Monday, October 31, 2011

io9's List of the 50 Scariest Movies of All Time

Here's the countdown from io9's site:

50. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
49. An American Werewolf In London (1981)
48. Midnight Meat Train (2008)
47. Re-Animator (1985)
46. Cat People (1942)
45. La Conquête du Pôle ("The Conquest of the Pole") (1912)
44. The Birds (1963)
43. The Blob (1958)
42. The Crazies (2010)
41. The Mist (2007)

40. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
39. Hellraiser (1987)
38. Frankenstein (1931)
37. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
36. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
35. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
34. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
33. Cloverfield (2008)
32. Predator (1987)
31. Candyman (1992)

30. Suspiria (1977)
29. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
28. Nosferatu (1922)
27. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
26. Rec (2007)
25. Signs (2002)
24. The Omen (1976)
23. The Last Exorcism (2010)
22. Pet Sematary (1989)
21. Jacob's Ladder (1990)

20. The Ruins (2008)
19. Cabin Fever (2002)
18. Insidious (2011)
17. Friday The 13th (1980)
16. 28 Days Later (2002)
15. Blair Witch Project (1999)
14. The Haunting (1963)
13. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
12. Event Horizon (1997)
11. Carrie (1976)

10.The Descent (2005)
9. The Ring (2002)
8. Phantasm (1979)
7. Paranormal Activity (2007)
6. The Fly (1986)
5. The Thing (1982)
4. The Exorcist (1973)
3. Poltergeist (1982)
2. The Shining (1980)
1. Alien (1979)

I've seen the few in bold print.

Silent Night, Bloody Night

Silent Night, Bloody Night is a 1974 horror film starring Patrick O'Neal, Mary Woronov (Babylon 5) and John Carradine. Candy Darling is also here. This one was worth watching, and I'd be happy to watch it again with anyone else who might want to see it.

Internet Archive has it, as does youtube:

The Spinning Image doesn't give it a positive review but does say, "there's something about that mood that stays with you like a Christmas Eve ghost story". AMCtv has some information.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Top 15 Underrated Horror Movies

SF Signal links to a Buzzfeed list of horror films, none of which I've seen and only one of which (Suspiria) I have in my to-be-watched stack:

The Last House on the Left (Original)
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
Black Christmas (Original)
I Spit On Your Grave
Ginger Snaps
Jacob’s Ladder
Lake Mungo
Alice, Sweet Alice
The Blood-Spattered Bride

Every time I think I'm making some headway, I come across another list!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Man Made Monster

Man Made Monster is a 1941 horror film starring Lionel Atwill, Lon Chaney, Jr. in his horror movie debut, Anne Nagel, Frank Albertson, Samuel S. Hinds, famed stuntman David Sharpe, Russell Hicks and Byron Foulger. George Waggner directs.

1000 Misspent Hours says,
There’s honestly very little, good or bad, to be said for Man-Made Monster. I would be hard pressed to think of a more perfectly generic early-40’s mad scientist flick, and if it weren’t for its significance as the start of Lon Chaney Jr.’s career in horror films, it would surely be even more completely forgotten than it is today....

It isn’t that Man-Made Monster is a notably bad movie— it’s competently made all around, and with a running time noticeably under an hour if you factor out the time spent on credits and production slates, there’s just no way for it to be boring— but there is nothing about it that lingers in the memory,...
Spinning Image says, "It's no classic, but it is unexpectedly endearing." Variety calls it "mighty successful" in a 1941 review. MSN, TCM and AMC each have some information.

Ghosts of Hanley House

Ghosts of Hanley House is a 1968 haunted house horror film starring Elsie Baker. One of the actors credited is listed as "Nosmo King" and the make-up is by Eni Nassa. It's one of the slowest films I've seen, with lots of padding to fill out the 1:25 run time. The music brings back memories from '60's past.

"Did you see my car keys?" "Why, no. [turns to next person] Did you see the car keys?" "No, did you?" This went all the way around the table. Later, women in nighties and men in pajama bottoms stare at each other and listen to eerie sounds. The actors spend an awful lot of time in pause mode. And then a seance: "Is there anyone there who wishes to speak with anyone here? Is there anyone there who wishes to speak with anyone here? Is there ..." This may be the most repetitive movie I've ever seen.

The Spinning Image says it "fails on damn near every level." Film Obscurities gives a detailed plot description and says, "It looks awful, sounds awful. This has an extremely limited appeal." AMCtv has an overview.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Night of the Lepus

Night of the Lepus is a 1972 horror movie starring Star Trek icon DeForest Kelley, Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh. The film starts off with a talking head environmental lecture.


My favorite quotes:
Calm down, Jack, the rabbit's gone.
And the sheriff on a bullhorn to the audience at the drive-in theater:
Attention! Attention! Ladies and Gentlemen! There is a herd of killer rabbits headed this way and we desperately need your help. Roll up your windows...
Slant Magazine calls it "a radically dull riff on the nature-run-amok genre utilizing what must've been the only animal not yet exploited for scares. And scares are exactly what the filmmakers didn't get". Moria gives it a single star and calls it "a film that has attained a legendary reputation as a genuine Golden Turkey". 1000 Misspent Hours seems stunned by its badness and asks: "how on Earth could this movie have gotten made?" Weird Wild Realm begins with this: "One of the goofiest excuses for a horror film was Night of the Lepus (1972) about giant killer rabbits" and concludes
Most inept movies are bad & quickly forgotten & leave one regretting the wasted time. This one will stick with you, like witnessing a train wreck, more entertainingly ridiculous than most of the many giant animal & nature-attack films that proliferated at the time.
DVD Talk says, "The reason it's not effective is immediately obvious. No matter how you photograph and light groups of bunny rabbits, they look cute, and not in the least bit threatening." Time Out admires it. EW says, "any movie that features mutant bunnies being shot, blowtorched, and electrocuted makes for a hopping good time".

500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Some time ago I found this list and starting making the occasional post on songs found on it. Now the list as I have it is not at that site, and the list that is there is different. Some songs on the list below aren't even on the list I see on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame site now. I'm not sure what I'll do. I may start working on somebody else's list and hope it sticks around long enough for me to work my way through it.

This list is from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (which has a Facebook page):


* A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke
* A Day in the Life - The Beatles
* A Teenager In Love - Dion And The Belmonts
* A Well Respected Man - The Kinks
* A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum
* ABC - Jackson 5
* After Midnight - Eric Clapton
* Ain’t That a Shame - Fats Domino
* Ain’t Too Proud To Beg - The Temptations
* All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
* All I Have to Do Is Dream - The Everly Brothers
* All Right Now - Free
* All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople
* Am I Asking Too Much - Dinah Washington
* American Girl - Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
* American Pie - Don McLean
* Anarchy In The U.K. - Sex Pistols
* Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2 - Pink Floyd
* Aqualung - Jethro Tull
* At The Hop - Danny & The Juniors
* Authority Song - John Cougar Mellencamp
* Autobahn - Kraftwerk
* A World Without Love - Peter And Gordon


* Baba O’Riley - The Who
* Baby I Need Your Loving - The Four Tops
* Baby Please Don’t Go - Big Joe Williams
* Back In Black - AC/DC
* Ball ‘N’ Chain - Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton
* Bang A Gong (Get It On) - T. Rex
* Be My Baby - The Ronettes
* Be-Bop-A-Lula - Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
* Beat It - Michael Jackson
* Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil
* Been Caught Stealin’ - Jane’s Addiction
* Bennie And The Jets - Elton John
* Big Boss Man - Jimmy Reed
* Big Girls Don’t Cry - The 4 Seasons
* Biko - Peter Gabriel
* Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
* Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen - Santana
* (I Belong To The) Blank Generation - Richard Hell & The Voidoids
* Blowin’ in the Wind - Bob Dylan
* Blue Moon - The Marcels
* Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins
* Blue Yodel No. 9 - Jimmie Rodgers
* Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
* Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley
* Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen 
* Bony Maronie - Larry Williams
* Boogie Chillun - John Lee Hooker
* Book Of Love - The Monotones
* Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
* Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
* Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
* Born Under A Bad Sign - Albert King
* Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
* Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon And Garfunkel
* Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed
* Bring It On Home to Me - Sam Cooke
* Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
* Brown Shoes Don’t Make It - The Mothers Of Invention (with Frank Zappa)
* Bus Stop - The Hollies
* By And By - The Soul Stirrers
* Bye Bye Love - The Everly Brothers


* C’mon Everybody - Eddie Cochran
* C.C. Rider - Chuck Willis
* Caldonia - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five
* California Dreamin’ - The Mamas And The Papas
* California Girls - The Beach Boys
* Call It Stormy Monday - T-Bone Walker
* Chain Of Fools - Aretha Franklin
* Chantilly Lace - The Big Bopper
* Chapel Of Love - The Dixie Cups
* Come Go With Me - The Dell-Vikings
* Cross Road Blues - Robert Johnson
* Crossroads - Cream
* Crying In The Chapel - The Orioles


* Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home) - The Crystals
* Dance To The Music - Sly & The Family Stone
* Dancing In The Dark - Bruce Springsteen
* Dancing In The Street - Martha And The Vandellas
* Dark Star - The Grateful Dead
* Dazed And Confused - Led Zeppelin
* Dear Mr. Fantasy - Traffic
* Dedicated To The One I Love - The Shirelles
* Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly - Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
* Dirty Water - The Standells
* Disco Inferno - The Trammps
* Dixie Chicken - Little Feat
* (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
* Do You Believe In Magic - The Lovin’ Spoonful
* Do You Love Me - The Contours
* Don’t Worry Baby - The Beach Boys
* Don’t You Want Me? - Human League
* Down By the River - Neil Young
* Downhearted Blues - Bessie Smith
* Dream On - Aerosmith
* Driftin’ Blues - Charles Brown
* Duke Of Earl - Gene Chandler
* Dust My Broom - Elmore James


* Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) - The Penguins
* Eight Miles High - The Byrds
* Enter Sandman - Metallica
* Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
* Every Breath You Take - The Police
* Everybody Needs Somebody to Love - Solomon Burke


* Fame - David Bowie
* Fever - Little Willie John
* (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party) - The Beastie Boys
* Fight the Power - Public Enemy
* Fire And Rain - James Taylor
* Fly Like An Eagle - Steve Miller Band
* Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
* For What It’s Worth - Buffalo Springfield
* Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival
* Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd


* Gee - The Crows
* Get Up Stand Up - The Wailers
* Gimme Some Lovin’ - Spencer Davis Group
* Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
* Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
* Give Peace A Chance - John Lennon
* Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) - Parliament
* Glad All Over - Dave Clark Five
* Gloria (in Excelsis Deo) - Patti Smith
* Gloria - The Shadows Of Knight
* Go To The Mirror Boy - The Who
* Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
* God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
* God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
* Going To A Go-Go - The Miracles
* Good Golly, Miss Molly - Little Richard
* Good Lovin’ - The Young Rascals
* Good Morning (Little) School Girl - Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson
* Good Rockin’ Tonight - Wynonie Harris
* Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
* Goodnight Irene - The Weavers
* Got My Mojo Working - Muddy Waters
* Graceland - Paul Simon
* Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis
* Green Onions - Booker T. & The MG’s
* Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival
* Groovin’ - The Young Rascals


* Hallelujah I Love Her So - Ray Charles
* Hanky Panky - Tommy James And The Shondells
* He’s A Rebel - The Crystals
* Heart Of Glass - Blondie
* Heart Of Gold - Neil Young
* Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
* (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave - Martha And The Vandellas
* Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now - The Smiths
* Hellhound On My Trail - Robert Johnson
* Hello Mary Lou - Ricky Nelson
* Help Me - Joni Mitchell
* HELP! - The Beatles
* Heroin - Velvet Underground
* Hey Jude - The Beatles
* Hickory Wind - The Byrds
* Hide Away - Freddy King
* (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher - Jackie Wilson
* Highway to Hell - AC/DC
* Hillbilly Boogie - The Delmore Brothers
* Hippy Hippy Shake - Swinging Blue Jeans
* Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones
* Honky Tonk - Bill Doggett
* Hoochie Coochie Man - Muddy Waters
* Hotel California - The Eagles
* Hound Dog - Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton
* How Do You Do It? - Gerry and The Pacemakers
* How High The Moon - Les Paul and Mary Ford
* How I Got Over - Clara Ward & The Ward Singers
* Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran


* I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore - Phil Ochs
* I Can’t Quit You Baby - Otis Rush
* I Fall To Pieces - Patsy Cline
* I Fought The Law - The Bobby Fuller Four
* I Got A Woman - Ray Charles
* I Got You (I Feel Good) - James Brown
* I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
* I Love Rock ‘N Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
* I Never Loved A Man (the Way I Love You) - Aretha Franklin
* I Only Have Eyes For You - The Flamingos
* I Put a Spell On You - Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
* I Shot The Sheriff - The Wailers (with Bob Marley)
* I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For - U2
* I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
* I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges
* I Want to Hold Your Hand - The Beatles
* I Want You Back - Jackson 5
* I Will Dare - The Replacements
* I’ll Live Again - The Dixie Hummingbirds
* I’m A Believer - The Monkees
* I’m Eighteen - Alice Cooper
* I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
* If I Didn’t Care - The Ink Spots
* If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song) - Peter, Paul And Mary
* Imagine - John Lennon
* In The Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett
* In The Still Of The Nite - The 5 Satins
* In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
* Instant Karma (We All Shine On) - John Lennon
* Iron Man - Black Sabbath
* It Ain’t Me Babe - The Turtles
* It’s Your Thing - The Isley Brothers


* Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
* Jeremy - Pearl Jam
* Jim Dandy - LaVern Baker
* Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
* Juke - Little Walter
* Jump - Van Halen
* Jumpin’ Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
* Just Like Me - Paul Revere & The Raiders
* Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel


* Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison


* La Bamba - Ritchie Valens
* Ladies First - Queen Latifah
* Last Train To Clarksville - The Monkees
* Late For The Sky - Jackson Browne
* Laugh Laugh - The Beau Brummels
* Lawdy Miss Clawdy - Lloyd Price
* Layla - Derek and the Dominos
* Le Freak - Chic
* Leader Of The Pack - The Shangri-Las
* Legalize It - Peter Tosh
* Legs - ZZ Top
* Let’s Go Trippin’ - Dick Dale And The Del-Tones
* Let’s Have A Party - Amos Milburn
* Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
* Life During Wartime - Talking Heads
* Light My Fire - The Doors
* Like A Virgin - Madonna
* Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
* Little Johnny Jewel - Television
* Little Red Corvette - Prince 
* Lively Up Yourself - Bob Marley And The Wailers
* Living for the City - Stevie Wonder
* Lola - The Kinks
* London Calling - The Clash
* Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
* Los Angeles - X
* Loser - Beck
* Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
* Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
* Love in Vain - Robert Johnson
* Love Is The Drug - Roxy Music
* Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley
* Love Potion No. 9 - The Clovers
* Love To Love You Baby - Donna Summer
* Love Train - O’Jays
* Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division


* Madame George - Van Morrison
* Maggie May - Rod Stewart
* Mama Said Knock You Out - L.L. Cool J
* Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean - Ruth Brown
* Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters
* Many Rivers to Cross - Jimmy Cliff
* Master Blaster (Jammin’) - Stevie Wonder
* Matchbox Blues - Blind Lemon Jefferson
* Matchbox - Carl Perkins
* Maybe I’m Amazed - Paul McCartney
* Maybellene - Chuck Berry
* Me Myself And I - De La Soul
* Mercy Mercy - Don Covey
* Midnight Stomp - Jimmy Yancey
* Miss You - The Rolling Stones
* Money (That’s What I Want) - Barrett Strong
* Money Honey - The Drifters
* Money - Pink Floyd
* Moondance - Van Morrison
* More Than A Feeling - Boston
* Motherless Children - Blind Willie Johnson
* Move It - Cliff Richard And The Drifters
* Move On Up A Little Higher - Mahalia Jackson
* Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds
* Mule Skinner Blues - Bill Monroe
* My Generation - The Who
* My Girl - The Temptations
* My Guy - Mary Wells
* My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) - Neil Young
* Mystery Train - Elvis Presley


* Needles and Pins - The Searchers
* New Rose - The Damned
* Night Moves - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
* Nights In White Satin - The Moody Blues
* 96 Tears - Question Mark And The Mysterians
* No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley And The Wailers
* Norwegian Wood - The Beatles
* Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang - Dr. Dre


* Oh, Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison
* Oh, What A Night - The Dells
* Ohio - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
* Omaha - Moby Grape
* Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads
* One Nation Under a Groove - Funkadelic


* Packing Up - Marion Williams
* Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone - The Temptations
* Paranoid - Black Sabbath
* Party Doll - Buddy Knox
* Pastures Of Plenty - Woody Guthrie
* Peggy Sue - Buddy Holly
* People Get Ready - The Impressions
* Personality Crisis - New York Dolls
* Piece Of My Heart - Big Brother & The Holding Company (with Janis Joplin)
* Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie - Pinetop Perkins
* Pipeline - The Chantays
* Planet Rock - Afrika Bambaataa
* Please Please Please - James Brown
* Plynth (Water Down The Drain) - Jeff Beck Group
* Pressure Drop - Toots & The Maytals
* Pretty Boy Floyd - Woody Guthrie
* Pride (In The Name Of Love) - U2
* Pride And Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan
* Proud Mary - Creedence Clearwater Revival
* Prove It On Me - Ma Rainey & Her Tub Jug Washboard Band
* Psychotic Reaction - The Count Five
* Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
* Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
* Pushin’ Too Hard - The Seeds


* Quarter To Three - Gary U.S. Bonds


* Radio Free Europe - R.E.M.
* Rainin’ In My Heart - Slim Harpo
* Ramblin’ Man - The Allman Brothers Band
* Rapper’s Delight - The Sugarhill Gang
* Reach Out I’ll Be There - The Four Tops
* Rebel-’Rouser - Duane Eddy
* Reconsider Baby - Lowell Fulson
* Red Hot - Billy Riley & His Little Green Men
* Reelin’ In The Years - Steely Dan
* Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers
* Respect - Aretha Franklin
* Right Place Wrong Time - Dr. John
* River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner
* Rock & Roll Music - Chuck Berry
* Rock And Roll All Nite - Kiss
* Rock And Roll - Led Zeppelin
* (We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
* Rock Island Line - Lonnie Donegan
* Rock Lobster - The B-52’s
* Rock My Soul - Golden Gate Quartet
* Rock This Town - Stray Cats
* Rock ‘N’ Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter
* Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie-Woogie Flu - Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & His Clowns
* Rollin’ Stone - Muddy Waters
* Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) - Bruce Springsteen
* Roundabout - Yes
* Roxanne - The Police
* Roxanne, Roxanne - U.T.F.O.
* Rumble - Link Wray
* Runaway - Del Shannon
* Runnin’ With the Devil - Van Halen


* Sail Away - Randy Newman
* (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones
* Saturday Night Fish Fry - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five
* Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud - James Brown
* Search And Destroy - Iggy And The Stooges
* See Emily Play - Pink Floyd
* September Gurls - Big Star
* Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye
* Shake Your Moneymaker - Elmore James
* Shake - Otis Redding
* Shake, Rattle And Roll - Big Joe Turner
* Shapes Of Things - The Yardbirds
* She’s About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet
* Sheena Is A Punk Rocker - Ramones
* Shotgun - Jr. Walker and the All Stars
* Shout - Pts. 1 & 2 - The Isley Brothers
* Sin City - The Flying Burrito Brothers
* Sincerely - The Moonglows
* Sixty Minute Man - The Dominoes
* Slippin’ Into Darkness - War
* Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
* Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
* Smokestack Lightnin’ - Howlin’ Wolf
* Solo Flight - Charlie Christian with the Benny Goodman Orchestra
* Somebody to Love - Jefferson Airplane
* Something To Talk About - Bonnie Raitt
* Soul Man - Sam & Dave
* Space Oddity - David Bowie
* Spanish Harlem - Ben E. King
* Splish Splash - Bobby Darin
* Spoonful - Howlin’ Wolf
* Stack O’ Lee Blues - Mississippi John Hurt
* Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin
* Stand By Me - Ben E. King
* Statesboro Blues - Blind Willie McTell
* Stayin’ Alive - The Bee Gees
* Stop! In The Name Of Love - The Supremes
* Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles
* Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan
* Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills & Nash
* Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits
* Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
* Sunday Bloody Sunday - U2
* Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
* Sunshine Superman - Donovan
* Super Freak - Rick James
* Superfly - Curtis Mayfield
* Superstition - Stevie Wonder
* Surf City - Jan & Dean
* Surfin’ U.S.A. - The Beach Boys
* Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley
* Suzy-Q - Dale Hawkins
* Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) - Eurythmics
* Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson
* Sweet Little Angel - B.B. King
* Sympathy For The Devil - The Rolling Stones


* Take It Easy - The Eagles
* Take Me Back To Tulsa - Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
* Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan
* Teenage Riot - Sonic Youth
* Tell It Like It Is - Aaron Neville
* Tell Mama - Etta James
* Tennessee - Arrested Development
* Tequila - The Champs
* Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly & The Family Stone
* That’ll Be the Day - Buddy Holly And The Crickets
* That’s All Right - Elvis Presley
* The Breaks - Kurtis Blow
* The End - The Doors
* The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die-Rag - Country Joe and The Fish
* The Great Pretender - The Platters
* The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff
* The House Of The Rising Sun - The Animals
* The Letter - The Box Tops
* The Loco-Motion - Little Eva
* The Message - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
* The Midnight Special - Lead Belly
* The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band
* The Red Rooster - Howlin ‘Wolf
* The Sounds Of Silence - Simon And Garfunkel
* The Spirit Of Radio - Rush
* The Things That I Used To Do - Guitar Slim
* The Thrill Is Gone - B.B. King
* The Times They Are A-Changin’ - Bob Dylan
* The Tracks Of My Tears - The Miracles
* The Train Kept A-Rollin’ - Johnny Burnette Trio
* The Twist - Chubby Checker
* The Weight - The Band
* There Goes My Baby - The Drifters
* This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie
* This Train - Sister Rosetta Tharpe
* Tighten Up - Archie Bell & The Drells
* Time (Clock Of The Heart) - Culture Club
* Time Is On My Side - The Rolling Stones
* Tipitina - Professor Longhair
* Toys in the Attic - Aerosmith
* Try A Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
* Turn On the News - Husker Du
* Turn On Your Love - Bobby Blue Bland
* Tutti Frutti - Little Richard


* U Can’t Touch This - MC Hammer
* Uncle John’s Band - The Grateful Dead
* Up On The Roof - The Drifters
* Uptight (Everything’s Alright) - Stevie Wonder


* Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix


* Wabash Cannonball - Roy Acuff And The Smoky Mountain Boys
* Walk Away Renee - The Left Banke
* Walk Don’t Run - The Ventures
* Walk Like A Man - The 4 Seasons
* Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed
* Walk This Way - Run-D.M.C.
* War - Edwin Starr
* We Are Family - Sister Sledge
* We Got The Beat - Go-Go’s
* We Gotta Get Out Of This Place - The Animals
* We’re An American Band - Grand Funk Railroad
* We’re Gonna Rock - Cecil Gant
* Welcome To The Jungle - Guns N’ Roses
* West End Blues - Louis Armstrong
* What’d I Say - Ray Charles
* What’s Going On - Marvin Gaye
* When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
* When Doves Cry - Prince 
* Where Have All The Flowers Gone - Pete Seeger
* Whip It - Devo
* Whipping Post - The Allman Brothers Band
* White Light / White Heat - Velvet Underground
* White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
* Who Do You Love - Quicksilver Messenger Service
* Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
* Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On - Jerry Lee Lewis
* Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
* Wild Thing - The Troggs
* Will You Love Me Tomorrow - The Shirelles
* Willie And The Hand Jive - Johnny Otis
* Wipe Out - The Surfaris
* With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker
* Wooly Bully - Sam The Sham And The Pharoahs
* Work With Me Annie - Hank Ballard And The Midnighters


* Yakety Yak - The Coasters
* Yesterday - The Beatles
* You Can’t Hurry Love - The Supremes
* You Really Got Me - The Kinks
* You Send Me - Sam Cooke
* You’ve Got A Friend - Carole King
* You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ - The Righteous Brothers
* You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me - The Miracles
* Young Blood - The Coasters
* Your Song - Elton John


* Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

Am I Asking Too Much

Am I Asking Too Much is a 1948 R&B song by Dinah Washington.

This song was on the list of Songs that shaped Rock and Roll from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum when I first started this project, but I don't see it there now. I didn't expect this list to change over time.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Samson vs. the Vampire Women

Samson vs. the Vampire Women is a 1962 Spanish horror film with an irresistible title. And it's got the Samson character in what looks for all the world to be an actual real-life wrasslin' match. I mean how can you not watch it!

Perhaps not surprisingly, reviews are a bit scarce.

Eternal Evil

Eternal Evil is a 1985 horror film also known as The Blue Man. It stars Karen Black, John Novak (who voiced a character in Key the Metal Idol) and Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny). It is dated, and I don't mean that in a good way. Whatever it might once have had hasn't held up well. The ending wasn't completely unexpected, but I thought it was worth having watched the rest of the movie to see.

watch it from youtube:

or at the internet archive.

Moria calls is "undistinguished and bland". Weird Wild Realm tells plot details and closes by saying:
Although the film ls cheezy, it's also entertaining, & it is just about the most horrific of several horror roles Karen Black has undertaken. She's makes an fabulous monster.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Wolfman (2010)

I picked this DVD to watch tonight. It's one The Husband, The Younger Son and I have been meaning to see. The Wolfman is a 2010 remake of the 1941 Lon Chaney, Jr. classic. It does take significant liberties with the original film. This one stars Benicio del Toro in the Lon Chaney role, Anthony Hopkins as his father, Emily Blunt as the love interest (in this one she's the fiancee of the recently deceased elder brother) and Hugo Weaving plays a detective from Scotland Yard. Danny Elfman did the music. I liked it. I will say I liked it best as it adhered more closely to the original and liked it less the more it strayed.


Moria gives a mixed review and closes by saying that "for what it aims for, The Wolfman achieves modestly and effectively." The New York Times does not like it. DVD Talk doesn't like it either, closing its review with this:
Because, you know, a werewolf is about an Id unleashed, howling at the moon, tearing stuff up. The Wolfman is none of these things. It's timid and boring. It's a pretty lady in a bodice that never gets ripped. It howls, but it does so quietly, afraid that someone might hear. The Wolfman is a quarter moon kind of movie, not a full one.
Roger Ebert gives it a generally positive review except for the special effects. The Guardian gives it a lowly 2 out of a possible 5 stars. EW says
Del Toro, with his melancholy-brute features, endows this raging beast with some of the ''Why me?'' poignance you may remember from Lon Chaney Jr.'s performance in the original. Lawrence, you see, has no desire to be a werewolf. He doesn't get off on the power of the dark side; he just wants to be free of it. And that lends The Wolfman, hokey and uneven though it is, the kind of authentic emotional hook that too many horror movies today don't have.

The Mummy's Tomb

The Husband picked this one to follow The Mummy's Hand, having bought them on dvd not long ago. The Mummy's Tomb is a true sequel to The Mummy's Hand, but the mummy is played by Lon Chaney, Jr. in this one. George Zucco reprises his role as high priest. I liked it better if only because it didn't pepper itself with comic relief.

Moria says it's
the dreariest of them all. The plot is the most routine and least standout of the series. Sadly, the most exciting the film ever gets is during the footage that has been taken direct from The Mummy’s Hand.
1000 Misspent Hours closes by praising the lack of comic relief and opens by saying it's
probably the strongest of the Universal mummy movies. Like its immediate predecessor, it features a blazingly fast pace and a short running time, but its more serious tone, better monster makeup, and higher quotient of mummy action make it far superior
Weird Wild Realm liked The Mummy's Hand better. The New York Times was not impressed when it was released in 1942.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Mummy's Hand

The Husband chose this and we watched it Saturday afternoon. He picked it up on dvd recently. I hadn't seen it before. The Mummy's Hand re-tells the story of the mummy, played in the original by Boris Karloff. George Zucco stars as the high priest who pulls the mummy's strings. It's much more like an Abbott and Costello movie than it is like the original Mummy movie, except it's not nearly as funny as Abbott and Costello. I watched the whole thing but nothing could convince me ever to do that again.

Moria calls it "modestly effective". 1000 Misspent Hours says,
What prevents it from rising above the level of its dottering, flabby cousin from the 30’s is a combination of its dumbed-down script and that deadliest bane of the pre-60’s B-movie-- comic relief!
Weird Wild Realm actually liked it. The audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes is 56%.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God Bless American Baseball Games?

What does it say about me that I'm sick to death of God Bless America at baseball games and find it extremely irritating? I much prefer the traditional Take Me Out to the Ball Game:


The Younger Son picked Predator to watch with The Husband and me this past Friday night. Except for the token female I got a kick out of this one. Predator is a 1987 sf/horror film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura.


Roger Ebert says it's "filmed very well". Moria says,
For a film that makes no pretence to anything other than action, the results emerge particularly well. The appearances of the Predator and its digital camouflage are unworldly. The combat is staged with an exhilaratingly pyrotechnic kick. The military manoeuvers are directed with considerable style – clearly, either McTiernan or some advisor behind the scenes had had hands-on military training as the way the soldiers move looks like they are in the midst of real action.
Rotten Tomatoes seems to like it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jekyll & Hyde (1990)

Jekyll & Hyde is a 1990 tv movie starring Michael Caine in the dual title role. Cheryl Ladd is his sister-in-law and illicit love interest, a character I don't remember from the book. Lionel Jeffries plays Jekyll's father. I don't like this one, even though I like Michael Caine in almost everything. This version has entirely too much unrelated romance and romantic scandal thrown in to suit me. I haven't finished watching it, and I may not.


The New York Times has a review.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oren Peli's Favorite Horror Films

Fearnet reports that director Oren Peli has named his favorite 5:

The Exorcist
The Blair Witch Project
The Others
Rosemary's Baby
A Nightmare on Elm Street

I've seen the ones in bold print. All one of them. I am so far behind....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bennie and the Jets

Bennie and the Jets is an Elton John song from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, which was released in 1973.

This song is on the list of Songs that shaped Rock and Roll from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This link has changed since I started working my way through the list, and the list itself is ordered alphabetically by artist, which is not how I have mine. I wonder if the songs have changed at all from the list as I first saw it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I. Monster

I, Monster is Christopher Lee's 1971 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, except that the Jekyll/Hyde names have been changed. I wonder why. Peter Cushing is in it, too.

poor kitty.

Moria thinks it's a faithful version of the story, says the sets are good and praises Lee's performance. 1000 Misspent Hours says that Lee's performance is the film's greatest strength.

HT: Need Coffee

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1955)

This version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was aired in 1955 as part of the Climax! tv series. It is directed by Allen Reisner and stars Michael Rennie in the title roles, Cedric Hardwicke and Mary Sinclair. It was adapted by Gore Vidal from the R.L. Stevenson story, which can be read online. I've never before heard Dr. Jekyll's name pronounced that way.

HT: Need Coffee

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Empire of the Ants

Empire of the Ants is a 1977 SF/horror film inspired by an H.G. Wells short story, which can be read online. The film is directed by Bert Gordon, who also did The Cyclops. It stars Joan Collins (she was nominated for a Saturn Award for this film for Best Actress in a Science Fiction film), Robert Lansing (who has an original series Star Trek connection) and Robert Pine (who has Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise connections).

It begins with 1 1/2 minutes of narration spoken over a background of little ants busily engaged in typical ant behavior, carrying pieces of leaves, etc. The ants do ant-like things throughout the movie, while the people respond as you might expect.

watch it online:

Moria concludes with, "Empire of the Ants solidly and resolutely rests atop a pile of Z movie forgettability." 1000 Misspent Hours says, "More than anything else, Empire of the Ants points to the dangers inherent in using Gordon’s favorite special effects techniques." TimeOut calls it "drastically boring". Rotten Tomatoes hates it, with the top critics giving it the lowest ratings possible. The New York Times says, "It's no picnic". cute

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Twonky

The Twonky is a 1953 science fiction film, just a hour or so long. It's a comedy, written and directed by Arch Oboler and starring Hans Conreid who was in The Phantom Tollbooth (1970), Bus Stop and many others. Jack Meakin did the music, and according to the imdb listing, he also contributed some of the music used in Night of the Living Dead (1968).

HT: SF Signal

TCM has an overview, as does AMC.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Omen (1976)

Yesterday afternoon The Younger Son, The Husband and I watched The Omen, the original 1976 film starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner (Babylon 5, Star Trek 5 and 6, Star Trek: TNG, Bob Cratchit in the George C. Scott Christmas Carol), Patrick Troughton (the 2nd Doctor) and Leo McKern (an old favorite of mine, especially from Help!, The Prisoner tv series, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, X the Unknown, and, of course, as Rumpole). I had never seen it before and was struck by how solidly it seemed to be in the predestination camp. There's no possession/exorcism plan here. In this film some people are born to be damned.


Did Roger Ebert actually watch the movie? He claims the Leo McKern character dies in a tornado. He gives it 2 1/2 starts. Moria gives it 3 stars. 1000 Misspent Hours says, "This is a very well-made movie, filled with effective performances and packing a few exceptionally powerful scare scenes." DVD Talk says, "It's a classy film with a great cast, some unforgettable visuals and set pieces, and one of the most chilling scores of the last fifty years." Rotten Tomatoes gives it 82%.

The Sugar House

The Sugar House, by Laura Lippman, is 5th in the Tess Monaghan series. You can read an excerpt at the Harper Collins site. I've read Butcher's Hill, and the author gets good press, and I enjoyed this book just fine, but I won't be seeking out more by her. It's a matter of there being just too many other books I'm wanting to read...

from the back of the book:
A client named Ruthie — who seems to know Tess’s father a little too well — asks the newspaperwoman-turned-p.i. to investigate a year-old “Jane Doe” murder and its grim aftermath. Ruthie’s low-life brother, Henry, confessed to killing a teenager runaway over a bottle of glue — and, a month into his prison term, he met the same fate as his victim. Following a precious few tantalizing clues, Tess sets off on a path that is leading her from Baltimore’s exclusive Inner Harbor to the city’s seediest neighborhoods. But it’s the shocking discovery of the runaway’s true identity that turns her hunt deadly. Suddenly a supposedly solved murder case is turning up newer, fresher corpses and newer, scarier versions of the Sugar House — places that look sweet and safe ... but only from the outside.

The Chicago Tribune closes its positive review with this praise:
What makes "The Sugar House" so satisfying is the complexity of plot and character. This is the fifth entry in an already admirable mystery series, and Lippman and Tess make the deserved transition from paperback to hardcover with ease. Both just keep getting better.

There's a fascinating video at youtube in which Lippman sheds light on "her mysterious Baltimore":

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Wings of the Sphinx

The Wings of the Sphinx, by Andrea Camilleri, is part of a series of detective novels featuring Inspector Salvo Montalbano. There is a website in English here where there is information on the author, his work and the titles available in English. I discovered this series in a used book store, but now I buy the books new.

from the back of the book:
The death of a Russian prostitute leads Inspector Montalbano behind the facade of a well-connected Catholic charity.

Things are not going well for Inspector Salvo Montalbano. His relationship with Livia is once again on the rocks and-acutely aware of his age-he is beginning to grow weary of the endless violence he encounters. Then a young woman is found dead, her face half shot off and only a tattoo of a sphinx moth giving any hint of her identity. The tattoo links her to three similarly marked girls-all victims of the underworld sex trade-who have been rescued from the Mafia night-club circuit by a prominent Catholic charity. The problem is, Montalbano's inquiries elicit an outcry from the Church and the three other girls are all missing.

The author has a fan club and a Facebook page. Best of Sicily Magazine says the author "stands apart as an entertainer." The Guardian has an article on Camilleri, which says,
The real Sicily lives in his pages - its smells, its tastes (I have already cooked a couple of the dishes Montalbano enjoys most) and, above all, its language. Sicily, in turn, is proud of him. His birthplace of Porto Empedocle, on which Vigàta is based, has changed its name to Vigàta.
The Independent says,
Camilleri has made Montalbano famous around the world: more than 10 million copies of the books have been sold. Montalbano is a brilliant cop, of course, but for most addicts it is the volcanic character of the hero and the comedy of his relationships - with his caustic girlfriend Livia, based hundreds of miles away in Genoa but always jetting in at the worst moment, with his lecherous subordinate and drinking companion Mimi Augello, and with his much-abused stomach - that keep them coming back for more.
I've read these:

1. The Shape of Water
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog
5. Excursion to Tindari
6. The Smell of Night
9. The Paper Moon
10. August Heat

Friday, October 14, 2011

Been Caught Stealin'

Been Caught Stealin' is a 1990 release by Jane's Addiction and was their biggest hit.

Jane's Addiction - Been Caught Stealing by Warner-Music

This song is on the list of 500 Songs that shaped Rock and Roll from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Haunts is a 1977 film starring May Britt, Cameron Mitchell (a favorite of mine from his High Chaparral days) and Aldo Ray. I thought this was fascinating -more complicated than I thought it was going to be at first.

watch it, compliments of youtube:

Rotten Tomatoes says, "this quirky little thriller emerges a surprisingly original murder mystery with some well-executed twists".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The Younger Son and I watched Outpost last night. He had seen it, but I had not. More Nazi zombies. What's not to like? It has no token women, which I prefer to movies which are all about the male characters but feel the need to throw a female character in there anyway. It's directed by Steve Barker in his first feature film. It stars Ray Stephenson and Julian Wadham. James Seymour Brett's score is perfect, adding to the experience.


There's a sequel on the way.

The Guardian calls it "derivative, mediocre, yet watchable". DVD Talk says it "has the makings of a solid horror flick, but it never seems to come together".

The Bed-Sitting Room

The Bed Sitting Room is a 1969 British post-apocalyptic comedy. The opening credits list the actors in order of height. Dudley Moore, Michael Hordern ,Roy Kinnear, Peter Cook, Ralph Richardson, Frank Thornton and Marty Feldman are some of the actors in this movie.


It's on youtube, divided into 9 parts. Part 1 is here. Embedding is disabled, but the links to the other parts are there.

The Guardian says, "The film now comes across as a grimly prophetic depiction of a world out of control and on the way to extinction." Roger Ebert says, "The movie's dotty and savage; acerbic and slapstick and quintessentially British." The 1969 New York Times review didn't like it. Moria says, "If one can take the lack of plot or the film’s aimless lack of direction, there is an undeniably appealing bizarreness to its sense of humour" and describes the plot:
It is four years after World War III, which was over in 2 minutes and 28 seconds. The dazed survivors wander the ruins. A new government has been created and a Prime Minister and a monarch established. Order is then threatened as radiation causes people to start mutating into pets and items of furniture.
TCM has an overview.

later that same day.... Just now seeing that Classic Sci-Fi Movies also covered this today. That site concludes: "Bottom line? BSR will not be for everyone."

2/19/2012: WTF Film calls it "One of the strangest productions ever to be made for the mainstream market" and says it's "a cynical and nonsensical post-apocalyptic black comedy that refuses to be classified no matter how many adjectives one throws at it" and describes the DVD/Blu-ray release.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Watch Films from the Paris Korean Film Festival for Free

That's the title of this post from mubi, and I plan on taking them up on it. The festival has been an annual event since 2006. The films available are all shorts under 35 minutes, so we're not talking a huge time investment here. I don't know how long they'll be available, so I need to get with it here.

10/11: Dogs and Flowers; Cosmic Man, a look at First Contact; Space Radio, a dog traveling in space trying to get a signal on a broken radio finds a sound to follow

Science Fiction Movies Everybody Should See

SF Signal has a link to quit your day job's list of science fiction movies everybody should see.

part 1:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Blade Runner
2001: A Space Odyssey

part 2:
Children of Men
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Planet of the Apes (the original)
Star Wars

I've seen the ones in bold print, which is all of them.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Onibaba is a 1964 Japanese horror film based on a folk tale. It is directed by Kaneto Shindo. I had seen this film before, but it was new to The Husband and The Younger Son, who watched it with me tonight. Both of them hold that this movie is not a horror film at all.

Moria has a review and gives it 4 stars. Variety praises the casting. DVDTalk reviews the Criterion release and says of the film,
The supernatural part of Onibaba is secondary to director Shindo's main theme - the human debasement of war. The two women make a ghoulish living in isolation, with survival their only remaining value. It's a harsh world where everyone must make do on their own.
The New York Times opens its review with this:
SELF-PRESERVATION and sex in a primitive society made desperate and bestial by war are the raw materials out of which Kaneto Shindo has conjured up "Onibaba" ("The Demon")
MUBI has some information. Rotten Tomatoes calls it "A landmark in fantasy cinema".

15 Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy With Religious Themes

SF Signal posted this list of 15 Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy With Religious Themes -annotated there- from Bryan Thomas Schmidt:

The Urth books (The Book of the New Sun, Litany of the Long Sun, The Book of the Short Sun) and more, this series by Gene Wolfe
A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A Case of Conscience by James Blish
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
Contact by Carl Sagan

I've read the ones in bold print.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Wild Sunflower

This wild perennial sunflower came from Humboldt and blooms in the Fall. These are the first blooms of the year on our patio.

Less Stuff, More Happiness?

Yes, according to Graham Hill in this talk at

As The Grandmother's stuff comes in we are getting rid of a lot of our own, but it feels more cluttered than ever. There's got to be a way to get rid of a lot of stuff and end up with a lot less stuff, but it's not working out that way.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pink Palace Craft Fair

The Pink Palace Craft Fair is an annual event for us. We've been almost every year since they first started having it back in the 70's, then on the grounds of the Pink Palace. That was before I knew my husband. Since sometime in the late 70's I've gone with him, adding children as they came along. This year it was The Husband, The Younger Son, The Daughter (who had to leave early to go to work) and I. The Elder Son went yesterday.

We start the morning with donuts and coffee

and then move on to the booths and tents. There's a stage with music off and on through the day. We don't always eat lunch there, but we did this year. I've never tried to take pictures and had trouble getting anything that showed the scope of the grounds. The photo at the top of this post was taken from the far end of the grounds from the entrance. It's much the same every year but enough different to warrant going every year. Even the one perpetually irritable button jewelry vendor has become a tradition for us.

I bought this mug from Snow Lake Pottery:

Because I need more mugs.

The Haunting

The Husband and The Younger Son went on to bed last night, but The Daughter and I were up for another movie. I showed her The Haunting, which she had never seen, and afterwards we talked about whether or not we thought the house was actually haunted. I wrote a blog post about this movie a couple of years ago. The Haunting is a 1963 must-see horror film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Lois Maxwell, Fay Compton and Valentine Dyall.

You can watch it online at this link. Here is a trailer:

I'm partial to this film and watch it every year. And yes, I think the house was really haunted.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Sleepy Hollow

The Younger Son and I let The Husband pick the movie for tonight, and he picked Sleepy Hollow, a 1999 film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp (as Ichobod Crane, a city constable sent to Sleepy Hollow to use his scientific methods to find the serial killer), Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken (as the headless Hessian horseman) and Richard Griffiths. Christopher Lee, Martin Landau and Alun Armstrong have cameos. Danny Elfman did the score. The film cannot be said to be based on the story. The only resemblance is that they share a few names. We liked it ok, but there's not much to come back for.


Moria says that it "feels like a good film but not a great Tim Burton film". Entertainment Weekly gives it a B- and says, "the wobbly plot might not have mattered if the film's macabre visual lyricism were more startling". Senses of Cinema calls it "a visual delight". Rotten Tomatoes top critics give it 67% on the "tomatometer".

There is a "making of video". part 1/3:

part 2/3:

part 3/3:

Bram Stoker's Dracula

The Husband, The Younger Son and I watched Bram Stoker's Dracula this afternoon. None of us had seen it before, but I had heard it was the closest to the book yet achieved on film. It's been a long time since I last read the book, but I don't remember a lot of this. I found the costuming distracting. I didn't understand Dracula's aging issues: old, young, old, young, and none of it gradual. Harker's hair color also changed from dark to almost white back to merely graying in what I can only assume were continuity errors. Gary Oldman is Dracula, Winona Ryder is Mina, Keanu Reeves is Jonathon Harker, Anthony Hopkins is Van Helsing and Tom Waits is Renfield.


Roger Ebert finishes his review by saying, "The movie is an exercise in feverish excess, and for that if for little else, I enjoyed it." The New York Times says, "This "Dracula" is most easily enjoyed if you don't search too hard for meanings". An essay here concludes that
Coppola does not really attempt to reconstitute Bram Stoker's original vision of vampire sexuality amid Victorian England. Coppola effectively refigures the tale for a late twentieth century audience. ... It speaks of human possibilities rather than limitations, despite all the marketing claims about a return to Stoker's original nightmare vision.
Ferdy on Films calls it "barely effective as a horror movie" and says,
Bram Stoker’s Dracula is definite proof of many of the worst things said about Coppola in those waning days: that he was only interested in style, and that his care with the human element was gone.
DVD Talk says, "The greatest thing to recommend Coppola's adaptation of Dracula is what a stunning visual tour de force it is." Moria calls it "a strong and original reworking of Bram Stoker." Bright Lights Film Journal closes with this: "Overall, this version of Dracula adds more elements than it takes away, though that does not necessarily make it better or more faithful." Rotten Tomatoes top critics gives it 88%.

The Double Comfort Safari Club

The Double Comfort Safari Club is another in the long-running No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I can't call them mysteries, even in the cozy sense, even though that's the section where you can find them in the book store. They are quick pleasant reads, more character- than plot-driven. I continue to like them, but The Younger Son gave them up years ago. I do not like books from any of the other series this author has written, and I've read several.

from the back of the book:
The latetst installment in this bestselling series finds Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi traveling to the stunning Okavango Delta to deal with issues of great fortune and mistaken identity.

The two ladies of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency head to a safari camp in the north of Botswana to find a tour guide who has been left a sizable sum of money. But finding the right man might be more difficult than they expect. In addition, there is a cloud hanging over the trip, because before they departure Mma Makutsi's fiance, Phuti Radiphuti, suffered a serious accident, and his aunt, who is taking care of him, won't let Mma Makutsi in to see him. Could she be trying to split them up? Of course none of this defeats the indomitable Precious Ramotswe, who knows that good sense, kindness, and patience will always carry the day.

The Christian Science Monitor likes this series and this particular book. The Washington Times has an overview. In the Stacks has a video review.

I've read these others from this series:

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Blue Shoes and Happiness
The Good Husband from Zebra Drive
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
The Miracle at Speedy Motors

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Kraken is a fantasy novel by China Miéville. I enjoyed reading this book, but it's not my favorite of his work. I liked The Scar and The City & the City better, but I liked this one better than Iron Council.

SF Signal calls it "Miéville's best book so far." SF Reviews says the author is "on his game" with this one. The Guardian has a mixed review saying,
Miéville powers through that conceptual density with an action-filled plot, a technique that has served him well in earlier novels. But here the combined weight of ideas and plot press down on the characters, which struggle to grow beyond entertaining pop-cultural caricatures. For this reason the novel misses the emotional resonance and mythic qualities of the greatest urban fantasies...
The Independent says, "Kraken proves Miéville is ever forging new ground, even when walking the same grey pavements as his readers." SFF World closes by describing it as "Impressively literate, crafty, and yet reliably China. Recommended."

The New York Times starts its review by describing the author:
If your idea of a science fiction writer is a scrawny guy with computer-glow pallor who’s a little too interested in whether warp speed is a realistic rate of travel, China Miéville is not that person. Tall and buff, he has a shaved head, a row of earrings curving sharply around the edge of his left ear...
I'm still laughing and can't somehow finish reading the review.

Here the author is interviewed about Kraken:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Tale of the Fox

The Tale of the Fox is a full-length film by stop motion animator Ladislas Starewicz. It's the 6th full-length animated feature film ever made. It is based on the stories of Reynard and is as enjoyable as the stories.

Rotten Tomatoes has a summary and a short overview of its making.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Memphis Roller Derby

I had never seen roller derby before, but The Daughter knows someone who plays for a local team, and I went with her to a friends & family practice game in the Pipkin Building at the old fairgrounds. Fun! Even though I was clueless about what was going on, it was fun. We plan to find out a bit about the rules and go back. All I know right now I learned from the song:

The Daughter's friend is in the yellow helmet in the top picture. The Daughter took the pictures in this post.

There is a Facebook page.