Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ligotti, True Detective and The Ridiculous Number Of Influences On My Writing (Updated)

One Nation, Under Cthulhu - 99% certain this is a parody of a right-wing painting, and re-created by a Something Awful goon. Majestic, isn't it?

(I will randomly update this post as I remember names.)

I was reading Mike Davis' piece about Nic Pizzolatto and how 'True Detective' appears to have aped a LOT (at least in terms of the weird) from Thomas Ligotti. Specifically, Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against The Human Race. You should read it.

My first thought was: Well, shit. I liked True Detective, but now I don't feel that great about it.

My second thought was: Well, shit, I go through a lot of effort to make sure my influences are well-known. If it's not obvious enough in the stories themselves (INFECTED has a whole chapter entitled: Paging Dr. Romero), then it's usually in wink-wink, nudge-nudge fashion (huskies and a crashed alien saucer in STRANDED, a character named Leonard in BARTENDER).

Kulture Vultures is literally littered with pop culture references.

But, I figured, why not just list all of my influences here? I am not in the same league as these people. I just want to make sure they're noted with respect.

So, in no particular order, the obvious and the not-so-obvious off the top of my head in order to recognize them (and I will randomly update):

(Written Influences)

Elmore Leonard
Douglas Adams
Philip K. Dick
Harlan Ellison
Hunter Thompson
H.L. Menken
H.P. Lovecraft (duh)
Stephen King - Particularly the Dark Tower series and The Mist, though King deus ex machina-s way too goddamn much.
Christopher Hitchens
Clive Barker
Max Brooks
Chuck Palahniuk
Joe R. Lansdale
Richard Dawkins (before he got all ... ugh)
Robert A. Heinlein
Ernest Hemingway
Stephen Hawking
Walter Isaacson's wonderful biography of Albert Einstein
Gary Larson (I shall never get enough Far Side)
Richard Matheson (Everything)
Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes was effectively my childhood)
Kevin Phillips
Edgar Allan Poe
Carl Sagan (Everything the man ever did)
Leonard Susskind
Brian Greene
H.G. Wells
Bill Vitka (my dad was a writer, too)

(Film Influences)

Aliens (Hoo boy)
The Blob (1988 remake)
The Thing -From Another World- (1951 Hawks/Nyby) (All hail Kenneth Tobey and Margaret Sheridan)
The Thing (1982 remake - I've used Palmer's line "You gotta be fuckin kidding" or some variation thereof in every single book I've ever written and Rob Bottin's special effects are breathtaking)

*******Speaking of John Carpenter, every single movie he's made has had an impact on me. Especially anything he worked on with Kurt Russell, who is my crush. Also, They Live still owns.*******

Buckaroo Banzi Across the 8th Dimension (W.D. Richter, where are you?)
Them! (James Whitmore and James Arness [The Thing in 51s The Thing!] are just awesome)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (anything Ray Harryhausen did pretty much changed my life)
It Came from Beneath the Sea
20 Million Miles to Earth
Explorers (anything Joe Dante did had a huge impact)
Gremlins 2
King Kong
Blade Runner
Night of the Living Dead (original)
Dawn of the Dead (original)
Day of the Dead (original)
Return of the Living Dead
Shaun of the Dead
Dead Alive
Night of the Creeps
Die Hard
Die Hard With A Vengeance
Dr. Strangelove
Dog Soldiers
Escape From New York
Event Horizon
Evil Dead
Evil Dead 2
Evil Dead 3; Army of Darkness
From Dusk Til Dawn
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (and just about anything Terry Gilliam does)
Forbidden Planet
For a Few Dollars More (I'll keep this short by saying I love anything Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood did together. Both of those guys are/were huge to me)
Hard Boiled
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Last Starfighter
The Gate
Invaders From Mars (Tobe Hooper remake)
The Naked Gun trilogy
North by Northwest
The Phantasm series (Phantasm II continues to knock my socks off, and I will never stop loving Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Reggie Bannister)
The Princess Bride
Re-Animator (Anything involving Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs is a good time)
Rebel Without A Cause
Pitch Black (I unabashedly love all the Riddick movies)
The Rundown (Just so fun)
The Wild Bunch (ie; anything Sam Peckinpah did)
War of the Worlds (1953, fuck that Spielberg remake... But the ships were cool, at least - still not as cool as the Art Deco swans of death from 1953, though)
Animal House
Back to the Future
Back to the Future II
The Monster Squad
Jurassic Park
Return of the Killer Tomatoes (I totally forgot about FT until 8/14)
Starship Troopers (and basically everything Paul Verhoeven has ever done)
The Blues Brothers
Pacific Rim (and just about anything Guillermo del Toro does)

(Gaming Influences)

Blood (Aspects of this are so Lovecraftian that it's awesome)
Bulletstorm (I have absolutely stolen dialog from this game, especially in EMERGENCE)
Call of Cthulhu RPG
Doom (Obvious, though my monsters never stem from anything related to religion)
Half-Life 2
Fallout 2 (this is a biggie - do you have any idea how many hours of my life I've spent keeping Dogmeat alive?)
Fallout 3
Fallout: New Vegas
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead 2
Resident Evil
Resident Evil 2
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
...And, in a very strange way, Garry's Mod.

(Music influences)

Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse... Hell, all Cannibal Corpse.

Special mention: The Twilight Zone, because Everything
Special mention: Chuck Jones, because Everything
Special mention: Monty Python, because: Everything
Special mention: Mystery Science Theater 3000, because: Everything
Special mention: Rage Against The Machine's Evil Empire.

I started some of this in alphabetical order, but it went all cock-eyed.

I should mention that this probably isn't a complete list, but it's a pretty good place to start.

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