In What Furnace Was Thy Brain?

If you consider yourself empty and distraught trying to survive without a steady diet of classic films and the artistic thrust of black and white films with wartime credentials, and especially if you are still in mourning for the Filmstruck cable channel, I highly recommend taking a peek at the new Criterion channel that just premiered.

I have been thoroughly enjoying a wonderful sampling of Columbia noir films from the 1950s. One selection was Murder By Contract, starring a young and hairy Vince Edwards.

Continue reading

Adapting Evil

download.jpgOne of the most common and clichéd questions in reading groups is, Which was better: the book or the movie? In order to retain your elitist card you must unhesitatingly announce, The Book, of course! But it’s not always true.

Many times the authors, even though their books are quite good, tend to spread the narrative loosely over several characters and numerous scenes; they might even throw in a secondary plot or two or a particularly juicy love interest. Then when they go to make the movie they discover that all the by-the-page profits from the original publisher are never going to cover the extra cost for film and self-absorbed actors, so the writer of the movie script might combine a few characters or scenes, eliminate extraneous material which is not needed to advance the narrative, and hopefully create a tighter, more marketable product for the Silver Screen.

Continue reading

Cut You Up In Little Pieces

images.jpgYou are probably aware that the murder capitol of the world is Cabot Cove. Ever since The Manchurian Candidate I have cast a jaundiced eye at Angela Landsbury and the pokey gendarmes of Maine. But that was just fun entertainment (meaning there wasn’t a lot of blood and gore) and Cabot Cove has easily been replaced by the unnamed town in Japan frequented by Goth chicks and body parts stapled to a tree.

While seeking to throw some variety into my reading, I came across a recent volume titled Goth: A Novel of Horror by Otsuichi. I’ve got a soft spot in my scary parts for Japanese horror and this one seemed ideal for a midnight snack. It all takes place in a small corner of Japan where severed hands are buried in the backyard like kimchi and an occasional ear or nipple stapled to the side of a telephone pole is not an unusual sight. But after a half-dozen of these bloody dismemberments and three or four instances of being buried alive on the side of the potting shed, one does wonder why there are no traditional murders in this town: shootings, knifings, nunchuckings, poisonings.

Continue reading