My Movie DNA

The films that inspired me

My Movie DNA

The movies that made me

In his first substack post, comic writer Jim Zub talked about the key films from his youth that had a major influence on his storytelling. Inspired by this, I started to think of the films I watched over and over again as a kid or teen. I kept coming back to these four mainstays which, incidentally, were probably the first four home videos I ever owned:

Like Jim, it got me thinking about how they still influence me today:

Friendship and banter

I love writing stories about groups of friends in dire situations, preferably taking the mickey out of each other 99.999 percent of the time.

Ideally, they're also a bunch of misfits; individuals that should never work together and yet form a bond that borders on family. And the more sarcasm the better, as long as it’s driven by warmth and affection.

Yes, Dr. Bones McCoy, this is no doubt your fault.

Monsters and creatures galore

It’s no surprise that all four movies all feature monsters in some shape or form.

Monsters are my jam. Always have been, always will be. Doctor Who is probably to blame for that. Scary monsters, friendly monsters, monsters that will either break your heart or tear it from your chest. Just give me monsters.

Whimsy and occasional silliness

Again, yes, there's a healthy dollop of Doctor Who in here, especially the Tom Baker era of my childhood.

I love stories full of peril that also border on the ridiculous because, let’s face it, we all need a little silliness from time to time, if only to stop us from taking everything so damned seriously.

And of course, gallows humour is an essential part of the human condition, a form of bravery in its own right!

Battling through no-win scenarios

As Admiral Kirk says: "I don't like to lose."

Many of my stories focus on putting characters through hell, while hopefully also providing them with the grit and resolve to power on regardless… even if they’re faced with a 112-foot Marshmallow Man. And, usually, they have to do it together…

Of course, these are only a handful of the stories that made me who I am today. Bubbling underneath are Superman II, various Hammer Horrors, The Lost Boys, James Bond, Batman ‘89, Aliens… the list goes on and on. But Ghostbusters, The Wrath of Khan, Labyrinth and Return of the Jedi are definitely the ones that spring to mind when I think back to being a movie-loving kid.

What about you? What films have formed part of your DNA? Let me know by leaving a comment below!