Why “The Shape of Water” is perhaps my favorite movie of all time…



Contains Spoilers

It’s hard to explain in a short video review (which is here) how this movie impacted me. Since 2011, my favorite movie was “War Horse.” It was a movie that told a story of courage, which I really needed at that time of seeing it. What makes “The Shape of Water” come neck and neck with Spielberg’s war epic? I’m going to break this down into a few categories, because I really could ramble about this movie all day. So, I’ll speak of the elements which impacted me the most-while going into the finer details as well.


Elisa: The main character, played by Sally Hawkins is a kind and honest character who has a vocal impairment. The reason why I fell in love with her portrayal is because it was awesome to see someone with a disability represented so well. Disability advocacy is such a big part of my life since I have mild autism and I have siblings who have cerebral palsy, while I have never met anyone to date who cannot speak, but I think it’s important to show people of all different disabilities in movies if it’s not ‘cheesy.’

I feel like all the other movies or fictional stories I’ve read about disability is the same old story. Trying to overcome and show the world who they are inside, a sappy story which we all know the ending of. No doubt a promising idea and can be done well, but it’s been done to death. In this movie, she’s not trying to prove anything, she’s a normal human with needs, wants, hopes and dreams.

The movie isn’t ‘about’ her disability, even though it’s a very important aspect of the movie. The plot tropes of disabilities are washed away in this movie, making way for new and exciting ideas. I’m so glad the filmmaker didn’t try to make us feel ‘sorry’ for her because she is mute, we feel sorry for her in other ways. She happens to have a disability, but we don’t need it milked to make the audience feel bad.

We already connect with her on an emotional level, we as the audience already accept that she cannot speak. Why make a movie of trying to ‘prove to the world she’s better?’ Again, we’ve seen that time and time again. Elisa is a great character, and we get to see her go through so much emotion and interesting plot twists. That to me is much more interesting.


Amphibian Man: I think the aspect of this movie that’s getting talked about the most is Doug Jones as the ‘creature’ as I call him, the IMDB however calls him ‘Amphibian Man.’ I will mention that the creature effects themselves are flawless, and the actor did an amazing job with the mannerisms of the creature, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I found him the most intriguing part of the entire movie, and I think others did as well. I think my love for his character goes all the way back to when I was younger, maybe in middle school when I first saw “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” I found him quite amazing to, and I remember re-watching that movie a lot and talking about it in school. I still to this day have a love for the gill-man. I remember watching all the behind the scenes, he remains my favorite of the classic movie monsters. Not to mention, I also love any type of non-human story. I love talking animal movies, I love movies like “District 9″, where one of the main characters has a totally different outlook on life because he / she isn’t our species.

Through the whole movie, I wondered what was going through his brain, and with the upcoming novel of the same name coming out, I can’t wait to read it the moment it is released and maybe get a few of my questions answered. I think he is also 90% of why I loved this movie. I’ll admit, if it wasn’t for him-I don’t think this movie would have had nearly the impact it did. His story brought be back to the classic monster movies I love. He is my favorite part of the movie hands down. I can’t get the creature out of my head. Hands down one of my favorite movie characters.


Zelda and Giles: I put these two characters together, since I have an overall message about these two. Octavia Spencer hit the ball out of the park with her role. She is such a talented actor. I think she had all the best dialogue, she said sort of what I was thinking-apart from the religious expletives, as I’m not religious. The most hard-hitting parts of the movie for me, is not even the tragic love story of beauty and beast-but the harsh racism, sexism and overall mindset of the 60’s. The comments made by Michael Shannon’s character, Richard Strickland paint a sort of eerie fact that so many people in certain places believe.

I love how Giles is a struggling artist and trying to get his work out (I’ve been there TONS of times!) and that the fact he is gay isn’t done in a stereotypical way. As said about Elisa, I think the movie does an amazing job with making the ‘underdogs’ of the story real human beings. His sexual orientation is actually a very important point of the movie, and I think it’s amazing how the movie has a disabled person, a black person and a gay person and a non-human as the heroes. Social justice is also an important part of my life and seeing that just makes me so happy. In any 50’s horror movie, the scientist, a Strickler-type character would be the hero. The one who saves the girl in the end (much like the movie “Revenge of the Creature.”) However, this movie turns that on its head and we’re left with such a remarkable story about how courage in the face of danger can make a difference. It takes the 50’s horror movie plot points and flips everything around.

Filmmaking / Favorite Moments  

Music / Cinematography: I want to frame 99% of the shots in this movie. So many times, I forgot I was watching a movie and I let the dreamlike quality take me away to this amazing fantasy world. The music is no exception, I’d call it beautifully haunting. I loved the romantic songs used in the movie, it really felt like an homage to classic cinema. The tap dancing, the black and white fantasy dance scene (I’ll get to that.) the funny little cameo of Mr. Ed, all these things made me feel like I was watching a classic movie.

Scenes that impacted Me: The film is movie magic in my eyes, but they’re moments I won’t forget seeing for the first time.

  1. When the creature is watching a movie on the big screen-his look of wonderment as the action is going on is so adorable, I don’t know if that was the intention of Mr. del Toro, but that’s how I felt. It gave him such a childlike naivety.
  2. The black and white dance scene is the most unique scene in the entire movie. It paints such a classic movie idea, the two leads dancing in a huge ballroom. It’s amazing to know that the two actors had to take dancing lessons and everything you see is in front of camera. The black and white also really added to it. It’s one of the most unique scenes I’ve seen in any movie.
  3. The creature looking out the window at the pouring rain. It is a simple and rather quick shot, but I get so sad when I see it. Like he’s yearning to swim.
  4.    The final shot of the movie is what got me misty eyed the both times I saw it. The way the lighting falls, the music, the narration, reflecting over all the events of the movie. It all fits so perfectly. It’s so romantic and unique.


With its romance, horror, comedy, life drama, amazing camera work- I also like how weird the whole concept is. It isn’t a typical movie at all. The only movie that comes close to this is “Creature from the Black Lagoon”, but even that is inaccurate. It’s a romance that breaks tropes of the genre. It also harkens back to classic movies, with its bad guy story arch and mood. This movie is what cinema is to me deep down. This is a movie I will be proud to add to my collection and re-watch at least once a year and show everyone I can.

What “The Shape of Water” means to me I guess is to be taken to a strange world you’ve never seen, something somewhat scary, romantic, sometimes beautiful, sometimes makes you think of the world we live in now, it can be weird and honors classics of the past, and you’ll be glad you visited this odd romance that’s deeper than it seems.




This is a fan film of a classic TV show from the 60’s entitled “Underdog”. I hope you enjoy!

This little movie was something I had in mind for a while, what would the silly 60’s cartoon look like with a Christopher Nolan type feel? Using similar music ques and a darker tone as far as the film making style went. Well, I hope I somewhat did that right. Filming in Philadelphia was awesome and those were the first shots filmed for the movie, including my cousin Nick as the bad guy, Raff. He’s been in a lot of my movies and he is a joy to work with, always has a lot of good ideas! He was in Genesis not to long ago. The drive was long to and from that location, but I think I got some awesome nighttime city footage-which this movie really needed.

The next scene filmed was on Christmas day, with Brian, my other cousin. You’ll remember him from the Daiquiri Christmas Special and the cameo in my other fan film, Alien: Earthbound. We filmed his scene in perhaps 10 min or so in among all the holiday festivities. The scenes with dad and I were filmed a day or so later, so I combined the two scenes and I think they both flow well. Overall, this movie was done for purely fun. I wasn’t tackling some life long project, but as said-fun was the main motivator.



Underdog (Fan Film)- Production Stuff!

I am filming a fan film of UNDERDOG, the show from the 60’s. Basically, I’m giving him not only a fan film, but a sort of re-imagining.

What would UD look like in a Christopher Nolan universe? Well, hopefully this movie sort of answers that- I do keep a sort of a comedic vibe going since it’s not meant to be taken 100% seriously. Below are some pics. 🙂

25587804_1527534690698486_2922504946672612572_oNicholas C. plays Raff. The main antagonist.


Location photo. I am SO glad part of this movie was able to be filming in the amazing city of Philadelphia

25790963_1527534694031819_7186824153019555338_oRichard Bissell plays UNDERDOG!


An on set photo of Brian C. playing a security guard. You may remember him from my films Record and his cameo role in my fan film, Alien: Earthbound.

A Krampus Carol




PLOT: After being abused by his dad, James meets the Christmas demon himself-Krampus in a night of revenge and Holiday cheer…



Written by: Aaron B.

Art by: Trine Lise Normann


Light snow fell upon the town, red and green lights from houses illuminated the night sky and roads. A monster lurked, shrouded in shadow, standing on a street corner, his eyes perfectly adjusted to the darkness. His clawed hands in his pockets, his hoofed feet crushed the snow and ice below. He was on a hunt, he knew who he was going after. Walking along snowy sidewalks, a chilly wind kicked up, his dark red fur now covered in spots of white and becoming a bit wet. Sniffing the chilly night air, he knew his victim was lurking this evening. Krampus never forgot a face or name, the child’s name? Timothy. slightly overweight, blonde hair reaching his shoulders and usually holding a green backpack. What had he done this holiday season to deserve a visit from the Christmas demon?

Police had gotten calls from parents of pets missing in the neighborhood, not only had they always been located near or around Tim’s house, but Tim’s photography work of his gruesome and heinous acts did not lie. Krampus sensed evil within children, like a mathematician finding a number out of place-he had been doing this for a long time. Tim had been lucky over the past year to fly under Santa’s radar-but tonight, Tim would get more than he ever bargained for.

The child stood over the body of his latest furry victim, a yellow lab puppy. He smirked and took a photograph of the mangled corpse like he always did. He would be home in time for opening presents with his family if he hurried.

The woods are an eerie place at night, but he knew his way around, shining his flashlight among the tall trees and careful not to slip on sheets of ice. He wasn’t scared, he was gleeful after the work he had done, the harming of innocent creatures is what made him happy.

Walking through roots and wet leaves, he exited the wooded area, putting his hands in the pockets of his khakis. He hummed a bit as he made his way up a large hill, and overlooking this hill was the town he lived in. Houses, one after another, decorated with Christmas cheer, Santa statues, reindeer, snowmen and flashing red and green lights.

Timothy thought he was alone as he walked through the same roads his stalker patrolled -but his naivety would be his undoing. Briskly walking through the dark town, he heard distant music playing from a convenience store, the typical Christmas classics, which now happened to be Carol of The Bells.

Past the store and crossing roads, he was almost home, where he would be welcomed by a large pine tree and loving arms of his blissfully unaware parents, as he passed a few houses-he fell smack to the pavement, his head hitting the cement. With a groan, Timothy slowly stood up-and standing in front of him was the tallest man he had ever seen.

Over six feet tall, wearing a velvet red hood with white fluffy trimming, his yellow eyes glow, slightly illuminating his face, that of a red demon with a goatee. The horns on his head had a large curve like a goat. His hands were not hooved, but human-like, red hands with pointy fingernails. Removing his large hood, the creature revealed himself in full. His body covered with red mangled fur, a long tail between his legs and large hoofed feet. On his back, he carried a brown sack full of sharp objects and other torture devices.

The kid stood up, Krampus perfectly blocked his way. Tim usually would scold and yell at any adult who dares question him-but from the looks of this ‘thing’ he was far from human. Tim looked down, seeing a silver chain which hung from his hip. He said not a word, but the creature spoke, his voice a deep whisper, like a demonic soul enjoying his time scaring him. “Timothy Whitfield, you’ve been naughty As Tim stood frozen in fright, one of Krampus’ clawed hands reached for the silver chain, with a yank it came loose. A single tear escaped Tim’s eye and he ran in the other direction, he wanted to scream but thought it may provoke him.

With a smirk and with lightning speed, the goat-creature spun the chain, high in the air like a cowboy lassoing cattle. As he did so, his large abs began to show themselves in full. The metal object wrapped around the kid’s feet-tripping him and falling on his nose, causing it to gush dark red blood. Tim now began to scream and squirm-but it seemed the more he struggled, the more the chain would engulf his entire body and get tighter.

Keeping a hold of the chain, Krampus walked slowly up to Tim, his breath could be seen coming from his nostrils, the sound of his huge footsteps nearing closer to his head gave him a sense of dread he had never felt before. He thought maybe the creature would show mercy if he was lucky. Releasing the chain and going for his sack, he pulled out a bundle of birch branches, tied by a heavy piece of rope, made by the creature himself.

Krampus knelt in front of his face, revealing his pointed fangs and elongated tongue which nearly touched his frozen skin, with a maniacal chuckle he whacked the terrified and screaming kid over and over with the weapon. The impact caused his skin to turn red, the sting was unimaginably painful. The demon whispered in his same dark tone. “Naughty…naughty…naughty.” Tim rolled on his back, the snow seeping through his clothes. Krampus then pulled out a large knife, before Tim could yell, his throat was sliced open. Warmblood poured from the wound and onto Krampus’ clothes, he gasped for air. The Christmas demon watched him writhe in agony, unblinking and unstirred by the gushing wound.




James dreaded Christmas. Nothing had gone right for him any other time of year, so why would things go well now? His soul typically optimistic when the holidays came in hopes of maybe getting a secret Santa, he shook his head. He had just gotten up from a nap, he put on his favorite pajamas, his short blonde hair did not need combing, he rubbed his blue eyes and made his way down the stairs.

The living room presented a medium-sized Christmas tree, complete with lights, ornaments and a star on top-but, not a single gift. The floor a mess, the place smelt of smoke and alcohol.

His fifty-year-old father sits in his leather recliner, wearing a white tank top and shorts, his stomach hung out, his balding head and entire body dirty and unkempt.

The fourteen-year-old cleared his throat, maybe he had caught his dad in a good mood. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing played from the TV, the large choir sounding so angelic.

The window facing the outside world, getting covered in heavy snow. The wind could be faintly heard. The sky a pinkish color as the sun began its descent, James never quite spoke up loudly, he tried to keep his voice as even as possible. “Dad? Are we going to go out for Christmas? Maybe?” Mike, the father stretched and went to the kitchen, nearly bumping into his son. “Go to bed. You’re not getting anything this year anyway.” His voice cold and distant, his words slurred. He got nasty when he had too much booze. James sighed deeply, trying to keep his discomfort and depression pinned down. James knew his mother’s death had taken a toll on his dad, it was no secret he only liked her for her looks. Her having a kid was something Mike was never fond of.

He chugged more of his liquor, standing, looking coldly at his son. “You’re nothing but a nuisance. Feeding you is a pain, waste of my money, but I kept you to keep your mom. She was sexy.” He paused and hiccupped. “She should have had that abortion.”

This was the last straw for James. The cold comments, the nastiness, the vindictive heart. The teen threw on a pair of shoes, snatched his wallet and headed out the front door. The cold was more inviting than the evil nature of his dad.


Water splashed the unsuspecting victim. After a few deep breaths, he gazed upon his abductor holding the wooden bucket. Norman was chained to a large, rock wall.

Krampus smiled and held the kid’s cheeks tightly. “Hello, Norman.” Norman became pale. “Let me go! Now!”

Walking to a large table sitting beside the tied-up child, he read. “My boss tells me you’ve been quite naughty in school.” He squirmed like all the other children had tried, he tried screaming loud as well. Looking around the lair, he saw the mutilated bodies of nasty children. The demon gave him a firm slap in the face. “Shut the hell up! Where was I?” He sighed deeply, eyeing the list again. “I hear you dumped one of your classmates in the toilet at school? I also hear you made fun of a kid with autism on your way home from school.”

Norman’s heart raced, and deep down he knew all of this to be true. “I didn’t do any of that! That was my friend, Kevin! Please! Stop! Let me go!” The demon laughed. “You don’t even know a Kevin! You DARE lie to me? You piece of shit! I’ve been doing this for a long time. Just like Santa, I’m good at my job.” Terror grew inside Norman, but he kept talking. “Get Santa here! I bet he’d hate what you’re doing!” The creature grabbed Norman’s throat. “We’re partners!”

Norman gasped for air, Krampus kept hold for a moment. “As much as I’d love to disembowel you, Santa told me to give you a second chance.” Letting go, he glanced back at the tied victim coughing violently.

Norman almost felt a ping of relief, that maybe he’d get off with just a verbal warning. That is until the demon grabbed a large hammer from his sack. Norman felt the worst pain he ever had in his life, he knees shattered, the sound of the deep crack echoed through the lair. “A token to remember me by, Norman. May my face haunt your nightmares as you lie in your hospital bed.”

Walking through the dark town, snow began to fall, and the wind became cold. James crossed his arms as the chill began to get to his bones. Glancing at houses, he admired the various decorations. Reindeer, snowmen and red and green lights wrapped around bushes and small trees.How desperately he wanted to knock on a door and be automatically invited in by a happy family. To have cookies and sit by a fireplace and talk of kindness and sing Christmas carols. Not one gift was given to him and he certainly didn’t expect anything. With his mind clouded by hopelessness, James walked down the cold sidewalk leading to a bar, hoping to find warmth.

As Christmas carols came from the radio, James sat at the long table where a few other customers sat. He wasn’t nearly old enough to drink, he got himself a hot chocolate. The bartender also grabbed him a warm blanket to wrap his shoulders around. The little act of kindness made James smile just a tiny bit, ‘a little kindness can go along way’ he thought to himself.

Out from the corner of his eye, sitting in far away from everyone else, he saw someone shrouded in darkness. Someone that everyone seemed to stay away from. Drinking Schnapps and looking straight into a wall, the man was obviously huge. Something about him was also sort of fascinating to James. Never had he seen someone so tall. Shrugging his shoulders, he sat in silence for a bit.

As the night went on, James sighed sadly and paid the bartender, it was time for him to go back to his awful life with his drunken dad. Another Christmas full of verbal abuse and darkness.

He turned to leave, then found himself bumping into a soft, fluffy wall of some sort. He staggered back and looked up to see the man he bumped into. His heart leapt into his throat as he eyed the man’s hoofed feet and all the way up to his devilish and goat like face. Krampus slowly turned to meet the young man’s terrified gaze. “Sorry sir.” His voice shaking, afraid that the demon would lash out at him and rip his heart out or something to the affect.

He merely nodded. He recognized the boy. Norman was his bully in school, and it was no surprise to the demon. Finishing his drink, he spoke. “Go home, James. I have no qualm with you.” Backing away, James’ voice shook. “Wait. You’re…Mr. Krampus. Aren’t you?” The tales of the demon were always spread, and James found the creature to be fascinating. He had met Santa a few times, of course, Santa probably gave him gifts but his dad most likely threw them out before James even knew they were there. Krampus handed James a small, wrapped package. He then turned to leave, James followed behind him as he pocketed the small item.

Krampus went to his vehicle, not a sleigh like his boss had, but a black, rickety old van Santa had gotten it from his wife to keep incognito, now it belonged to his assistant.

James watched him approach the driver’s side door and then walked in the opposite direction, shivering as the snow fell heavier and his pajamas became wet. “Come here,” Krampus said, sounding as kind as he possibly could, but in all honesty, he still sounded like he could decapitate someone in an instant.

Walking up to him, James craned his head up. “Yes, sir?” “Let me take you home.” James coughed a bit. “I can walk home. Thank you though.” The demon turned to get into his vehicle. Then, the wheels in James’ brain started. Maybe he could help with his dad’s drinking problem? He was quite big and scary looking. Maybe no one would pick on him if they knew he hung out with the Christmas demon himself? According to legend, Krampus wouldn’t hurt someone who did nothing wrong, and if he WAS on Krampus’ list, James figured he would already be in agony. He then spoke hastily. “Sir? Thanks.” He then went to the passenger side.

As he drove, the demon lit a cigarette and puffed. The back of the van was full of torture devices and dry blood stained the floor. The windshield wipers scrapped off the falling snow, the sound of the engine droned. The smell of alcohol and smoke filled his nostrils.

James kept his eyes to the ground, afraid of annoying Krampus. He did get a close look at the creature, while most kids wouldn’t live to tell the tale.

His body toned, which only added to his menace. His movements so swift and large. James really couldn’t keep his eyes off the driver, he was like nothing he had ever seen and scarier than his imagination could conjure up. This all felt like some odd dream, but deep down James knew that somehow he was sitting next to a legendary creature. A tad bit of glee filled his soul, feeling special for once in his life.

After unbuckling his seat belt, Krampus spoke. “Merry Christmas.” James smiled nervously “You to, sir.” He nodded and got out of the van, he would never forget this night. The van’s headlights turned down and stayed parked. Krampus sighed tiredly and leaned back. Exhaustion hit him like a brick. He hated working two nights, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He was about to light another cigarette, until his ear perked as he heard the sound of screaming from inside James’ home.

Mike held James’ shoulders firmly, hitting him a few times. “How DARE you leave this house WITHOUT me!” His drunken speech slurred even more than before. Shaking in fear, James squirmed out of his grasp and stepped on his dad’s foot. Clenching his fist, James spoke in a cold tone. “Leave me alone!” Getting shoved to the floor, James wiped his tears of terror as Mike loomed over him. The eerie sounds of crying and heavy breathing were broken by the sound of the front door smashing open, a huge gust of wind blew through the house as Krampus stood in the doorway, taking a long puff of his smoke. James knew he would see the side of Krampus not many got to see and live to tell the tale.

He ran into a nearby closet, peeking through slightly as Mike turned to face the demon who was much taller than him. James took deep breaths attempting to ease his oncoming panic attack. Mike glared at him. “Get the hell out of my house!” He attempted to shove Krampus, but it was no use. “Is that how you treat your family? Especially Christmas Day? You spineless alcoholic.” The demon kicks Mike in the groin as he falls and screams in pain, then swiftly grabs his chain. It quickly wrapped around him. His arms and legs no longer useable. Krampus loomed over him with a devilish smile. “LET ME GO!” Mike yelled as he sweat and turned his face away from his attacker. Krampus knelt on top of him, his pointed knees going right into his fat gut. “I have heard enough screaming for one night.” Krampus took two clawed fingers and jammed them into Mike’s mouth, pulling at his tongue until it stretched. “Naughty.” James turned away as he knew Mike’s tongue was no longer in his mouth, but on the floor.




Krampus deeply sighed, closing the door to Santa’s home which he was welcome to anytime if he got his jobs done. Removing his sack and hanging it up, he rubbed his eyes and removed his hood. The large house decorated with care and cheer, every corner something Christmas or Holiday related stood. He went to the fridge to grab himself a beer and sits at the kitchen table.

The door opened, unblinking, he knew it was Santa Claus. The jolly fat man entered the kitchen, his beard bushy white, he wore glasses which had golden rims. He smelt of cookies, he hummed as he hung his jacket up. He looked to his assistant. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, Krampus!” He pats his shoulder firmly. “Fuck you.” Krampus spits to him, knowing it annoyed Santa to hear such profanity. Santa rolled his eyes, he let Krampus get away with a lot since he really helped in the long run.

He spoke as he sits across from the demon. “I saw how nicely you treated James. I was really proud of you for that.” Krampus nodded slowly and sipped from his drink. “Good. I’m going to bed.” Santa placed a gift in front of where Krampus sat, Santa then heads outside to put his reindeer away.


Krampus eyed the gift, took it upstairs and goes to the large bedroom where he spent most of his time when the holidays weren’t upon him. In his room is where he kept little gifts he would give to good kids if he happened to see them, metal chains also hang from the ceiling. From downstairs, he heard the song Silver Bells playing. Flopping on the bed in a very revealing position, he closed his eyes as the sound of the cold winter wind and reminiscing the sounds of screaming children lulled him to sleep.

James sits on the front curb of his home, waiting for police officers to arrive at a gruesome scene. He opened the package given to him by the one who changed his life, it was a card with writing on the inside. The front of the card blank. Inside was a packet of M&Ms.

“I see you when you’re sleeping, I know when you’re awake.”  





Thanks for an AWESOME weekend! Thank you to everyone who took selfies with Mr. Peanutbutter, really made my day! 😀 Especilly the girl who shouted “I JUST GOT A SELFIE WITH MR. PEANUTBUTTER!”

Hightlight of my weekend? Meeting the amazingly talented and funny Justin Roiland, star and creator of Rick and Morty. Such a nice guy! So yeah, anyone who got pictures with me-please send them my way! My email is under my contact info.


Justin Roiland and I hanging out! For like…two seconds. lol!

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Dynamic duo!

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Always a clydesdale, never a clyde!

Daiquiri In Philadelphia!


Enjoy! 🙂