Monday, February 8, 2021

One year update

I just randomly looked at my posts and tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of closing down the site.  I'm not sure why I'm posting anything here, but I figure it's a pretty good reason to give an update so why not?

I'm still not any closer to publishing Old School Evil 2. I keep trying to figure out when I can write, and I've done a little better at clearing time for creative endeavors at work.  However, editing the book has become extremely tedious and I'm not even sure why.  It was fine up to this point, but right now, I just can't do it.  Maybe I just need a change of scenery or something.

I have recently rejoined my old writing group and while I didn't submit anything for the last three or four meetings, I finally did send them something to critique.  It's the first section of my NaNo project from 2019, a spin-off standalone book in the Old School Evil universe.  I won't post anything here about it since I'm not sure I've ever even mentioned it online, but I'm getting feedback on it tomorrow, so I'm just going to say I'm excited about that.  

I have done a little writing lately though - I posted two Mega Construx-related articles on The Retro Network.  Yup, I finally posted something that wasn't holiday-related or a request from the management there!  I've got a few more lists I'm planning to write and post there and I'm hoping to get one of them done this week.  If you're interested in reading my stuff there, here's a link.

Lastly, I think I mentioned this before, but I'm planning to do a relaunch for the first Old School Evil novel.  I had originally planned to release it right before putting out book 2 just so I can ride that new book wave, but I'm wondering if I should just relaunch book 1 ASAP and not worry about matching the releases up at all.  I've finally figured out the artists I want working on it, and I think I've figured out the look well enough to try making it myself again.  I'd love to make some mock-ups and get some opinions on them here someday soon, but I have to wait until one of the artists is open to commissions again.

Anyway, that's it for me.  It's late, and I have a few minutes alone before going to bed, so maybe I'll try to write something.  Or then again, I might just watch an episode of Blood of Zeus instead.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Six month update

So, it's been about six months since I stopped writing in my blog, and like it has been for probably everyone in the world, it's been a pretty shitty time.  It hasn't been all terrible of course, but it's teetered more towards the bad than good.

First thing to mention, since this is my writing blog, after all, is my book.  I haven't made much progress on it at all during this whole time. I might have written a few chapters, maybe.  At the beginning of the year, I had hoped to be finished with my second and third draft by now, had it sent out to beta readers, and been working on a couple more drafts of it by now.  Right now, though, I still haven't finished the second draft.  I still hope to have it done by the end of the year, but it's going to be super tight.

It shouldn't need to be explained why I haven't been able to get any work done, but I just want to vent so here it goes.  I suppose I could be called one of the lucky ones that weren't laid off during the shut down as I have been working this whole time.  Unfortunately, the amount of work I've had to do since March has been doubled or maybe even tripled, especially in the first few months as I work in the healthcare industry.

Homelife hasn't been any easier since school's been closed.  I know it's been difficult for everyone but the combination of a 4-year-old child with autism and a wife with chronic fatigue has been even harder to survive.  I come home from a long, hard day at work to find my wife has had a worse day with our son and she immediately needs to take a nap.  As soon as she wakes up, I have to put him to bed.  So at home, when I've had at least an hour to myself to try to write before, I now have absolutely no time alone.

2020 didn't stop there though, as my grandma passed away on my son's 4th birthday, but for the last month, my wife has been dealing with some major medical issues that resulted in emergency surgery just last Thursday.  That's not to mention that massive fires in the next state over that have buried my home in smoke.

Luckily, my wife is feeling tons better now and it's got me hopeful that things will be getting better in the next few weeks.  My son's going back to school next Tuesday, assuming the smoke in the area doesn't shut the school down like it did a few days last week.  I know I'm going to sound like a complete ass hole for sending my son to school during the pandemic, but because of the program he's in, his class is the safest group of kids in school as he's completely isolated from the rest of the student body, located in a bungalow in the back of the campus.  He doesn't even need to go through the main building to get to his class!  Anyway, even if the school's shut down, I'm not worried about him catching anything.

Overall, things are looking brighter in the next few weeks.  I'm hoping to get back into writing soon and returning to my critiquing group.  I've even got some ideas for stuff to write for The Retro Network, who has been awesome enough to accept me even though I've offered nothing to them so far.

Oh and I'm finally getting a haircut tomorrow.  That's going to be weird.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Future of Old School Evil

It's been a while since I've posted any real update of what I'm working on now.  I meant to write one after November when I won NaNo, but it kept slipping by me.  In fact, the idea of posting any new content on here has been kinda daunting lately.  Having gone over two months since my last post here made posting again unappealing.  So I've decided to shudder my Old School Evil blog, at least for the time being.  Maybe I'll open it again later, but at this moment, I don't think it'll happen.

What I'm planning to do here is change my blogging focus to my writing and rebrand the site as a Brian Cave Author site.  I'm hoping to actually get some good website design and try to make it professional, considering Old School Evil is pretty generic looking.  I'm planning to post more updates on how my novels are going; writing, cover design (more on that later), advertising, marketing.  I'm not sure how often I'll post, but I'm definitely not trying to make it a weekly thing like I did before and it didn't last long.  I'm not planning to give up my Old School Evil twitter account or Facebook page.  Well, maybe I'll get a new Facebook page considering not many people even know I have one.  

I still do want to write some retro cartoon posts sometime, and to do so I've joined the Retro Network.  I've appeared on a podcast or two there and wrote a few pasts for them already, including an essay contest I entered where I reviewed the Go-Bots/Rock Lords movie.  I've got a few other things I want to write, some lists and movie reviews and I'll be posting them up there.  And this way they'll hopefully get a lot more eyes on them instead of me trying to promote them myself.

Since Old School Evil is closing down, I've decided not to do the rest of Bad Guy Beatdown.  I decided a while ago to throw up the first few battles on Wattpad, so I'm going to just post them all there. I do want to write up the last few battles, but I'm going to post them, sans analysis, on Wattpad as well.  I haven't gotten a lot of readers there, but considering I didn't get many on Twitter or Facebook, I don't see it as a loss.  I don't have any schedule for them, but it'll probably be a few months since I'm busy with the book at the moment.

Lastly, I did want to share some progress on the book.  I think I'm about halfway through the rewrite for Old School Evil 2.  I originally wanted to have it out by April 30th so it would be the second anniversary of the first book coming out, but it just ain't happening.  I don't have any deadline now, but I'm going to try to get through it as fast as possible. I've figured out a cool idea for the covers for the whole series that I'm super excited to show you all.  I think I can do some of it myself, but I'm definitely going to have to commission some artwork for some of it.

So that's what I've got going on right now.  I'm hoping this refocusing on the blog will help me spend more time writing and not worrying about anything else.  I really have enjoyed the time I've spent writing list content and some reviews, but I really am more of an author than a blogger.  I went into blogging to try to build interest in my book, and I think I've done everything I can do myself by now.  

I appreciate all of you that have stuck with me for so long.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Atlantis: The Lost Empire - James Garner Blogathon

Back in November, I wrote a series of posts about Disney villains called Disnovember about my favorite villain songs, deaths, and the like.  Only a few villains made more than one list, but there was one bad guy that showed up on three lists: Best villain death, best villain portrayal, and best overall villain and that was none other than Lyle Tiberius Rourke.  As the commander of the expedition to Atlantis, Rourke led two hundred men into the ocean depths with a cool and collected demeanor, even remaining calm when attacked by a giant mechanical leviathan. That composure didn’t falter, even in the second half of the film when his true nature as a plunderer came through and he was exposed as the film’s villain.

Rourke was played perfectly James Garner, being both the friendly commander watching over his crew and the back-stabbing thief throwing his second-in-command overboard.  I’m not too familiar with his work outside of the Rockford Files and Maverick (both of which I haven’t seen much of), but I only knew him as a good guy, so during his heel-turn after finding Atlantis’s treasure, I was pretty shocked.  After that point, his portrayal gets an almost excited energy, though I’d imagine it would be hard not to have that if you were about to become a millionaire.
Even at the very end, when he’s killing his lieutenant Audrey and trying to do the same to the hero Milo, Garner starts to have some real fun in the role, spouting off some of his best lines in the film.  In my best villain portrayal list, I state that his final lines in the movie are my absolute favorite – “I consider myself an even-tempered man. It takes a lot to get under my skin, but congratulations, you just won the solid-gold kewpie doll.” 


His death is one of my favorites as he effectively suffers two of them. Sliced by the magic-infused glass encasing the treasure of Atlantis, his body is transformers into crystal. Even still, he survives the transformation, only to be shattered to pieces by the rotor of his hot air balloon.  Heck, if Atlantis was a musical, I bet his signature song would have been my favorite as well.
Overall, I placed Rourke as my number 1 Disney villain and it’s in no small part that James Garner brought him up that high.  The slow hinting of Rourke’s ulterior motives, his willingness to abandon his former colleagues underground, to attack Atlantis’s king which led to his death, and then to turn against his most trusted partner is a thrill to watch.
"I love it when I win," indeed.
This post was written as part of the Realweegiemidget Reviews's James Garner Blogathon. Makes sure to visit the site and read the rest of the entries here.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Disnovember 2019 - Top 5 Disney Movie Villains



Well, here we are at the end of the inaugural Disnovember on Old School Evil and there’s just one more question I bet you’re asking – who are my favorite Disney movie villains?  With so many to choose from, this list was easily the hardest to write.  Do I pick the evilest or the most cunning or even the funniest ones? I tried to pick ones from across the board, like the one that made me laugh the most or made me outright hate them for the stuff they did.  I think I’ve got a great group here to fill your every need.  So let’s take a look at the worst of the worst!

Madam Mim – Sword in the Stone


There’s something incredibly gratifying when you have a villain who’s just crazy, who doesn’t have an evil plan, but just likes raising mischief wherever she goes.  When Arthur is turned into a bird and inadvertently makes his way into her cabin, she sings him a song about her powers and ow she plans to use them to kill him.  Merlin shows up to save him and gets caught in a magical duel with Mim, which she cheats in, of course.  I just like how she wasn’t even doing anything when Arthur shows up – she wasn’t planning an attack or anything.  She’s just hanging out, sees an opportunity to piss off her nemesis, Merlin, and takes it.  She’s just a simple, yet mad villain.

Judge Doom – Who Framed Roger Rabbit


Yeah, I’m probably riding the line including him in a list of cartoon villains, but when it’s spelled out in the movie that he is one, it counts.  Christopher Lloyd does such an incredible job spending most of the movie as the straightest of villains.  No sense of humor, not even a hint of a smile.  And then at the end of the movie, after surviving getting run over by a steamroller, he’s revealed to be a Toon himself and hams it up.  It’s such a huge turn, he would have easily gotten a spot on my Top 5 Villain Portrayals if only he’d actually said more once he starts trying to kill Valiant in earnest.

John Silver – Treasure Planet


I talked about this guy in the last list where he goes back and forth being a mentor to Jim Hawkins, then an enemy, and finally redeems himself at the end to save him.  Part of the reason I like him so much is that change, but the other part is how cool he looks.  The way they were able to combine the 2d and 3d animation in his arm and leg looked incredible.  I would still like the character if he was fully 2d, but he wouldn’t be this high on the list without it.

The Horned King – Black Cauldron


John Hurt does a fantastic job bringing to life the most grotesque villain has put out to date.  The Horned King is like nothing before or after it – a truly terrifying monster, his flesh mottled and rotten, his face constantly in a sneer.  Not to mention his plan to bring to life an army of undead warriors to take over the kingdom.  Like I said in previous list, there’s no wonder it took Disney so long to bring this out on home video.  It’s the first Disney feature to be rated PG-13 and most of that falls squarely on the Horned King’s ghoulish shoulders.

Lyle Tiberius Rourke – Atlantis


It’s no wonder that Atlantis is my favorite Disney movie.  Forgoing the songs and cutesy design of many of Disney’s previous movies, we’re presented with a story that has one of Disney’s highest body counts, with almost the whole crew of a massive sub dying on screen, not to mention most of Atlantis being destroyed in the first few minutes of the movie.
  
We’re introduced to Rourke as the commander of the ill-fated expedition, all business, barking orders all the time, but still taking time to show respect to his lost crew.  Only once they find Atlantis still living underground do we get a hint at his nefarious plan.  “This changes nothing.”  Finally stealing the crystal-infused princess at the end, he dooms all of Atlantis to death.  He turns on his second-in-command and tries to kill her.  And like he deserves, Rourke suffers two deaths at the end, turned into the monster he really is.  

So who are your favorite villains?  Do you like normal human villains like Cruella De Vil?  Magic-users like Jafar?  Or just crazy monsters like Chernobog?  Speak up and let me know!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Disnovember 2019 - Top 5 Villain Deaths


Disney Movies used to have a problem – while trying to stay as family-friendly as possible, they still needed to kill the villain to get closure.  Obviously, the bad guy couldn’t die on screen, but the one way to get around that was a great fall until they disappeared.  Look at the evidence – Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Rattigan from The Great Mouse Detective. Even the original Disney film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, has the Evil Queen falling off a cliff.  Disney has gone a long way to get past it lately, showcasing some surprisingly violent or gruesome deaths.  Let’s take a look at how close Disney’s come to torture porn, because there’s no question that these bad guys are freaking dead.

5. Shan Yu – Mulan

After their supposed defeat high in the mountains, Shan Yu and his remaining Huns have infiltrated the Chinese Emperor’s palace.  Shan Yu loses the Emperor because of Mulan’s involvement and realizes she’s the cause of the avalanche that killed most of his troops.  Their fight takes them to the very top of the palace where a Mushu-guided firework carries him into a nearby tower filled with gunpowder and fireworks.  A massive explosion follows without a trace of the Hun leader anywhere.



Dying in a fiery explosion is one heck of a way to start off this list.  It’s such a decisive end for the villains like there’s no way you can doubt he was dead.  The fact that it happened on screen as well, not just seeing some small part of it while the rest is hidden from us.  It also ranks high on the list considering the previous movies (1996’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and 1997’s Hercules) had villains die by falling, even though the former fell into a massive fire, and the latter – not really a death, mind you – fell into a pit of lost souls.

4. Sykes and his dogs – Oliver & Company

Fleeing from the brutal loan shark Sykes, Fagin takes his animal crew through the New York streets before steering into the subway.  Sykes follows in his massive sedan, shredding his tires on the rails.  When Penny falls off the cart onto Sykes’s car, Oliver and Dodger fight the loan shark’s Dobermans, DeSoto and Roscoe. Both dogs fly off the back of the car and are electrocuted n the subway’s third rail.  Sykes continues his chase, even when a subway car barrels toward him, turning his car into a fireball before sending it crashing into the river.  



Replacing homeless kids with cute puppies and kittens made Oliver & Company one of my favorite Disney flicks.  And I’m not sure how unpopular this opinion is, but I like Billy Joel’s soundtrack way better than any of Elton John’s stuff.  Anyway, even though Sykes’s death happens just off-screen, we still see the fiery explosion of his car immediately after it leaves the picture.  While this normally wouldn’t register that high for me, the fact that we see one of his two dogs get electrocuted on the rails (we only see the second dog fall and hear the surge) pushes it near the top for me.

3. Rourke – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Even after watching the Heart of Atlantis change Princess Kida into a living crystal, Rourke’s plan of selling the kingdom’s treasure hasn’t changed.  Rourke and Milo’s fight on the hot air balloon during their escape breaks the glass on Kida’s chamber, which Milo uses to cut Rourke’s arm.  The energies within the chamber consume Rourke, turning him into a crystal as well.  Milo’s relief is short-lived as Rourke unleashes an unnatural scream and lunges across the balloon’s structure.  The shifting weight brings Rourke up into the balloon’s propeller, shattering the villain.



I love the fact that Rourke gets two deaths.  You expect Rourke’s transformation to kill him, it certainly looked painful enough as it happens.  But then he keeps coming before being torn apart by the propeller.  Either one of those would have been bad enough but putting them together is just adding insult to injury.  And I love it.

2. The Horned King – The Black Cauldron

Using the power of the Black Cauldron, the Horned King has brought to life his army of undead warriors. As our heroes watch in horror, their cowardly friend Gurgi summons up all his courage and plunges into the cauldron.  Purified by his sacrifice, the evil magic is reversed.  The Cauldron-born are destroyed and the Horned King is sucked into the Cauldron, his decayed flesh ripped from his bones before his skeleton is pulverized.



There’s not one thing about the Horned King that belongs in a Disney movie.  He’s got an incredibly ghoulish look, with rotten skin and half his face eaten away.  His plan is to revive an army of skeletal warriors that immediately murders his henchmen.  And then there’s his death, which is the most graphic we’ve ever seen.  It’s no wonder this movie took thirteen years to be released on home video.

1. Clayton – Tarzan

As Tarzan and Clayton’s final fight leads them further up in the trees, the hunter’s losing his cool.  Tarzan gets Clayton’s shotgun and after threatening to use it against its owner, he breaks it in half.  Reduced to using his machete, Clayton chases Tarzan through the vines, slashing wildly.  Tarzan tries to stop him as the vines catch around Clayton’s neck, but it’s too late. Clayton cuts through the last vine holding him up.  He drops down out of the tree, the vines strangling him.



While Clayton’s death isn’t nearly gruesome as some of the other deaths on this list, I just love the imagery of it.  Most of Disney’s fall deaths are shown from above as the body disappears out of view, but here we see it from below, the machete falling into view right as the lightning strikes, showing his limp shadow.  There’s something almost beautiful about it.

So which villain did you think had the best death?  Do you prefer the more gruesome demises?  Or the most poetic justice?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Disnovember 2019 - Top 5 Villain Portrayals


One of the things I love most about animation is that a character can look like whatever you wanted.  There were no limits.  If your movie was about a living blender, you just drew the blender, maybe slapped a face on it, and there you go.  But that only gets you half way to a good character – the other half, usually at least, is an excellent voice actor, someone who can really emote with just their voice.  I’ll be honest with you, a good vocal performance in an animated movie has a much higher chance of bringing me to tears than any live-action performance.  And if they can do that, just imagine how much they can terrify as well.

5. George Sanders – Shere Khan – The Jungle Book
I really do love a smooth-talking villain, someone who can seduce a victim while sharpening their claws.  In The Jungle Book, George Sanders pull this off perfectly with Shere Khan, the tiger with an obsession with killing the human Mowgli.  Giving the Bengal tiger a British accent honed over decades in film and television work gave him a regal tone.  Besides having experience with playing royalty as the titular role in King Richard and the Crusaders, he had played a popular villain the year before Shere Khan when he was cast as Mr. Freeze in Batman (1966).
Favorite line – “You're trying my patience. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!”


4. Pat Carroll – Ursula – The Little Mermaid
There’s something to be said when you can tell had a good time.  Familiar to a few of us doing voices in cartoons like Pound Puppies and Foofur, Pat Carroll has a much longer filmography than anyone on this list.  Surprisingly, she’s still playing Ursula to this day in Kingdom Hearts.  She exemplifies the manipulative witch so wonderfully, and unlike most of them before her, she doesn’t play the quiet evil like Maleficent or the crazy evil like Cruella De Vil.  She just enjoys being evil, and that’s great in my book.
Favorite line – "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. I can't stand it! It's too easy! The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!"


3. James Garner – Lyle Tiberius Rourke – Atlantis: The Lost Empire/Brian Murray – John Silver – Treasure Planet
I couldn’t choose between these two heel turns.  Both of these actors do a fantastic job playing the supportive characters to our main men, whether they’re in a leadership or mentoring role.  And then halfway through the movies when they show their true colors, the changes each character makes are different but equally great.  Garner’s Rourke shifts ever so slightly to still trying to be friendly but never dissuaded, while Murray’s Jones becomes over-the-top villainous, while still being reluctant to hurt the one person standing in his way.  Both portrayals really make their villains stand out from the rest of Disney’s obviously evil bad guys.
Favorite line – From Rourke: “It takes a lot to get under my skin, but congratulations, you just won the solid-gold kewpie doll.”


2. Keith David – Dr. Facilier – The Princess and the Frog
Here I am talking about Keith David again.  I could listen to this guy narrate pigs having sex and I’d still be cool with it.  I really enjoy how quickly he shifts from his cool persona to anger so quickly and back, like when he explains that he can’t use voodoo on himself.  It’s certainly different from the voices I’m used to hearing from him, but it’s a blessing because it tells me he could do absolutely anything and I’d still love him.
Favorite line – “Come on, Tiana... You're almost there."



1. Eartha Kitt – Yzma – Emperor’s New Groove
This is the biggest surprise for me.  Famous for her portrayal as Catwoman in Batman ’66, (the second Batman bad guy to make this list!) nearly 35 years later, here she is “scary beyond all reason.”  She plays a completely over-the-top villain, making up an incredible plan to get rid of her emperor that just sounds funnier the angrier she gets.  I just love hearing her complain about her imbecilic assistant, Kronk.  The only thing funnier than her normal voice work is the high pitch once she changes and how she just accepts it.
Favorite line – “I’ll smash it with a hammer!”


So do you have any favorites?  Do you like Jeremy Irons's Scar or Tony Jay's Frollo?