Friday, December 31, 2021

A Long Shadow

A Long Shadow is the 8th book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery series by Charles Todd. This series is one of my favorites, and I get them for presents because The Husband is good to me. They should be read in order.

from the back of the book:
Scotland Yard's Inspector Ian Rutledge brought the Great War home with him, and its horrors haunt him still. On New Year's Eve 1919, he finds a brass cartridge casing, similar to countless others he'd seen on the battlefield, on the step of a friend's house. Soon there are more, purposely placed where he is sure to discover them.

Unexpectedly drawn away from London to a small Northamptonshire village, he investigates the strange case of a local constable shot with a bow and arrow in an allegedly spirit-filled wood. Here among the taciturn townfolk, embroiled in a three-year-old mystery of a vanished young girl, Rutledge hopes to keep his own ghosts at bay.

But his stalker has followed him. And now the emotionally shattered policeman walking the razor's edge of sanity must somehow keep his balance long enough to discoverwho is tracking him ... and why.
Reviewing the Evidence says,
A LONG SHADOW is a seamless, substantive tale of secrets and lies, of hidden truths and heartaches. Charles Todd has once again delivered an eloquent story of suspense with a fluid style and absorbing prose on a foundation of setting so luxurious and characters so vivid I find it hard not to get lost in Rutledge's post-war world.
Kirkus Reviews has a review with a thorough plot description. Publishers Weekly says, "Todd's plotting and characterization are, as usual, first-rate, and the tormented motivations behind the novel's dark acts are presented with a sensitivity and refinement reminiscent of the best of P.D. James."

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song:


sung by Ricky Nelson, who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1985 at the age of 45.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Peter Paul Rubens, Massacre of the Innocents

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is the Christian observance of Herod the Great, king of Judea, ordering the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. Told in the book of Matthew, chapter 2:
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. -Matthew 2:16-18 (King James Version)
The Christmas story ain't all sweetness and light, folks. Let's give some thought to those who suffer in these days as we go about our holiday activities. We can enjoy our celebrations while still considering the darker aspects of our history.

Please join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger party, where I'm sure happier thoughts will prevail.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Rich Little's Christmas Carol

Rich Little's Christmas Carol is a 1978 retelling of the Dickens story. It is a one-man performance with Rich Little playing all the roles impersonating famous people. Not my thing. I don't care for impersonators, I'm not a W.C. Fields fan and he's Scrooge, there's a lame laugh track... I found it too painful to finish.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

At Christmas Time

At Christmas Time is a 1900 short story by Anton Chekhov. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you (in a different translation) at the bottom of this post. It begins:
"What shall I write ? " asked Yegor, dipping his pen in the ink.

Vasilissa had not seen her daughter for four years. Efimia had gone away to St. Petersburg with her husband after her wedding, had written two letters, and then had vanished as if the earth had engulfed her, not a word nor a sound had come from her since. So now, whether the aged mother was milking the cow at daybreak, or lighting the stove, or dozing at night, the tenor of her thoughts was always the same: "How is Efimia ? Is she alive and well ? " She wanted to send her a letter, but the old father could not write, and there was no one whom they could ask to write it for them.

But now Christmas had come, and Vasilissa could endure the silence no longer.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

Here's my Spotify Christmas playlist:

Spotify is free and easy to use, especially on a computer. Sign up here at this link.

I hope your Christmas is a time of peace and joy for you and yours.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Bertie's Christmas Eve

Bertie's Christmas Eve is a short story by Saki. You can read it online here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
It was Christmas Eve, and the family circle of Luke Steffink, Esq., was aglow with the amiability and random mirth which the occasion demanded. A long and lavish dinner had been partaken of, waits had been round and sung carols; the house-party had regaled itself with more caroling on its own account, and there had been romping which, even in a pulpit reference, could not have been condemned as ragging. In the midst of the general glow, however, there was one black unkindled cinder.

Bertie Steffink, nephew of the aforementioned Luke, had early in life adopted the profession of ne'er-do-weel; his father had been something of the kind before him. At the age of eighteen Bertie had commenced that round of visits to our Colonial possessions, so seemly and desirable in the case of a Prince of the Blood, so suggestive of insincerity in a young man of the middle-class. He had gone to grow tea in Ceylon and fruit in British Columbia, and to help sheep to grow wool in Australia. At the age of twenty he had just returned from some similar errand in Canada, from which it may be gathered that the trial he gave to these various experiments was of the summary drum-head nature. Luke Steffink, who fulfilled the troubled role of guardian and deputy-parent to Bertie, deplored the persistent manifestation of the homing instinct on his nephew's part, and his solemn thanks earlier in the day for the blessing of reporting a united family had no reference to Bertie's return.

Arrangements had been promptly made for packing the youth off to a distant corner of Rhodesia, whence return would be a difficult matter; the journey to this uninviting destination was imminent, in fact a more careful and willing traveller would have already begun to think about his packing. Hence Bertie was in no mood to share in the festive spirit which displayed itself around him, and resentment smouldered within him at the eager, self-absorbed discussion of social plans for the coming months which he heard on all sides. Beyond depressing his uncle and the family circle generally by singing "Say au revoir, and not good-bye," he had taken no part in the evening's conviviality.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Christmas Chronicles

The Christmas Chronicles is a 2018 film starring Kurt Russell as Santa. I watched it on Netflix. You can't go wrong with Kurt Russell. If you like the feel-good holiday fare that's become so common these days -and maybe even if you don't- you'll like this. It's fun to see something different that's nicely done, even if it will never be an annual classic.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Give Peace a Chance

Give Peace a Chance:


in memory of Joe Cocker, who died on this date in 2014 at age 70.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Bundle of Joy

Bundle of Joy is a 1956 film starring Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. It takes place during the Christmas season.

I watched it free on YouTube, but it's not there now. It can be rented online but isn't freely available anywhere that I can find. So many videos are available for a while and then gone but available at another site. It's hard to keep up.


My favorite Christmas movies tend to be older ones, but I had never even heard of this one 'til I happened across it in a list online. I have quite a few tried and true seasonal favorites on disc so I can watch them anytime I like. I have a list here at this link of Christmas movies I've seen, and some of them are still available free. There's such a variety out there from romance to horror, from short TV episodes to long films, from lighthearted comedy to serious drama, and I'd imagine that there's something out there for everyone. You might not like what I do -after all, I don't like It's a Wonderful Life- but surely there's something that'll please you. I hope so.

Will you join me for a seasonal cuppa while we each find a seasonal entertainment that suits us?

There's a weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering that welcomes any blogger with a drink-related post to share. I'll be there.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Blood from a Stone

image from Amazon

Blood from a Stone is the 14th book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon. It takes place during the Christmas holiday season. I enjoy this series, her writing, the characters, the plots... They do not need to be read in order.

from the back of the book:
On a cold night shortly before Christmas, a Senegalese street vendor is killed in Venice's Campo Santo Stefano. The nearesr witnesses to the death re the tourists who have been browsing the man's wares -fake handbags of every designer label- but they have seen nothing that might be of help to the police. When Commissario Guido Brunetti arrives on the scene, he finds it hard to understand why anyone would murder an illegal immigrant. They have few social connections and little money, so infighting among them seems the obvious answer. But once Brunetti begins investigating this unfamilar underworld, he discovers that matters of grear value are at stake in the community.
Kirkus Reviews calls it "Leon’s most adroit balance of teasing mystery...". Italian Mysteries concludes its review with this: "This book is a must read. Donna Leon is such a marvelous writer."

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021


Markheim is a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. You can read it online at this link or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It opens on Christmas Day. It begins,
"Yes," said the dealer, "our windfalls are of various kinds. Some customers are ignorant, and then I touch a dividend on my superior knowledge. Some are dishonest," and here he held up the candle, so that the light fell strongly on his visitor, "and in that case," he continued, "I profit by my virtue."

Markheim had but just entered from the daylight streets, and his eyes had not yet grown familiar with the mingled shine and darkness in the shop. At these pointed words, and before the near presence of the flame, he blinked painfully and looked aside.

The dealer chuckled. "You come to me on Christmas Day," he resumed, "when you know that I am alone in my house, put up my shutters, and make a point of refusing business. Well, you will have to pay for that; you will have to pay for my loss of time, when I should be balancing my books; you will have to pay, besides, for a kind of manner that I remark in you to-day very strongly. I am the essence of discretion, and ask no awkward questions; but when a customer cannot look me in the eye, he has to pay for it." The dealer once more chuckled; and then, changing to his usual business voice, though still with a note of irony, "You can give, as usual, a clear account of how you came into the possession of the object?" he continued. "Still your uncle's cabinet? A remarkable collector, sir!"

Friday, December 17, 2021

L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 award-winning neo-noir crime drama starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, David Strathairn, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito. I watched it with adds at this Amazon Prime link. It takes place during the Christmas season.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Await Further Instructions

Await Further Instructions is a 2018 horror film about a Christmas family reunion that goes from tense and awkward to horrifying when they start receiving instructions through the television set. I watched it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert's website says it has a great premise, but that it
starts off like a classic episode of Rod Serling's searing, imaginative "The Twilight Zone," but ends like a feature-length installment of Forest Whitaker's unfocused, dismal "The Twilight Zone."
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 81%.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

My Night at Maud's

*note: We did not get damage from the tornadoes that went through Tennessee, but we did lose power from Friday night to Monday afternoon. I can access Facebook and Twitter on my phone, but I don't have Blogger set up that way. My FB peeps heard the Sad Saga of the lightless, heatless, waterless days and nights, and you might well count yourselves lucky to have missed out on my whining. I don't use blogger that way. I've missed y'all and hope to catch up soon!


My Night at Maud's is a 1969 French New Wave drama film directed by Éric Rohmer. It takes place during the Christmas holiday season. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert opens a positive review by saying,
Eric Rohmer's "My Night at Maud's" is about love, being a Roman Catholic, body language and the games people play. It is just about the best movie I've seen on all four subjects. It is also, a refreshingly intelligent movie: not that it's ideological or academic (far from it) but that it is thoughtful, and reveals a deep knowledge of human nature.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 95%. It's included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Here's a screenshot for the folks participating in the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering:

Monday, December 13, 2021

A Very Murray Christmas

A Very Murray Christmas is a 2015 musical variety-style show. I watched it on Netflix.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Boat of a Million Years

The Boat of a Million Years is a science fiction novel by Poul Anderson. from Wikipedia:
The novel follows a group of eleven immortals from the ancient past to the distant future. Most of the novel follows the various immortals throughout their lives as they try to find others like themselves, avoid being killed, and remain quiet about their gift.
There's one scene that happens at Christmas:
Yet another Christmas drew nigh, in the ship's chronology. It was meaningless to ask if it did on Earth just then -doubly meaningless, given the physics here and the forgottenness yonder. Hanno came upon Svoboda hanging ornaments in the common room. Evergreen boughs from the nanoprocessors were fresh and fragrant, bejeweled with berries of holly. They seemed as forlorn as the Danish carolsfrom the speakers.
Publishers Weekly has a plot description. SFF180 says, "The Boat of a Million Years lives up to the grandiosity of its title." Kirkus Reviews doesn't like Anderson's writing style. Worlds Without End concludes by calling it "a solidly satisfying work".

Saturday, December 11, 2021

"A Christmas Story" (1966)

A Christmas Story is the 15th episode of the 8th season of the Bonanza TV series. It aired in 1966.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Comfort and Joy (1984)

Comfort and Joy is a 1984 Scottish comedy film.

Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

"Christmas" (1953)

"Christmas" is a 1953 episode of the Make Room for Daddy TV series.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The Lemon Drop Kid

The Lemon Drop Kid is a 1951 Bob Hope comedy. It takes place during the Christmas holiday season. The song Silver Bells was introduced in this film.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Christmas on the Square

Christmas on the Square is a 2020 musical film starring Dolly Parton. It's sweet, but I liked it anyway. 😉 It's got a lot of seasonal spirit. I watched it on Netflix.


Please join me in a cozy cuppa as we watch:

and then we can visit with the participants in the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, December 06, 2021

The Holly and the Ivy (1952)

The Holly and the Ivy is a 1952 British family drama film that takes place during the Christmas holiday season.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Jangle Bells

Jangle Bells is a 1960 Christmas episode of the television series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Blast of Silence

Blast of Silence is a 1961 neo-noir that takes place during the Christmas holiday season.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas is a 1974 horror movie that takes place during the Christmas season. It stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and John Saxon. For those who go out of their way to avoid sweet and sentimental Christmas fare, this one's for you. You can watch it free on Tubi or below via Daily Motion:

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Beauty's Worth

Beauty's Worth is a 1922 romantic comedy silent film that has a scene which takes place under a Christmas tree.

DVD Talk recommends it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Setting the Table

Setting the Table:

by Claude Joseph Bail, a French artist who died on November 26, 1921.

Please share a drink-related post and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Proposition

The Proposition is a 2005 Australian film written by Nick Cave. It stars Guy Pearce, Ray Winstone, Emily Watson, John Hurt, Danny Huston and David Wenham. I watched it at TubiTV. It takes place during the Christmas season.

Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and opens his review with this:
"The Proposition" plays like a Western moved from Colorado to Hell. The characters are familiar: The desperado brothers, the zealous lawman, his civilized wife, the corrupt mayor, the old coots, the resentful natives. But the setting is the Outback of Australia as I have never seen it before. These spaces don't seem wide open because an oppressive sky glares down at the sullen earth; this world is sun-baked, hostile, unforgiving, and it breeds heartless men.
The Guardian calls it "an exquisitely contradictory work: beautiful but brutal, hot-blooded but ruminative". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus of 86%.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Artist of the Beautiful

The Artist of the Beautiful is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, It can be read online here at this link, or you can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
An elderly man, with his pretty daughter on his arm, was passing along the street, and emerged from the gloom of the cloudy evening into the light that fell across the pavement from the window of a small shop. It was a projecting window; and on the inside were suspended a variety of watches, pinchbeck, silver, and one or two of gold, all with their faces turned from the streets, as if churlishly disinclined to inform the wayfarers what o'clock it was. Seated within the shop, sidelong to the window with his pale face bent earnestly over some delicate piece of mechanism on which was thrown the concentrated lustre of a shade lamp, appeared a young man.

"What can Owen Warland be about?" muttered old Peter Hovenden, himself a retired watchmaker, and the former master of this same young man whose occupation he was now wondering at. "What can the fellow be about? These six months past I have never come by his shop without seeing him just as steadily at work as now. It would be a flight beyond his usual foolery to seek for the perpetual motion; and yet I know enough of my old business to be certain that what he is now so busy with is no part of the machinery of a watch."

"Perhaps, father," said Annie, without showing much interest in the question, "Owen is inventing a new kind of timekeeper. I am sure he has ingenuity enough."

"Poh, child! He has not the sort of ingenuity to invent anything better than a Dutch toy," answered her father, who had formerly been put to much vexation by Owen Warland's irregular genius. "A plague on such ingenuity! All the effect that ever I knew of it was to spoil the accuracy of some of the best watches in my shop. He would turn the sun out of its orbit and derange the whole course of time, if, as I said before, his ingenuity could grasp anything bigger than a child's toy!"

"Hush, father! He hears you!" whispered Annie, pressing the old man's arm. "His ears are as delicate as his feelings; and you know how easily disturbed they are. Do let us move on."

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts is a 2016 British post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Glenn Close stars. Dominique Tipper (remember her from The Expanse?) is also in this. I watched in on Netflix. I always enjoy a different take on a horror trope, and this one satisfies. Oh, yes, it definitely satisfies!


Empire concludes, "The best zombie-ish apocalypse in years. ... it’s the dense social commentary and moral dilemmas that will haunt you." io9 says, "The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting reflection on what it means to resist, survive, and ultimately thrive in a (real) world infested with rabid, horrifying monsters."

Roger Ebert's site says,
Just when you thought the zombie genre was out of ideas, along comes Colm McCarthy’s smart and engaging “The Girl with All the Gifts,” a film with echoes of George A. Romero, Danny Boyle, and Robert Kirkman but one that also feels confidently its own creation, a unique take on responsibility, adulthood, and a new chapter in evolution.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 86%.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021


Once is a 2007 award-winning Irish romantic musical drama film. It is a truly beautiful story. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert says, "It's one of those films where you hold your breath, hoping it knows how good it is, and doesn't take a wrong turn. It doesn't." Empire Online has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 97%.

Here's one of the songs:

You can listen to the soundtrack on Spotify:

or on Youtube.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I Drink Water

I also drink a lot of water -just plain water- without anything in it, and I only drink one cup of coffee a day, but I got a kick out of this meme. Please share a drink-related post and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a 2013 award-winning animated film from Studio Ghibli directed by Isao Takahata. It is based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a 10th-century Japanese literary tale. I watched it on HBO Max. The voice cast for the English language version is too long to list here, but well worth a look.


There was a 1987 live action film named Princess from the Moon that was based on the same story. I watched it back in 2012.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thanksgiving, as told by Wednesday Addams

Thanksgiving, as told by Wednesday Addams in the delightful movie Addams Family Values, is an interpretation worth considering.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire is a 1987 West German/French film directed by Wim Wenders. Peter Falk is part of the cast. I looked for this film for a long time but never saw it free on anything I had access to and never wanted to pay the going rate for a DVD. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movies list. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 98%.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

City of God (2002)

City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime film adapted from a novel but loosely based on true events. It is often included in film critics' "best film" lists and is included in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I watched it on HBO Max.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Dig

The Dig is a 2021 film based on a true story about the discovery of Sutton Hoo. It stars Ralph Fiennes. These based-on-a-true-story films aren't usually my thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I watched it on Netflix.


Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 88%.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sen no Rikyu and Tea

Sen no Rikyu is considered to be, according to Wikipedia, the historical figure with the most profound influence on the Japanese "Way of Tea". He was also the first to emphasize several key aspects of the ceremony, including rustic simplicity, directness of approach and honesty of self. These aspects of the tea ceremony persist. Here's a 5 1/2 minute video overview of his life:

This 3 1/2 minute video focuses on the tea ceremony itself:

Please share a drink-related post and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Use of Force

The Use of Force is a short story by William Carlos Williams. You can read it online here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
They were new patients to me, all I had was the name, Olson. Please come down as soon as you can, my daughter is very sick.

When I arrived I was met by the mother, a big startled looking woman, very clean and apologetic who merely said, Is this the doctor? and let me in. In the back, she added. You must excuse us, doctor, we have her in the kitchen where it is warm. It is very damp here sometimes.

The child was fully dressed and sitting on her father's lap near the kitchen table. He tried to get up, but I motioned for him not to bother, took off my overcoat and started to look things over. I could see that they were all very nervous, eyeing me up and down distrustfully. As often, in such cases, they weren't telling me more than they had to, it was up to me to tell them; that's why they were spending three dollars on me.


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Kirikou and the Sorceress

Kirikou and the Sorceress is a 1998 animated fantasy short film. I watched it on Amazon Prime. This one was a lot of fun.


Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%. Empire Online concludes, "A welcome antidote to anodyne Hollywood cartooning."

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The Lightning-Rod Man

The Lightning-Rod Man is a short story by Herman Melville. You can read it online here or here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
What grand irregular thunder, thought I, standing on my hearthstone among the Acroceraunian hills, as the scattered bolts boomed overhead and crashed down among the valleys, every bolt followed by zigzag irradiations, and swift slants of sharp rain, which audibly rang, like a charge of spear-points, on my low shingled roof. I suppose, though, that the mountains hereabouts break and churn up the thunder, so that it is far more glorious here than on the plain. Hark! -- some one at the door. Who is this that chooses a time of thunder for making calls? And why don't he, man-fashion, use the knocker, instead of making that doleful undertaker's clatter with his fist against the hollow panel? But let him in. Ah, here he comes. "Good day, sir:" an entire stranger. "Pray be seated." What is that strange-looking walking-stick he carries: "A fine thunder-storm, sir."

"Fine? -- Awful!"

"You are wet. Stand here on the hearth before the fire."

"Not for worlds."

The stranger still stood in the exact middle of the cottage, where he had first planted himself. His singularity impelled a closer scrutiny. A lean, gloomy figure. Hair dark and lank, mattedly streaked over his brow. His sunken pitfalls of eyes were ringed by indigo halos, and played with an innocuous sort of lightning: the gleam without the bolt. The whole man was dripping. He stood in a puddle on the bare oak floor: his strange-walking stick vertically resting at his side.

It was a polished copper rod, four feet long, lengthwise attached to a neat wooden staff, by insertion into two balls of greenish glass, ringed with copper bands. The metal rod terminated at the top tripodwise, in three keen tines, brightly gilt. He held the thing by the wooden part alone.

"Sir," said I, bowing politely, "have I the honor of a visit from that illustrious God, Jupiter Tonans? So stood he in the Greek statue of old, grasping the lightning-bolt. If you be he, or his viceroy, I have to thank you for this noble storm you have brewed among our mountains. Listen: that was a glorious peal. Ah, to a lover of the majestic, it is a good thing to have the Thunderer himself in one's cottage. The thunder grows finer for that. But pray be seated. This old rush- bottomed arm-chair, I grant, is a poor substitute for your evergreen throne on Olympus; but, condescend to be seated."

While I thus pleasantly spoke, the stranger eyed me, half in wonder, and half in a strange sort of horror; but did not move a foot.

"Do, sir, be seated; you need to be dried ere going forth again."

I planted the chair invitingly on the broad hearth, where a little fire had been kindled that afternoon to dissipate the dampness, not the cold; for it was early in the month of September.

But without heeding my solicitation, and still standing in the middle of the floor, the stranger gazed at me portentously and spoke.

"Sir," said he, "excuse me; but instead of my accepting your invitation to be seated on the hearth there, I solemnly warn you, that you had best accept mine, and stand with me in the middle of the room. Good Heavens!" he cried, starting -- "there is another of those awful crashes. I warn you, sir, quit the hearth."


Friday, November 12, 2021

Green Onions

Green Onions:

by Memphis group Booker T and the MGs. Today is the birthday of Booker T. Jones. May he celebrate many more.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A Haunted House

A Haunted House is a short story by Virginia Woolf. You can read it online at this link or here. You can listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure–a ghostly couple.

"Here we left it," she said. And he added, "Oh, but here too!" "It's upstairs," she murmured. "And in the garden," he whispered. "Quietly," they said, "or we shall wake them."

But it wasn't that you woke us. Oh, no. "They're looking for it; they're drawing the curtain," one might say, and so read on a page or two. "Now they've found it, " one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open, only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. "What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?" My hands were empty. "Perhaps it's upstairs then?" The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.

But they had found it in the drawing room. Not that one could ever see them.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Szamota's Mistress

Szamota's Mistress is a 2017 film, part crime, part mystery. part fantasy. It's a short (45 minute) film and easy to watch. I saw it on Amazon Prime.

from Imdb: "A lawyer, Jozef Szamota, tries to reveal the secret of mysterious woman that he met in abandoned mansion."


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Artist's Wife Sitting at a Window in a Sunlit Room

The Artist's Wife Sitting at a Window in a Sunlit Room:

by Carl Holsoe, who died on November 7, 1935.

Please share a post with a drink in it over at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 08, 2021

22 Bullets (2010)

22 Bullets is a 2010 Mafia revenge film. I watched it because it stars Jean Reno. He never disappoints, and this film was no exception. I saw it on Amazon Prime, but it's also available free on Tubi at this link.



P.S. I'm being driven crazy by Blogger's "prove you're not a robot" photos. Tiny photos. And it is never satisfied. I never seem able to click all the right ones, so I'm presented with yet another "try again" selection. It makes posting a simple comment a minutres-long procedure. I'm finding it quite irritating.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

The Exiles

The Exiles is a science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. You can read it online at this link. It begins,
Their eyes were fire and the breath flamed out the witches’ mouths as they bent to probe the caldron with greasy stick and bony finger.
‘When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?’
They danced drunkenly on the shore of an empty sea, fouling the air with their three tongues, and burning it with their cats’ eyes malevolently aglitter:

‘Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!’

They paused and cast a glance about. ‘Where’s the crystal? Where the needles?’
‘Is the yellow wax thickened?’
‘Pour it in the iron mold!’
‘Is the wax figure done?’ They shaped it like molasses adrip on their green hands.
‘Shove the needle through the heart!’
‘The crystal, the crystal; fetch it from the tarot bag. Dust it off; have a look!’
They bent to the crystal, their faces white.
‘See, see, see . . .’

A rocket ship moved through space from the planet Earth to the planet Mars. On the rocket ship men were dying.
The captain raised his head, tiredly. ‘We’ll have to use the morphine.’
‘But, Captain”

Saturday, November 06, 2021

The Last Stand (2013)

The Last Stand is a 2013 action film directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this movie. Great fun. I watched it on Amazon Prime.


Roger Ebert's site has a review praising Swarzeneggar.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Treason and Plot

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
We need a catchy poem like this about the 6th of January.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Tombs of the Blind Dead

Tombs of the Blind Dead is a 1972 Spanish horror film. According to Wikipedia, the director objected to the description of the revenant Templars as "zombies", insisting that they more resembled mummies who feed like vampires and that, unlike zombies, the Templars were not mindless corpses. You can watch it on Vudu with commercials or on DailyMotion.

1000 Misspent Hours says,
The Blind Dead are some of the most intimidating zombies in the business. Part of it is their unique character design, realized by an unexpected combination of extras in full-face masks and simple but impressive puppetry. Because the undead Templars are portrayed as desiccated and mummified, the immobility and awkwardness imparted to the zombies by the use of masks and puppets actually makes them more believable than would probably have been the case had more conventional makeup been used. But beyond all of that, it is the mythos behind them that enables the Blind Dead to stand out from the hordes of interchangeable gut-munching corpses that populate most zombie films. And somehow it’s the smallest detail— their blindness— that is the most disturbing thing about them.
Oh the Horror calls it a "Spanish classic that is a must see for all fans of creature features with ample amounts of all the things that make horror great."

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Man in the Attic

Man in the Attic is a 1953 mystery starring Jack Palance. Frances Bavier, better known as Andy Griffiths' Aunt Bea, is also in this movie as Palance's suspicious landlady. Is he Jack the Ripper?

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Fruit and Coffee Pot

Fruit and Coffee Pot:

by Henri Matisse. Left confined to chair and bed after surgery for abdominal cancer in 1941, he didn't let that stop him. As painting and sculpture became too difficult, he enlisted assistants and began working in cut paper collage. He said, "An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, prisoner of success…" An inspiration to us all. He died on November 3, 1954, of a heart attack.  He was 84.

Please share a post with a drink in it and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, November 01, 2021

The Face of Marble

The Face of Marble (1 hour, 12 minutes long) is a 1946 horror film starring John Carradine.

"Do you think we're doing the right thing by performing this experiment?" -Scientist's assistant, preparing the body they found dead on the beach

"Certainly." -Scientist

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Fragile (2005)

Fragile is a 2005 Spanish-British paranormal thriller ghost film. I watched it on Amazon Prime. It's available free on VUDU. There are ads either place.


Horror News gives it a positive review, calling it atmospheric and innovative.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Requiem (2006)

Requiem is a 2006 German film loosely based on the life of Anneliese Michel. from Wikipedia:
It stars Sandra Hüller as a woman with epilepsy, Michaela Klingler, believed by members of her church and herself to be possessed. The film steers clear of special effects or dramatic music and instead ... focuses on Michaela's struggle to lead a normal life, trapped in a limbo which could either represent demonic possession or mental illness, focusing on the latter.
This film takes great liberties with the subject matter and doesn't cover the ensuing trial at all.

Eye for Film has a positive review, as does The Guardian. Moria has a comparison between this film and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is based on the same case. Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 86%.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Ravenous (2017)

Ravenous is a 2017 award-winning French language Canadian zombie film. This is fascinating, giving us a completely different look at zombies. I watched it on Netflix.


Hollywood Reporter calls it "artsy". Eye for Film says it's "One of the most artful and creative zombie films for some years". Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critic rating of 87%.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is a 2019 award-winning psychological horror film starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. Dafoe is good in everything he does and worth looking for. This ain't your typical anything. Definitely different. I watched it on Amazon Prime.


The Guardian calls it "a sublime maritime nightmare". The Chicago Tribune says, "I’d see it a second time for any number of reasons".

Vulture has a positive review. Indiewire calls it a "gripping psychodrama". Vox says it's "easily one of the wildest films of the year".

Roger Ebert's site says, "It has the feel of watching someone else’s nightmare, and it’s not one that’s going to end well." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 90%.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021


Tagged is a horror short film (2 minutes 43 seconds).

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hubie Halloween

Hubie Halloween is a 2020 comedy horror film. Sweet. Cute. If you want something seasonal but not typically "horror" this might just be the thing. It stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Rob Schneider, June Squibb, Kenan Thompson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Steve Buscemi. I watched it on Netflix.


Have a seasonal beverage

and join me in taking part in the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, October 25, 2021


Ayuda is a 2018 horror short film (11 1/2 minutes):

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Rickety Lady

The Rickety Lady is a horror short film (2 1/2 minutes):

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The Damned Thing (Masters of Horror)

The Damned Thing, inspired by the Ambrose Bierce short story, is a 2006 episode of the Masters of Horror television series.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Invitation

The Invitation is a 2016 horror film. I watched it on Netflix, but it looks like it's gone from there now. You can watch it on Tubi.


The Guardian calls it an "elegant film that treats its audience like adults and gets the payoff it deserves." Roger Ebert's site says, "“The Invitation” is a dinner-party-from-hell scenario best served as unspoiled as possible. After all, a psychological thriller built upon slow-simmering tension is only as good as its surprises." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 88%.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Magician

The Magician is a 1958 film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, and Bibi Andersson. Blending elements of psychological drama and horror, the film was distantly inspired by G.K. Chesterton 's play Magic, which Bergman numbered among his favourites (from Wikipedia). It's available on several paid services (if you have Hulu you're in luck), but I can't find it freely available anywhere. You can rent it on YouTube, Amazon Prime, or Apple TV.


Moria says,
In The Magician, Bergman’s greatness is his evocation of the characters – the mephistophelean presence of the sickly Max Von Sydow; the cocky Tubal; the androgynous Aman; the haughtily hypocritical ministers.

Bergman’s art is not even necessarily his ability to offer penetrating character analysis but rather to cast actors perfect for the parts and to reveal everything through the dialogue.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Martin's Close

Martin's Close is a 2019 television horror short film, a BBC Four adaptation of the M.R. James short story. It stars Peter Capaldi.

The original story can be read online here, and you can hear the Librivox recording here. It begins:
Some few years back I was staying with the rector of a parish in the West, where the society to which I belong owns property. I was to go over some of this land: and, on the first morning of my visit, soon after breakfast, the estate carpenter and general handyman, John Hill, was announced as in readiness to accompany us. The rector asked which part of the parish we were to visit that morning. The estate map was produced, and when we had showed him our round, he put his finger on a particular spot. ‘Don’t forget,’ he said, ‘to ask John Hill about Martin’s Close when you get there. I should like to hear what he tells you.’ ‘What ought he to tell us?’ I said. ‘I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the rector, ‘or, if that is not exactly true, it will do till lunch-time.’ And here he was called away.

We set out; John Hill is not a man to withhold such information as he possesses on any point, and you may gather from him much that is of interest about the people of the place and their talk. An unfamiliar word, or one that he thinks ought to be unfamiliar to you, he will usually spell—as c-o-b cob, and the like. It is not, however, relevant to my purpose to record his conversation before the moment when we reached Martin’s Close. The bit of land is noticeable, for it is one of the smallest enclosures you are likely to see—a very few square yards, hedged in with quickset on all sides, and without any gate or gap leading into it. You might take it for a small cottage garden long deserted, but that it lies away from the village and bears no trace of cultivation. It is at no great distance from the road, and is part of what is there called a moor, in other words, a rough upland pasture cut up into largish fields.

‘Why is this little bit hedged off so?’ I asked, and John Hill (whose answer I cannot represent as perfectly as I should like) was not at fault. ‘That’s what we call Martin’s Close, sir: ‘tes a curious thing ‘bout that bit of land, sir: goes by the name of Martin’s Close, sir. M-a-r-t-i-n Martin. Beg pardon, sir, did Rector tell you to make inquiry of me ‘bout that, sir?’ ‘Yes, he did.’ ‘Ah, I thought so much, sir. I was tell’n Rector ‘bout that last week, and he was very much interested. It ‘pears there’s a murderer buried there, sir, by the name of Martin. Old Samuel Saunders, that formerly lived yurr at what we call South-town, sir, he had a long tale ‘bout that, sir: terrible murder done ‘pon a young woman, sir. Cut her throat and cast her in the water down yurr.’ ‘Was he hung for it?’ ‘Yes, sir, he was hung just up yurr on the roadway, by what I’ve ‘eard, on the Holy Innocents’ Day, many ‘undred years ago, by the man that went by the name of the bloody judge: terrible red and bloody, I’ve ‘eard.’ ‘Was his name Jeffreys, do you think?’ ‘Might be possible ’twas—Jeffreys—J-e-f—Jeffreys. I reckon ’twas, and the tale I’ve ‘eard many times from Mr. Saunders,—how this young man Martin—George Martin—was troubled before his crule action come to light by the young woman’s sperit.’ ‘How was that, do you know?’ ‘No, sir, I don’t exactly know how ’twas with it: but by what I’ve ‘eard he was fairly tormented; and rightly tu. Old Mr. Saunders, he told a history regarding a cupboard down yurr in the New Inn. According to what he related, this young woman’s sperit come out of this cupboard: but I don’t racollact the matter.’

Monday, October 18, 2021

Queen of Earth

Queen of Earth is a 2015 psychological thriller. I have trouble distinguishing this film genre from horror, to be honest, so I'm including it as horror this month.


Variety says, "Hell is other people — especially the ones who know you best — in Alex Ross Perry's acidly funny and unnerving portrait of a psychological breakdown."

Vulture says it "Mingles Genres and Captures the Details of a Corrosive Friendship" and "the agony, the paranoia, the sheer existential terror of grief becomes sublimated into the very style of the film. Queen of Earth is a psychodrama shot like a horror movie — Persona meets The Shining. Right down to the haunting, minimalist score".

Roger Ebert's site opens with this:
Alex Ross Perry’s “Queen of Earth” is as unsettling as any horror film that you’ll see this year but it so by virtue of its filmmaking and its performances instead of a twisting and turning narrative. Echoing dramas of internal conflict turned into threats of physical danger like “Persona” and “Repulsion,” Perry explores the concept that it is the human mind and its emotional undercurrents that is the most terrifying thing in the world. Anchored by incredible performances from Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston, this is one of the most mesmerizing pictures of the year.
Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 94%.

Sunday, October 17, 2021


Deathdream is a 1974 horror film that begins with the death of a soldier in combat and then the sound of the voice of his mother saying, "You can't die, Andy, you can't die. You promised, Andy. You promised you'd come back. You promised, Andy." It was inspired by the well-known short story The Monkey's Paw, by W.W. Jacobs, and ends as you might imagine it would.

Slant Magazine gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Dread Central closes with this: "Overall, Deathdream is definitely an under-appreciated and hidden horror that needs more love. So give it the love that it deserves and go watch it. NOW! It’s a great one. Point blank. PERIOD."

Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 83%.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Inhuman Kiss

Inhuman Kiss is a 2019 Thai horror film about a woman who is a krasue, a woman by day and a demon by night. This is a Southeast Asian folk tale figure. I watched it on Netflix.


Far East Film concludes,
All in all, this is a high quality story of ghosts among humans, finding a new approach to a time-honoured horror story. Think of it, perhaps, as Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands meeting James Cameron’s Titanic.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Boys in the Trees

Boys in the Trees is a 2016 horror/dark fantasy Australian film, a coming-of-age movie with bullying elements.

The Guardian says, "it’s a film exploring childhood regret: in particular, how petty schoolyard games can fracture friendships." Horror News says, "The story and characters are so intriguing, it’s really easy to get lost in this film. This can be credited to the beautiful writing style of Nicholas Verso which allows the dialogue and style of the film to flow effortlessly."

Most Rotten Tomatoes critics like it.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Alice, Sweet Alice

Alice, Sweet Alice is a 1976 horror film. This was Brooke Shields' film debut.

I watched it on tubi tv. It's also on Daily Motion:

Slant Magazine has a review. Dread Central concludes, "Alice, Sweet Alice is a wonderful low-budget horror flick made with a lot of care and thought. If it weren’t for a bit of rough acting every now and then, I’d be tempted to call it a masterpiece." DVD Talk says, "It's a film that rewards repeated viewings." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 82%.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Black Cat Mansion

Black Cat Mansion is a 1958 Japanese horror film, an atmospheric ghost story. It was never released theatrically in the U.S. and was never dubbed in English, but the video embedded below has English subtitles. It's just over an hour long.