not the usual suspects: 13 horror film classics at sinescope

Two-Fisted Filmgazer Lisa Moore has written up her top 13 horror film classics over at the online arts journal Sinescope.  I’ll hopefully have a couple of other guest bloggers doing the same over there, but that’s not final or anything.  Anyway, hope you pop over and read Lisa’s piece and get some great ideas for horror films that aren’t the usual suspects you usually see on lists like this.  Lisa really went for some great, unorthodox choices.  But for admirers of her writing, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

i’ve never killed in hot blood: tower of london (1939)

He reeks of death.  But death is his trade and he has a taste for it.  Yet he’s never “killed in hot blood” before, never killed in war.

As Mord, the royal executioner and ally to King Richard III (Basil Rathbone), Karloff personifies the cruel representation of political violence behind the throne, the workmanlike brute force that does his master’s bidding to preserve the peace.

Mord may hide behind the throne, but Karloff’s gleefully morbid turn is nakedly, aggressively terrifying.  He is the prototypical executioner, the death dealer of our childhood nightmares.  The first moment we see the powerfully built but cadaverous looking Mord–hunched over his grinding wheel, sharpening his oversize axe with a black raven perched on his shoulder–it’s like watching Cain himself readying the next murder.  But where Cain acted impulsively, emotionally… Mord is pure professional.  There is little overt art to his blood-letting, hence why he yearns for something a little more exciting, creative, arousing.  Karloff is almost touching as he pleads to Rathbone to take him into battle.  Warfare must be a wonderful, crimson bounty for a man like Mord.  The opportunities for passion are no doubt endless.  God knows how energized Mord will be when he returns from murder on such scale.

great crack-ups #2

TPFWWM.1

The long-lost FBI agent Phillip Jeffries has been to the land beyond beyond.  He materializes from a dream into a dream; out of thin air with a mind crackling of electricity.  He confounds agents Cooper, Rosenfield, and Chief Gordon Cole with his ravings, but each of them knows down deep that this wreck of a man has experienced something horrifying, something truthful.

TPFWWM.3

“I’ve been to one of their meetings.”

TPFWWM.4

He’s witnessed the inner workings of the Black Lodge.  He’s been witness to their secret worship and seen what lurks behind the masks.  How can any man keep his sanity after such things?

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He can’t.

new review/highlight

Monsieur Appleby over at the nifty Rushmore Academy blog, which focuses on all things Wes Andersonian, informed me last night that my first book, Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood’s Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers (Kamera Books), was highlighted over at David Hudson’s The Daily blog at IFC.com.  Pretty cool, I think.  The mention there is due to a new lengthy review of the book (which I did know about) in the latest online issue of the always interesting Bright Lights Film Journal.  And if you head over there to read the review, make sure to check out the reviews for Richard Brody’s stellar book on Godard, Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, director Michel Gondry’s book You’ll Like This Book Because You’re In It: A Be Kind Rewind Protocol, a new book on cult exploitation director Jack Hill (Spider Baby!), and what looks like a great book on the much maligned but sturdy Epic film genre (a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine) by Jeffrey Richards.

a long… weary… howl….

I’ve been quiet for the last month or so… not because I’ve been hiding, not because I’ve been diligently working on something before doomsday (deadline).  I’ve been unusually quiet because my laptop (which is only 10 months old) bit the dust.  More or less.  It sputters to life for a few minutes at a time… long enough to get my hopes up that it’s just been kidding… before blinking out again.

It’s been frustrating to say the least.  I’m exhausted dealing with the Dell people from the US and the UK to resolve the problem.  Luckily, someone finally seems to have stepped up to rectify the situation.  My fingers are crossed, as well as my toes.

You can read more about my own (not-so) private crisis here.  Luckily, at least for the next couple of days, a friend of mine is off to Dublin for a few days and has loaned me a computer to use, so I’m sure I’ll be putting up some new posts while I await the fate of my little laptop.

Cheers!