Monthly Archives: October 2019

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 29 & 30 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

This has been a lot fun and I’m a little sad to see it come to an end. I intend to blog more about movies in the future because they really are a form of storytelling that I enjoy.

Day 29 – Your least favorite horror film of all time

I suppose there are horror movies out there that I quit part-way through that might qualify as less favored, but as a movie I watched entirely, I have only ambivalence for Friday the 13th (1980). Maybe it’s the setting (I never went to camp), maybe it’s that it compares poorly in concept and production (imo) to the movies that came before and after it. I probably didn’t watch it until 20 years after its release; by that time, everything about Friday the 13th had become a horror movie cliche. Still, that could be said for Halloween (1978) or Romero’s zombie movies, but I like those well enough. This probably bears some investigation on my part…

Day 30 – Your favorite horror film of all time

I didn’t start really watching horror movies until the 2000s when the internet allowed easier access to them. But even so, I was a late-comer to Candyman (1992). I had chalked it up as another slasher flick. I was surprised at how much story there is and how meta it is. All movie monsters seem to have some sort of mythology surrounding them, but Candyman might be the only one reliant on the mythology being known. I like that concept. And again, this movie has such a strong setting. Give me a fly over shot of Chicago set to Philip Glass’s music box music and I’m hooked. (Pun wasn’t intended…)

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 27 & 28 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 27 – Your favorite guilty pleasure

For a movie about warring angels, Legion (2010) is amazingly chock full of overwrought action and massive explosions. While kind of an interesting concept—the Archangel Michael rebels against God to save humanity, it just doesn’t solidly land. But, man, I do love watching Paul Bettany kick people’s asses. Plus, that little old lady is pretty darn creepy. This is another movie I went to see in the theater with my sister. Aw, good times…

Day 28 – Your favorite horror film that no one’s ever heard of

(Note: The trailer isn’t entirely SFW.)

I don’t think my tastes are super obscure; so instead, I just want to toot the horn of a horror film I really like that might not have gotten in front of enough eyeballs. Green Room (2015) is the exact opposite of a film like Legion. There are no great-balls-of-fire explosions or aesthetically pleasing fight sequences. There are no supernatural forces, unless you count Patrick Stewart’s dead-eyed portrayal of a Neo-nazi head-honcho. It is, instead, a brutal and realistic survival flick. Anton Yelchin makes a second appearance on this list as the lead singer of a punk band who finds themselves in a very bad situation.

Nonfiction November 2019 ~ Week 1

The end of the year is so great. After two months of spooky Perilous reading, it’s time for another one of my favorite blogging events: Nonfiction November! There’s a new prompt each week. (All the details!)

Week 1: (Oct. 28 to Nov. 1) – Your Year in Nonfiction

Hosted by Julz of Julz Reads

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

As usual, the largest topic of my nonfiction reading (4 of seventeen books) has been magic. Also, not shockingly, two of my favorite reads—ones that I would absolutely recommend are of this subject:

Spectacle of Illusion Conjure Times: The History of Black Magicians in America

A couple of true crime books also captured my attention this year. Both focused on the length and complexity of serial killer investigations.

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

And lastly, a book I’d certainly recommend (and it was recommended to me!):

Poe: A Life Cut Short

So, here we go. I’m sorry, books I added to my TBR last year that I haven’t gotten to yet. You’re about to have so many new friends…

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 25 & 26 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 25 – A horror film that you used to hate, but now like wish had been better

I had no answer for “a horror film that you used to hate, but now like.” If I hated a movie, I’m probably not going to watch it again enough to like it. Occasionally, I’ll gain a liking for a movie that I was ambivalent about, but I couldn’t think of a horror movie that was true for. Instead, here’s a movie that I wish was better.

Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, and Mark Addy  all starred in Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale (2001), a film that is in my personal top 10. Their next project together was The Order (2003). All are great actors with range. Helgeland is a solid director and a better writer. He can do comedy, but also dark stuff like the inky-black adaptation of Mystic River. The premise involves a young priest investigating murders linked to an ancient heretical practice. Joining him are a young woman, who was formerly hospitalized after an exorcism, and his friend, an older demon-busting priest. But, this film doesn’t work and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Maybe the tone is wrong, maybe there are too many flashbacks, maybe something happened in the production that led to the mystery being unfocused. Whatever the case, I wish this movie was better than it is.

Day 26 – Your favorite horror film to watch as a child

Horror movies were one of the few things that my parents didn’t want me to watch when I was a kid. If they rented a horror movie, they watched it after my bedtime. (The exception, like in the case of Jaws, was when trimmed versions came on broadcast TV.) But Gremlins (1984), weirdly, had lots of kid-focused merchandise. (My sister and I had a Gremlins tent which we hung out in in the basement.) So my parents thought it was an acceptable movie. And to be clear here, it was okay. My parents were generally pretty good judges of what I could handle, content-wise. While not a full-on horror movie, there are definitely some creepy and gruesome moments in Gremlins. Even as a kid, I enjoyed its dark humor. Trivia: It and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were part of the reason that the MPAA instituted the PG-13 rating.

📚 Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, Fall 2019 🕰

Friends! It’s that time again: Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. For me, it starts 5am on Saturday, October 26. That’s so early. If I’m up at the starting line, I’m up. If I’m not, I’m not.

02:56

Started Security

  • Total Short Stories Read: 12
  • Total Chapters of Moby-Dick and Dive Deeper Read: 4
  • Total Caffeinated Beverages Drank: 5
  • Total Alcoholic Beverages Drank: 2
  • Total Pieces of Pumpkin Pie Eaten: 1.5
  • Total Pizza Rolls Eaten: 10
  • Total Naps Taken: 1
  • Other Non-Reading Activities:
    • Listened to a half of football.
    • Watched some ultimate frisbee while eating dinner
    • Played a little Mine craft to wake me up.

01:55

Finished The Case of the Real Estate Revenant.

  • Total Short Stories Read: 12
  • Total Chapters of Moby-Dick and Dive Deeper Read: 4
  • Total Caffeinated Beverages Drank: 5
  • Total Alcoholic Beverages Drank: 1
  • Total Pieces of Pumpkin Pie Eaten: 1.5
  • Total Pizza Rolls Eaten: 10
  • Total Naps Taken: 1
  • Other Non-Reading Activities:
    • Listened to a half of football.
    • Watched some ultimate frisbee while eating dinner
    • Played a little Mine craft to wake me up.

Continue reading

Happy Halloween from The Black Cat, Vol. 2

I promised a second set of stories from The Black Cat for Halloween, but I’ve almost run out of holiday season. 😉 Here’s a link to the first five stories.

Mr. Williamson, a mysterious jeweler, has gone missing and after a period of time, his massive safe is being removed from his former place of business. Between the time of Williamson’s arrival in town and his disappearance, a series of burglaries and robberies have taken place, including Williamson himself being mugged. But after Williamson disappeared, the robberies stopped. What happened? And is the answer to be found in his safe?

Link to “The Williamson Safe Mystery” by F. S. Hesseltine

Mr. Jones is a bit nosy. He noticed the rather smart family who lived in the building across the street and when he noticed their absence, he was quick to inquire about their apartment. After he moves in, he befriends Mr. Flemming, the second floor’s only other resident. Since the other rooms on the floor aren’t locked, they make light use of them. During one lazy evening, Jones notices that the width of two apartments is shorter than the hallway is long. Is there a secret room? And the better question, why is there a secret room?

Link to “The House Across the Way” by Leo Gale

Prof. Linwood was a collector of seaweed. Until he got married. But now his wife is dead and the seaweed room is kept locked. No one knows why, so surely it would be okay if a late-staying guest spends the night there, right?

Link to “The Seaweed Room” by Clarice Irene Clinghan

A man and woman on the run settle in a deserted Boom Town. Their crimes are never enumerated, but they have a good-sized box of money. Their plan is to lay low in this town for a year and then head to South America. Everything is fine for a while. The couple obviously love each other and enjoy the freedom of having a whole town at their disposal. But when they are forced to move into the old hotel, the woman starts hearing a small voice asking, “Mama?”

Link to “The Reapers” by Batterman Lindsay

An old salt, Tom, tells Sam of a treasure on Mustery Island. After braving a squall to reach the island, Sam encounters a dog that leads him to a dilapidated mansion. There he finds a invalid woman with dimentia. She believes she’s a refugee from the French Revolution and goes on about some devil-weed on the island, protecting the treasure. It all seems too fantastical to Sam…until he meets the devil-weed…

Link to “The Guardian of Mystery Island” by Edmond Nolcini

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 23 & 24 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 23 – Your favorite made-for-TV horror film

Psycho (1960) is a classic. It’s one of my favorite movies though it’s not on this list. It didn’t quite fit any category well enough for me. Largely forgotten, the sequels to the original aren’t too bad. Psycho II (1983) was obviously a cash grab instigated by the success of Friday the 13th and Jaws sequels. Psycho II, though, is pretty good. It has a nice twist. Psycho III (1986) is less good, but not exactly bad either. Anthony Perkins took up the directing reins and sort of made an art house version of a sequel. Originally shown on Showtime cable network, Psycho IV (1990) serves up a fairly mundane thriller, actually.  Why do I like it then? Just the fun of watching Anthony Perkins deliver a line like “Slowly.” Henry Thomas does a good job as young Norman, too, though is now over-shadowed by Freddie Highmore’s turn as young Norman in the TV series Bates Motel. All in all, the entire franchise is worth watching at least once.

Day 24 – Horror film in which you prefer the edited version over the director’s cut

I really tried to think of a movie that fits this category. Generally, I find director’s cuts better than theatrical cuts. But horror movies are glutted with “unrated” director’s cuts which are really just the theatrical cut plus a few extra seconds of gore here and there that were trimmed for an R-rating. And if it’s a movie that I’m watching the first time? *shrug* I’m sure my fellow bloggers will have some good choices, but for me? I got nothing.