Thursday, October 31, 2019

Macbeth (1948)

Macbeth is the 1948 film adaptation of the Shakespeare play. This is directed by Orson Welles. Welles stars as Macbeth, and Roddy Macdowell is Malcolm. The play is abridged and altered for this movie, so this won't be a substitute for seeing the actual play performed.

Empire Online says, "A powerhouse performance from Orson Welles as the troubled Prince." Rotten Tomatoes critics average a score of 88%.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bitter Grounds

Bitter Grounds is a 2003 Neil Gaiman short story. You can read it online here. It begins,
In every way that counted, I was dead. Inside somewhere maybe I was screaming and weeping and howling like an animal, but that was another person deep inside, another person who had no access to the face and lips and mouth and head, so on the surface I just shrugged and smiled and kept moving. If I could have physically passed away, just let it all go, like that, without doing anything, stepped out of life as easily as walking through a door, I would have done. But I was going to sleep at night and waking in the morning, disappointed to be there and resigned to existence.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Poison for the Fairies

Horror movies are not dangerous or evil like I've seen some people claim. Let's just get that out there where we can see it. Some horror movies may be about evil, but so also can film noir or children's movies or Bible stories or classic literature or mystery/detective films. Horror is a film genre that dates back to the beginnings of film, as horror stories date back to the beginnings of story-telling. Horror movies range from old silent animated comedy shorts to classic films that are psychological dramas or thrillers.

All of us have film preferences, but it can be hard to know where to start with a film genre you don't like the idea of and know nothing about. As I was with romantic comedies, so many people are with horror. I'd like to give a few examples of places to start with horror.

The Husband doesn't like horror in general, but he enjoys
and old monster movies like these:
and the seasonal comedies like these:
The Daughter doesn't like horror in general but does like these:
The Younger Son doesn't like ghost stories but does like dark fantasy like these:
I might also suggest one of these, being among my personal favorites:
Whether or not you share my particular hobbies, I'll invite you to join me in a seasonal cuppa and a pleasant visit with the T Stands for Tuesday bloggers.

Poison for the Fairies is a 1984 Mexican horror film. It has fairies, witches, and children, with a child being the most horrifying.


The Spinning Image says, "This is an eerie and poetic children’s horror that really gets under your skin." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 78%, so over 3/4 of critics gave it a positive review.

Monday, October 28, 2019

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides is an award-winning 2013 horror short story by Sam J. Miller. You can read it online here. It begins,
1. Because it would take the patience of a saint or Dalai Lama to smilingly turn the other cheek to those six savage boys day after day, to emerge unembittered from each new round of psychological and physical assaults; whereas I, Jared Shumsky, aged sixteen, have many things, like pimples and the bottom bunk bed in a trailer, and clothes that smell like cherry car air fresheners, but no particular strength or patience.

2. Because God, or the universe, or karma, or Charles Darwin, gave me a different strength, one that terrified me until I learned what it was, and how to control it, and how to use it as the instrument of my brutal and magnificent and long-postponed vengeance.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Viktor Frankenstein is a 2015 film. It's the Frankenstein story told from the perspective of Igor, who is played by Daniel Radcliffe. We picked up the DVD used, because we're always up for another look at Frankenstein. Radcliffe does a wonderful job.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Lady's Maid's Bell

Edith Wharton (c. 1895)

The Lady's Maid's Bell is a 1902 short story, the first ghost story written by Edith Wharton. The story takes place beginning in October. You can read it online here. It begins with this,
It was the autumn after I had the typhoid. I'd been three months in hospital, and when I came out I looked so weak and tottery that the two or three ladies I applied to were afraid to engage me. Most of my money was gone, and after I'd boarded for two months, hanging about the employment-agencies, and answering any advertisement that looked any way respectable, I pretty nearly lost heart, for fretting hadn't made me fatter, and I didn't see why my luck should ever turn. It did though—or I thought so at the time. A Mrs. Railton, a friend of the lady that first brought me out to the States, met me one day and stopped to speak to me: she was one that had always a friendly way with her. She asked me what ailed me to look so white, and when I told her, "Why, Hartley," says she, "I believe I've got the very place for you. Come in to-morrow and we'll talk about it."

The next day, when I called, she told me the lady she'd in mind was a niece of hers, a Mrs. Brympton, a youngish lady, but something of an invalid, who lived all the year round at her country-place on the Hudson, owing to not being able to stand the fatigue of town life.

"Now, Hartley," Mrs. Railton said, in that cheery way that always made me feel things must be going to take a turn for the better—"now understand me; it's not a cheerful place i'm sending you to. The house is big and gloomy; my niece is nervous, vaporish; her husband—well, he's generally away; and the two children are dead.
You can have it read to you:

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Bay of Blood

A Bay of Blood (a.k.a. Carnage, Twitch of the Death Nerve, and Blood Bath) is a 1971 thriller/horror film directed by Mario Bava. There's an inheritance of land, fraud, and murder. This one is violent in a 1970s way -a machete-in-the-face way- so if you're squeamish take a pass. Also, there's some nudity.

Slant Magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Horror News calls it "a “bridge film” as it bridged the gap between European thrillers and contemporary horror." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 80%.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Breakfast

After Breakfast, by Elin Danielson-Gambogi

The Breakfast is a 1961 short story by Amparo Dávila. You can read it online here. It begins,
When Carmen came down to breakfast at the family’s usual hour of seven thirty, she hadn’t dressed yet, but was wrapped in her navy-blue bathrobe with her hair in disarray. This wasn’t all that caught the attention of her parents and her brother, though; it was her haggard face, with hollows around the eyes, like the face of someone who’s had a bad night or is very ill. She said good morning in an automatic way and sat at the table, nearly collapsing into her chair.

“What happened to you?” her father asked, studying her carefully.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Mill of the Stone Women

Mill of the Stone Women is a 1960 Italian horror film, the first filmed in color. It's about a 19th century art professor in Holland who is trying to keep his sick daughter alive. She falls in love with a visiting assistant who rejects her in favor of his childhood sweetheart.

Moria says,
What makes Mill of the Stone Women stand out is the colour photography and the production design. The mill’s most striking set-piece is the carousel where we see mannequins moving around in a circuit depicting various tableaux of witches at the stake, women being hung, poisoners and a representation of Kali. These are vivid and striking.
DVD Talk calls it "an artfully contrived horror concoction". says, "This neglected gem is a masterwork of gothic terror that deserves to be ranked among the highlights of a decade filled with macabre Italian delights."

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Wizard of Oz

I remember the first time I saw this movie. I was quite young, sitting next to my younger sister in Daddy's brown Naugahyde (remember Naugahyde?) recliner in front of the television. I didn't make it past the wicked witch's ride past the window:

It was years before I made it through the entire film. It's definitely a horror movie, and you'll not convince me otherwise. The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 film very loosely based on the L. Frank Baum book. 17-year-old Judy Garland was much too old to play 11-year-old Dorothy as she's depicted in the book. You can read it online or listen to it read to you. The book begins,
Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife. Their house was small, for the lumber to build it had to be carried by wagon many miles. There were four walls, a floor and a roof, which made one room; and this room contained a rusty looking cooking stove, a cupboard for the dishes, a table, three or four chairs, and the beds. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had a big bed in one corner, and Dorothy a little bed in another corner. There was no garret at all, and no cellar—except a small hole, dug in the ground, called a cyclone cellar, where the family could go in case one of those great whirlwinds arose, mighty enough to crush any building in its path. It was reached by a trap-door in the middle of the floor, from which a ladder led down into the small, dark hole.
Here's the film's trailer:

We have this on DVD, and I don't know if they still broadcast it on TV every year. It looks like it can be rented on Youtube and Google Play. Everyone should see it at least once, and October's a good month for horror.

I think I'll have a cozy cuppa while I watch a seasonal flick:

Please join me over at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering, where we share a drink.

Monday, October 21, 2019


Dracula is a book written by Bram Stoker. It has inspired many another book and countless films. You can read it online here. It begins,

(Kept in shorthand.)

3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule.

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it.

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania; it had struck me that some foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing with a nobleman of that country. I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe. I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talk over my travels with Mina.

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct nationalities: Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and Szekelys in the East and North. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found the Huns settled in it. I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.)

I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. There was a dog howling all night under my window...
Here's a list of the vampire- and Dracula-related movies I have blog posts on:

Le Manior du Diable (1886)

A Fool There Was (1915)

Nosferatu (1922)

Dracula (Bela Lugosi, 1931)
Vampyr (1932)
The Vampire Bat (1933)
Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Dead Men Walk (1943)
House of Dracula (1945)

Dracula in Istanbul (1953)
The Horror of Dracula (1958)
Curse of the Undead (1959)

Blood and Roses (1960)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960)
Samson vs the Vampire Women (1962)
Blood is the Color of Night (1964)
Planet of the Vampires (1964)
Dark Shadows (1966)
Queen of Blood (1966)
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Count Dracula (1970)
Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
The Night Stalker (1972)
Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)
Leptirica (1973)
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
Blood for Dracula (1974)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1975)
Dracula (Louis Jourdan, 1977)
Martin (1977)
Fascination (1979)
Nocturna, Granddaughter of Dracula (1979)

The Hunger (1983)
Lifeforce (1985)
Vampire Hunter D (1985)
Near Dark (1987)

Bloodletting, the Vampire Song (1990)
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Chronos (1993)
Nadja (1994)
The Addiction (1995)
From Dusk Til Dawn (1996)

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Trouble Every Day (2001)
Underworld (2003)
Van Helsing (2004)
30 Days of Night (2007)
The Burrowers (2008)
Let the Right One In (2008)
Blood Creek (2009)

Priest (2011)
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Harbinger Down

Harbinger Down is a 2015 science fiction/horror film. Following a pod of beluga whales in the Bering Sea, scientists discover a downed Soviet spacecraft that was part of a failed experiment to radiation-proof their cosmonauts. The creature effects were a nice change from all the digital effects I see. This film gets to the point and tells its story without getting bogged down in too much interpersonal drama. I like my science fiction/horror to have enough relationship exploration so that the characters are real people without so much that it distracts from the reason I'm watching this kind of movie to begin with. This has a nice balance.

You can watch it at tubi tv or here via Youtube:

Here's a trailer:

Horror Freak News calls it "a fun pic". Moria says, "[Director] Gillis is operating with a modest budget, nevertheless manages to produce a film that captures the essence of Carpenter’s The Thing far more so than any other challenger to date." Modern Horrors calls it "a solid film".

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle is an 1819 short story by Washington Irving. This is one of those stories I assume everyone has read, yet I find many people are only familiar with it through video adaptations or abridged re-tellings. It's worth reading the story itself. You can read it online here, or here, or here. It begins,

By Woden, God of Saxons, 
From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday,
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre—

[The following Tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch History of the province and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more, their wives, rich in that legendary lore, so invaluable to true history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low–roofed farm–house, under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasped volume of black–letter, and studied it with the zeal of a bookworm.

The result of all these researches was a history of the province, during the reign of the Dutch governors, which he published some years since. There have been various opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which indeed was a little questioned on its first appearance, but has since been completely established; and it is now admitted into all historical collections, as a book of unquestionable authority.

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work; and now that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his time might have been much better employed in weightier labors. He, however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though it did now and then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors, and grieve the spirit of some friends, for whom he felt the truest deference and affection, yet his errors and follies are remembered "more in sorrow than in anger," and it begins to be suspected, that he never intended to injure or offend. But however his memory may be appreciated by critics, it is still held dear among many folks, whose good opinion is well worth having; particularly by certain biscuit–bakers, who have gone so far as to imprint his likeness on their new–year cakes, and have thus given him a chance for immortality, almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo medal, or a Queen Anne's farthing.]

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains; and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a Village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!), and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow bricks, brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time–worn and weather–beaten), there lived, many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, good–natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, good–natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor, and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain–lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long–suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing, and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.
Listen to the story read to you here:

This is the 1921 film adaptation:

Friday, October 18, 2019

Son of Frankenstein

Son of Frankenstein is a 1939 horror film, the third in the Boris Karloff Frankenstein franchise. Boris Karloff makes his last appearance as The Monster in this film. Bela Lugosi is wonderful as Ygor. Basil Rathbone plays Baron Frankenstein, Lionel Atwill is Inspector Krogh, and Ward Bond has an uncredited role. Donnie Dunagan, a noted child actor who was the voice of Disney's Bambi, plays the youngest Frankenstein. Dunagan has a Memphis connection.


Variety has a review from the time of the film's original release, as does the New York Times.

Classic Horror says, "It's a solid chiller from the studio that really knew solid chillers." Den of Geek says, "Simply put – an absolute delight." DVD Talk opens with this: "This first non-James Whale Frankenstein film has a lot going for it, besides its powerhouse cast." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 91%.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Marjorie Bowen (1922)

Kecksies is a horror short story by Marjorie Bowen (1885-1952), who was a prolific author. It was written in the 1940s but not published until the collection Kecksies and Other Twilight Tales was released in 1976. You can read it online here. It begins,
Two young esquires were riding from Canterbury, jolly and drunk, they shouted and trolled and rolled in their saddles as they followed the winding road across the downs.

A dim sky was overhead and shut in the wide expanse of open country that one side stretched to the sea and the other to the Kentish Weald.

The primroses grew in thick posies in the ditches, the hedges were full of fresh hawthorn green, and the new grey leaves of eglantine and honeysuckle, the long boughs of ash with the hard black buds, and the wand-like shoots of sallow willow hung with catkins and the smaller red tassels of the nut and birch; little the two young men heeded of any of these things, for they were in their own country that was thrice familiar; but Nick Bateup blinked across to the distant purple hills, and cursed the gathering rain. “Ten miles more of the open,” he muttered, “and a great storm blackening upon us.”

Young Crediton, who was more full of wine, laughed drowsily. “We’ll lie at a cottage on the way, Nick — think you I’ve never a tenant who’ll let me share board and bed?”

He maundered into singing,

“There’s a light in the old mill, Where the witch weaves her charms; But dark is the chamber, Where you sleep in my arms. Now came you by magic, by trick or by spell, I have you and hold you, And love you right well!”

The clouds overtook them like an advancing army; the wayside green looked livid under the purplish threat of the heavens, and the birds were all still and silent.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein is the 1935 sequel to the Boris Karloff Frankenstein movie. We have this in a box set that was issued on one of the anniversaries. I often see this mentioned as the best of this franchise, but I much prefer the original.

You can watch it online at Internet Archive. Here's a trailer:

It's #18 on The Guardian's list of best horror films of all time. Variety has a review from the time of the film's release, as does the New York Times.

Film Site calls it a "classic masterpiece". Horror News says, "Bride Of Frankenstein is one of the few genuine classics of the genre." Classic Horror says it's "the best horror film of the 1930s".

Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movie list. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scoured Silk

Scoured Silk is a horror story written in the 1940s by Marjorie Bowen. During Octobers I focus on horror films and stories, and I'd like to share this one for T Stands for Tuesday, a blogger gathering where the posts must contain a drink reference. This is an excerpt from the story:
Her thoughts were quite vague and amounted to no more than a confused sense that something was wrong, but she lost her satisfaction in the tea-drinking and the pleasant company, and the warm room with the drawn curtains, and the bright fire, and rose up saying they must be returning
I'm having a seasonal hot beverage while I read these spooky stories. Join me? Perhaps the company will take the edge off the horror to come.

You can read the story online here. It begins:
This is a tale that might be told in many ways and from various points of view; it has to be gathered from here and there — a letter, a report, a diary, a casual reference; in its day the thing was more than a passing wonder, and it left a mark of abiding horror on the neighborhood.

The house in which Mr. Orford lived has finally been destroyed, the mural tablet in St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, may be sought for in vain by the curious, but little remains of the old piazza where the quiet scholar passed on his daily walks, the very records of what was once so real have become blurred, almost incoherent in their pleadings with things forgotten; but this thing happened to real people, in a real London, not so long ago that the generation had not spoken with those who remembered some of the actors in this terrible drama.

It is round the person of Humphrey Orford that this tale turns, as, at the time, all the mystery and horror centered; yet until his personality was brought thus tragically into fame, he had not been an object of much interest to many; he had, perhaps, a mild reputation for eccentricity, but this was founded merely on the fact that he refused to partake of the amusements of his neighbors, and showed a dislike for much company.
I'm typing on a new computer, and I can't tell you how happy I am we were able to take care of this issue without too much stress. I think I've managed to find everybody again, but I doubt I'll ever catch up *sigh*

Monday, October 14, 2019

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is a 1943 film, 5th in the classic Universal Frankenstein series and a direct sequel to The Wolf Man. Lon Chaney, Jr. comes back as Wolf Man Larry Talbot and Maria Ouspenskaya returns as gypsy woman Maleva. Bela Lugosi is Frankenstein's Monster, Dwight Frye (a favorite around here) is a villager, and Lionel Atwill is the village's mayor. This isn't the best of the monster movies, but I'm a firm believer they should each be seen at least once.

Classic Horror opens with this:
From the first bubble of the elixir that forms the credits in chemical smoke to the last crash of the final battle of titans, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is quite a treat for the Universal fan. Not only do you get two exciting monsters for the price of one, but they're placed in a vigorous storyline that, while slight, is too much fun to dislike.
Empire Online says,
Silly but enormous fun, complete with gypsy musical numbers and an insane battle royal finish as the monsters rip each other apart while some loon dynamites the dam and the castle is swept away in a flood. This is one of the most-often excerpted films in movie history
DVD Journal calls it "stylishly effective, rollicking good fun". DVD Talk says it " is fast and fun and has some nice thrills". 1000 Misspent Hours calls it, "the beginning of the end for Universal in its role as America’s top horror studio." Rotten Tomatoes has an audience score of 55%, so over half of us like it, making it worth watching once anyway.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Wedding Knell

The Wedding Knell is an 1837 short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This story might be horrifying to the young and perhaps to those who have not come to a peaceful acceptance of death, but it's a solid story of one of life's truths brought to this elderly couple on their wedding day. A lost youth certainly doesn't mean that all is lost. My favorite quote: "The young have less charity for aged follies than the old for those of youth."

You can read it online here. It begins,
There is a certain church in the city of New York which I have always regarded with peculiar interest, on account of a marriage there solemnized, under very singular circumstances, in my grandmother's girlhood. That venerable lady chanced to be a spectator of the scene, and ever after made it her favorite narrative. Whether the edifice now standing on the same site be the identical one to which she referred, I am not antiquarian enough to know; nor would it be worth while to correct myself, perhaps, of an agreeable error, by reading the date of its erection on the tablet over the door. It is a stately church, surrounded by an inclosure of the loveliest green, within which appear urns, pillars, obelisks, and other forms of monumental marble, the tributes of private affection, or more splendid memorials of historic dust. With such a place, though the tumult of the city rolls beneath its tower, one would be willing to connect some legendary interest.

The marriage might be considered as the result of an early engagement, though there had been two intermediate weddings on the lady's part, and forty years of celibacy on that of the gentleman.
You can listen to it here:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Snow Woman

The Snow Woman is a 1968 Japanese horror film directed by Tokuzô Tanaka. I enjoy the eerie nature of these sad ghost stories where there's no gore and nothing to make you jump. And that cold, snowy landscape is dramatic.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Vampyre

The Vampyre is an 1816 horror story by John William Polidori. It's considered the first modern vampire story and the first to romanticize the vampire. The recent angst-ridden sparkly vampires pale in comparison. You can read it online here. It begins,
It happened that in the midst of the dissipations attendant upon a London winter, there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman, more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank. He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein. Apparently, the light laughter of the fair only attracted his attention, that he might by a look quell it, and throw fear into those breasts where thoughtlessness reigned. Those who felt this sensation of awe, could not explain whence it arose: some attributed it to the dead grey eye, which, fixing upon the object’s face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward workings of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass. His peculiarities caused him to be invited to every house; all wished to see him, and those who had been accustomed to violent excitement, and now felt the weight of ennui, were pleased at having something in their presence capable of engaging their attention. In spite of the deadly hue of his face, which never gained a warmer tint, either from the blush of modesty, or from the strong emotion of passion, though its form and outline were beautiful, many of the female hunters after notoriety attempted to win his attentions, and gain, at least, some marks of what they might term affection: Lady Mercer, who had been the mockery of every monster shewn in drawing-rooms since her marriage, threw herself in his way, and did all but put on the dress of a mountebank, to attract his notice:— though in vain:— when she stood before him, though his eyes were apparently fixed upon her’s, still it seemed as if they were unperceived; — even her unappalled impudence was baffled, and she left, the field. But though the common adultress could not influence even the guidance of his eyes, it was not that the female sex was indifferent to him: yet such was the apparent caution with which he spoke to the virtuous wife and innocent daughter, that few knew he ever addressed himself to females. He had, however, the reputation of a winning tongue; and whether it was that it even overcame the dread of his singular character, or that they were moved by his apparent hatred of vice, he was as often among those females who form the boast of their sex from their domestic virtues, as among those who sully it by their vices.

About the same time, there came to London a young gentleman of the name of Aubrey:
You can listen to it read to you here:

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Dark Waters (1994)

Dark Waters is a 1994 horror film about a young woman, who, after the death of her father, goes to a remote island convent where her mother died giving birth to her. There's a lot of atmosphere in this one. concludes with this:
It could easily be said that there is something in Dark Waters for everyone. However, in order to enjoy it, it really needs to be taken as a whole – the dizzying story embraced and experienced. If you’re willing to enter that kind of mindset, that kind of half-fantasy world, Dark Waters has the potential to be understood not only as a creepy religious horror, but as a fine addition to Lovecraftian filmmaking.
Empire Online describes it as "atmospheric, if plot-light".

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Ebony Frame

E. Nesbit (c. 1890)

The Ebony Frame is an 1891 ghost story by E. Nesbit. There's witchcraft here in the middle of ordinary lives. You can read it here. It begins,
To be rich is a luxurious sensation, the more so when you have plumbed the depths of hard-up-ness as a Fleet Street hack, a picker-up of unconsidered pars, a reporter, an unappreciated journalist; all callings utterly inconsistent with one's family feeling and one's direct descent from the Dukes of Picardy.

When my Aunt Dorcas died and left me seven hundred a year and a furnished house in Chelsea, I felt that life had nothing left to offer except immediate possession of the legacy. Even Mildred Mayhew, whom I had hitherto regarded as my life's light, became less luminous. I was not engaged to Mildred, but I lodged with her mother, and I sang duets with Mildred and gave her gloves when it would run to it, which was seldom. She was a dear, good girl, and I meant to marry her some day. It is very nice to feel that a good little woman is thinking of you? it helps you in your work? and it is pleasant to know she will say "Yes," when you say, "Will you?"

But my legacy almost put Mildred out of my head, especially as she was staying with friends in the country.

Before the gloss was off my new mourning, I was seated in my aunt's armchair in front of the fire in the drawing-room of my own house. My own house! It was grand, but rather lonely. I did think of Mildred just then.
You can listen to it read to you here:

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Golen Hair

Golden Hair (1914):

by Nicolai Fechin, who died on October 5, 1955, at the age of 73. His former house in Taos, New Mexico, is maintained as the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House. There are a few photos of the place here.

On a personal note, I read that a low-carb diet can help decrease sinus-related issues so am trying to alter my diet with that in mind. I considered a Keto diet, but I can't eat that much fat and weight loss is not my goal anyway. I'm having success over the last 2 weeks in keeping my daily carbs under 50 grams. I didn't think I'd miss sweets, but I do. I've discovered that a chocolate chip cookie is 7 carbs and half a Hersey chocolate bar is 10, so I'm including them as I can. I'm thankful for chicken salad, tuna salad, and eggs lol. I'll take a break from it around Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but I'll eat fewer carbs than I usually do during those holidays. I have no interest in using wheat flour alternatives or sugar alternatives. I've added raspberries, celery sticks, and more veggie salads to my meals. I quartered some tortilla shells and small naan breads and salted and baked them to use one at a time with the chicken/tuna salads.

That cup above is Swiss Mocha, at 10 grams of carbs, for dessert. Little treats are a good thing.

Please join me at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger party, though the pesky squirrels have chewed the AT&T lines she counts on for internet access. We'll start the tea but keep plenty warm for her until she can join us. All willing to share a beverage with us are welcome. And there's no rush; it's not like these blog posts are going away if you're a bit late😄

Monday, October 07, 2019

The Dream Woman

Wilkie Collins 1880

The Dream Woman is a horror story by Wilkie Collins. This version was expanded from the author's earlier 1855 story called "The Ostler". There are dreams and visions, portents and foretellings, dark women and fair. The old-fashioned horror stories have an atmosphere often unmatched these days. Is it just the style of the writing? You can read it online here. It begins,
"Hullo, there! Hostler! Hullo-o-o!"

"My dear! why don't you look for the bell?"

"I have looked -there is no bell."

"And nobody in the yard. How very extraordinary! Call again, dear."

"Hostler! Hullo, there! Hostler-r-r!"

My second call echoes through empty space, and rouses nobody--produces, in short, no visible result. I am at the end of my resources--I don't know what to say or what to do next. Here I stand in the solitary inn yard of a strange town, with two horses to hold, and a lady to take care of. By way of adding to my responsibilities, it so happens that one of the horses is dead lame, and that the lady is my wife.

Who am I? -you will ask.

There is plenty of time to answer the question. Nothing happens; and nobody appears to receive us. Let me introduce myself and my wife.

I am Percy Fairbank -English gentleman -age (let us say) forty -no profession -moderate politics -middle height -fair complexion -easy character -plenty of money.

My wife is a French lady. She was Mademoiselle Clotilde Delorge -when I was first presented to her at her father's house in France. I fell in love with her--I really don't know why. It might have been because I was perfectly idle, and had nothing else to do at the time. Or it might have been because all my friends said she was the very last woman whom I ought to think of marrying. On the surface, I must own, there is nothing in common between Mrs. Fairbank and me. She is tall; she is dark; she is nervous, excitable, romantic; in all her opinions she proceeds to extremes. What could such a woman see in me? what could I see in her? I know no more than you do. In some mysterious manner we exactly suit each other. We have been man and wife for ten years, and our only regret is, that we have no children. I don't know what you may think; I call that -upon the whole- a happy marriage.
You can listen to it read to you here:

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Wailing

The Wailing is an award-winning 2016 South Korean horror film/ghost story directed by Na Hong-jin. Wikipedia says it's "about a policeman who investigates a series of mysterious killings and illnesses".  I tend to like Asian horror films, and I liked this one.


IndieWire calls it "epic" and "spellbinding and scatterbrained". The Guardian says, "Korean director Na Hong-jin delivers a supreme evocation of evil in this intense rural-horror". The Hollywood Reporter concludes: "A darkly unsettling story about evil is masterfully told".

Roger Ebert's site calls it "effectively atmospheric". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics rating of 99%.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart is an 1843 short story by Edgar Allan Poe. You can read it online here or here. Don't read it in the dark. I'm not kidding. It begins,
TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what caution - with what foresight - with what dissimulation I went to work!
You can have Christopher Lee read it to you here:

There've been many adaptations, including the first filmed version in 1928:

The first sound version came in 1934. Jules Dassin adapted it for film in this short in 1941. The 1953 version with James Mason's narration is one of the best and at only 8 minutes long is unmissable:

In 1970, Vincent Price did An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe on television which included this tale. The Tell-Tale Heart is at the beginning of the video below and is followed by three other tales:

Sam Jaffe starred in this 1971 production:

Friday, October 04, 2019

Bay Coven

Bay Coven is a 1987 made-for-tv horror movie about a young couple who happens across a coven of witches. It stars Tim Matheson, Pamela Sue Martin, Barbara Billingsley, Jeff Conaway, and Woody Harrelson. Slow, so very slow. I didn't finish it.

part 1:

part 2:

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D is a 1985 Japanese horror animated film. If you like this kind of thing, you'll like this. I doubt it'll convert anybody who's not already a fan.

This story takes place in the distant future 
when mutants and demons slither through a world of darkness.

Anime News Network says it "could legitimately be considered a cult classic even outside of Japan. It earns that honor in part because of its style – it was a ground-breaker in terms of introducing Gothic elements into sci fi". DVD Talk calls it "a great anime movie that fans of the genre should check out". Rotten Tomatoes has a 78% audience score.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The Body Snatcher

The Body Snatcher is an 1884 short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is based on criminals who worked for a historical surgeon who was in practice around the time of the notorious 1828 Burke and Hare murders. You can read the book here or here or here. It begins,
EVERY night in the year, four of us sat in the small parlour of the George at Debenham — the undertaker, and the landlord, and Fettes, and myself. Sometimes there would be more; but blow high, blow low, come rain or snow or frost, we four would be each planted in his own particular arm-chair. Fettes was an old drunken Scotchman, a man of education obviously, and a man of some property, since he lived in idleness. He had come to Debenham years ago, while still young, and by a mere continuance of living had grown to be an adopted townsman. His blue camlet cloak was a local antiquity, like the church-spire. His place in the parlour at the George, his absence from church, his old, crapulous, disreputable vices, were all things of course in Debenham. He had some vague Radical opinions and some fleeting infidelities, which he would now and again set forth and emphasise with tottering slaps upon the table. He drank rum — five glasses regularly every evening; and for the greater portion of his nightly visit to the George sat, with his glass in his right hand, in a state of melancholy alcoholic saturation. We called him the Doctor, for he was supposed to have some special knowledge of medicine, and had been known, upon a pinch, to set a fracture or reduce a dislocation; but beyond these slight particulars, we had no knowledge of his character and antecedents.

One dark winter night — it had struck nine some time before the landlord joined us — there was a sick man in the George, a great neighbouring proprietor suddenly struck down with apoplexy on his way to Parliament; and the great man’s still greater London doctor had been telegraphed to his bedside. It was the first time that such a thing had happened in Debenham, for the railway was but newly open, and we were all proportionately moved by the occurrence.

‘He’s come,’ said the landlord, after he had filled and lighted his pipe.

‘He?’ said I. ‘Who? — not the doctor?’

‘Himself,’ replied our host.

‘What is his name?’

‘Doctor Macfarlane,’ said the landlord.

Fettes was far through his third tumbler, stupidly fuddled, now nodding over, now staring mazily around him; but at the last word he seemed to awaken, and repeated the name ‘Macfarlane’ twice, quietly enough the first time, but with sudden emotion at the second.

‘Yes,’ said the landlord, ‘that’s his name, Doctor Wolfe Macfarlane.’
There was a film adaptation in 1945

You can listen to the book here:

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

The Big Killing

The Big Killing is the 2nd book in the Bruce Medway series by award-winning British crime writer Robert Wilson. I came across this book used and picked it up on a whim. I haven't read anything else by him. Too much of the story is told in conversation between characters to suit me. I finally got tired of it and put the book down. I don't think I'll finish this one.

from the back of the book:
Bruce Medway, a go-between and "fixer" for traders in steamy West Africa, smells trouble when a porn merchant asks him to deliver a video at a secret location. Things look up, though, when he's hired to act as minder to Ron Collins, a spoiled playboy looking for diamonds in the Ivory Coast. Medway thinks this job could be an answer to his cashflow crisis, but when the video delivery leads to a shootout and the discovery of a mutilated body, he wants out. Soon, he is caught in a terrifying cycle of violence. Unless he can get to the bottom of the mystery, Medway knows that for the savage killer out there in the African night, he is the next target.
Publishers Weekly concludes, "Wilson isn't about to rival Alexander McCall Smith in the African mystery market, but Graham Greene fans stateside ought to start taking him seriously just as fans have in Britain." Kirkus Reviews calls it a "darkly tangled thriller from highly regarded Wilson".

The book begins:
Chapter 1

Saturday 26th October

We were here again -if you call a hangover company or a slick of methylated sweat a friend- in this bar, this palmleaf-thatched shack set back from the sea in some fractious coconut palms, waiting for the barman to arrive. The head I was nursing (the first since last Saturday) had already been given some hot milk -the Ivorians call it coffee, I called it three grains of freeze-dried and a can of condensed milk.
I agree with his preference for coffee without the milk added. I hold that people who add flavorings to coffee don't actually like coffee and should drink something else. Your mileage may vary, of course ;) Strong and black, that's how I like it. Please join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering and share your own beverage preferences.

My computer died a sudden death, and I'm having some trouble with this borrowed one, but I'll visit when I can.