea of using a half-orc named Bubba as a cell mate to make sure a player “gets the hint” on why his character should stop causing needless trouble.

Afterwards I went and ate Sushi at the Consuite and ran into a couple people I had met two years ago at MARcon 42. Then I went to the “Con Sociology 101” panel. Alas, I had a hard time listening due to the heavenly sight of a hot babe with some really sexy boots on – and a really, really big gun….

Then I went to the restroom, splashed some cold water on my face, and went outside for a cigarette. On my way down the hall, I encountered hotty with big gun again. Back to the restroom for more cold water.

What can I say? I love guns.

Visited the Vampires in Literature panel, mostly because I knew there’d be a few hotties dressed like vamps there. Oddly, there were only two. I decided I’ve seen enough horror panels for one night, so instead of visiting the Scared Hot panel, I had a one-on-one discussion on religion and ancient societies with a guy whose name I can’t remember. Eh, I can barely remember my own name half the time.

Smoked a couple more cigs then crashed out at the all-night movie theater. Unfortunately, I got so enamoured in the movies that I only got about 45 minutes of sleep in. Somehow I even skipped the Catacombs/Guilty Pleasures and Play Party going on across the hall from the movie rooms.

Dang, I’m such a geek….

Saturday:

Ate some breakfast then went to my 10 AM reading at Suite 501. Discovered it was locked. Went back downstairs to let the staff know. Ran into Nick in the elevator on my way back up, who gave me the key. Alas, only one person showed (I think his name was Steve. I met him once before at MARcon 42, so you’d think I’d have his name memorized by now. Remind me to have everyone write down their names from now on. I sooo suck at remembering names), so I just let him skim through some of my published work, and we talked about writing and publishing for about 10 minutes. Once we realized no one else was showing up, we went back downstairs. As I handed Nick back the key, he introduced me to a guy from OSU who was conducting interviews for a local radio show that’ll be hosted by NPR. I’ll let you know the date and whatnot of when it’ll air when I find out. I know it’ll be sometime this fall.

Oh yeah, prior to heading to my 10 AM reading, I went outside for a cig and had a nice conversation with a hottie dressed as a Twi’lek slave dancer. The costume was 98% body paint. Yep. Cold water time….

Now you know why I stay single. 😉

At 11:30 I visited the “Writing and the Rest of Life” panel being done by Ross Martinek, Tracy (T. R.) Chowdhury, Charles Coleman Finlay, and Faith B. Van Horne. Learned some interesting tips.

At 1 PM, I was on the “I Have No Idea Why I’m On This Panel” panel with Evan Mill Seigling, Finlay, and Michael Z. Williamson. The goal was to figure out what three things we each had in common based on the questions being asked us. Eh, getting two out of three ain’t bad….

Immediately after that panel was my 2:30 panel, “How do You Write The Other,” with Tim Waggoner, Martinek, Andrew S. Swann, the Author guest of Honor: Simon R. Green (who I’ve dubbed “The Brit”), and Williamson. That was the best panel on that day. The Brit has a sense of humor par excellance. He can literally say something that you know will offend half the people listening, but say it in a way that’ll have you laughing too hard to even realize that you’re supposed to be offended.

Sigh. If only I could be so wittily skillfull.

Williamson, btw, is just as witty and funny in his own way. Playing off those two was what helped make me look good. 😉

(Note: the reason I know all these names is because I have this handy-dandy little booklet in my hand to refresh my memory with)

Hanged out at the consuite, went to eat some grubb elsewhere (and get loaded up on CAFFEINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), took another smoke break, then visited the “Diseases For Your Characters” panel.

One word: MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

Me so evil… 😉

Missed the Tracy Chowdhury reading at 7 (Dangit!) but caught the “Practical Technology” panel halfway through. Why? I got sidetracked….

Don’t ask. My memory’s a bit hazy anyhow. Only 45 minutes of sleep, remember?

“Open Short Story Readings” at 8:30. Martinek was the moderator. Only two people showed up with stories to read. After the one guy nearly killed us over with what amounted to just a set of comedic punchlines….

Hey. At least after him, my stuff came off sounding like a pro’s. 😉

Ate some Deli at the Consuite, and loaded up on more CAFFEINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pumped myself up with more Nicotene and went to the 10 PM “Buffy!” panel, then did the “War Stories From The Gaming Table” with Kernaghan, Alex Rodriguez, and Chowdhury at 11:30. Whether it was because of the Masquerade party or the all day/all night gaming sessions (or both), nobody but the panelists showed up. So, we all went over to where Clemmons, Martinek, and Lisa Richards were doing “Open Adult Readings”.

Guess who else showed up? Yeah, that guy with the killer stories. *shudders*

Eh, at least they were funny….

Suffice it to say, having done all that on only 45 minutes of sleep, not even the movies were enough to keep me awake.

Sunday:

Got up around 6:45 AM, got cleaned up and dressed in the restroom, ate breakfast and loaded up on more C & N. Caught the “Super Robots In Anime” panel because nothing’s cooler than giant robots and hotties dressed up as Anime characters….

Yeesh! Maybe I should, like, just give up on the whole being single thing….

It’s warping my fragile little mind.

Checked out the 11:30 AM panel, “In Space, Who Can Hear You Pray?” There’s something about watching an atheist and a religious person have an argument that kinda gives that same “watching a train-wreck” feel you get when watching an argument on economics between a Keynesian and a Hard Money Austrian. It just leaves you going, “Whoa….that was like, so cool…look at all that blood….”

Then I attended my 1 PM panel, “I’ll Rip Out Your Eyestalks And Stomp On Them,” with Williamson, Martinek, and Green. So yeah, you can probably already imagine how fun that panel was. After a half-hearted attempt to keep it intellectual, we basically devolved down to having the attendees make up some nasty sc-fi critters and have us figure out ways to kill ’em dead.

Only The Brit would instead try to figure out how to have sex with the big nasties. So yeah, The Brit had us laughing our butts off the whole time.

Have I mentioned that this panel was the one con-goers claimed was the best panel of the whole convention?

After that, my last panel to visit before heading home was the 2:30 PM “Programming Brainstorming” for next year’s MARcon.

Erm, I think I got volunteered to help plan the next MARcon.

I never have learned to keep my big mouth shut….

Hey. At least, what with a Horror theme and all, MARcon 45 is GUARANTEED to be awesome! 🙂

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment