Wednesday, May 11, 2022

What is the chupacabra?

 If you're expecting a writing post today, I'm afraid you'll be a little disappointed. This post is about a cryptid, and a thought that popped into my head which actually explains it pretty well. I was trying to figure out where to write this little dissertation and I figured this would be as good a spot as any. 

Now, it's worth pointing out there are currently two versions of the Chupacabra running around. The original, reptilian version from Puerto Rico, and the canid version in Mexico and the Southern United States. 

For this blog post, I'm going to be talking about the original Puerto Rican version. And what is this post about? I think I know what it is. 

I think it's an iguana. 

If you're paying attention, you might already see some of the similarities. The red spines certainly stand out, don't they? 

Your first thought might be, "Wouldn't the people of Puerto Rico recognize an iguana though?" 

Actually, no. Iguanas aren't native to Puerto Rico. It's thought they were brought in through the pet trade in the 1970's with some animals escaping or being released into the wild. This actually lines up almost perfectly with the first reports of Chupacabra attacks which began in 1975. 

Iguanas aren't big enough. 

Iguanas can grow to be over six feet long, and early reports of the Chupacabra claim it to only be about three feet tall, so the size is actually pretty close. Now imagine you get home from work late one night and find the biggest lizard you've ever seen for a brief moment on the railing of your deck before it dives off into the bushes or charges up a tree. You'd probably be forgiven for thinking you just saw a monster. 

Iguanas eat fruit, not blood. 

Actually, this is where it starts to get interesting in my opinion. Yes, most people are aware that iguanas like bananas, lettuce, and other fruits and veggies; however they are also known to like eggs, and have even been known to eat baby birds whole. 

It's also worth noting these are an invasive species. The foods they usually like isn't really available, so they have to try new things and see what sustains them. We've seen invasive species actually turn from herbivores to carnivores when they have to find new food. The perfect example of this is the fish called the Pacu. In it's native home, it eats nuts that fall into the water; however, when dropped into the rivers of Papua New Guinea, they started eating anything and everything. They even started attacking people swimming in the water. I'll also point out that another well-known herbivore, the white-tailed deer, has been documented killing and eating birds, so just because something USUALLY doesn't eat meat, doesn't mean it won't. 

Iguanas are also highly territorial, and have no problem attacking animals bigger than themselves if their temper is tested. Iguanas could kill chickens over territory, as opposed to for food. That would explain how the animals don't seem to have any other injuries. Of course, that doesn't explain the deaths of larger animals like mules or cows, but it's not very easy to imagine the stereotypical reptilian Chupacabra killing a cow either. 

As far as the blood goes, while doing my research for this idea, I've come across multiple statements that in many cases, the animals being "drained of blood" was an over-exaggeration, and many of them were never actually given a real necropsy, so it can be hard to say where this part of the story really stands. 

One last point I want to make, while reports of attacks by Chupacabras in Puerto Rico do continue to this day, despite a brief surge in the mid-1990's, they have thinned out considerably since the end of the 1970's. This would correlate very well with people getting used to seeing the iguanas running around and being able to recognize them. 

Is this definitive? Hell no. But it does check quite a few boxes and, most importantly to me, it makes sense. 

Or they could be aliens. 

What do you think?  

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Review: Helluva Boss

 Horror fans are a special bunch. We laugh at things that make other people say "What the fuck?" and "Oh My God!" As one might expect, there's not much chance of shows like that making it on prime-time TV, or really even onto a popular streaming service. 

Thank God for YouTube. 

Helluva Boss is a YouTube cartoon series that checks all the boxes for me as a twisted horror fan. It's dark, dirty, hilarious, and at times unbelievably wholesome. 

The series follows a trio of Imps from Hell as they run and work for a business called I.M.P. (Immediate Murder Professionals). The crux of the business is that humans go to Hell, and hire them to go to Earth and extract revenge on the people who killed them, or caused them to be sent there. The characters include the owner of the business, Blitz, happy married couple Millie and Moxie, and Blitz's adopted daughter Loona, a hellhound. 

Of course, we go with them on a few missions, but we also spend a lot of time with Blitz, seeing how he got the ability to go to Earth (which he isn't supposed to do), and we cross paths with demons from his past. 

There is plenty of blood, and no shortage of innuendos and sexual themes (The antagonist of the third episode is a succubus and her crew, taking advantage of spring breakers). Also, these are demons, living in Hell, so there's lot of demonic and satanic iconography. 

The show is so much deeper than a titillating gore-fest though. 

Moxie and Millie are a happily married couple, loving and supportive of each other in a way you would never expect in such a place. Blitz also has relationships, one being the father-daughter relationship he has with Loona, and another being a sexual/semi-romantic relationship with Stolas, a demon prince. A fair part of the show revolves around these relationships, in addition to the one between Blitz and Moxie. 

The show is helped along by great animation, and just as great voice actors. You might recognize Richard Horvitz from Invader Zim voicing Moxie, and Brandon Rogers as Blitz. 

I can't wait until the second season comes out and I can't stop recommending it to all my twisted friends. 

If you haven't seen it, check it out here. That's really all there is left to say. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Movie Review: Antlers

 I haven't forgotten about this blog. Subjects worth commenting that I haven't already done just seem to be coming in few and far between. That being said, this was a movie I was rather eagerly anticipating and was finally able to catch. 

Spoilers Below!

A Guillermo Del Toro produced horror movie, so you know it's pretty good. In addition (and this isn't a spoiler for anybody who really knows their horror monsters) it's about the Wendigo, which is one of the few creatures that really gets to me. 

The story is pretty straightforward, even if the characters it follows isn't conventional. (Though, Del Toro does have a habit of placing children as the main characters of horror movies. I'm looking at you, Pan's Labyrinth.) A couple junkies have set up a meth lab in an old mine, which ages ago was used to trap a Wendigo spirit. The men delved too greedily and too deep and the monster takes possession of one of them, killing the other and eating him. The man does manage to make it home, where he finds the will to not eat his two kids, locking himself in the attic of their house.  

The story focuses on one of the two kids as he does his best to provide for himself and making sure to keep his dad fed, while still going to school. He doesn't do a very good job (I think the kid is supposed to be 9-ish.) and his teacher is suspicious that the boy is being abused. 

That suspicion leads to people going to check on him at home, becoming a snack for his dad, and allowing the Wendigo to fully transform. All your usual monster shenanigans happens now, with the boy's teacher finally facing the creature and managing to kill it's current host. 

With Del Toro's name, and one of my favorite monsters, I was really hoping for something to blow me away. 

Now, This is a good movie. The cinematography is great, all the acting is good. I would definitely recommend this movie to any horror fan. 

I do have several issues with it though. 

The first thing I want to point out, because it stood out to me from the VERY beginning, and lingered the whole film, is that the movie is set in Oregon. The Wendigo is a creature from the Northern reaches. It's based on cannibalism, so dropping it into a state with mild winters doesn't make a lot of sense. It would be much more common in the territories of Canada, Alaska, or the Northeastern states. It's not even that being in Oregon is central to the story, the setting of the woods, the mountains, the water, the mine, all of that would actually be easier to find in Alaska. A lot of the panoramas even look like Alaska more than Oregon. 

I also want to bring up the young boy's character switch at the end of the movie. Through most of the movie, he's displaying some serious abused / Stockholm syndrome about his father, saying lines like "As long as I feed him, he'll love me." At the end, though, at the last moment he switches sides and is instrumental in defeating the creature. There's nothing in the character throughout the whole movie to justify his sudden change of heart. 

The music wasn't very memorable either, for example, as I sit here, I can't think of a single moment where I was even aware of the music or the sound. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. 

All that being said, altogether, it is a good little horror movie, but it's nothing spectacular. Worth watching while it's streaming to be sure. So turn it on, sit back for a bit, and enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

New Release! "Burrows" is out in the wild!

 It's been a while since I posted here. I've got a few drafts I've poked on, but nothing to post, but this one is easy. 

I've been talking about Burrows for a little bit, but now I'm letting ya'll know that it's out! My next Cryptid novellette is up on Amazon! 

The Gobi Desert is a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils, giving up some of the most famous and complete skeletons found in the world. Sherene Carter and her team are hoping to uncover the next big skeleton in the dunes and rocks. What they find is a legendary creature that's much less dead than the bones they're looking for. An even better prize to announce to the world, if they can survive it...

Click the cover to go see it on Amazon!

I like how well the Cryptid books do, even as short as they are, so I'm planning to do more. Eventually having a whole series and doing collections. As you can see from the pages on here, Cryptids are one of my interests.  So, I have a lot of material and knowledge to run with. 

So if Cryptids are your thing, too, go grab and check out Burrows, and the Cenote. Then hit me up on Twitter and let me know what creatures you want to see next! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Start Prepping! NaNoWriMo is coming!

 It's October, and what does that mean? 

Well, yes, ghosts, pumpkins, and other spooky things, but for writers it also means November is coming, which means, NaNoWriMo! I'm going to be making my own attempt at it this year to try and get my creative juices flowing. I haven't been idle this year, but I haven't gotten anywhere near as much done as I want. 

The Class 5 audiobook is out now

Hannah and Paths: Three Short Horror Stories are now available on Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo ebook platforms. 

But in the grand scheme of things, that's not much. I haven't released a new work since Hannah in 2016. Now, for success in writing, a good backlog of works is one key, but somewhat regular releases is also another major aspect. I've posted short stories here and there on this blog, but that's not a new release. Also I don't make money from these posts. There are ways to monetize a blog, but I'd rather not clutter up your screen with ads. 

I do have several pieces I've started, the novelette Burrows, as I've mentioned before. I've also started on a new novel tentatively titled "Suckers" about a swarm of Chupacabra's in a casino. I'm aiming for more of a horror-comedy vibe with that one, but we'll have to see how it turns out. I also have dozens of other ideas and starts saved on my computer. 

So. NaNoWriMo is coming up, I have a plethora of ideas and starts to work with. What's the plan? 

Well, the plan is to write. To get up every morning before I go to the day job, and write. It doesn't have to have a specific word count. It doesn't even have to be on the same work as the day before. The point is to get up, and get to work. 

Mood doesn't matter. Tired doesn't matter. This is about writing. Words on a page. Editing and deciding if those words are any good comes later. 

That being said. I do have some goals I want to reach. 

1. 50,000 words down by the end of November. Whether I get any one work done or not, that's the goal. I'm hoping if I can get this down, getting up and getting some writing done will become a habit and something that continues well after the month and the challenge is over. 

2. Finish the first draft of Burrows. Honestly, I'm about 2/3rds of the way through Burrows. You'd think the finale would be pretty easy at this point. Characters are established, along with the setting and the monsters, and now it's just time to throw them all into the blender and see what comes out. Honestly I've been having a hard time with it though. Here's hoping just forcing it out will give me something to work with in the editing process. 

3. Get a solid start on a new novel. I have several ideas and starts already, but I'm talking about getting something like 10,000 - 20,000 words down. Something I can look at and know this will be my next major work to get released. As it's been said, the hardest part of writing is the beginning. The blank page where you don't have anything set. No characters, no setting, no plot. If I can get a good jump on that, maybe I'll be able to make 2021 my year with multiple new releases to pass on. 

That's it for now though. I'll be setting up more, prepping, trying to decide on which pieces to work on and so on and so forth. As long as the world doesn't explode anyway. 

Get started, and good luck! 

~ Shaun