The Best Fantasy & Paranormal Movies and Books of the ’80s & ’90s

The Growing Spark:

A Fantasy, Paranormal, and Sci-fi Love Story Continues

Last month I discussed the sources that inspired my love for magic. This topic poured over into our first podcast. I mostly discussed movies that inspired me when I was a young child, I’ve decided to continue the topic by moving it to up in years, which to me is still in the ’80s and ’90s (two of the best decades I might add),  and relating to books I’ve read or written as well.

Let’s jump right in!

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(Image credit: Copyright (c) Michael Kleinhenz)

The NeverEnding Story: 1984

The gloriousness of The NeverEnding Story still translates with my kiddos today. This magical movie touched on bullying and loss as well as the power of believing and letting those you’ve lost still live in inside of you even when it can be too hard to even think of them at times.

The movie opens with our lead character, Bastian, being bullied to the point where he has to hide in a dumpster. Later, the boy received a book and found a place to experience the story. While in his world he only appears to be reading, the viewers are sent through a portal into another world where the “nothing” is hellbent on destroying all of Fantasia. Without giving away those dreaded “spoilers,” I’ll just reveal that the story progresses and this normal human boy somehow has power over a place so magical. He doesn’t even believe it himself and makes fantastic friends along the way.

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Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bmiphone/4654554832

And I have to talk about Falcor: Yes I have a dog that looks like him, how did I not name him that? He almost got named Walker after looking like those formidable dark side, ground assault monstrosities, but we settled on Bodhi. Hey, I was going to name my youngest daughter Anakin if she was a boy, would have been awesome, right?

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See the resemblance? Introducing, Bodhi Falcor Sinclair, LOL

Magical Worlds and Dimensions in Fantasy Novels

Other worlds, other dimensions had always fascinated me, especially when a seemingly unimportant human became a part of it before realizing their strength, power, and heart when they never thought any of it was possible. While re-reading A Wrinkle in Time, written in 1962, with my oldest, it had me thinking of how the book also sparked the interest in dimensional travel. I knew I loved the novel, but the deep science in those pages was something I had completely forgotten.

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Aside from A wrinkle in time, Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks, stars a 14-year-old girl from Illinois, Nest Freemark has a connection to the darkness that may impact the future. In this story, another normal kid has the power, magic, and a crucial impact on the future. It as the also the first time I read something from Mr. Brooks that had such a strong female as his main character. Something that is now the “it” thing. Finally!


Paving the Way for the Powerful Female Lead

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 1996-2003

We can’t talk about powerful female leads without focusing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No one comes to mind sooner that Buffy when I think of a character I related to, grew alongside, and rooted for every week. I also have all of the DVD’s, and it’s my go-to when I’m bummed or sick.

Buffy was a normal, albeit somewhat shallow (I mean most teenagers are at one time or another, I know I had my moments) high school cheerleader. When she becomes the next Slayer, everything changes. What doesn’t change is the camaraderie with her amazing best friends, AKA Scooby Gang, and she doesn’t give up, even after experiencing heaven.


Human Experiences in a Paranormal World

Joss Whedon and the writing team conquered deep topics on the show. No wonder it’s getting an excellent Buffy sequel to the show. From losing your virginity and the guy turning into a complete “monster,” to losing a loved one, studying for tests, moving, oh and saving the world, the covered it all. I cried alongside Buffy, Xander, Willow, Angel (wait, do vampires cry?), and I continue to love, talk about, and reverently recommend the show to this day.

Buffy also jump-started my love for vampires and werewolves. I admit I am more of a lover of a good vampire/paranormal story in book format, but that may just be due to the trickiness of putting the pictures readers, and the writers, form in their heads to something decent on the big screen. Well, Buffy did it perfectly, as well as a few others. Though when asked who my favorite vampires are I easily list Angel and Spike. Oh, and this guy…

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In the film, Blade (1998), was one of the movies that captured another form of the vampire world that I truly enjoyed. Not to mention Stephen Doff’s, Deacon Frost and it’s based on a Marvel comic (don’t get me started on Marvel, but we will discuss soon. We must!).

Though, since I said it already (now I can’t stop thinking about it), Ryan Reynolds was in Blade: Trinity where he proved to be a badass before becoming the Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. Ahhh, Marvel is everywhere. And I love it!

Lastly, bringing the female lead back into the picture and adding in those werewolves, Lycan, is Underworld. Though this one moves into the 2000s, it was released in 2003, it does star Scott Speedman who was in Felicity, 1998, a very non-paranormal/fantasy/horror show, but worth mentioning nonetheless. I’ve digressed, Underworld stars death dealer vampire, Selene, who thought of all Lycans as the enemy until realizing she’s a tool in a war that started well before her time and over power feuds. Her strength, speed, and glowing blue eyes make her my favorite female vampire of all time.


Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Novels

Continuing forward in time to show the evolution of magic in my life, it was 2012 when I first read The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson. Cecy is the paranormal/urban fantasy author whose characters’ remind me of the female strength and friendship in Buffy. Along with the romance, mystery, and suspense, the novels are pages turners for sure. The Wird Sisters each have powers of their own after being cursed, and they are joined by other creatures, heroes, villains, and those on that blurry line sometimes, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, witches, etc.


I could go on forever, I’m sure, but I’ll button this up for now in hopes that you all will share your favorites in the genres that mingle and intersect on many levels. Let’s focus on science fiction next time so I can give my other faves, Star Wars and Star Trek, some love as well.

Thank you for your continued support and stay tuned for the next podcast that you can find right here, as well as another guest blog by Author Jessica Ozment.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my dad, the one who inspired by love for all things science, fantasy, and magic!

Parker

Finding the Spark for Guest Blogger- Author Jessica Ozment

Hello Friends and Fans!

I wanted to introduce everyone to my partner in crime, my artist with the mostest, my talented co-author and creative master, Jessica Ozment. She’s agreed to jump on the crazy train with me some more and create a podcast. We recorded our first show this week. Right afterward, yes cause I know you’ll love what she brought to the show so much, I wanted to have her put her portion of the show into words for the blog. Below she touches on why she wanted to create a podcast and shares her own experiences that led her to write in the fantasy genre.

You can also listen to the full podcast below. Be gentle, it’s our first time.

Lit Musings’ Podcast Episode 1


 

Welcome Author Jessica Ozment

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Most who know me know that I’m guilty of writing and devouring fantasy novels like there’s no tomorrow and that I’m a graphic designer who enjoys building my business, The Magic Quill Graphics…but there’s actually another side to the indie book world I haven’t tapped into yet, which is odd for me because I’ve dipped my feet into just about everything to do with books. I’ve made it my mission to try my hand at anything I can to make connections with readers who might enjoy the things I not only have to say about the books I read and review, but also the projects I put my blood, sweat, and tears into creating from the ground up.

Expanding our reach

For me, establishing Lit Musings, alongside my incredibly talented co-host, Parker Sinclair, was about allowing me to keep up with my amazing readers in a different way, about gaining those crucial new connections in our community that are geared toward the fantasy genre, and to push the work I’ve stolen countless hours from my family time to create. I like the idea of us not only speaking about books here at Lit Musings, but also many other topics that pop up in the indie world we see from day to day.

Growing community

I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes the indie community is oversaturated with politics, vague booking, and childish conflicts… for this very reason, it is my goal to steer our listeners into more positive issues that actually have something to do with our profession. I’m looking forward to meeting new fantasy and paranormal authors and having them on the show to speak about what drove them into the Indie pool, and how they’ve grown since then. You’ll also find that I will be doing my best to collect trade tips to help you guys on the road to publishing so that we can grow as a team in this community, rather than every man for himself.

A mother’s lasting gift

The last reason I really want to go this direction with pushing myself to be more transparent in the community is because I lost my mother at a very early age, 14. She always nudged me to put my best foot forward and to develop the creative side of my brain that was always trying to take over anyway. She taught me to read, to write and to love myself.  She introduced me to my favorite writer, Stephen King…and through that small action, I was able to connect with her even now, with her being long gone. This show, for me, is dedicated to her memory because without it, I wouldn’t be here today.

Igniting a love for fantasy

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THE LITTLE MERMAID

I chose to talk about The Little Mermaid in our first podcast. The biggest reason for this is, I’m a water lover. Anything that has to do with underwater worlds and magic really just draws me in, no matter what it’s about. I think I have probably over 50 fish in my house right now that can attest to this fact! I find it interesting that we still have yet to explore most of the oceans, and that we may find so much more if we just put our minds to it and show a little initiative.  I love the story behind the little mermaid because it teaches us to love who we are, to not change who we are because we love, and that there are so many people out there that will take what you love away from you to gain the upper hand. It’s such a strong coming of age movie that I think every girl should watch, young and old.

1.) Did you know that the original story about Ariel actually took off the coast of Denmark, where it is said Arendelle (from the movie Frozen, is set to be closely located.)

2,) Unlike most people I’m sure, I haven’t seen the second movie… which apparently explains that Captain Hook is the one who killed Ariel’s mother…

3.) When designing Ariel, artists used Alyssa Milano’s body as inspiration!

4.) Animating a film is a lot of work, and Disney didn’t have the manpower available. Disney hired the Chinese animation studio Pacific Rim to draw over one million bubbles by hand. Wow!

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HARRY POTTER

Another amazingly written series I easily fell in love with is the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter. Yes, I’m a nerd, haha! There are so many factors that pushed me to read the books and watch all of the movies, like the fact that a 10-year-old boy who had no idea he was magical suddenly has an entire world at his fingertips. A world which opened its doors to a misguided boy as if he never left. His struggles to gain acceptance from his peers and learn the truth of his past hit home with me, and from there, my love of fantasy first bloomed.

Fun facts:

1.) J.K Rowling came up with the names of the Hogwarts Houses on the back of a barf bag, yikes!

2.) Dementors actually represented Rowling’s struggle with depression.

3.) Apparently, Stephen King thought Dolores Umbridge was the perfect villain.

4.) And Rowling wrote the final chapter early on while writing the books.

Thanks for letting me jump in and guest blog today. Be sure to check out my latest publication featured in, Where There’s Murder, There’s Mystery: A Suspense Thriller Anthology. Now available for pre-order at the low price of .99 cents! Click here to pre-order today!

Jessica

Listen to our first Lit Musings podcast right here!

Lit Musings’ Podcast: Episode 1 Finding the Spark (October 2018)

Author Jessica Ozment and I are happy to release the first episode for our Lit Musings’ podcast. We hope you enjoy it, and be gentle, it’s our first time. HA!

Check it out below!

Your fantasy junkies,

Parker & Jessica

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You can also subscibe to Lit Musings on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Google Podcasts!

The spark in my fantasy life.

 

It’s true; I am a fantasy and sci-fi junkie. I am not sure if I came out of the womb that way or if my parents influence me to be as such, but it’s true. Yes, I am a grown woman, and I wear Harry Potter and Avengers t-shirts (I’ll get to you some other time Thanos, you snap-happy narcissist), and not just to Disney or Universal Studios, I am talking bus stops, shopping, and if you’re lucky, even at happy hour to my hubby’s dismay.

Inspiration

I’ve been struggling with keeping up with my blog, and I know that is bad bad bad, so I realized I need to talk things I know a lot about that relate to what I do, and those are movies and TV shows that are fantasy in nature. I mean it’s how I got to this writing thing in the first place. Since I couldn’t read right away, I’d have to say it was due to the movies and shows my family and I watched. I’d like to highlight the ones that are my earliest recollections. I’ll only talk about two today, because I know we all have better things to do on a Monday; but hey, maybe I’m not alone, and this will take you down memory lane as well.

Best Childhood Fantasy Movies

Sleeping Beauty

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Even though this movie came out in 1959, I vividly remember driving in the snow to see this movie in the theaters. It must have been a re-showing, and until that darn awesome mermaid, Aurora was my favorite princess of all time. I won’t leave out Maleficent who, to this child, was the scariest villain ever. It was the magic that drew me, the simple glowing fairies, the eternal cursed sleep, the animals dancing and smiling at her as she sang of love, all of it made me fall in love with the fantasy world.

I did see Maleficent when it came out on DVD. I enjoyed the twist in that story versus the Disney version, but I won’t ruin it for you by telling you what that is, I am not a sociopath. HAHAHA (That was non-evil laughing, maybe).

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Beyond The Muppets

The Dark Crystal 

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Jim Henson and Frank Oz were, as always really, super ahead of their time with this one. I am sure it was a little scary for some kiddos who were the primary target for Henson in most of his work. The high fantasy and adventure tale focuses on elf creatures called Gelflings. Two Gelflings, Jen and Kira, go to task to save their world by returning a shared of crystal to its home. The Skeksis are frightening baddies that suck the souls of innocents, and I still see them in my mind when I am creating my monsters. Ack, their voices even, a screeching, a terrifyingly manic sound that doesn’t leave you, or me, ever.

The puppets, scenery, and story have stuck with me since I first watched it in the early 80’s. I’ve heard they are making a show on Netflix. Here’s one article I found, and it includes the teaser YouTube video I’ve pasted below. https://nerdist.com/dark-crystal-henson-netflix-tv-series/ 

I am totally binge-watching it when it comes out!

I’ll touch on more movies and shows in my next post. Maybe I’ll lean more towards Sci-fi next time since those are a huge part of my creative flow as well. Stay tuned for me to dork out with Star Wars and Star Trek, and please let me know some of your childhood faves.

Have an amazing week!

Parker

I’d love you to also join my newsletter to keep up with my new releases, writing, and more! Join today: http://www.parkersinclair.net/followme

My podcast is coming soon, which is appropriately titles Lit Musings. My friend, and fellow author, Jessica Ozment and I are co-hosts. I’ll post the link on my next blog, but here’s our sweet intro for now.