CHOOSING THE PERFECT TITLE PART DEUX: THE RE-REDEMPTION
I’ve never seen the movie “Pontiac Moon”, but the title has always stuck with me for some reason. Something about an enigmatic, somewhat mystical-sounding title always catches my attention. Let’s take a couple of films from the golden age of the action film: “Good Guys Wear Black”, a reasonably entertaining early Chuck Norris vehicle, and “Out For Justice”, one of Steven Seagal’s movies. In the case of “Justice”, it takes me a minute to sort out just which of the many similarly-named Seagal potboilers this one is, despite a rather intense -if brief- obsession I once had with the towering Aikido master. “Good Guys” on the other hand, despite being an arguably lesser film, rouses instant visual images. The title refers to a military unit in the film called The Black Tigers, and the fact that I know that will show you just how intrigued I was with this film’s great-sounding appellation.
I get the feeling many writers just slap their work with a vaguely applicable title to distinguish it from their other works. And I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of choosing perhaps a less meaningful title in favor of a catchier, more marketable one. After all, if a reader’s interest is not caught by the work’s “package” -its title, artwork, even the name of the author, in the case of my better known brethren- the chance of them ever becoming interested is low at best. In my notebook of ideas and story concepts, I sometimes scribble a potential title that may have occurred to me, often little more than a conglomeration of genre-related words- in hopes of having an idea form around it, or even of forcing the idea to form, sort of like Roger Corman and a handful of other filmmakers have been known to do.
One of these disembodied titles that I scribbled many years ago still pops into my head from time to time. These days it’s more likely to make me LOL, as the kids say, than to inspire any particular story line, but then again…
That title was “Splatter Quest.” Just think what could occur on a splatter quest…a young Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi would make it a journey to remember, certainly.
Earlier today, while commenting on a facebook post about some fur-loving fashion designer duo, the term “sonnets of suffering” popped into my fevered mind. Very Barker-esque, I must say, and certainly classier than “splatter quest.”
My current work-in-progress, a sweeping vampire tale, remains untitled, despite months of (sporadic) work. I’m hoping the perfect title will come to me, and that it will not actually contain the word “vampire”, and maybe not even “blood.” I’d like it to stand out, you see, yet be attractive to bloodsucker fans immediately, given the vast spate of works in the same sub-genre that will surely flood the market for years to come.
So while I let that ruminate, there’s this movie I’ve been wanting to see for years. Maybe it’ll plant some magical title-growing seed. I believe the film is called “Pontiac Moon.”
STILL MORE TITLE MADNESS TO COME!