Movies that shaped me as a writer

I finally convinced Mister Scarlett to come and see a Fast & Furious movie with me. Over the past few weeks he’s caught up on the movies I’ve been watching religiously for the last 16 years (he really enjoyed Fast 7 and Fast 8 by the way). It got me thinking, movies have always played an important part in my life. Looking back they have even shaped the kind of writer I am (and will probably continue to do so).

They are in chronological order of when I remember seeing them – so the movie I remember seeing first will be number one. There are many, many movies that I love – Star Wars (I’m actually a real Star Wars geek!), Goodfellas, Godfather, Gladiator, Blade, Fargo, anything from Marvel…the list goes on, but I’ve been really selective.

So here goes…the movies that have shaped me as a writer.

Highlander (1986)

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I was fairly young when I first saw Highlander, probably about 10 years old. Was I a bit young? Maybe. But this movie has always stayed with me and is still one of my favourites.

From the first time I saw Christopher Lambert having the epic sword fight in the parking garage at the opening of the movie, I was hooked.

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Sword fights. Historical flashbacks. Witty dialogue. A cool soundtrack. A handsome hero with a really sexy accent. And a love story. What’s not to like?

This is the first movie I can remember seeing as a kid. Unconventional, right? It stayed with me because of the witty dialogue but also the love story. This immortal man is doomed to a continual cycle of love and loss. He has to watch all of his lovers die as they age and he stays young. Until he finds one woman he’s willing to give up his immortality for. Powerful stuff.

Sabrina Fair (1954)

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Going old school with this one.

In my early teens I fell in love with Sabrina. Actually I had a period where I adored Audrey Hepburn. She’s stunning in this. It’s a perfect ugly ducking to swan story.

Poor plain teenage Sabrina moons over David, good looking younger son of the household her father works for. He barely notices her but she watches him seduce many woman from the comfort of a tree. Sabrina goes away to Paris to a cooking school and comes back a chic, beautiful young woman with every intention of getting her hands on David. The only problem is he’s engaged. In steps David’s older brother Linus – the more serious,workaholic older brother. Linus’ intention is to seduce Sabrina away from David and send her away with a generous monetary donation, but in the process Linus falls for Sabrina…

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I think initially, I fell in love with the epic dress Audrey Hepburn wears.sabrina dress

But this is ultimately a story about change. What Sabrina thought she wanted as a teenager completely changes by the time she’s a woman. Even though she doesn’t realise it at first.

It’s a love story about redemption – for Sabrina and Linus. I love the character of Linus – focused, determined, a little gruff and serious, not smooth and charming like his brother. These are the kind of characters I am still drawn to (and tend to write about).

Labyrinth (1986)

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In my opinion, one of the greatest movies ever made *grins*

I had my first sexual fantasy about Jareth the goblin King. I mean look…just look how pretty and sexual he is…

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The intensity of his feelings for Sarah could be thought of as a little creepy, stalkerish even, but I wanted that intensity. I wanted someone to move time and space for me. Now I’m older and I know that’s not entirely possible, I still try and work some of that intensity into my books. I create men who would do anything to get their woman.

And honestly, who wouldn’t fall to their knees when Jareth says this line:

“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.” 

*shivers*

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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Seriously, I hear you cry? Yep. Silence of the Lambs is still one of the creepiest psychological thrillers around. It brings to life two of the greatest fictional characters ever created – Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.

The tension between the two every time they are on screen is electric. Although he’s a serial killer, a cannibal, he’s extremely charming. You never know whether he’s going to eat you or engage in a brilliant conversation. It’s that level of ambiguity I try to include in some of my darker characters.

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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) /Reservoir Dogs (1992)

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The first guy that seriously got my panties in a twist was George Clooney as Seth Gecko. I saw this movie on my Aunt’s tv when I went to the US for the first time in 1996. I was sick, away from home and my parents, and for some reason I got access to this on cable. It blew my mind.

Horror, comedy, violence, amazing snappy dialogue and Seth fucking Gecko. This is probably where my obsession with anti-heroes began. For a time I believed I was attracted to good old George, but thinking back, it was actually Seth I wanted to get my panties off for.

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Tattoos, guns, waistcoat (even now I still find a well tailored waistcoat extremely hot on a man), the ambiguity of whether you were supposed to hate him because he’s a criminal or fuck him because he’s super hot and does the right thing in the end.

Anyhow…moving on swiftly…

This movie also introduced to me to Quentin Tarantino. Creative genius and god. He played creepy Richie Gecko so damned well.  After watching Reservoir Dogs, I had a creative crush on Quentin. I wanted to get inside his mind, root around and discover how he came up with the all the nuances of  his movies and the damned amazing dialogue.

Even now I still have a creative crush on Mr. Tarantino.

Pitch Black (2000)

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Still one of the best horror sci-fi movies around. When I first saw this, I never expected it to go in the direction it did. And for a low budget film, it was very well made.

Why is this on my list? Because of the character Riddick.

Another ambiguous anti-hero male (are you seeing a pattern here?!). And yes, as with Seth Gecko, Riddick did funny things to my hormones.

Was he a killer? Yes. Did he like to kill? Maybe. Did he kill women and children? No. Did he actually prove himself to be a saviour despite the way they’d all treated him? Yes.

I find the anti-hero thing extremely attractive in any characters – on screen or in books. I like a bad boy with a streak of integrity running through them. Again, I try to use that in some of my own stories.

Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)

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This is probably my all time favourite movie (I know it’s a trilogy but they are all tied in first place as I can’t choose between them).

It has everything – beautiful story telling, great characters (thank you, Tolkien!), and the ability to sucker punch me in the gut every damn time I watch them (thank you, Peter Jackson). The embody friendship, family and love; good over evil; hope over despair.

As a writer those are powerful themes to use, but the reason I’ve included these movies is more practical.

I’ve always been a writer as such, but when these movies came out I got back into writing seriously. I wrote LOTR fan-fiction and published it online. I had some success, won awards. It helped me work the writing muscle, it helped me improve and also allowed me to do what I do today.

Secretary (2002)

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised my sexual taste lie more on the kinky spectrum. Vanilla just won’t cut it. I’d always written very hot sex scenes but after seeing this movie on a recommendation, I knew I wanted to write about kink.

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Who doesn’t find being spanked hot? Maybe I’m projecting a little…*smiles*

But Secretary is, at its heart, a story about two damaged people finding love through kink. It works. It’s not creepy or abusive. It works for them. It makes them happy. I hate that BDSM gets such a bad name in mainstream press.

Although my stories started out as very hot romances, they’ve moved on into the erotic romance territory. They almost always contain BDSM and ALWAYS have hot ambiguous male heroes.

So there is my list. What are some of the movies that have shaped you? Or just some of your favourite movies?

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