Saturday, October 20, 2018

Train to Busan

Train to Busan is a 2016 award-winning Korean zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. I can't recommend this highly enough. It's more than "just" a horror movie but is a reflection on modern life, relationships, and sacrifice.

trailer:



Variety has a positive review. The Telegraph gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says it's "pretty much everything you could possibly want a zombie film to be." The New York Times has a positive review.

Empire Online gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says it's "One of the best horrors of the year: innovative, effective...". The Guardian gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says, "This rip-roaring, record-breaking South Korean zombies-on-a-train romp barrels along like a runaway locomotive," also, "Yeon Sang-ho’s breathless cinematic bullet train boasts frantic physical action, sharp social satire and ripe sentimental melodrama designed to reach into your ribcage and rip out your bleeding heart."

Roger Ebert's site gives it 3 out of 4 stars and opens their positive review by calling it "the most purely entertaining zombie film in some time, finding echoes of George Romero’s and Danny Boyle’s work, but delivering something unique for an era in which kindness to others seems more essential than ever." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 95%.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Cigarette Case


The Cigarette Case is a 1911 short story by Oliver Onions. It can be read online here. You can listen to it via Librivox here. It begins,
"A cigarette, Loder?" I said, offering my case. For the moment Loder was not smoking; for long enough he had not been talking.

"Thanks," he replied, taking not only the cigarette, but the case also. The others went on talking; Loder became silent again; but I noticed that he kept my cigarette case in his hand, and looked at it from time to time with an interest that neither its design nor its costliness seemed to explain. Presently I caught his eye.

"A pretty case," he remarked, putting it down on the table. "I once had one exactly like it."

I answered that they were in every shop window.

"Oh yes," he said, putting aside any question of rarity. "I lost mine."

"Oh?…"

He laughed. "Oh, that's all right -I got it back again- don't be afraid I'm going to claim yours. But the way I lost it-found it -the whole thing- was rather curious. I've never been able to explain it. I wonder if you could?"

I answered that I certainly couldn't till I'd heard it, whereupon Loder, taking up the silver case again and holding it in his hand as he talked, began:

"This happened in Provence, when I was about as old as Marsham there- and every bit as romantic. I was there with Carroll -you remember poor old Carroll and what a blade of a boy he was- as romantic as four Marshams rolled into one. (Excuse me, Marsham, won't you? It's a romantic tale, you see, or at least the setting is.) We were in Provence, Carroll and I; twenty-four or thereabouts; romantic, as I say; and -and this happened.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Death Bell

Death Bell is a 2008 Korean horror film. I found this one confusing. I had trouble keeping up with who was who and what their relationships were.


Variety says it has "a neat concept" .


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Chirpin' the Blues

Chirpin' the Blues:



sung by Memphis-born Alberta Hunter, who died on this date in 1984 at 89 years old.

Lyrics excerpt:
I woke up this mornin', heard somebody calling me
I woke up this mornin', heard somebody calling me
My man had packed his grip, said he was leaving for Tennessee
Bad luck and trouble, looks like they're on me to stay
Bad luck and trouble, looks like they're on me to stay
But good luck is old fortune and it's bound to fall my way

This was the first song I ever heard her sing (not in person, but on the radio back in the day):



She's an absolute delight! Listen to her on Youtube or on Spotify:



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Two Cafes by Lesser Ury

Cafe Bauer:


Im Café Victoria, Berlin (1904):


Lesser Ury was a Prussian-born German Impressionist painter, who died on October 18, 1931. Here's a short biography:


Please join the weekly blogger T Stands for Tuesday gathering, where sharing a drink in your post and visiting the other bloggers makes for an enjoyable time.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad


Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad is a 1904 ghost story by M.R. James. It begins,
'I suppose you will be getting away pretty soon, now Fall term is over, Professor,' said a person not in the story to the Professor of Ontography, soon after they had sat down next to each other at a feast in the hospitable hall of St James's College.

The Professor was young, neat, and precise in speech. 'Yes,' he said; 'my friends have been making me take up golf this term, and I mean to go to the East Coast - in point of fact to Burnstow - (I dare say you know it) for a week or ten days, to improve my game. I hope to get off tomorrow.'

'Oh, Parkins,' said his neighbour on the other side, 'if you are going to Burnstow, I wish you would look at the site of the Templars' preceptory, and let me know if you think it would be any good to have a dig there in the summer.'

It was, as you might suppose, a person of antiquarian pursuits who said this, but, since he merely appears in this prologue, there is no need to give his entitlements.

'Certainly,' said Parkins, the Professor: 'if you will describe to me whereabouts the site is, I will do my best to give you an idea of the lie of the land when I get back; or I could write to you about it, if you would tell me where you are likely to be.'

'Don't trouble to do that, thanks. It's only that I'm thinking of taking my family in that direction in the Long, and it occurred to me that, as very few of the English preceptories have ever been properly planned, I might have an opportunity of doing something useful on offdays.'

The Professor rather sniffed at the idea that planning out a preceptory could be described as useful. His neighbour continued:

'The site - I doubt if there is anything showing above ground - must be down quite close to the beach now. The sea has encroached tremendously, as you know, all along that bit of coast. I should think, from the map, that it must be about three-quarters of a mile from the Globe Inn, at the north end of the town.

You can read it online here and listen to it here. It has been adapted for television twice, once in 1968 directed by Jonathan Miller and starring Michael Hordern:



and again in 2010 starring John Hurt:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Demons

Demons is a 1985 Italian horror film directed by Lamberto Bava. The soundtrack may be the best thing about it. Very 80s.

trailer:


watch it here:



HorrorNews.net concludes a mixed review with this: "by keeping an open mind and a sense of humor, all hope is not lost and who knows, maybe the viewer will actually enjoy it. Modern it isn’t, but for the true fan of horror…". Classic-Horror.com has a mixed review and says, "If you're new to Italian horror, do not start here."

You can check out my other blog posts on horror movies I've watched here, where you can scroll through posts just on that subject.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Rooum


Rooum is a 1911 ghost story from the collection Widdershins by Oliver Onions. In it an engineer is pursued by an unknown, unseen presence. You can read it online here. It begins,
For all I ever knew to the contrary, it was his own name; and something about him, name or man or both, always put me in mind, I can't tell you how, of negroes. As regards the name, I dare say it was something huggermugger in the mere sound —something that I classed, for no particular reason, with the dark and ignorant sort of words, such as "Obi" and "Hoodoo." I only know that after I learned that his name was Rooum, I couldn't for the life of me have thought of him as being called anything else.

The first impression that you got of his head was that it was a patchwork of black and white—black bushy hair and short white beard, or else the other way about. As a matter of fact, both hair and beard were piebald, so that if you saw him in the gloom a dim patch of white showed down one side of his head, and dark tufts cropped up here and there in his beard. His eyebrows alone were entirely black, with a little sprouting of hair almost joining them. And perhaps his skin helped to make me think of negroes, for it was very dark, of the dark brown that always seems to have more than a hint of green behind it. His forehead was low, and scored across with deep horizontal furrows.

We never knew when he was going to turn up on a job. We might not have seen him for weeks, but his face was always as likely as not to appear over the edge of a crane-platform just when that marvellous mechanical intuition of his was badly needed. He wasn't certificated. He wasn't even trained, as the rest of us understood training; and he scoffed at the drawing-office, and laughed outright at logarithms and our laborious methods of getting out quantities. But he could set sheers and tackle in a way that made the rest of us look silly. I remember once how, through the parting of a chain, a sixty-foot girder had come down and lay under a ruck of other stuff, as the bottom chip lies under a pile of spellikins—a hopeless-looking smash. Myself, I'm certificated twice or three times over; but I can only assure you that I wanted to kick myself when, after I'd spent a day and a sleepless night over the job, I saw the game of tit-tat-toe that Rooum made of it in an hour or two. Certificated or not, a man isn't a fool who can do that sort of thing. And he was one of these fellows, too, who can "find water" —tell you where water is and what amount of getting it is likely to take, by just walking over the place. We aren't certificated up to that yet.

He was offered good money to stick to us —to stick to our firm— but he always shook his black-and-white piebald head. He'd never be able to keep the bargain if he were to make it, he told us quite fairly. I know there are these chaps who can't endure to be clocked to their work with a patent time-clock in the morning and released of an evening with a whistle —and it's one of the things no master can ever understand. So Rooum came and went erratically, showing up maybe in Leeds or Liverpool, perhaps next on Plymouth breakwater, and once he turned up in an out-of-the-way place in Glamorganshire just when I was wondering what had become of him.

The way I got to know him (got to know him, I mean, more than just to nod) was that he tacked himself on to me one night down Vauxhall way, where we were setting up some small plant or other. We had knocked off for the day, and I was walking in the direction of the bridge when he came up. We walked along together; and we had not gone far before it appeared that his reason for joining me was that he wanted to know "what a molecule was."

I stared at him a bit.

"What do you want to know that for?" I said. "What does a chap like you, who can do it all backwards, want with molecules?"

Oh, he just wanted to know, he said.

So, on the way across the bridge, I gave it him more or less from the book —molecular theory and all the rest of it. But, from the childish questions he put, it was plain that he hadn't got the hang of it at all. "Did the molecular theory allow things to pass through one another?" he wanted to know; "Could things pass through one another?" and a lot of ridiculous things like that. I gave it up.

"You're a genius in your own way, Rooum," I said finally; "you know these things without the books we plodders have to depend on. If I'd luck like that, I think I should be content with it."

But he didn't seem satisfied, though he dropped the matter for that time. But I had his acquaintance, which was more than most of us had. He asked me, rather timidly, if I'd lend him a book or two. I did so, but they didn't seem to contain what he wanted to know, and he soon returned them, without remark.
*******

If you're interested in other weird tales and ghost stories and such that I've written blog posts on in the past, you can scroll through them here.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Whispering Corridors

Whispering Corridors is a 1998 Korean horror movie, the first in a series. This is more sad than scary. Schools are damaging places.

trailer:




HorrorNews.net calls it "a must". Classic-Horror.com says, "when the film is good, it’s really, really good" and credits the director while finding fault with the story itself.

I've also watched Voice (2005), which is 4th of the 5 films in the series.

*******

The Husband is on vacation and is watching some old monster movies with me to celebrate the October/Halloween season. I rarely re-blog movies I've already seen, but I do have blog posts on these we've watched since my last update on our ongoing marathon:

King Kong (1933)
The Mummy (1932)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Ritual


The Ritual is a 2011 award-winning horror novel by Adam Nevill. When I finished it, which didn't take long because I couldn't put it down, my first thought was that it should be adapted for film, and here it is. This is a good, solid horror story, with those ill-equipped young men lost in the primeval Scandinavian forest.

from the back of the book:
When four old university friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn't possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across a derelict building. Ancient artifacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees....
quotes that struck me:
Maybe for short periods of time it seemed to him, inside that stinking bed, that some people were exempt from tragedy and pain, but these respites were short; in the scheme of things and in the length of eternity, respites were nothing but anomalies in a relentless flow of despair and pain and sadness and horror that surely would eventually sweep everyone away.
*******
And so it all continued; it was dull in its predictability. Evil was, he decided, inevitable, relentless, and predictable. Imaginative,
he'd give it that much, but soulless.
*******

The Guardian opens a positive review by saying, "This novel grabs from the very first page, refuses to be laid aside, and carries the hapless reader, exhausted and wrung out, to the very last sentence."

If you're interested in other horror stories and weird tales I've read, please check out those posts here.