The Critic’s Word has been an idea that’s been in the minds of our awesome writers for quite some time now. Long before we were a full-fledged site we had our humble beginning as a no-named blog called TCWReviews, a blog built up of talented individuals who shared a simple and common love for the cinema. From there the site and all its members gained a reputation for themselves for maintaining a none-biased policy, being brutally honest and never faltering or caving to adversity.
But evolving from a simple blog into a full-fledged website is no easy task. It took lots of planning, guts and in the end, balls the size of Texas… yeah, that big! So without further ado, I present to you writing staff of The Critic’s Word:
Clifford S. Kiyabu – The Doctor
Title: Editor in Chief/Administrator/Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: For as long as he could remember, Clifford Kiyabu was an avid movie fan, having watched films spanning through all genres which also included Horror, thriller and suspense. Clifford was very knowledgeable in all things film related at a very young age. Though he never had a desire in putting word to paper like most who shared his passion, Clifford was known as a “movie guru” by many who conversed with him.
In 2004 at the age of 17, Clifford Kiyabu started a MySpace account under a persona he created for himself known as; “The Comic Whore” aka TCW. This character was a deliberate cliché representation of the common perversions of your average everyday teenage male, after his crazed antics gained him notoriety among the social networking site’s then top bloggers; he began his own blog with the intended goal of having his own ideas and sometimes humorous antics streamed across to people far and wide.
Though he’s always been passionate about film, Clifford hadn’t considered writing film reviews prior to seeing the 2005 academy award winning film “Crash” for the very first time on DVD. This film would strike a chord in him, moving him to write his personal feelings towards the film’s discriminatory themes in blog post. By 2006 Clifford began traveling in the same circles as many talented individuals of the blogging community which included Dear friend and fellow Criticsword™ colleague Kelsey Zukowski, and Freddie Young etc., etc.
As a top blogger between the fall of 2006 and 2007 he began creating his own original blogging ideas such as “Music Video of The Week” which allowed his readers to vote on what bands or artists they wanted to see appear on the top five lists. And “Battle of The Hotties” contest that had various female celebrities facing off against each other in a battle of hotness which was decided upon by the readers themselves. But In the fall of 2007 after noticing a decline in attendance among the usual blogging community, Clifford began looking elsewhere for a new place to post his blog.
In January of 2008 Clifford started TCWReviews.com on the popular blogging site Blogger.com, not forgetting those who supported his vision from its humbled beginnings; Clifford did not waste a single moment before bringing his friends along with him to the new location. TCWReviews took off as a success, proving to gain new heights than ever before. But it wasn’t until the spring of 2008 when Clifford would get a big break with his first ever one on one with Actor/Director and Horror film critic, John Fallon (The Arrow in The Head) in an exclusive interview. This would prove to be a major boost for the site’s reputation which would later set the stage for the many great success further down the road. In January of 2012 Clifford and The Critic’s Word team bided TCWReviews a final farewell as they welcomed in the next big step; criticsword.com
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clifford-Kiyabu/261604157206352
[Editor’s Note: More than 4 years have passed since establishing himself as a credible critic, Clifford is still astonished by how lucky and blessed he is by having been able to and still continue to work side by side with some pretty remarkable people over the years]
Kelsey Zukowski – The Scream Queen
Title:Senior Editor/Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: Kelsey Zukowski grew up in Eastlake, OH, a suburb located outside of Cleveland. She realized her love of acting around the age of 10 through a school theater production. From there she became involved with Community Theater. In high school, she began writing and acting with minority teens in inner-city Cleveland through a program to enrich the community.
After that Kelsey stepped away from acting and concentrated her efforts on writing and her passion for film. John Carpenter’s Halloween sparked Kelsey’s fascination with the horror genre at a young age. A Nightmare on Elm Street and Wes Craven’s work highly inspired her as a screenwriter just as Roger Ebert inspired her style and understanding as a film reviewer. During her senior year of high school, Kelsey’s movie reviews were published in the independent newspaper based in California, The Valley Voice. From there, she started writing for several movie and genre websites including, HorrorYearbook.com, HorrorMovieFans.com, Criticsword.com, FilmArcade.net, and 2Snaps.tv.
Kelsey graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelors of Arts in Digital Cinema and a concentration in Screenwriting. Not long before graduating, crime writer/director, Kevin Jamison, had approached her about acting in one of his films, which urged her to get back in to acting. Among her first roles were in Lewis from the Psycho Street anthology, The Autumn Offering’s “Born Dead” music video, and the feature film, The Melon Heads, which was shot near her hometown. From there Kelsey bridged in to modeling, dealing heavily with glamour, beauty, and alternative modeling.
More recently, Kelsey wrote and starred in the dark drama, What They Say, alongside close friend and constant co-star, Heather Dorff. The film was nominated for Best Short at The Chicago Horror Film Festival, where the film premiered along with Headline News, Conscience, and Afraid of Sunrise, which Kelsey also appeared in.
Kelsey frequently works with Jonathan Moody of Sick Flick Productions. Their collaborations include Scream Queen Campfire, Echo Lake, and Scary Story Slumber Party. Kelsey will be making her directorial debut with the psychological slasher feature film, The Hazed, which was her first collaboration with Moody. She is very involved in the project as she also wrote the script, stars in it, and is producing it. This spring, production begins on Words Like Knives, another twisted horror film she wrote and stars in that deals with one girl’s dwindling sanity as rumor and reality blur and real life horrors are forced to be examined.
Model Mayhem: http://www.modelmayhem.com/KelseyZukowski
[Editor’s Note: Aside from being a talented writer, actress, and director. Kelsey is also one of the original founding members of The Critic’s Word]
Stuart R. Wahlin – The Reelist
Title: Editor/Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: Stuart Wahlin is an American writer, actor, filmmaker and musician. Since being cast in lead role of his school play in third grade, Wahlin has been performing in one capacity or another.
His musical training began with the piano as a child, expanding to percussion, singing, guitar and even the didgeridoo and theremin. He’s been the frontman for rock bands, including Halon System and The Mourning Glory. As lead singer for Halon System, Wahlin often implemented his filmmaking skills to produce visual accompaniment to the band’s live performances.
Wahlin’s acting continued as he began writing, producing, scoring and directing his first films in high school, later studying film and TV production at Northern Illinois University, where he earned his degree with a directing emphasis. He continued appearing in a number of film and video projects during this time.
After graduating from college, he began working in television, first as a studio technician, then as a news videographer for a number of years. His first formal film credit came in 2005 for his camera work in the documentary “Hubert Selby Jr.: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow,” which featured Darren Aronofsky, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jared Leto, Robert Downey Jr., John Turturro, Marlon Wayans, James Remar, Susan Anton, Anthony Kiedis, Burt Young, and others.
Wahlin penned his first feature-length screenplay in college, and he continues writing for the screen. Professionally, he was employed for a number of years as a print journalist in Rockford, Ill., until deciding to return to his acting and filmmaking roots in 2010. Since then, he’s appeared in a number of films. Wahlin recently completed filming “Hand of Glory,” which marks his return to directing.
[Editor’s Note: Like the filmmaker that he is, Stuart is a no-holds barred columnist and critic that express’s his opinion through none biased conviction, fact-finding and blunt honesty]
C.S. Kiyabu – The Cynic
Title: Editor/Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: Common sense would tell me to write a unique bio depicting why I am a fan of movies, and why I love to share my thoughts and opinions with others. But logic suggests that I speak the truth and just explain that I write what I write when I feel like writing it. Whether or not it be the art of cinema, the political realm, the rising price of oil or the on-going mindfuck of a war that we’re in, if I feel like sharing my opinions on the matter, I will do so regardless of what others might think of me or my opinions. That being said, when it comes down to the art of cinema, I speak boldly and without hesitation, for cinema to me, is a most unique form of art through imagery.
Cinema: Classic Cinema. When it all comes down to it, nothing captures the true beauty and art of film more than classic cinema. Back to the roots of film; where it all began. Long before modern special effects; long before high tech computer generated images. Back to when the visual effects actually meant something. Back to when the story it’s self was more important than flashy battle scenes and crazy car chases. Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music, Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, etc…
Don’t get me wrong, there are many worthy films out there today from a more modern generation. But with endless remakes of once great films, and un-necessary sequals which are worst and worst as they go on, one must look to the past for reassurance that the greatness of cinema once existed. So whether or not you agree with my opinion of a film we’ve both seen, you can rest assure that I will only speak the truth to what I have bared witness to and give my honest opinion about the film I have reviewed.
[Editor’s Note: To put it as clear and straight forward as possible without sugarcoating it, C.S. is blunt, to the point and brutally honest!]
Nicole Raines – The Bookworm
Title: Book Critic/Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: I find it rather ironic that I’ve been offered a role on this site considering that I’ve never thought of myself as a critic. I am extremely honored to be here and I hope that I can offer something of substance in my reviews. Even though I’m a lover of television and movies, I’ve been dubbed The Bookworm for my passion of reading and love for books. I’m a big believer in reading and I think literacy is the single most important skill a person can have in life. Reading opens up so many worlds of imagination and provides a great escape from reality. My goal here is to hopefully introduce people to new worlds that exist within the pages. However, like I stated earlier, I do not consider myself worthy of the title critic. I am a fan and I will share my opinions from a fans standpoint. At the end of the day, what makes a great book is its ability to make a person connect with the characters and story. I like to approach television the exact same way, but I’m far more lenient when it comes to movies. Although I do love movies with depth, sometimes I just like to be entertained!
[Editor’s Note: Having started out as a loyal reader and fan, Nicole has earned her place among our writing staff and is now a valuable asset to the team as our resident book critic]
Freddie Young – The Wolf
Title: Film Critic/Columnist
Bio: I’m Fred, but many call me by The Wolf. I’m a New Yorker who is majoring in Film and aspires to be a screenwriter. I’ve been reviewing films since late 2006 as a way to express my thoughts about films and create discussions that I’ve never really had while growing up. I love films because it’s an escape from reality. I love watching the lives of characters on film and relating to them, seeing myself in them. The less I can relate to a film, the more I’m gonna be totally negative of it. In my reviews, I post a list of things I’ve learned from watching the film. They’re totally sarcastic in nature and not to be taken seriously at all. The world needs more humor and I like to think I provide it every time I review a film, both good and bad. My favorite films are “Halloween” (1978) [the film that changed my life forever],” A Clockwork Orange,” “Sin City,” “Spider-Man 2,” “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” “Airplane!,” and guilty pleasures like “Mommie Dearest” and “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.” I’m more of a horror genre guy, but I’ll watch and review anything. I also write for Full Moon Reviews, Fatally-Yours.com, Wikpik.com, FilmArcade.net, and BargainBinReview.com and Criticsword.com
[Editor’s Note: Like a lone wolf, Friddie is a blood thirsty hunter when it comes to critiquing; he seeks out his pray and attacks without mercy!]
Mike Huntley – The Dark Knight
Title: Film Critic
Bio: Ever since he was as young as 2 years old, Paul Michael Huntley (known to his friends as Mike) was obsessed with the fascinating world of cinema. Born and raised in the small town of Chesterfield County just outside Richmond, Virginia, Mike had always loved going to the movie theater or going to see stage plays. Being an only child for the first seven years of his life and having very few friends in the early stages of his childhood, Mike looked to movies, television, video games, and toys as a way of escapism. Mike was heavily obsessed with the 1930s classic “The Wizard of Oz”, especially the film’s villain The Wicked Witch. Director Tim Burton was a big part of Mike’s early movie fandom with “Beetlejuice” and the 1989 smash hit comic book/superhero movie “Batman”. Mike had never seen anything like it. A mysterious man dressed up as a frightening bat and fighting criminals from the shadows. A psychotic gangster falling into a vat of chemicals and coming out as an even crazier clown. Mike became so obsessed with Batman that he got his parents and grandparents to buy him Batman shirts, a Batman jacket, Batman video games, Batman Halloween costumes, the action figures, the Happy Meal toys, you name it. The Dark Knight of Gotham made Mike a fan of superheroes. From there, Mike loved the short lived television series of “The Flash” starring John Wesley Shipp as the fast running masked superhero. Also, Mike watched “Lois & Clark” with his Dad every weekend. At age 8, Mike watched John Carpenter’s horror classic “Halloween” that really got him more into the horror genre. Growing up in the ’90s, Mike grew up watching horror shows for kids such as Nickelodeon’s Saturday night show for teens “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and Fox’s hit horror anthology show “Goosebumps” based on the best selling children’s books by R.L. Stine.
In 1996, Mike became obsessed with the film that revived the briefly dead horror genre, “Scream”. Mike’s obsession with horror movies grew from his late childhood and on through his adulthood. Mike’s favorite horror film is the 1974 classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, which helped spark his fandom of the backwoods horror genre. Mike is an avid fan of both the “Friday The 13th” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” franchises and will continue seeing them as long as the legacies of Jason Voorhees and Leatherface continue. In 2008, Mike’s fandom of Batman and the superhero genre was rediscovered after he saw and praised Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster hit “The Dark Knight” that pitted Batman against the greatest comic book villain ever, The Joker played by the late Heath Ledger. To this day, Mike remains a mega Batman, superhero, comic book, horror, and just a movie fan in general. He loves anything that fascinates and entertains him no matter the technical qualities. Loving cinema and theatre, Mike attended Community College after he graduated from High School where he studied acting, writing, and filmmaking.
With his love of horror films, Mike had originally set out to be a filmmaker in the indie horror bizz, but realized that he liked watching and talking about movies more than making them. Mike has made four short horror films in a small anthology called Short Ghastly Tales inspired by his love for “Tales From The Crypt”. The films are called “Midnight Silence”, “Blind Date”, “Black Out”, and “Hallowscream”. Mike has been back and forth writing movie reviews. He got his startdom writing for the late Fatally-Yours.com and BeyondThe Realms before shifting to his own movie blog for horror, Disturbing Entertainment, under the name Siko Mike. Now, he just writes reviews exclusively on Facebook and here at The Critic’s Word. Mike continues to write reviews and discuss his love for all things entertainment with his friends and family. As for making more short films? Anything is possible.
Nicolas Peterson – The Mimekiller
Bio: My name is Nicolas Peterson and I’m a movie addict. Well not addict, movies are just one of those things I can’t live without and have to consume daily to live. Oh that is the very definition of an addiction? Well quiet down smarty pants this is my bio! As a child my parents were fairly careful of what movies I watched and while it meant I could not watch every movie, it helped deepen my appreciation for the classics. It wasn’t till I got a TV/VCR in my room(for any kiddies in the audience, a VCR played something called VHS tapes, now those were…awww never mind ask an adult) and a part time job which allowed me to go to the local pizza place and load up on .99 movie rentals that I expanded my horizons. My weekends were filled with science fiction, horror, and anything else I could get my hands on. Anywhoo, long story short here I am, hosting a podcast for the excellent “The Critics Word” called “Mysterious Streams” exploring the strange and bizarre films on Netflix and beyond!
Mary Peterson – The Geeky Senorita
Bio: My name is Mary Peterson and like most people I love movies. I’m willing to give most any movie a shot although it does tend to lead my down some pretty weird roads at times. I’m very taken with horror movies. Especially those to do with serial killers but I’m also willing to sit and watch a good (or bad) comedy as well. You could say my horizons expanded when I started to leave my hermit cave and talk to other people who had different interests then me. After I got over my instinctive disdain for others’ opinions i found movies I never knew existed. Now, along with my husband, I have the honor of having a podcast on The Critic’s Word called “Mysterious Streams” where we watch potentially horrible movies and discuss them so everyone else won’t have to.
Jason Maddox – The Browncoat
Title: Film Critic/TV Critic
Bio: My name is Jason and I’m pretty much a junkie of anything related to entertainment. I’m pushing 30 and live in a small town in MI so there’s not much to do besides invest my time in movies and TV, I also enjoy reading, writing and enjoying nature for a few months out of the year.