Klavan On The Culture

Klavan On The Culture

‘It Follows’

April 8th, 2015 - 8:43 am
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David Robert Mitchell’s horror movie It Follows has been getting a lot of love from elite critics but in spite of that it’s actually very good. It tells the story of a sexually transmitted disease which causes a monster in various human forms to follow you and, if it catches you, kill you. As a sort of tribute to slasher pictures like Halloween and Friday the 13th, the Follows monster never runs, only walks relentlessly.

The best thing about the picture, from my point of view, is that the monster always looks human and can even look like someone you know, so you’re never sure who it is. This is in keeping with Klavan’s Horror Rule #1 which states that the most frightening thing you can see onscreen is a living human being with dead eyes. The dead-eyed man or woman who stands still and stares at you blankly across a crowded room is more frightening than the monster in Alien or Freddy Krueger or anyone else in make-up or costume. It Follows takes advantage of this fact, which requires real discipline and restraint on the part of the director.

The film takes place in the Democrat-destroyed city of Detroit — but when it takes place is open to question. Mitchell uses the Democrat-created urban blight of the city to disguise his playful rejiggering of time cues. For instance, one girl uses a cellphone but another uses a trimstyle phone I haven’t seen in years. All the movies people watch in the film are old and some of the television sets date from the sixties. All the cars are old. A teenaged girl shows up at one point wearing grandma underwear you couldn’t buy in a modern store. Yet the sexual and racial ethics are clearly modern.

In other words, the film takes place in Horror Movie Time. Some of the settings even seem to have come straight out of other horror films like Halloween. Normally, this sort of frou-frou artsy stuff would annoy me — shut up and tell the story already — but somehow Mitchell makes it work. 

In fact, in general, I’m always wary of highly praised genre material because so often it fulfills some intellectual yearning of the critics without actually being thrilling or scary for the rest of us. But It Follows manages to be eerie and tense and arty all at the same time. It’s a cool film with subtle scares and a really spooky final shot. Well worth seeing, if you like the genre.

And speaking of the genre, if you haven’t checked out my new novel Werewolf Cop, you should. You really should.

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This has got to be one of my favorite Steven Crowder (@scrowder) videos ever — which is saying something. In this one, Steven pretends to be a gay guy and goes into some Muslim bakeries in Dearborn, Michigan, to ask them to bake a wedding cake for him and his husband. The bakers politely decline and refer him to other bakers who might perform the service he needs.

Now first of all, I have to admire Crowder’s courage here. It isn’t easy to come out of the closet at his age. (Oh, all right, I’m joking!) But it’s worth noting that these American Muslims are, every one of them, as pleasant, respectful and lovely to my crazy friend as you could hope an American business person to be. Other Muslim bakers, Crowder says, agreed to do as he asked. The ones on camera are simply insisting on their freedom, not to discriminate against persons, but to choose which activities they want to participate in and which violate their creed. In between the hidden cam stuff, Crowder makes the point well.

Despite the obvious decency of these good American baker folks, Crowder repeatedly returns to the idea that, in Muslim countries, gays don’t fare quite as well as make-believe-gay Steven fares in Dearborn. That is, in Muslim countries, homosexuals can be judicially murdered just for being homosexual. Many on the right have puzzled over the fact that left-wing homofascists rain hate on everyday freedom-loving Americans who insist on their right to follow their religious consciences while these same left-wing homofascists go suddenly silent on the issue of Islamic mistreatment of gays. Likewise leftist feminists in America have to invent fantasy rapes and oppressions to keep their sense of victimized entitlement on the boil, but make nary a girlish peep about the very real enslavement and mutilation of women in the Muslim world. Indeed, leftists of all stripes seem to swoon over the “micro-aggressions” of free American life, while throwing their full sympathy and support behind the single most aggressive and oppressive political force active on the planet today: radical Islam.

But — in keeping with what I said a few posts back — the reason for this apparent contradiction seems obvious to me. It isn’t oppression the Left hates, it’s individual freedom and the Judeo-Christian God (aka “God”) who gives it to individual men and women.

The God part of this equation is indispensable, as our founders knew. George W. Bush once said, “God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.” But that’s just wrong. In fact, how any man who believes in the Bible could believe that, I truly don’t know. The Bible tells how God freed his chosen people the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. He sent them the prophet Moses, he sent them signs and wonders, he rained plagues on their enemies, he defeated the mighty pharaoh and his armies with uncanny heavenly warfare. And when the Lord was done and his chosen people were free, the chosen turned to Moses and said, in effect, “We’re hungry! We were better off as slaves!”

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Happy Easter

April 3rd, 2015 - 6:19 am

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“It’s like in the great stories… the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think… I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.”  The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

Happy Easter, from Klavan on the Culture.


I Talk to RedState About Werewolf Cop

April 1st, 2015 - 7:02 am



Chatted with Moe Lane over at RedState about my new novel Werewolf Cop.  A short but interesting interview, I thought, especially when he asked me to sell fiction to conservatives in thirty seconds! That part’s near the end. Listen – and let me know if I succeeded!Werewolf Cop_3D

Religious Freedom in Indiana

March 30th, 2015 - 11:55 am

I spent a lot of time in Indiana as a young man and I’ve always loved it there — so I laugh with delighted laughter to see leftist homofascists boycott and slander the state over the new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. If the results of past boycotts of this type — against Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty, for instance — are any indication, Indiana should soon be the richest and most popular state in the union!

The law, as you probably know by now, imitates the 1993 federal RFRA, voted in nearly unanimously and signed by Bill Clinton. It seeks to prevent the state from violating your right to act on religious principles unless they can show “compelling interest.” Among its purposes is preventing gay activists from bullying, say, Christian bakers or florists into participating in gay weddings that violate their religious consciences. Nineteen other states have such laws without being boycotted. Those states have my sympathy. They must envy Indiana deeply.

I support the right of gay people to forge faithful, lifelong unions recognized by the state and respected by people of good will. Leftists do not support this, make no mistake. They only use the issue as a way to attack Christianity and heterosexual family life. If that’s not true, let’s see one of these homofascist clowns walk into a Muslim restaurant and demand Mohammed make the falafels for his wedding. They don’t do this not only because they are cowardly scum, but also because attacking Islam is no more their purpose than is the true and honorable support of gay rights. Islam is not the philosophical backbone of the American way of individual freedom that leftists so despise. Christianity and Christian thought and family are the pillars of that freedom — and that’s why the left wants to destroy them.

These leftist bullies are not good for gay people any more than feminists bullies are good for women. In both cases, since the media give the thugs so much air time and unquestioning (not to mention mindlessly stupid) support, it becomes easy to believe that these bozos represent a class of people when they only represent their destructive, radical selves. It’s easy to feel angry at women while listening to feminists — unless you actually know some women, in which case you’re likely to find them to be nothing like the awful harridans who pretend to speak for them. Likewise, it’s easy to think the homofascists represent gay people — unless you know some gay people (as anyone who works in the arts is bound to) and find they mostly want to work, love and be left alone like other Americans.

I should hardly need to say this, but just for the record: freedom is a two-way street. If I am free to do something, you are free to refuse to do it or to participate in it. If the homofascists don’t seem to support that principle it’s for one simple reason: it’s that very principle they want to destroy. Gay rights are only the weapon they happen to have at hand.

I Talk Werewolves with John Miller

March 26th, 2015 - 5:21 am

John H. Miller, author of The First Assassin, (and incidentally a guy who is currently writing some of the best pop culture criticism around about authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and the great Robert Aickman) recently called my new novel Werewolf Cop “a modern masterpiece of hardboiled horror.”

Here, John and I chat about the nature of the beast on his podcast The Bookmonger.

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You may be a left-wing knucklehead if…

…you think the problem with the U.S. is that we need to have a “conversation about race.”

Here’s my contribution to Starbucks’ obnoxious and condescending “Race Together” effort to pour their ideas about race down our throats along with their coffee. If you think America hasn’t talked about race, you’re lying to yourself. The U.S. has talked about almost nothing but race for the last fifty years. Your real complaint is that we’re not saying what you want us to say and haven’t reached the conclusions you, in your self-righteousness, decree we should reach.

The leftists of the Democratic Party — the party of slavery; the party of the Ku Klux Klan; the party of Jim Crow; the party of segregation; the party of a welfare state that destroyed the black family in ways the most evil slaver could only dream of; the party of abortion, which snuffs out more black lives than heart attacks and cancer combined — call us racist when we oppose them. I weep sad tears. I so wanted their good opinion.

The Democrats and the rest of the left bewail the harsh treatment of black criminals — and then hamper or gut police programs that lower crime in crime-ravaged black communities. The left calls for government program after program but fails to acknowledge that the black rise from poverty to the middle class was faster before the leftist program explosion of the sixties and seventies began. The left calls for hiring and school admission favoritism for blacks but never explains how it’s fair that a white or Asian-American baby born today should be penalized for things that happened before he or she existed.

There has been egregious injustice against blacks in the past — and you can’t fix the past by poisoning the present. There are people who don’t like blacks today — and there will be racists tomorrow and forever and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. There are horrible problems besetting some black neighborhoods — and most of them have been exacerbated by leftist government programs when they haven’t been caused by them.

But let’s for a moment pretend that every misguided or dishonest assertion the left promulgates about race in America is actually true. What then?

Well, let’s say you had a friend — a real friend, someone you wished well. Let’s say your friend came to you and said, “Friend, I am a victim of circumstance. Things that happened before I was born have left me disadvantaged. Some people dislike me on sight. The police suspect me because I look like other criminals they’ve seen. I’ll never get ahead in life.”

What would you say to him?

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A nice week for me, with my new novel Werewolf Cop on the stands and being hailed as one of my best, which it is. And terrific Justified guy Nick Searcy signing on to direct the Gosnell movie, which I scripted.

And now — Trigger Warning!!! — the second book in my MindWar trilogy of novels for young adults is out — Hostage Run — and is already being attacked for political incorrectness!

“The continued use of a variety of foreigners as the baddies, including Islamist and Russian terrorists, creates an unrealistic and negative global viewpoint,” says School Library Journal.

Note the “unrealistic.” How much self-righteous dishonesty can you pack into a single word? I mean, whoever heard of Islamist and Russian baddies? School librarians can be a notoriously left wing bunch, though there are many, many great ones.

Ah well. The review from Booklist was not only far more positive, but also way more honest and fair:

“The second volume of Klavan’s genre-blending MindWar trilogy continues to deliver fast pacing. In this episode, readers follow Rick, teen hero and smart game player, and Molly, who was imprisoned by the villains in the first volume. Molly is no shrinking violet, and her eventual release from Smiley McDeath’s gang owes as much to her own wits and athleticism as it does to the intervention of male characters. Because of the complexity of the plot and the generous cast, readers new to the series should begin with the first volume. Those who loved MindWar (2014) will happily fall right into this.”

It’s a fun series to write and to read. So if you can stand the slanders against those poor abused Islamist terrorists and Russian baddies, try it out.

Nick Searcy to Direct “Gosnell”

March 18th, 2015 - 10:18 am

Credit: Breitbart.com

Well, the bad news for crime story fans is that Justified is in its final season, but the very good news for those same fans is that the mighty Nick Searcy, who brilliantly plays Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Art Mullen on the show, has been chosen to direct the movie about abortionist killer (but I repeat myself) Kermit Gosnell, for which I wrote the script. This is from the Hollywood Reporter:

Gosnell, a movie about an infamous abortion doctor convicted of murder that is being financed via a crowdfunding campaign, has hired, as its director, Nick Searcy

Part of the story that Searcy, Klavan and the other filmmakers plan to tell is what some have likened to a press cover-up of Gosnell’s brutality. Journalist Megan McArdle, for example, wrote a mea culpa in 2013 published in the Daily Beast titled: “Why I didn’t write about Gosnell’s trial — and why I should have.” The article included a photo of rows of empty courtroom benches that had been reserved for the press.

“There are three aspects to this story that are fascinating,” said Searcy. “What happened; why it was allowed to happen; and why no one wanted to talk about it after it happened.”

Searcy, who has appeared in such films as MoneyballCast Away and Fried Green Tomatoes, actually made his directorial debut in 1997 with a low-budget feature called Paradise Falls. While a hit at several film festivals back then, a distribution deal was struck only recently and it will be released this year under a new title: Carolina Low.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to have a part in bringing this important American story to the screen,” Searcy said of Gosnell. “It is a story that many in Hollywood were unwilling to tell, and I am grateful to Ann [McElhinney], Phelim [McAleer], and Magdalena [Segieda] for having the courage to tell it.”

Nick is a terrific guy, a major talent, and one of the funniest tweeters on Twitter. You can follow him at @yesnicksearcy.

This would also be an excellent time to contribute what money you can to the script. Ann, Phelim and Magda plan to be filming by summer.


“Werewolf Cop” is Here

March 16th, 2015 - 10:27 am

My new novel Werewolf Cop is out. I hope you’ll get a copy. I’ll discuss the writing of it a bit below, but here are some early reactions:

“A modern masterpiece of hardboiled horror, featuring a hero who feels like he stepped out of a Raymond Chandler novel as he confronts a dilemma that recalls the best of Stephen King–and the whole thing set to a moral sensibility that has become too rare in literature.”— John J. Miller, author of The First Assassin.

“Moves like a freight train–a classic white-knuckled police procedural with the chills of a midnight horror movie, and the best kind of old-fashioned hero at the center.  I loved it.”—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Suspicion and Paranoia.

“Be warned: this book is loaded with provocations. The French have Michel Houellebecq; here in the US of A, we have Andrew Klavan. Werewolf Cop is his bestbook yet, one that starts with a rush and never lets up, dark and funny, with the bittersweet taste of the knowledge of good and evil.”— John Wilson, Books and Culture

“Grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the very end. The writing is crisp and descriptive. Straight-arrow Zach Adams has his flaws and moments of doubt. The other characters are also fully-rounded. This good read will send shivers up your spine.”— AuthorLink.com.

“Literally a read-in-one sitting thriller… One of Klavan’s strongest novels in years, and easily one of his best.” Bookshots.

The reactions are gratifying because I wrote this book entirely for myself. I wasn’t even going to seek a publisher for it, just e-publish it on my own. That way, I figured, I could do anything I wanted to do, say anything I wanted to say without some publisher telling me I was being too provocative or off-beat. The problem is: about half way through the writing, I realized I was producing one of the best books I’d ever written and something unique. I knew it would need intelligent reviews if it was ever going to get to the public. E-books just don’t get reviewed the way published books do. I’m thrilled Pegasus had the courage to bring it out in hard covers.

As for the title…  well, some people hate it. It was meant to be at once ironic and to demonstrate my commitment to the genre. A lot of times, you’ll hear a reviewer say a crime or horror novel, “Transcended the genre.” To me, this almost always means, it doesn’t fulfill the needs of the genre. That is:  Literary thrillers are rarely thrilling, literary horror rarely horrifying.

I wanted to do something different: to write a novel that gives you all the depth of a literary novel while giving you the action and thrills of great genre writing. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein did it. Why should we think it can’t be done?

The early reactions in the press and on Amazon seem to suggest I got at least something of what I wanted. In spite of the title — or maybe because of the title — I hope you’ll take a look.