The Comedy of Terrors

For your Halloween consideration…

This classic horror comedy stars Vincent Price as a conniving undertaker who resorts to murder to drum up business. Peter Lorre is his bumbling, soft-hearted assistant, Boris Karloff his senile father-in-law, and Basil Rathbone his hardnosed landlord-turned-victim. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, with a brilliant script by horror great Richard Matheson, this is the sort of film Abbott and Costello might have made had they been into Shakespeare and worked for Hammer Films. Very smart, wonderfully entertaining, and family-friendly; we watch it every year.

You can watch it streaming on Netflix, or rent it on Amazon for $2.99.

Happy Hallowe’en (and the Song of the Week, 10/31/2011)

Halloween/Samhain has always been my favorite holiday. To celebrate, here’s Springsteen channeling the raging ghost of Howlin’ Wolf with a perfect Halloween song…

For the interested, here are some posts from back in my blog somewheres related to Halloweeny goodness…

5 Classic Horror Flicks to Goose Your Bumps

…for those who might like to watch something scary and good, I figured I’d throw you a few bones. Collect ‘em all and you can build a skeleton.

These are just five classics, not my all time favorites or anything with that much thought behind it, not in any particular order. All of them are first rate.

5 New Classic Horror Flicks You Might Have Missed

Some more contemporary works that many people haven’t seen, and everybody who loves a good scare needs to.

Saturday Night With Cthulhu

Sebastian’s Voodoo (A Great Short Film)

A wonderful short animated film by UCLA student Joaquin Baldwin. It’s visually amazing, and the story is very moving.

“The Show Is Over” by Nora Keyes

Last Halloween’s Song of the Week, Nora Keyes gettin’ her serious creep on.

Two-Fisted Flickage (My Latest IMJ Pulp Column)

My latest column at Inveterate Media Junkies is up. It’s part 2 of my look at pulp adventure films.

Two-Fisted Flickage (Pulp On The Big Screen, Part 2)

And if you missed part 1 or earlier columns:

If Adventure Has A Name (Pulp On The Big Screen)

Column 1: I Am Doc Savage

Column 2: I Am Not Doc Savage

I’m Reading DC’s “New 52″ Comics (Part 2)

Thousands of readers haven’t battered me with messages asking what happened to my reviews of DC Comics’s “New 52” which I launched here. For those thousands, and the millions who also didn’t mention it, I figured an update was the least I could do.

Frankly, I burned out quickly. Writing even capsule reviews of all these comics proved a more tedious task than anticipated, especially as I started trying to read some of the bad ones. The first I read that I didn’t even remotely enjoy was Men of War, which was half a pound of machismo in a hundred pound box of don’t-know-what-manhood-is. It also tried to embrace the heroism of the military at the same time as it told us the best soldiers aren’t soldiers at all but bold individuals who ignore orders and thus always save the day. Crap.

But it wasn’t until I tried to read Legion Lost that I couldn’t even finish one of the comics. It wasn’t really bad, it was just there. Nothing about the thing, neither story nor art, was remotely compelling. It was basic, serviceable superhero fare, and I described it to a friend as “what people who have no respect for comics expect comics to be at their best.”

I lack the fortitude to force my way through all these books and bother saying anything about them. If you’re interested in reviews, though, the net is full of ’em. I’ve been enjoying Erik Mona’s thoughtful reviews which put my paltry earlier offerings to shame (even though he enjoyed the war comic). You can find them at his blog.

Now don’t get me wrong, the New 52 isn’t a failure, either creatively or financially (as a publicity stunt, it boosted DC’s sales a great deal). There are a lot of problems with it, from really shaky chronological consistency to some really egregious institutionalized misogyny. Also, Rob Liefeld.

But there are some good ideas too, and I particularly enjoyed the treatment of the big three, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Each of their titles starts off strong, and I’ll be staying with those and a few others in the months ahead.

Further On Up The Road (Song of the Week, 10/10/2011)

“Now I been out in the desert, just doin’ my time
Searchin’ through the dust, lookin’ for a sign
If there’s a light up ahead well brother I don’t know
But I got this fever burnin’ in my soul
So let’s take the good times as they go
And I’ll meet you further on up the road…”

Roads are forking, taking a beloved friend from my life. This is for that friend.

I’m going to miss you.

“One sunny mornin’ we’ll rise I know
And I’ll meet you further on up the road…”

Barefootin’ (Running With A Minimum Of Shoe)

In my last post, I wrote about how I’ve started “barefoot” or minimalist running, using shoes designed with very little support or cushioning to allow the feet, and the whole body, to perform as they are evolutionarily designed to do. I included a video of barefoot running guru Christopher McDougall giving a TED Talk, but upon rewatching that video I realized he didn’t say much directly about the actual biomechanics of barefoot running and why it’s apparently vastly better for us than running with high-tech running shoes.

So here are three more short videos on the subject, if you’re curious.