The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.
I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.
“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”
“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”
Arthur Conan Doyle
Steven Moffat has teased the three word for series 3 of Sherlock. They are rat, wedding, and bow. Of course, with the premiere a year away, speculation abounds. What canon stories could these words allude to? Which tales will be liberally adapted? Both “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor” and “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” have been bandied around for “wedding,” but don’t I think either are likely aside from maybe an allusions-in-passing.
Regarding “Noble Bachelor”: I forget how crisp and untagged Doyle’s dialogue sometimes is. This is one of Doyle’s one-set stories. While characters come and go from Baker Street, all the action occurs in the sitting room. Not the most exciting of Holmes stories, but probably responsible for many of my people-in-a-room-talking-and-eating scenes.
In contrast, “Solitary Cyclist” takes the show on the road. Doyle is as adept at describing the countryside as he is setting a meal a Baker Street. Tor has seemingly picked this story for “wedding” if wedding doesn’t refer to Watson’s wedding. The story is fairly sensational, but doesn’t really engage Holmes/Watson (apparently a criticism that the editor of The Strand had as well).
Murder Rooms is a BBC series. It is a *very* liberal dramatization of the mentorship/friendship between Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell. The first movie-length episode was listed as Dr Bell and Mr Doyle (2000) when I first rented it from Netflix. I didn’t know there were four other episodes (each 90 minutes in length and released in 2001) until recently.
The series is much closer to a Sherlock Holmes pastiche than a historical drama. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Doyle, played by Robin Laing in the first movie and Charles Edwards in the further episodes, is a more intellectual Watson and Ian Richardson is more of a tough-love grandfather figure than a Holmes. In fact, Dr. Bell reminds me of THE Doctor; humorous and eccentric.
As with Sherlock, the stories are not adaptations of canon, but allusions to canon. For example, “The Patient’s Eyes,” the episode I watched this past week, heavily relies on “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist.”
The Toybox (2005) – I think I vaguely remember Mondo Movies or Mark Kermode talking about this movie as one of numerous English horror movies that involve children/youth culture vs. adults. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the best of the lot. It wasn’t particularly scary, but the hand-held camera was occasionally nauseating. (Watch on Hulu)
The House on Haunted Hill (1959) – I rewatch this William Castle classic every couple of years. Despite the schlock, it’s so earnest. Vincent Price’s character is a bit loathsome. His wife, played Carol Ohmart, is chilly and queenly, and Carolyn Craig completely sells her mounting hysteria. It’s a Scooby-Doo of a horror movie, fun and contrived. I watched the colorized version and had to wonder whether there were production notes to follow during the process. Everyone was so drab aside from Annabelle Loren (Ohmart). Her wardrobe is purple, maroon, and baby blue. (Watch on Hulu)
I read 13% of 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz before setting it aside. It wasn’t creepy enough. The characters weren’t interesting enough. I thought about continuing to see if anything good was going to happen plot-wise, but honestly, that doesn’t happen often. I have too many other things to read.