Monday, December 02, 2013

Santa Claus Is Back in Town

Santa Claus Is Back in Town:



by Elvis.

Lyrics excerpt:
...
Well, it's Christmas time pretty baby
And the snow is falling down
Well you be a real good little girl
Santa Claus is back in town
...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gee Whiz

Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes):



by Carla Thomas, Queen of Memphis Soul and daughter of Rufus Thomas. What a treasure!

Monday, November 18, 2013

You Don't Miss Your Water

You Don't Miss Your Water:



by William Bell, Memphis-born musician. This was his 1961 debut single.

Lyrics:
In the beginning
You really loved me
I was too blind
I couldn't see

But now you've left me
Oh! how I cry
You don't miss your water
Till the well runs dry

I kept you crying
Sad and blue
I was a playboy
I wouldn't be true

But when you left me
And said 'bye-bye'
I missed my water
My well ran dry

I sit and wonder
How can this be?
I never thought
You'd ever leave me

But now you've left me
Oh! how I cry
You don't miss your water
Till the well runs dry

You don't miss your water
Till the well runs dry

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Best Dystopian Films

Gotham News has a list of their top 10 dystopian science fiction movies of the 21st century:
#1. Avatar
#2. District 9 (I watched part of it, but gave up before the end.)
#3. Equilibrium
#4. Pitch Black
#5. Serenity
#6. Minority Report
#7. The Matrix: Reloaded
#8. Looper
#9. Moon
#10. Children of Men
I've seen the ones in bold print. I don't think of Avatar as a dystopian film. It's more a picture of what we are like now, only we're on another planet. Looper is a time travel story, and I loathe time travel stories with rare exceptions. I couldn't finish District 9, finding it tedious and annoying. The others of these I've loved.

HT: SF Signal

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Larry's Party


I like Carol Shields' writing. I've read The Stone Diaries and Unless and pick up books by her when I see them in the used book shops.

Larry's Party tells the story of Larry's life through middle age. As he develops a passion for landscaping -particularly maze installations- and marries and divorces twice and develops a relationship with his son, the extraordinary nature of all our lives is somehow revealed in the life of this one ordinary man. It won the Orange Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

There is a mention of Memphis, TN, on page 156 when Larry surveys a site outside Memphis. Elvis Presley is mentioned on page 258.

There is an exploration of paintings of the Annunciation, with particular mention of ones in Madrid, including these: this Fra Angelico altarpiece, the El Greco (described as a "whirling triumph") and Picardo ("a gem"). Of all of them, the character favors Robert Campin's, because Mary is reading.

favorite quotes:
Larry listens. This is how he's learning about the world, exactly as everyone else does - from sideways comments over a lemon meringue pie, sudden bursts of comprehension or weird parallels that come curling out of the radio, out of a movie, off the pages of a newspaper, out of a joke - and his baffled self stands back and says: so this is how it works.
...
Sometimes Larry sees his future laid out with terrifying clarity. An endless struggle to remember what he already knows.
...
It strikes Larry that language may not yet have evolved to the point where it represents the world fully.

Recognizing this gap brings him a rush of anxiety. Perhaps we're waiting, all of us, he thinks, longing to hear "something" but not knowing what it is.
from the back of the book:
Larry Weller has never thought himself extraordinary in the least. Like so many people, though, he has a transforming passion -and his is designing garden mazes. With their teasing treachery and promise of reward, they gesture toward life itself. Larry's Party is Carol Shields' invitation to peer into Larry's own life. Vignettes, like family snapshots, capture Larry at the most poignant, hilarious and moving points of his existence: two marriages and two divorces; his bewildered, loving relationships with parents, friends, and son; and his awkward and well-meaning quest to be a good man. If he can only figure out what that is. Carol Shields' marvelous novel captures -with salty wit and flawless wisdom- the joys and sorrows of everyday life, and shows us how these moments add up to something immensely important.
Kirkus Reviews closes by saying, "Very fine and real: Shields writes with the rare self- assurance of one who from the first knows where her characters are going and what will become of them once they arrive, and--rarer still--manages not to bend them out of shape along the way." Publishers Weekly says, "The novel glows with Shield's unsentimental optimism and her supple command of a sweetly ironic and graceful prose." Canadian Literature Quarterly says, "Shields uses the novel form to explore new ways of writing a life, of uncovering what she has termed "the mystery of personality" and calls the book "admirable for its compassionate tracing of the puzzling and circuitous paths an ordinary man walks in the process of losing and finding the love and the work that define him as a human being."

There's a reading group guide here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Countdown City


When I came across Countdown City: The Last Policeman Book 2 on the shelf at my local bookseller I snatched it right up, having read and enjoyed book 1. This soon-to-be trilogy is written by Ben H. Winters. It takes place in an apocalyptic world but the storyline is a mystery, and the mystery section is where they are shelved. This one is every bit as enjoyable as the last, and I look forward to reading the 3rd one as soon as it comes out.

The policeman of the title has a bichon frise named Houdini that used to belong to a drug dealer. I love that as a plot element, and the dog shows up at several different points along the way.

At one point the policeman walks counterclockwise around a building, and I thought that he was lucky this wasn't a fantasy book, as no good can come of walking widdershins around a building in a fantasy story.

from the back of the book:
There are just 77 days to go before a deadly asteroid collides with Earth, and Detective Hank Palace is out of a job. With the Concord police force operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, Hank's days of solving crimes are over -until a woman from his past begs for help finding her missing husband.

Brett Cavatone disappeared without a trace -an easy feat in a world with no phones, no cars, and no way to tell whether someone's gone "bucket list" or just gone. With society falling to shambles, Hank pieces together what few clues he can, on a search that leads him from a college-campus-turned-anarchist-encampment to a crumbling coastal landscape where anti-immigrant militia fend off "impact zone" refugees.

The second novel in the Last Policeman trilogy, Countdown City presents a fascinating mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse -and once again, Hank Palace confronts questions way beyond "whodunit." What do we as human beings owe to one another? And what does it mean to be civilized when civilization is collapsing all around you?
Amazing Stories Magazine closes with this:
These are philosophical novels, books that examine why we do the things we do, and how we derive meaning, even in the face of certain death (which, of course, awaits us all, just not usually from an asteroid). These are moral novels, books that ask what it is that we owe each other, how much our word is worth, and how long we are bound by the promises we make. And whether the world is ending in 77 days or 7,000,000 years, aren’t these some of the most important questions literature can ask of us?
Kirkus Reviews has a plot summary.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Suite for Toy Piano

Suite for Toy Piano:



composed by John Cage, played by Phyllis Chen.

I wish I'd known about this piece when a toy piano was in the house. That would've been fun!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

100 Best Foreign Films

Empire Online has a list of "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema, The greatest films not in the English language", in order from 1-100:
Seven Samurai, 1954, Japan
Amelie, 2000, France
Battleship Potemkin, 1925, Russia
Bicycle Thieves, 1948, Italy
Pan's Labyrinth, 2006, Mexico
Battle of Algiers, 1966, France
City of God, 2002, Brazil
The Seventh Seal, 1957, Sweden
The Wages of Fear, 1953, France
Spirited Away, 2001, Japan
La Dolce Vita, 1960, Italy
Metropolis, 1927, Germany
La Regle du Jeu, 1939, France
Three Colours Trilogy, 1993-94, Poland
Let The Right One In, 2008, Sweden
Tokyo Story, 1953, Japan
The Apu Trilogy, 1955/56/59, India
Oldboy, 2003, Korea
Aguirre, Wrath of God, 1972, Germany
Y Tu Mama Tambien, 2001, Mexico
Nosferatu, 1922, Germany
Rashomon, 1950, Japan
Spirit of the Beehive, 1973, Spain
Come And See, 1985, Russia
Das Boot, 1980, Germany
La Belle et la Bete, 1946, France
Cinema Paradiso, 1988, Italy
Raise The Red Lantern, 1991, China
Les Quatres Cent Coups, 1959, France
Infernal Affairs, 2002, Hong Kong
Godzilla, 1954, Japan
La Haine, 1995, France
M, 1931, Germany
Waltz With Bashir, 2008, Israel
La Grande Illusion, 1937, France
Dekalog, 1988, Poland
Rome Open City, 1945, Italy
Ashes And Diamonds, 1958, Poland
Le Samourai, 1967, France
L'Avventura, 1960, Italy
My Neighbour Totoro, 1988, Japan
In The Mood For Love, 2000, Hong Kong
Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990, France
Ikiru, 1952, Japan
Suspiria, 1977, Italy
Jules et Jim, 1962, France
10, 2002, Iran
Downfall, 2004, Germany
M. Hulot's Holiday, 1953, France
Closely Observed Trains, 1966, Czechoslovakia
Akira, 1988, Japan
Touki Bouki, 1973, Senegal
All About My Mother, 1999, Spain
Festen, 1998, Denmark
Lagaan, 2001, India
Belle de Jour, 1967, France
Central Do Brasil, 1998, Brazil
Persepolis, 2007, Iran
Heimat, 1985, Germany
Jean de Florette / Manon des Sources, 1986, France
Knife in the Water, 1962, Poland
8 1/2, 1963, Italy
A Prophet, 2009, France
Wings of Desire, 1987, Germany
Un Chien Andalou, 1929, Spain
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000, China
The Vanishing, 1988, Holland
Solaris, 1972, Russia
Ringu, 1998, Japan
Hard Boiled, 1992, Hong Kong
Persona, 1966, Sweden
Ten Canoes, 2006, Australia
Hidden, 2005, Austria
Devdas, 2002, India
A Bout de Souffle, 1960, France
The Idiots, 1998, Denmark
House of Flying Daggers, 2004, China
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 1988, Spain
Bande A Part, 1964, France
Mother India, 1957, India
The Host, 2006, Korea
Battle Royale, 2000, Japan
Xala, 1974, Senegal
Orphee, 1950, France
Il Conformista, 1970, Italy
Run Lola Run, 1998, Germany
Andrei Rublev, 1966, Russia
Leningrad Cowboys, 1989, Finland
Loves of a Blonde, 1965, Czechoslovakia
Rififi, 1955, France
Goodbye Lenin, 2003, Germany
Ghost in the Shell, 1995, Japan
The Fourth Man, 1983, Holland
Yeelen, 1987, Mali
Way of the Dragon, 1972, Hong Kong
Delicatessen, 1991, France
Farewell My Concubine, 1993, China
Ran, 1985, Japan
Iron Monkey, 1993, China
Night Watch, 2004, Russia
Ones I've seen are in bold print. 38 is not as good as I had hoped. There are a lot of these I've never heard of. The ones I've seen are such that it makes me think well of the list. I'll see if any of them are at Spin Street when I go in from now on.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Good Hearts


Good Hearts is a 1988 novel by Southern writer Reynolds Price. I bought this when I found it used purely on the strength of the author's name. I read Kate Vaiden years ago, and it made quite an impression. This book is a good read, but I'm not convinced these characters are real people.

I did find that the following passage hit me like a slap in the face:
Mama's never been really fat, whatever she's said, but she's surely always been well-upholstered. Those layers are quietly peeling off her now. I've asked her about it. She says, "Rosa, your mother is an old woman. If people don't die in their seventies from bad hearts or kidneys, then you'll begin to notice how they just start to vanish into thin air. It can take another twenty years, but they're on their way. After a while you can all but read the newspaper through their hand. I think it's kind of pretty. Just get used to it anyhow and don't worry me about eating."
and then, much later in the book:
Emma had seen them and was out on the front porch waiting by the steps. When Rosa caught sight, she took a sharp breath. She hadn't seen her mother in exactly four Sundays, and in that time it seemed Emma had shrunk several sizes inward. And near the five steps, there seemed a good chance that that the slightest breeze would tip her balance and fling her down broken.

Again Rosa suddenly felt she should come here and spend the rest of her mother's few years giving constant care and learning everything her mother had kept in. There was no real way to manage it though and stay close to Wesley; she forced back tears.
I took this aspect of the plot (which is strictly a minor plot element) much too personally. I'm very much feeling the guilt/confusion/fear that this situation brings. And that's not even what this book is about! This situation is tangential to the main plot. And of course I would be reading this now.... But enough of that. I've definitely gotten off-track here...

from the dust jacket:
The time is now; the man and woman are Rosa and Wesley. Good and powerfully magnetic people, they have lived in marriage for twenty-eight years. They have good jobs, their skills are valued, and they have a good home. They mostly cherish and honor one another. Yet with no clear warning, their marriage breaks one evening in December. Soon they are more than light years apart. Wesley is in Nashville with another woman and all the ghosts he has tried to leave. Rosa is alone at home in Raleigh; in the absence of the man who vowed to protect her, she suffers a dark and mysterious assault. Too brave to settle for easy answers, they spend a long winter facing the trials of freedom and duty, madness and pain. Then, as spring comes, they try -with the help of family, friends, and strangers- to turn again to face one another.
...
The New York Times review closes with this:
Unobtrusively, without histrionics either on their part or the author's, Mr. Price's characters move through the action of the novel to a larger understanding of themselves and others. As we and they discover, they are people equipped with the power to be good human beings, with the power to love. In revealing this, the tone and rhythms of Reynolds Price's language are masterful. ''Good Hearts'' is superb storytelling by an enduring craftsman. It is a study of life and the placement of individuals within life. In every sense of the word, it abounds with goodness.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Mount


The Mount is a 2002 science fiction book by Carol Emshwiller. It won the Philip K. Dick Award in the year in which China MiƩville's The Scar was also nominated. The Scar is one of my favorite Mieville books, and -in my opinion- much better than this.

I remember hearing about The Mount when it won that award and meant to read it, but I forgot. I ran across it used and was glad for the reminder. That said, there aren't that many characters in this book, and I tired of them before the end. At 232 pages I thought the plot dragged and might've made a better story at a shorter length. I'm not buying the alien race at all. They make no sense to me, and I found them and their situation unbelievable from start to finish. I thought the ending was unsatisfying. I liked her writing and would read something else by her if I came across it, but I won't keep this one. Perhaps it might work better as an introduction to science fiction for a child?

from the back of the book:
Charley is an athlete. He wants to grow up to be the fastest runner in the world, like his father. He wants to be painted crossing the finish line, in his racing silks, with a medal around his neck.

Charley lives in a stable. He isn’t a runner, he’s a mount. He belongs to a Hoot: The Hoots are alien invaders. Charley hasn’t seen his mother for years, and his father is hiding out in the mountains somewhere, with the other Free Humans. The Hoots own the world, but the humans want it back. Charley knows how to be a good mount, but now he’s going to have to learn how to be a human being.

The Mount is the new novel by Carol Emshwiller, author of Carmen Dog and Ledoyt.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "A deceptively simple, clear-eyed story that should find its sympathetic Gullivers." SF Site praises the writing, but closes with this: "I didn't like this book much, although I certainly admired it. Some genre readers will find it delightful. But SF fans who expect credible science and realism had better take a miss." SF Reviews.net opens by saying, "Suffice it to say that whatever it is about this book that is blowing away awards committees is missing me by a mile" and later adds, "Putting this book down came all too easily." Jeff Vandermeer closes by saying, "this one of the most sympathetic and endearing books I’ve read lately." Stephen Wu says, "I just couldn't get into it," faulting the worldbuilding, the poor point-of-view writing, and "the oddest, most fitfully plotted conclusion I've read in a long time." Infinity Plus states, "The Mount is not a successful novel."

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Codeine Song

The Cod'ine Song:



by Sons of Mudboy, a Memphis band.

Lyrics:
I have a pain in my belly and an ache in my head.
I feel like I'm dying, and I wish I was dead.
If I live 'til tomorrow, it'll be a long time,
But I'll reel and I'll fall and I'll rise on cod'ine,
Yes it's reel, yes it's real, one more time.

...
The song was written by Buffy Sainte Marie and has been often covered.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

British Children’s Fantasy Classics

Marvelous Tales has a list of 9 British Children’s Fantasy Classics:
P. L. Travers – Mary Poppins series
Edith Nesbit – Five Children and It
J. M. Barrie – Peter Pan
Frances Hodgson Burnett – A Little Princess and The Secret Garden
Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows
Charles Kingsley – The Water Babies
George MacDonald – The Princess and the Goblin and The Light Princess
A. A. Milne – Winnie the Pooh

I've read and loved them all. I would consider them indispensable in any home with children. I might add The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Redwall books by Brian Jacques, and maybe Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling. More recent, I know, but I'd still add them.

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Evil Dead

The Evil Dead is a 1981 horror film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell. I had never seen it before and will likely never watch it again. The gore is in no way realistic, but it is graphic and plentiful. I think I'll give the horror genre a rest for a while. The Husband made it through the raped-by-trees scene but left the room at the first sign of spurting blood from a pencil stabbing, and he may have had the right idea. Or maybe I've just had enough for now and this was one horror film too many. The movie is almost universally praised, so I'm in a definite minority in my view.

trailer:



Moria likes it: "The Evil Dead hits in with enormous vigour and an immense degree of directorial assurance upon Raimi’s part." 1000 Misspent Hours says, "As Sam Raimi’s first feature film, it marks the emergence of one of the major cinematic talents of the last 30 years." Slant Magazine opens its review with this: "Twenty years after its original theatrical release, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead still feels like the punchiest horror flick this side of a Dario Argento gialli." Rotten Tomatoes has a 98% critics score.

Horror Movie List Update

Somewhere along the way we started watching a lot of horror movies in October. It started with shows that were suitable for adding some fun to The Kids' preparations for Hallowe'en, and the tradition grew through the years. Now I try to see a few I've never seen before. This is the list we have so far. I'm trying to update code for films where the embed code I used no longer works. I'm surprised at how often public domain films disappear from one place and are relocated somewhere else. If I've written a blog post about a particular film, that post is linked below:

pre-1920:
Le Manoir du Diable (1896 short)
A Terrible Night (Une Nuit Terrible) (1896 short)
The Haunted Castle (1897 short)
The Man with the Rubber Head (1902 short)
The Infernal Cakewalk (1903 short)
The Infernal Cauldron (1903 short)
The Monster (1903 short)
Le Diable Noir (1905 short)
The Sealed Room (1909 short)
Frankenstein (1910 short)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912 short)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1913 short)
The Student of Prague (1913)
The Avenging Conscience (1914 short)
The Eyes of the Mummy (1918)

1920's:
The Golem (1920)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
Destiny (1921)
The Phantom Chariot (1921)
Danse Macabre (1922 short)
Haxan (1922)
Nosferatu (1922)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
Shadows: A Nocturnal Hallucination (aka Warning Shadows) (1923)
Hands of Orlac (1924)
Waxworks (1924)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Wolf Blood (1925)
The Bat (1926)
Faust (1926)
A Page of Madness (1926)
The Student of Prague (1926)
The Cat and the Canary (1927)
The Lodger (1927)
London After Midnight (1927)
The Unknown (1927)
Alraune (1928)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928 silent short)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928 French)
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The Great Gabbo (1929)
Haunted House (1929 cartoon short)
The Skeleton Dance (1929 cartoon short)

1930's:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
Dracula (1931)
Frankenstein (1931)
M (1931)
Betty Boop: Minnie the Moocher (1932 cartoon short)
Freaks (1932)
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
Kongo (1932)
The Monster Walks (1932)
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
The Old Dark House (1932)
Vampyr (1932)
White Zombie (1932)
Betty Boop Halloween Party (1933 cartoon short)
The Ghoul (1933)
The Invisible Man (1933)
King Kong (1933)
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
A Shriek in the Night (1933)
The Vampire Bat (1933)
The Black Cat (1934)
The Ghost Walks (1934)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Mad Love (1935)
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
Werewolf of London (1935)
The Devil-Doll (1936)
Revolt of the Zombies (1936)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1936)
The Walking Dead (1936)
The Old Mill (1937 cartoon short)
Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937)
Topper (1937)
The Missing Guest (1938)
The Face at the Window (1939)
The Gorilla (1939)
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
The Phantom Creeps (1939)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

1940's:
The Devil Bat (1940)
Dr. Cyclops (1940)
The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
The Mummy's Hand (1940)
Spook Sport (1940 short)
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
Invisible Ghost (1941)
King of the Zombies (1941)
Man Made Monster (1941)
Spooks Run Wild (1941)
The Wolf Man (1941)
The Corpse Vanishes (1942)
The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
The Mad Monster (1942)
The Mummy's Tomb (1942)
The Ape Man (1943)
Dead Men Walk (1943)
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
The Seventh Victim (1943)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Bluebeard (1944)
House of Frankenstein (1944)
The Lodger (1944)
The Monster Maker (1944)
The Mummy's Curse (1944)
The Mummy's Ghost (1944)
The Uninvited (1944)
The Body Snatcher (1945)
Dead of Night (1945)
Fog Island (1945)
House of Dracula (1945)
Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green (1945)
The Spiral Staircase (1945)
The Woman Who Came Back (1945)
Bedlam (1946)
Dragonwyck (1946)
Shock (1946)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Scared to Death (1947)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
Casper the Friendly Ghost in "There's Good Boos Tonight" (1948 cartoon short)
Who Killed Doc Robbin (1948)
Blood of the Beasts (1949)
The Queen of Spades (1949)

1950's:
Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
The Thing from Another World (1951)
Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Dracula in Istanbul (1953)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1953 animated short)
Ugetsu (1953 Japanese ghost story)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
Gojira (1954)
Killers from Space (1954)
Mad Magician (1954)
Popeye: Fright to the Finish (1954 cartoon short)
Target Earth (1954)
Them! (1954)
Creature with the Atomic Brain (1955)
Cult of the Cobra (1955)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1955)
It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
Les Diaboliques (1955)
The Phantom From 10.000 Leagues (1955)
Tarantula (1955)
The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)
Bride of the Monster (1956)
Broom-Stick Bunny (1956 animated short)
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956)
Indestructible Man (1956)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Mole People (1956)
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Curse of the Demon (1957)
Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The Cyclops (1957)
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Ghost in the Well (1957)
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
The Land Unknown (1957)
The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)
Night of the Demon (1957)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
The Blob (1958)
The Crawling Eye (1958)
Curse of the Faceless Man (1958)
The Fly (1958)
Ghost of Chibusa Enoki (1958)
Horror of Dracula (1958 Hammer Studio)
I Bury the Living (1958)
It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)
The Screaming Skull (1958)
Tales of Frankenstein (1958 TV pilot)
Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
Beast from Haunted Cave (1959)
A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (1959)
First Man Into Space (1959)
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
The Killer Shrews (1959)
The Mummy (1959)
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
Teenage Zombies (1959)
Terror is a Man (1959)
Terror in the Midnight Sun (1959)
The Tingler (1959)
Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan (1959)

1960's:
The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)
Black Sunday (1960)
Blood and Roses (1960)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)
Horror Hotel (1960)
Horrors of Spider Island (1960)
House of Usher (1960)
The Housemaid (1960)
Jigoku (1960)
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
One Step Beyond: The Lovers (1960 tv series episode)
Psycho (1960)
Tormented (1960)
The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960)
Village of the Damned (1960)
The Virgin Spring (1960)
The Wasp Woman (1960)
Anatomy of a Psycho (1961)
The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)
Bloodlust (1961)
Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)
The Devil's Messenger (1961)
Ghost of Oiwa (1961)
The Innocents (1961)
Mr. Sardonicus (1961)
Night Tide (1961)
The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
Carnival of Souls (1962)
The Day of the Triffids (1962)
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
Hands of a Stranger (1962)
Samson vs. the Vampire Women (1962)
Tower of London (1962)
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962)
Atom Age Vampire (1963)
The Birds (1963)
Black Sabbath (1963)
Blood Feast (1963)
The Damned (1963)
Dementia 13 (1963)
The Ghost (1963)
The Haunting (1963)
Matango (1963)
The Raven (1963)
The Terror (1963)
Transylvania 6-5000 (1963 animated short)
The Whip and the Body (1963)
At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)
The Atomic Brain (1964)
Blood is the Color of Night (1972)
Castle of Blood (1964)
The Gorgon (1964)
I Eat Your Skin (1964)
Kwaidan anthology film (1964)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Onibaba (1964)
Pyro (1964)
Sound of Horror (1964)
Spider Baby (1964)
Blood of the Man Devil (1965)
Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)
The Collector (1965)
Incubus (1965)
The Nanny (1965)
Nightmare Castle (1965)
Orgy of the Dead (1965)
Repulsion (1965)
The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966)
Island of Terror (1966)
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Kill, Baby, Kill (aka Curse of the Living Dead) (1966)
Persona (1966)
The Plague of Zombies (1966)
The She Beast (1966)
The Sorcerers (1967)
Yongary, Monster From the Deep (1967)
Cruel Ghost Legend (1968)
Ghosts of Hanley House (1968)
Groke: Body Snatcher from Hell (1968)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Witchfinder General (1968)
The Astro-Zombies (1969)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
The Cremator (1969)
Django the Bastard (1969)
The Lottery (1969 short)
Mad Monster Party (1969)
The Oblong Box (1969)

1970's:
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Count Dracula (1970)
Cry of the Banshee (1970)
The Fury of the Wolfman (1970)
The House that Dripped Blood (1970)
How Awful About Allan (1970)
The Revenge of Dr. X (1970)
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Duel (1971)
I, Monster (1971)
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
The Omega Man (1971)
What's the Matter with Helen? (1981)
Blacula (1972)
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
Images (1972)
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Moon of the Wolf (1972)
Necromancy (aka The Witching) (1972)
Night of the Lepus (1972)
The Night Stalker (1972, tv movie)
The Other (1972)
The Stone Tape (1972)
Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)
Ganja and Hess (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
High Plains Drifter (1973) (yes, it's a Western. But it's also Horror.)
Horror Express (1973)
The Killing Kind (1973)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Messiah of Evil (1973)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Sisters (1973)
Theatre of Blood (1973)
The Wicker Man (1973)
Blood for Dracula (1974)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
Madhouse (1974)
Moonchild (1974)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Ash Tree (1975 BBC TV)
The Black Widow (1975 music video)
Deep Red (1975)
The Devil's Rain (1975)
Footprints on the Moon (1975)
Jaws (1975)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Race With the Devil (1975)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Shivers (1975)
The Stepford Wives (1975)
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Trilogy of Terror (1975)
Brimstone and Treacle (1976)
Burnt Offerings (1976)
Carrie (1976)
Embryo (1976)
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
The Omen (1976)
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Count Dracula (1977 BBC)
Demon Seed (1977)
Full Circle (aka The Haunting of Julia) (1977)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
House (1977)
Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
The Last Wave (1977)
Martin (1977)
Shock (1977)
Shock Waves (1977)
Suspiria (1977)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Dominique is Dead (1978)
Empire of Passion (1978)
Halloween (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Manitou (1978)
Alien (1979) (11/18)
The Brood (1979)
Nocturna, Granddaughter of Dracula (1979)
Nosfeartu the Vampyre (1979)
Phantasm (1979)
Salem's Lot (1979)
Tourist Trap (1979)
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

1980's:
The Changeling (1980)
Fisheye (1980, animated short)
The Fog (1980)
The Shining (1980)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The Beyond (1981)
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Ghost Story (1981)
Halloween 2 (1981)
The Howling (1981)
Oasis of the Zombies (1981)
Possession (1981)
Blood Tide (1982)
Cat People (1982)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Creepshow (1982)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Thing (1982)
The Dead Zone (1983)
Eyes of Fire (1983)
The Hunger (1983)
House of Long Shadows (1983)
Videodrome (1983)
Frankenweenie (1984)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Gremlins (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
Eternal Evil (1985)
Fright Night (1985)
Nightcrawlers (1985 Twilight Zone TV)
Re-Animator (1985)
From Beyond (1986)
The Hitcher (1986)
House (1986)
The Tomb (1986)
Trick or Treat (1986)
Bad Taste (1987)
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
Hellraiser (1987)
I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)
Near Dark (1987)
Opera (1987)
Predator (1987)
Brain Damage (1988)
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
The Lady in White (1988)
The Vanishing (1988)
Etoile (1989)
The Woman in Black (1989)

1990's:
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Jekyll and Hyde (1990)
Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
The Witches (1990)
Begotten (1991)
Jules et Joel (1991 Northern Exposure TV episode)
The Sandman (1991 animated short)
Braindead (1992)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the movie (1992)
Society (1992)
Chronos (1993)
The Halloween Tree (1993 animated tv special)
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Cemetery Man (1994)
The Crow (1994)
Dark Waters (1994)
Faust (1994)
Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Nadja (1994)
Riget (1994)
Shrunken Heads (1994)
The Addiction (1995)
City of Lost Children (1995)
Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh (1996)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Queen of Blood (1996)
Cure (1997)
Mimic (1997)
Ringu (1998)
Audition (1999)
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Fear, Itself (1999 Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv episode)
The Green Mile (1999)
Nang Nak (1999)
The Ninth Gate (1999)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The Wolf Man (1999 animated short)

2000's:
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
The Devil's Backbone (2001)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Pulse (2001)
Session 9 (2001)
Trouble Every Day (2001)
Below (2002)
Bloody Mallory (2002)
Dark Water (2002)
Dog Soldiers (2002)
The Eye (2002)
The French Doors (2002 short)
The Ring (2002)
28 Days Later (2002)
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Underworld (2003)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Van Helsing (2004)
The Amityville Horror (2005)
The Call of Cthulhu (2005 silent)
Corpse Bride (2005)
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
King Kong (2005)
Land of the Dead (2005)
Masters of Horror: Homecoming (tv episode, 2005)
Naina (2005)
Still Life (2005 short)
Voice (2005)
Witches of Mass Destruction (2005 Boston Legal tv episode)
American Witch by Rob Zombie (2006 music video)
Death Note (2006)
Ghostboat (2006)
The Last Winter (2006)
The Life and Death of a Pumpkin (2006 short)
Pulse (2006)
Slither (2006)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
The Snow Witch (2006 short)
30 Days of Night (2007)
Animorph (2007)
The Bride (2007 short film)
A Hard Day's Night of the Living Dead (2007 music video)
The Lottery (2007 short)
House of 1000 Muppets (2007 mash-up trailer)
The Mist (2007)
Modern Witches Flying (2007 short)
Muoi: Legend of a Portrait (2007)
Planet Terror (2007)
[REC] (2007)
The Signal (2007)
Wanna Buy a Ghost? (2007 short)
Bedfellows (2008 short)
The Burrowers (2008)
Cloverfield (2008)
The Coffin (2008)
It's a Wonderful Life: The Reckoning (2008 parody short)
Let the Right One In (2008)
The Magician's Nephew (2008, Midsomer Murders tv episode)
Outpost (2008)
Alma (2009 animated short)
A Candy Affair (2009 animated short)
Chemical Wedding (2009)
Drag Me to Hell (2009)

2010+
The Dead (2010)
He Dies at the End (2010 short)
Legion (2010)
The Wolfman (2010)
Black Swan (2011)
The Little Mermaid (2011 short)
Priest (2011)
Frankenweenie (2012)
Outpost: Black Sun (2012)
Prometheus (2012)
ABE (2013 short)
Cargo (2013 short)
Lights Out (2013 short)
Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)
Spiders (2013)
The Tea Chronicles (2013 short film)
The Babadook (2014)
Godzilla (2014)
It Follows (2014)
Lyle (2014)
Crimson Peak (2015)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Phantasm

Phantasm is a 1979 horror film. This was my first time to see it, though The Elder Son suggested it years ago. I'll eventually make it through all these old horror movies. Eventually. I think my appreciation of this one would've been greater had I been a 13 year old boy.

Interesting sound track.

trailer:



Moria says, "It is, as the title suggests, a ‘phantasm’ –a figment of the imagination or an illusion– and you can only appreciate Phantasm not as coherent narrative but as a film that seems to operate on the logic of a dream." 1000 Misspent Hours says, "Phantasm legitimately is a mystery —a detective story, even!— despite dealing in subject matter that would normally mark it as a pure horror tale." Slant Magazine closes with this: "Phantasm is better experienced than explained, and to paraphrase Jung: "A dream is an end undoing, and to analyze the dream is to undo the undoing." Empire Online concludes, "Extremely gory. Horror fans should delight." Stomp Tokyo says, "Phantasm is that rarity of rarities -a low-budget horror film that is scary." Roger Ebert gives it a skimpy 1 1/2 stars and says, "It's put together rather curiously out of disjointed scenes, snatches of dialog, and brief strokes of characterization." Rotten Tomatoes has a 63% critics score.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. This is my first time to see this. I was never a horror film fan, and slasher films are still my least favorite sub-genre. I'm trying to make my way through the older films I've missed, and The Elder Son loaned me his copy of this for that purpose. I think I've had his DVD for 2-3 years and am just now getting around to it. It's less gory than I expected It's not converting me into a slasher fan, and I'm wondering if some of these movies need to be seen soon after their release to really "get" them. It's based on a true story.

I must say that watching Franju's Blood of the Beast first provided an interesting perspective.

trailer:



Moria says, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre redefined horror by stripping it of all classical motive. The assaults in the film come without rhyme or reason." 1000 Misspent Hours closes with this: "taking in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is so discomfiting an experience that I’m not a bit surprised that many viewers come away with the impression that it is far more graphically violent than is actually the case." Slant Magazine gives it 4/4 stars and closes with this: "Hooper may well end up being remembered solely for Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the film that fully earns him a place alongside the greatest malaise-shredding horror mavericks." Empire Online calls it "Genuinely disturbing, even now." DVD Talk opens by describing it as "up there as one of the most influential horror movies of our time." Roger Ebert seems torn, calling it well done but without purpose "unless the creation of disgust and fright is a purpose." Rotten Tomatoes has a 91% critics score.

Blood of the Beasts

Blood of the Beasts is a 1949 horror short film, actually a documentary on French slaughterhouses, directed by Georges Franju. He directed Eyes Without a Face, and this short is included on the Criterion release of that film.

via youtube:



Horror News says it "was one of the earliest short films documenting animal cruelty" and "the film was directed to shock and disturb". FilmReference.com calls Franju "one of the cinema's authentic minor poets". It has no critics score at Rotten Tomatoes but has an audience rating of 94%.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a cult classic science fiction/horror/comedy film from 1988.

trailer:



I agree with Moria: "There’s really nothing to it beyond the basic gimmick of the title concept." 1000 Misspent Hours calls it "one of the funniest things I’d seen in ages" and says it has held up well. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 75%.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Legend of Hell House

The Legend of Hell House is a British haunted house film from 1973. It's based on a novel by Richard Matheson, who wrote the screenplay. Roddy McDowall stars. I like haunted house films and ghost stories, and this is a fine example.

trailer:



Moria says, "The Legend of Hell House was the single best work that [director] John Hough ever turned out. 1000 Misspent Hours calls it "one of the last great English horror flicks". DVD Talk says, " It gets moving right from the get-go, tells the story without any excess padding or draggy moments, and does manage to pull off a few surprises with what happens to, and around, the characters." Twitch Film closes by saying the film is "still nerve-jangling, especially if you're watching alone, late at night, and wondering what those strange noises are, emanating from the shadows behind you." Horror News has praise:
The Legend Of Hell House’s direction and cinematography are impressive, the compositions are suitably atmospheric, utilising split-focus and high, low and wide angles, and finally, the film’s electronic score (by Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson of the Electrophon company) is one of the creepiest ever committed to film.
Horror Express calls it "an atmospheric and impressive entry in the haunted house genre." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 46%.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Thanatos Syndrome


The Thanatos Syndrome is a 1987 novel by Walker Percy. It was his last novel before his death in 1990. I consider this a science fiction or maybe a horror novel, but you'll find it shelved with literary fiction if you can find a book store that stocks it. I like the books I've read by this author (The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins) and this one is no exception. He writes a thought-provoking story.

As a Southern writer he writes Southern characters who ring true. Sometimes when I'm reading a book I'll come across something and say, "This is not something a Southerner would say," or "People down here never talk like that." That never happens in a Walker Percy novel.

There are some literary and artistic references in this book -Emily Dickinson and Tolstoy and Kurt Vonnegut, for example, and Andrew Wyeth get passing mention. There are Biblical and pop culture references, too.

favorite quotes:
  • "A great scientist said the genius consists not in making great discoveries but in seeing the connection between small discoveries."
  • "If there is such a thing as a Southern way of life, part of it has to do with not speaking of it."
  • "The Great American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce, said that the most amazing thing about the universe is that apparently disconnected events are in fact not, that one can connect them. Amazing!"

from the back of the book:
When Dr. Tom More is released on parole from state prison, he returns to Feliciana, Louisiana, the parish where he was born and bred, where he practiced psychiatry before his arrest. He immediately notices something strange in almost everyone around him: unusual sexual behavior in women patients, a bizarre loss of inhibition, his own wife's extraordinary success at bridge tournaments, during which her mind seems to function like a computer.

With the ingenious help of his attractive cousin, Dr. Lucy Lipscomb, Dr. More begins to uncover a criminal experiment to "improve" people's behavior by drugging the area's water supply. But beyond this grand scheme are activities so sinister that even Tom More wouldn't believe them if he hadn't witnessed them with his own eyes....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baby Let's Play House

Baby Let's Play House:



sung by Elvis. This song made it onto USA Today's list of 20 essential Elvis songs.

Lyrics excerpt:
Oh, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby
Baby, baby baby, b-b-baby baby, baby
Baby baby baby
Come back, baby, I wanna play house with you

Well, you may go to college
You may go to school
You may have a pink Cadillac
But don't you be nobody's fool.
...
...
Yeah
Now listen to me, baby
Try to understand
I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man

Now baby
Come back, baby, come
Come back, baby, come
Come back, baby
I wanna play house with you

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Books That Will Change Your Life

BuzzFeed (via Literacy Mid-South) has a list of 32 Books That Will Actually Change Your Life:
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
3. Cat’s Cradle
4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
6. Invisible Monsters
7. White Oleander
8. In Cold Blood
9. Middlesex
10. Play It As It Lays
11. Ada, or Ardor
12. Beloved
13. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
14. Push
15. It
16. Under the Banner of Heaven
17. Me Talk Pretty One Day
18. World War Z
19. The Giver
20. The Fault in Our Stars
21. A Brief History of Time
22. Sophie’s World
23. Crime and Punishment
24. Life of Pi
25. Invisible Man
26. Joy of Cooking
27. Catch-22
28. The Train
29. The Artist’s Way
30. The Beautiful & Damned
31. Prodigal Summer
32. Never Let Me Go

Ones I've read are in bold print. Honestly, every time I begin to think I'm fairly well-read I come across a list like this.