Tag Archives: Humour

5 Funny Short Horror Films You Should Watch This Halloween

One of the things I love the most about Halloween is seeing all of the creative things storytellers do with common horror, science fiction, and fantasy tropes at this time of the year. There’s something about the Halloween season that seems to bring out the best in writers, filmmakers, and other creators.

The films in today’s post represent a wide range of subgenres, filming styles, and intended audiences. That was something I did intentionally to increase the chances that all of my visitors would find something that appealed to them. It was also a great deal of fun to find five films that wouldn’t normally be grouped together.

My other major criteria was to find examples of funny horror stories that had as little gore as possible. As I’ve mentioned here before, I don’t enjoy that sort of thing. I’d much rather be frightened by thoughts and feelings than seeing a monster tear someone apart.

I will be sharing mild spoilers about the amount of gore in each film, if any, so you can decide for yourselves which ones you’d like to see if this is also a concern for you.

Happy Halloween

Created byNikhilesh Kumar.

Run Time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds.

Gore Factor: None.

Why You Should Watch It:

It takes years for children to learn the many rules rules of operating in polite society well enough that they can blend in just about anywhere.

I think it’s amusing to observe the process of their minds learning why rules are created in the first place, when it’s okay to bend a rule, why some rules only apply in certain situations, and what happens when someone breaks rules (whether intentionally or unintentionally). The main character in this story is the sort of person who has memorized a specific rule but hasn’t yet figured out why it exists.

Honestly, I have a lot of empathy for that little guy. His predicament was funny, but it also made me wonder how frustrated he might have been getting with the whole process.

 

The Lonely Slasher: Short Halloween Film

Created byTheThreeLancers. Score by Sam Holmes.

Run Time: 5 minutes, 38 seconds.

Gore Factor: A few briefly bloody scenes. I looked away for a few seconds at one point as my tolerance for gore is pretty low these days.

Why You Should Watch It:

I appreciated this film’s take on why people do the things they do. In no way did it make excuses for The Lonely Slasher, but I did come to understand why his body count was so high. While I wouldn’t necessarily call him a protagonist, there were parts of him that I found relatable on a much smaller scale. I mean, who hasn’t occasionally put their foot in their mouth at the worst possible time or accidentally bumped into a stranger?

The Chebo

Created by:  Ryan McDuffie from Crypt TV

Run Time: 9 minutes, 18 seconds

Gore Factor: Two mildly violent scenes, but no real gore.

Why You Should Watch It:

Miscommunications sometimes happen in every long-term relationship. I was fascinated by how the creator took this concept, turned it into a literal member of the household, and then pushed his creativity to the limits to show what can happen when a couple aren’t on the same wavelength.

Boo – A Short Film About Halloween, Ghosts, and Poop 

Created by: Michael J. Goldberg

Run Time:  11 minutes, 52 seconds.

Gore Factor: None.

Why You Should Watch It:

Not every ghost is necessarily scary in the way you expect them to be. I loved the plot twists in this one after the house sitter first encountered the ghost and was thoroughly unimpressed with what she believed to be his or her costume and persona. It was the total opposite of how I thought the first scene would go, so I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

Also, I think I might have been the only kid in the world who liked receiving those little boxes of raisins. So I never would have haunted this house in the first place.

Welcome Back, Mr. Buzzcock

Created by: Liz Anderson from Crypt TV

Run Time: 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

Gore Factor: Minimal. The camera panned away just before every gory scene actually happened, but it was heavily foreshadowed and implied.

Why You Should Watch It:

There’s always room for more stories about the tensions that can exist between one generation and the next, especially when it makes its point as quietly as this one does. This is something I’d happily show to the next person I meet who starts complaining about how people from a particular generation act.

I also enjoyed the way the secondary characters behaved in this film. Without giving away too many spoilers, they were much more intelligent and aware of their surroundings than most characters are in this genre. I really love it when that happens!

Respond

What is your favourite humorous Halloween short film?

How to Celebrate Canada Day Like a Canadian

Today’s post is a little off the beaten path, but I do occasionally enjoy sharing snippets of my life that aren’t related to writing, science fiction, fitness, or mindfulness.

As I discussed in Things Nobody Tells You About Moving to Canada, I’m an immigrant. I was born and grew up in the United States. When I was in my early 20s, I moved to Canada and have called it home ever since.

Don’t tell the Canadians this, but these two countries were so similar that I didn’t experience the kind of culture shock that some immigrants go through when they move to a place that is nothing at all like him. Part of that is due to the fact that Caucasian immigrants are given social privileges that immigrants from other parts of the world don’t get, of course, but part of it is also due to the fact that the U.S. and Canada share a lot in common in general.*

*(Although, if anyone is curious, I might have to write a post about the differences between these two nations one of these days.)

Canadians and Americans generally both speak English. With the exception of a few quirky words like chesterfield and toque, we normally understand each other’s dialects without any issues at all.

The U.S. and Canada have remarkably similar etiquette rules and social customs. It was rare for me to accidentally step on someone’s toes when I first moved to Toronto and began adjusting to the cultural differences that I did notice here.

People in both countries tend to have access to similar sorts of foods throughout the year. While there are a few special foods in each nation that I can’t find when I cross the border, all of the staples in my diet can be found anywhere I might roam in Canada or the U.S.

The weather wasn’t much of a change, either, since Ohio and Toronto are so close to one another geographically speaking. I didn’t have to suddenly trade my entire wardrobe in for one meant for a much hotter (or colder) climate.

With that being said, there was one thing about moving to Canada that surprises me to this day.

You see, I grew up in a very patriotic country. I routinely saw American flags decorating people’s cars, homes, shoes, tattoos, toys,  t-shirts, and assorted foods among many other items.

When the Fourth of July rolled around every summer, many of the people my family knew threw huge barbecues or other backyard parties to celebrate it. Sometimes we might have even attended more than one of them on that long weekend some years due to my father’s prominent role in the community as a minister.

There were always fireworks, both the legal kind that were set off by the city and the semi-legal to illegal types that people sneakily ignited in their backyards off and on during the first week of July. At any other time of the year, I’d assume that a loud popping noise was a car backfiring or, much less likely, gunshots going off. During the week we celebrated Independence Day*,  it was fireworks without a doubt.

*Yes, non-American readers, it’s just as contradictory as it sounds. I have no idea how what should have been a one-day celebration ended up being spread so far, but it did.

The way Americans talked about their country was different as well. I’d often hear people say that we lived in the best place on Earth and that we didn’t know how lucky we were to have all of the freedoms we enjoyed. This wasn’t even necessarily done to be boastful. It was closer to a matter-of-fact response to the thought of our country turning another year older. There was a sense of pride in their voices and body language that couldn’t be ignored. Everyone presumed to know that this was the truth.

It was all such an ordinary part of life that I honestly didn’t think about it twice. I assumed that every country had a similar holiday they seemed to relish just as much as our own.

Patriotism, Canadian Style

Due to these early life experiences, I looked forward to Canada Day earnestly when I first moved up here. It occurred so closely to the Fourth of July that I couldn’t wait to take notes and find out which traditions, if any, might be different between my birth and chosen countries.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the Canadians around me didn’t seem to be all that fussed over Canada Day as the first of July crept closer and closer.

Oh, there were a few advertisements in the local grocery store for barbecue-friendly meal ideas. The Canadians I’d met seemed to be happy to have a day off from work and school as well.

But they weren’t exuberant, and the Canadian flag wasn’t plastered on everything you could possibly imagine and a few things you maybe couldn’t.

Their patriotism was subdued at best.

Nobody wore a Canadian flag bikini from what I could see (although I’d still totally wear one if I ever find such a thing. Be warned, Canadian kin! I’m still a shameless American when it comes to silly stuff like this.)

Nobody decorated the outside of their homes in large swaths of red and white to celebrate this special day.

Nobody swore up and down that Canada was the best country on Earth either. If anything, Canadians seem to be a little bashful on this topic. It can be hard to get them to understand just how lucky we are to live in a society whose safety net is so much more secure than it is south of the border. By no means is my adoptive country perfect, but a part of me is always amazed to see a doctor when I need to without worrying over how much they’ll charge me for the treatments I might need.

The handful of Canada Day barbecues I’ve attended have been much more about the food than about taking pride in one’s country.

This is a quiet way to observe the founding of Canada. While it wasn’t at all what I was expecting when I moved up here, I’ve come to appreciate the subtleties of it all.

If you celebrate Canada Day, what do you do for it?

3 Embarrassing Things I’ve Learned From Books

Today I have three embarrassing stories to share with you.

Before I dive into them, let me explain a few things about my childhood to the new readers of my blog.

I grew up in a series of small towns and rural communities in the United States. I was also homeschooled for the first several years of my education. While the Internet has technically existed since before I was born, it wasn’t until I was older that it became at all well-known. In fact, I was in high school before my family finally bought a computer that could surf the web.(Based on how much I begged them to do this, I’m going to take the credit for it, too. LOL!)

My parents were lovingly protective of their children. There were certain facts of life – and, as I like to joke, a particular English sweet as well – that they shielded us from until we were old enough to fully understand them.

Sometimes People Get Pregnant Before They Get Married

The time: Early 1990s

I should warn my sensitive readers that this section of today’s post post contains two brief references to infant deaths.

My parents were married long before they conceived their kids. This was a pattern that was also repeated with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, and the vast majority of the other adults in my community.

While I met some kids whose families didn’t fit that mold when I began attending public elementary school, my assumption about the world was still that this was a rare and very recent occurrence.

Due to all of these assumptions and previous experiences, I was endlessly confused by a line I read in a biography of Winston Churchill that gave a date for his parents’ wedding that was much less than nine months before his birth.

Shortly before I picked up this book, I’d read a Reader’s Digest article* about a premature baby who died despite many heroic efforts by her doctor and nurses to save her. My family knew at least one other family who had lost a baby this way.

Due to all of these facts, it didn’t make any sense to me that premature babies born in the 1980s and 1990s who had access to wonderful medical care would die while one who was born at a time when no one knew anything at all about keeping preemies alive would thrive in the 1870s.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time assuming that his parents had been unbelievably lucky and resourceful instead. There was even moment when I briefly wondered if Mr. and Mrs. Churchill had shared their amazing knowledge with their local doctor. Maybe he was the first doctor who ever began testing new theories on how to keep premature babies alive?

You really don’t want to know how long it took me to figure out that Winston Churchill was probably conceived months before his parents got married and not a micro-preemie at all.

*Yes, I literally read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. I even read my mother’s nursing school textbooks!

The Meaning of Words Can Change Drastically Over Time

The time: Late 1990s

One year I decided to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Winter felt like it was never going to end, so I hoped I could pass the time by finally finding out what happened during Bilbo and Frodo’s adventures.

Suddenly, I began to notice references to “faggots” in these stories. Characters wandered into the woods to pick them up without any explanation of what was really going on there.

The first time it happened, I thought Tolkien was being vulgar, homophobic, and nonsensical. When I looked up that word in a dictionary, I was completely confused by the idea that such a hateful term was originally used as a unit of measure for wood.

As much as I enjoyed the storyline itself, I shuddered every time that word appeared again. Knowing that the author in no way meant it as a slur definitely helped, but I was still horrified by the thought of an innocent word being twisted into such a vile one over the centuries.

Turkish Delight Is Real

The time: The late 2000s

I briefly referred to this story a year and a half ago, but now it’s time to tell it in full.

The first time I read C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, my mouth watered at the thought of Turkish Delight.

Like talking animals and lamp posts growing in the middle of a magical forest, I assumed it was yet another piece of this fictional world that I’d always wish could become real.

It was hard to picture what Turkish Delight really was. Edmund loved it so much he betrayed his siblings for it, so I imagined it was the most delicious candy that would or could ever exist.

Occasionally, I’d try to picture it over the years for the sheer joy of challenging my imagination. Sometimes it was some sort of dairy-free gourmet chocolate that I could eat. At other times I imagined contradictory combinations of treats that couldn’t possibly exist in our world. For example, the softness of cotton candy combined with the warmth of hot fudge might have tempted me into climbing into a strange woman’s sleigh as a kid if Narnia was capable of producing such a thing.

I grew up, moved far away from home, and got married. Turkish Delight occupied less and less of my speculations about the world until one day I spotted a box of it sitting on a perfectly ordinary candy store shelf.

“Wait, Turkish Delight is REAL?” I said in a voice that was slightly too loud for the occasion.

“Yes,” my spouse said.

“Since when?” I asked. Another film version of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe had come out a few years before then, so I assumed that the producers of it had taken a look at all of the wildly successful Harry Potter candies and decided to make this treat a reality as well.

When my spouse explained that this wasn’t a new type of sweet and that it had existed back when C.S. Lewis first wrote this series, my brain practically exploded. Why hadn’t Turkish Delight become commonplace in North America since this series was released? Was it a common treat in England? Why was this the first I was hearing about it?

I still don’t have the answers to those questions, but I smile every time I see it for sale at the store. Maybe one of my British readers will have answers for me someday!

What is one funny, embarrassing thing you’ve learned from a book?

If Minecraft Was a Fantasy Story, This Is What It Would Be Like

The only thing Steve remembered about his past was his name.

His first memory of the land called Minecraft was of standing alone at dawn in an eerie forest whose trees came tumbling down if you hit them. He was wearing a shirt and a pair of pants but was otherwise alone and defenceless against the elements.

He had no food, weapons, or tools. Other than a few fluffy sheep in the distance, there were no other living things within sight.

The ground was covered in a soft layer of grass that was occasionally interrupted by a colourful flower, but, strangely enough, there were no butterflies, insects, earthworms, or other small creatures anywhere to be found.

Surviving in the Wilderness

Steve dug a small sleeping hole in the side of a cliff that first night. The thought of sleeping out in the open made him shudder for reasons he couldn’t explain, and that gut feeling turned out to save his life.

There were witches, zombies, skeletons, spiders, and green exploding monsters called creepers in that forest that growled, cackled, and prowled from dusk until the next dawn. Other nasty creatures revealed themselves later on, too, like Enderman (who could teleport) and baby zombies who were somehow twice as fierce and fast as their parents.

He didn’t know where they’d all come from, but the noises they made kept him from sleeping a wink. After swiftly being killed by a baby zombie the next morning, he learned two things: 1) always be cautious when leaving his tiny resting hole, and 2) death wasn’t permanent. He woke up beside the same tree he’d looked at while his first memory was being formed after the accident, and he was somehow no worse for the wear.

Over the following days, he slowly learned how to build a bigger shelter and where to find food. Arranging the pieces of wood he collected gave him everything from a workbench to crude wooden tools for hoeing the ground for his first little garden, defending himself from monsters, and digging deeper into the cliff to see what he could find there.

Other lessons soon followed. For example, it turned out that monsters appeared during the day, too, if he failed to put up enough torches in his dark home or in the caves he discovered as he dug ever more deeply down into the cliff. Once he built a bed and began sleeping through the night, his encounters with these creatures became something he sought out on purpose instead of an unwanted source of danger while he was trying to gather basic supplies.

Thriving on a Homestead

Steve’s little farm quickly grew into a large, bustling homestead. He soon had so many sources of food that he was able to fill several chests with enough meals to keep him from ever going hungry again.

For example, he learned how to grow pumpkins, potatoes, wheat, and carrots. He also figured out how to keep a steady supply of fish, beef, mutton, and chicken in his diet as well. Exploring new biomes added even more animals and plants to this list.

Building fences and putting torches everywhere kept his property safe no matter what time of day or night it was. As he dug out more valuable minerals from the soil, everything from the weapons he used to the armour he built for himself became top-of-the-line.

There was nothing Steve needed that he couldn’t somehow grow, mine or build other than the answer to one burning question.

Wondering About His Origins

Where did he come from? Did everyone come back from the dead and into the same body every time they died? Why was he alone in this strange, flat world that defied the laws of science? Who were his people? Were they the ones that had raised him to adulthood, or had someone else done it? Why couldn’t he remember anything from his childhood when he did instinctively know how to hunt, farm, fish, fight, and mine?

He soon began wandering further and further from home both to discover what other fantastical things were out there and to see if anyone had any answers for him. One day he stumbled across a village filled with tall, thin people who looked nothing like him but who were quite friendly (if also occasionally inept at building safe homes and somehow never able to defend themselves against the monsters that came out at night if Steve refused to go to sleep).

They were the first human-like creatures he’d found in this land, and he soon figured how how to trade with them even though they found his language as indecipherable as he found theirs. Steve felt a kinship with them despite the fact that they had no way of understanding his questions or giving him any answers that might have been hidden inside of their memories.

Seeking Answers, Defeating Foes

The further Steve wandered away from his home base, the more wonders he discovered in this flat land. There were lava waterfalls, a hellish second dimension of this land called The Nether where day and night had no meaning at all, and monsters tucked away underground or underwater that were much bigger and more dangerous than anything he’d seen on the surface.

In time, he defeated them all. He even found a way to kill the dragon that lived in The End, the third and final dimension of Minecraft. A voice boomed from the heavens when this happened proclaiming him the winner and bestowing more riches upon him than he’d ever seen in all of his lifetimes put together, but still he found no answers to the questions he sought.

He was Steve, the man who could die but who would always come back to life again. This was all he knew about his identity and all he was ever going to know. Somehow, it had to be enough for him.

Steve carefully travelled back home again, carrying all of his treasures with him. The chickens needed to have their eggs collected again, and he had almost certainly had some vegetables to harvest as well.

As life began settling into it’s regular routine once again, Steve began thinking about his future. Perhaps it was time to build a bigger home. He could invite some of the villagers to live with him. Despite the vast language differences between them, he’d come to see them as dear, old friends. There was definitely enough food to go around!

What would your favourite game be like if it was translated into a story? 

Saturday Seven: Funny Quotes from Books

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

If a book contains a funny line, conversation, or passage, the chances of me becoming a huge fan of it are large. Sometimes I will reread a story I’ve already read many times before for the sheer joy of eventually finding my way to that witty scene again.

Today I’ll be sharing some of my all-time favourite humorous quotes from various books that I’ve read over the years. I hope you’ll share your favourite quotes in the comment section, too!

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

 

There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

“He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

―Andy Weir, The Martian

Mr. Wonka: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.”
Charlie Bucket: “What happened?”
Mr. Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”

― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”

― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

How to Survive a Paranormal Storyline

  Congratulations on your new home, job, vacation spot, construction project, antique gift, or other plot device that has invited a restless spirit into your formerly-peaceftul storyline! While most of the characters who take the time to look up what to expect in a haunting are the protagonists, I’d like to give a special shout-out… Read More

Dual Citizens Get Two Thanksgivings

Seven years ago, I became a Canadian citizen. There are many things I love about being a citizen of both Canada and the United States. Having the excuse to celebrate Thanksgiving twice every year is definitely part of that list. Yes, this is blog post about food. No, this isn’t about turkey. Don’t tell the… Read More

The Endless Summer of 2017: A Review

Title: The Summer That Refused to End: What Really Happened to Ontario in 2017 Author: Gaia Terra Publisher: Cosmos Release Date: June 21, 2017 End Date: Unknown Rating: 3 Earths out of 5 Review: Just when you thought summer had ended…it came back for more! The summer of 2017 definitely started out innocently enough. Without… Read More