Friday, June 28, 2019

I make B-Movies.

Before the double feature there was the B Movie.  B Movies were made to hype audiences up for “feature” movies or A movies.  B Movies have simple stories that don’t take a lot of energy to get into.   They don’t have a lot of specific details for viewers to remember.  These are movies that focus on the unique elements of film.  They are stories where the “kill scene” or the “monster” is the focus.  B Movies don’t have dramatic stories.  They are films like The Blob, Night of the Living Dead,  Eight Legged Freaks, Tremors, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, The Puppet Master,  Chucky, The leprechaun, Army of Darkness and, The Thing.  The stories in B Movies are told best through exploiting the visual elements of film.  It is the difference between an A Movie (feature film) like ET and a B Movie like Grimlands.  B Movies have been mistaken for Black movies or budget movies and they are not.  They are just as diverse as Hollywood block busters and they can have larger budgets than some A movies. 

One of the biggest issues with B movies is that it is not easy to determine whether a movie is a B movie or an A movie.  Many people in Hollywood can barely agree on a movie’s status.  The film industry is mainly focused on big Blockbusters and A movies.  The main goal of film festivals and film schools is to groom the next group of feature filmmakers whose sole destiny is to have their movie theatrically released.  Most Theater chains only show feature films.  They have replaced the slot that the B movie filled with upcoming movie trailers and even TV commercials.   The theater managers don’t even know that B movies were designed to get people into the seats before the main feature and if people walked in late the story isn’t hard for them to get into.  The Hollywood factor makes it tricky because they are about hype and are more focused on making a profit not entertaining people only.  So, the B movie almost eliminated itself by being too successful .  Many times people enjoyed the B movie more than they liked the feature.  Hollywood realized that and started featuring B movies.  That is what gave birth to the Slasher and Horror flicks of the 80’s. Because these were not deep stories that weren’t really meant to be featured so they did not have the same success as truly feature written stories.  The actors and directors did not get nominated for awards.  The writers and critics blasted them and made people think they were bad movies.  That’s why some people think that the “B” stands for bad.

B movies are not “Bad” movies.  People often think that if a picture is bad that is was a B movie.  Most of the time people are looking at a B movie from years ago and it seems bad.  However, if you understand that the purpose of these films was to get your attention and not make you cry or be passionately inspired then you may not consider it a bad movie at all.  I have heard people say that they didn’t like the movie but, they watch the whole movie to see how it ends or they liked the way the people got killed.  Both are signs that the film was successful.  The bottom line is movies are made for many reasons to educate, to inspire, to make a point, to scare and shock, and to entertain.   What really determines a Bad movie is not the story but, the financial success.  There are good B movies and bad B movies.

B movies are not independent films.  A lot of people think that these are independent movies.  That is not true either.  Independent is a studio classification.  If a film does not have a major studio producing it then it is an independent picture.  Many times because of the depth of A movies stories many first time screen writers can only get the attention of independent filmmakers or have to produce their story themselves, like I did.  B movies again are both produced by big Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers.

Now, with the straight to home video boom filmmakers are able to produce their films for a lot less than they did before.  B movies are finding huge success in this area.  Video renters rent movies for different reasons. They rent the movies that they missed in the theater that everybody told them was good and they rent the movies that has a big Hollywood star that never made it to the theater.  Black, Urban, Latino and foreign stories are also rented because many of them are only available in video stores.  Many of these films are B movies.  B movies have the hot titles and fun stories the let renters know what they are going to get.  B movies are also benefiting from the cable TV and Satellite boom.  These Networks are filling slots with B movies.  You can find a B movie on the Scifi Channel and USA Networks every week.

For me I like the B movie because they don’t try to do too much and usually succeed where A movies failure stands out more.  The future of B movies is solid.  People in the film world only benefit from understanding the B movie.  There is a freedom of not having to please everyone with your story that’s what I enjoy.  I am a short attention span person, I almost fell asleep in Lord of the Rings.  I like Kung Fu movies.  For these reasons I write and produce B movies.  I plan to be a part of the resurgence of these stories.  Just as African American filmmakers have provided Hollywood with urban stories, I plan to do the same with the world of B movies.

Check out the trailers to my movies

Why black writers should not read HP Lovecraft.

Amidst the debates around diversity in the Hugo Awards I said on a panel at the 2015 World Horror convention that I don’t read HP Lovecraft.  Now, at a horror convention that comment fell like a pin dropped, everyone went silent.  I went on to explain why I don’t think black horror or Sci-fi writers need to read Lovecraft to become good horror writers.   There is a big difference between African American concepts of horror and that of HP Lovecraft.  They differ in their interpretation of what death is, what are dead people and what should we do to the dead.
First, let’s define what HP Lovecraft horror is or better what Lovecraftian horror is. HP Lovecraft is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.  His style of horror is one of the most revered.  Lovecraftian horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknown.   Its basic tenants are Unanswered questions, Detachment from society and, Helplessness and hopelessness all with a Antiquarian writing style.  While everything in horror isn’t exactly like Lovecraft, he is the poster child for Western horror.  It was a bust of him which was used as the World Fantasy awards trophy from their inception through 2015.
Let me use my book It Happened on Negro Mountain to illustrate my hypothesis.  In my story Negro Mountain (a real place in Maryland) is protected by the spirit of an escaped African during the time of American slavery. The story follows a young girl who becomes emotionally terrorized by her father in the presence of her mother.  As the father’s (a drug dealing gangster) threats and other activities become more prominent the ghost of the dead African comes to the aid of the little girl.  The story follows as the ghost terrorizes and kills anyone who does bad things on the mountain.
My story while it sounds good, it is very unique among horror stories.  What makes it so unique is that it is a good ghost story and still a scary horror story.  You can count on one hand the amount of good ghost stories that have achieved commercial success.  In fact, I only know of two stories with good ghosts that have succeeded in popular culture. Casper the friendly and Ghost the movie with Whoopie Goldberg are the only two I know.  That said, the difference between the elements in my story and that of a western horror story is the difference of cultural interpretation of death.
In western Lovecraft stories concepts like ghosts and dead things are equivalent to evil and bad.  Even the use of the word dead is synonymous to evil.  However, in African American culture or its root African cultures dead and spirits are more good than bad.  In African cultures when humans die they become ancestors.  Africans view their ancestors as protectors and sources of aid and assistance.  They are able to do both good and bad.  This is a fundamental difference between horror interpretations.
As with all of Lovecraftian concepts they depend on this different interpretation.  Instead of praise for the dead Lovecraftian stories depend on fear and hate of the dead.  While African cultural stories seek help from their dead western Lovecraftian stories run from and fight their dead.
I wind this up by saying as we seek diversity in science fiction and horror we must not allow for variations to be blurred.  If African American writers begin to study HP Lovecraft and start writing Lovecraftian stories then we are really missing out on all of what we have been asking for.  With my book It Happened on Negro Mountain I have proven that good ghost stories can be just as scary.  The motto of Negro Mountain is it is a place where bad things happen to bad people.  I ask everyone to join me in enjoying this expanse of the beloved genre of horror and ask African American writers to keep away from HP Lovecraft.
Jeff Carroll is a writer and a filmmaker.  He is pioneering what he calls Hip Hop horror, Sci/fi and fantasy. His stories always have lots of action and a social edge.  He has written and produced 2 films and six books.  Jeff Carroll is also the author of the non-fiction book The Hip Hop Dating Guide.  Connect with him at his blog and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Florida LitCon: Where top authors meet, top filmmakers and their fans.

February 2019 Jeff Carroll is proud to announce the first annual Florida LitCon on June 15, 2019, at the Royal Palm Hotel and Resort. This event will bring together filmmakers and authors as well as a variety of other creators. Florida LitCon is a one-day event that secured top guest in each area.
Florida LitCon is designed in a way to where top authors can share their books with filmmakers and illustrators with fans and lovers of sci-fi and urban fiction can purchase these. Florida LitCon is part networking event and consumer convention.  Modeled after The Slamdance film festival Florida LitCon will be taking place at the same time as the American Black Film Festival. There will be an exhibit room with creators from around the country and panels discussing the last news and issues in the industry.

“I have been traveling to a lot of comic book conventions, film festival, and book fairs over the years and I never see good cross-medium representation,” says Jeff Carroll. “When I go to a book fair I only see books. And the same thing when I go to film festivals.  However, I meet writers who would like to get their books made into movies and I watch movies who could benefit from a book's following. I decided to create an event which would allow all of these mediums in the entertainment industry to come together and meet each other.  This year most of the people who are attending are my friends but I know some top people.”

Florida LitCon is like a media Tie-in summit. A Tie-in is a term that refers to a book that is a work of fiction or other product based on a media property such as a film, video game, television series, board game, web site, role-playing game.

Jeff Carroll is a pioneer in Sci-fi who made a name for himself in film with B movies like Holla If I Kill You and the award-winning Gold Digger Killer. Jeff continued bringing his stories to books with It Happened of Negro Mountain, RaSheeda the zombie killer and he is currently writing a post-apocalyptic series called The Harlem Shake.   He has written in novel, film and comic book. 

Hip Hop Comix N Flix is a publishing and film Production Company that was opened in 2006. The goal is to produce works of literature and film which inspire and provoke progressive thought while maximizing entertainment and enjoyment.  For more information find them on Facebook.

Guests for the 2019 Florida LitCon include

Steven Smalls uses the pen name Treasure E. Blue. This prolific author, without doubt, is one of the most shocking and controversial writers that we have seen in decades. Blue's background is as almost as compelling as his mouth-dropping debut novel entitled "Harlem Girl Lost". Using the streets as a means of survival, he soon found himself involved with some of Harlem's most notorious elements.

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author is the winner of the 2001 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work—Fiction, and the 2006 Phillis Wheatley Literary Award for Body of Work in Urban Fiction. He has published more than twenty books on African-American people and culture, including five New York Times bestselling novels. He is a popular national speaker and a strong advocate of urban literacy. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Black People Survive the post apocalypse in Jeff Carroll's new book. Harlem Shake: Survivor’s Peak

Florida, December 2018 Hip Hop Comix N Flix Presents announces the release of Harlem Shake Survivor’s Peak by Jeff Carroll.  In this,
his tenth book Jeff Carroll takes a group of Black and Latino people to the post-apocalypse.  Having attended Gun Shows, read countless Survivor magazines and even talked to a survivalist researching this book to make it authentic Jeff has practically become a prepper himself.
The Harlem Shake: Survivor’s Peak
In Harlem Shake Survivors Peak we find Kenny and his partners a year into their living in the post-world of the earthquake that took out Harlem and the world. Now they are survivors and the new world isn't finished with them. Having spent the year being trained by a group called The Harlem Survivors they feel ready for anything. When on exploration outside of their compound takes an unexpected turn they encounter everything else that has survived. Turns out the city of Philadelphia is everything but the city of brotherly love.  With the brutal rulers of this new Philly on the scene, all of the surviving world is threatened by their violence. 

*Survivor’s Peak refers to the point at which a survivor’s preparation supplies run out.
Jeff Carroll is pioneering what he calls Hip Hop Sci-fi. This is the second book in his multicultural post-apocalyptic series. The first book The Harlem Shake was released in 2016 and has a 100% rating on Amazon.  Jeff said he wrote Harlem Shake: Survivor’s Peak to raise the conversation of disaster prep in the Black and multicultural community.  In this story, Jeff introduces his unique speculation to create new vehicles, weapons and other technology to give readers a genuine post-apocalyptic science fiction experience.

Harlem Shake: Survivor’s Peak (Hip Hop Comix N Flix Presents Paperback, December 18, 2018, $10.00 and Kindle ebook $2.99 ) will scare the world of Hip Hop one hip-hopper at a time with author Jeff Carroll. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Black Panther and The Crew review

When I first started reading Black Panther and the Crew: We are the Streets by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Writer), Yona Harvey (Writer), Butch Guice (Illustrator) I thought is was going to be a great superhero comic book series but it turned out to be a good superhero graphic novel story.  It was good book and I urge everyone to read it but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be let me explain.
The first thing that caused me to raise an eyebrow  was how they drew Misty Knight.  She looked like a man on the cover of the first issue.  That is inexcusable.  Misty Knight is the hottest chick in superheroes stories.  How did they mess up Misty Knight?  Aren’t comics are for young men to fantasize about hot women in tight clothes?  How do they have the actress who plays Misty Knight look better than the comic book version?  That was unnecessary.
Now, I don’t mind stories that start slow to build up a real world connection and that is what Black Panther and the Crew had.  The background setting of Harlem and subject of gentrification was a good element but I found that it came at the sacrifice of superhero fighting and action.  Most superhero stories the superheroes use both their brains and their powers to solve their challenges.  In BP and the Crew the powers the heroes had seemed like background elements.  There were fight scenes don’t get me wrong but there was no concerted effort to strategize around the use of them.  BP and The Crew was a beautiful mixture of popular Black superheroes there was Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, Misty Knight and Manifold but there use of powers was a side issue.  A good example of superhero powers strategy is with the Fantastic Four.  When the Fantastic Four fight a villain or fight a battle there is a division of heroes based on what hero’s powers can address what area of the threat or which villain they will fight.  BP and The Crew also lacked a super villain.  This superhero team up fought a regular person which is sort of corny to me. 
                I hope this review was helpful.  I wrote this to help provide some feedback for Marvel editors.  I am a new to comic book reader, I started reading around 2008.  I was inspired to start reading comics again by the success and portrayal of more realistic superheroes in the movies.  That said my tastes reside with a superhero that are more like real people with regular human problems. So,

Hoodwinked about Space.

In this blog I will explain why Black people should not be scared of space but should be excited about it.  I don’t think Black people should be building weapons for space defense but should be sending up flares and welcome signals.  I was first introduced to space stories and space speculation at 11 years old when my father took me to see Star Wars but it wasn’t until I was introduced to Zuro a tale of Alien Avengers by William Simms in my mid-twenties did I understand the full power of space stories as speculative fiction. Zuro a tale of Alien Avengers is a story about Black aliens who come to earth to liberate all Black people on earth.  To this day it is my favorite fiction book.  Zuro planted seeds in my imagination that led me to believe that something fishy is going on with what people think about life in outer space.  In 1996 like half the country I saw Will Smith fight aliens in the blockbuster movie Independence Day.  I like most people bought into the narrative of aliens from space coming to get us but now I feel I like every Black person was hoodwinked about their interpretation of space.
                What are space stories? Well a space story is a story set in space or on another planet. Space is made of fact, fiction and legend. Space is the great sandbox for speculation because space is limitless.  Space can host just about any story from westerns to horror.  In the golden era of Science fiction more than half of the stories were set in space.  Most of the fantasies were like James Camron’s Avatar filled with humanoid animal people.  Space stories unlike stories set on earth have the luxury of still being mostly unknown.  Space stories can take place in the future like Star trek or in the past like Star Wars.
                Since the earliest science fiction movies space has been a popular setting.  However, the repeated theme of invaders and attackers from space is a dominant theme. This is what I call the poison of western space interpretation. Whether it was The Day the Earth Stood Still or War of the Worlds writers of European heritage have showcased this doomsday view.  Not only were the people from space white but their behaviors where similar to that of European sea faring explorers of the early 15th century. Just as Christopher Columbus wrote about his ability to conquer the natives the western space narrative is filled with life forms from outer space who want to do the same thing to humans.  So, when most American’s black or white close their eyes they share the popular theme of a threatening life coming from space and a space fill mostly with white people.  This is in contrast to earth being majority people of color.
                The history of humanity is important to this discussion about aliens and Black people.  Exhibit one: Egypt.  Egypt is not only the oldest civilization in human history Egypt’s, achievements are so advanced that they are beyond the ability of comprehension of today’s scientists. The Pyramids are considered one of the wonders of the world.  They are said that the technical design and size of the structures are beyond the ability of any human that has walked the earth implying that aliens to have built them.  Next, Egyptians preserved themselves and the oldest mummified bodies have had dark skin and were Black people. So if you put those two things together you have belief that Black aliens built the pyramids or aliens built pyramids for Black people.
                The next point in my position are the discoveries on the moon.  Like the belief of the builders of the pyramids there is a belief that the Apollo moon missions were not what NASA says. There is a belief that NASA started the story that the moon landings were a hoax to cover up evidence of aliens and high technology on the Moon that was found by Apollo mission astronauts.  They also believe there are pictures of a base on the moon and even a picture of a preserved alien body.  They believe the body of this alien is a wait for it yes, a person of color or a black person. So, true or false it is a belief that there are  Black humans in space and they have come as close to the earth as the moon.
                If you put all of my points together and accept all of what we know about space is pretty much nothing there is no reason to not connect these dots at least in a speculative sort of way.  If these dots are connected at least as a collections theories and hypothesises then you have one big theory that aliens are black.  Thinking this way then is opens the question as to why these theories have not been connected? That brings me to my theory.  I believe that Black people are in outer space and the government knows it and they are keeping that information from us.  I think they don’t want  people especially Black people believe that Black people on earth are the descendants of the Black people in space and that if these Black aliens come back to earth they see the position that Black people are in and then they will seek vengeance.  Now, I don’t believe that they will seek vengeance but I do believe that the government or controlling powers believe they aliens will. 
What does this mean for Science Fiction and fantasy? It means that there is a possible connection to my theory that explains why there is such a one sided view of space and aliens in science fiction.  If you factor in that art influences how people think then you can accept that this new military space division that VP Pence has commissioned is a logic progression of sci-fi pushing fear of aliens.  Now if you combine all of the above with a government which is capable of hiding the truth then you can see it is possible for sci-fi to push fear to people so they will support a military attack on any alien that comes to earth. Then apply American racism to that and you have a white government which is set to keep Black aliens from coming to earth.  Wow, I know that is far reaching but it does make sense in a conspiracy theorist sort of way.

Welcome to Boss Lady’s Planet is my first space story and it is a Black space story that shows black people living in space.  There is no mention of earth or racism.  I wrote the story to allow Black people to imagine themselves in space.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Top Ten Movies of 2016

                This was another good year for movies.  My beloved Star Wars franchise answered naysayers with Rogue One which Star Trek, X Men and James Bond had weak movies.   2016 also includes the largest release of mainstream Black films.  Over 15 films were written, directed or featuring black characters last year.  These films all enjoyed some sort of nationwide release.  Mostly importantly, 2016 saw the release of Luke Cage, a Netflix show which broke the server.  This wasn’t a regular Marvel superhero story.  Luke Cage felt like a Black film.  It was about a Black superhero who wasn’t saving the USA but the Black community of Harlem.  This broke all of the myths of Black sci-fi stories.  Now, the excuse that Black characters on the cover of sci-fi is no longer an excuse.  This should pave the way for more diversity in sci-fi.  Thank God.  Let’s go.
                Now, here is my family’s coveted list of top movies for the year of 2016.
This is my list.
  1.  Hidden Figures
  2. Rogue One
  3. Deadpool
  4. The Boy
  5. Captain America  Civil War
  6. Birth of a Nation
  7. Pride Prejudice and Zombies
  8. Don’t Breathe
  9. Doctor Strange
  10. Keanu

For the first time I am able to list my top ten Black movies of the year.
  1. Hidden Figures
  2. Birth of a Nation
  3. Keanu
  4. Barbershop Next cut.
  5. Almost Christmas
  6. The Magnificent Seven.
  7. Ride Along 2
  8. Fences.
  9. Boo Madea
  10. Meet the Blacks
  11. Kevin Hart What Now?
  12. Moonlight
  13. Race
  14. Miles Ahead
  15. Central Intelligence.
  16. Fifty Shades of Black.

My son, Malcolm’s list
  1. Rogue One
  2. Meet the Blacks
  3. Captain America Civil War
  4. The Boy
  5. Deadpool
  6. Don’t Breathe
  7. Hidden Figures
  8. Keanu
  9. Doctor Strange
  10.  Lights out.

My wife’s Nivia’s list.
  1. Hidden Figures
  2. Deadpool
  3. Captain America Civil War
  4. Almost Christmas
  5. Rogue One
  6. Barbershop Next Cut
  7. Pride Prejudice and Zombies
  8. Warcraft
  9. Dr. Strange
  10. Magnificent 7