Saturday, September 28, 2013

All Hallow's Read

With all the cool stuff on the internet to keep track of, it still surprises me when I come across something I totally should have known about, but somehow got lost in my shuffle! In this case, I cannot believe that I've never heard of the the All Hallow's Read until now.

Of course, if I were just reading Neil Gaiman's blog, I wouldn't be so out of the loop ... so let that be a lesson to me!

There are some free downloadable posters at Introverted Wife.

Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone locally who's doing anything with this, but I'm definitely willing to promote the giving away of scary books. I recommend Arthur Machen, E. F. Benson (of Mapp and Lucia fame!), and, let's see, how about my old and dear friend J. Sheridan Le Fanu, as some good starting points. For kids, there's always Something Wicked This Way Comes, or Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Egypt Game, which I can't believe I've never properly blogged about. Sometimes I just don't know what I've been doing with my life!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My first proper publicity, from the fine folks at Church of Halloween!

It totally warms my ghoulish little heart!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tom Welling Shirtless, with evil limb

I just looked over my stats, and apparently "Tom Welling Shirtless" is the Number One Search that brings people to my site. It's not inaccurate: Tom Welling can in fact be found shirtless here, briefly. It seemed like an oddly circuitous route for folks to take, so I did a Google Image search, and discovered that my screenshot was the 27th picture to come up. I find this baffling, but that's Internet fame for ya.

However, if you do a Google Image search for Rock Dancer, one of my pics is the first to come up, so that's a claim to fame. Not too many people must be looking for one, though, and that's everything wrong with the world in a nutshell.

But now that you Tom Welling fans are here, let's talk about 1962's The Devil's Hand, which we drew more or less at random from a set of "Drive-In Classics," in a dangerous game of B-Movie Roulette. If you grew up on the psychedelia of the 1960s Batman, as I did, I can guarantee it'll be strange to see Commissioner Gordon as the head of a cult that worships the "Devil-God of Evil." Especially since his day job is running the creepy doll shoppe on the corner. Gary Oldman, sure ... but not mild-mannered Neil Hamilton.
After he helps a customer, the Commissioner goes down to his basement temple, and there's a drummer (obviously voodoo-inspired) standing by to immediately start the atmospheric beats.  It's as if we had someone hanging out all day in our break room at work, just in case someone popped in for a quick sacrifice. And wouldn't that be awesome? I wonder where that job would fall on the pay scale.

The crux of the film was a struggle over the dull leading man (Alan Alda's father!), who didn't seem worth fighting over by gals either Satanic or pure of heart, although I got a kick out of the fact that he barely tried to resist the temptation of the hot but stalkery blonde stranger who'd projected herself mentally into his dreams. When his first visit to her cult involved his oath to be faithful to the death, and witnessing another member's loyalty tested with the possibility of a gruesome impaling, at least they were refreshingly up-front about it all!

Really, the whole initiation was like an evil reversal of one of my all-time favorite movie moments, from Ed Wood, when the minister asks during a baptism, "Will you reject Satan and all his evils?" and Bill Murray languidly murmurs, "Sure."

One thing about this movie though: it provides an explanation for why cars in movies are always crashing and then blowing up! When the leader discovers that a reporter has infiltrated the group, he puts a pin through the man's voodoo doll, causing a heart attack that crashes his car. Then the cultist throws the doll onto the fire, and the car bursts into flames.

MythBusters be damned!

"Well, that explains it," I said.

The next night, when a car went off a cliff and then exploded in the course of The Crater Lake Monster, I was like, wow, someone had a voodoo doll for that guy, too!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back in Orange

I've been out of the loop for a while -- making stick puppets, go-go dancing in a Godzilla outfit, getting swept up in a zombie apocalypse, etc. Mainly, though, I've been writing, but doing it off-line. I've finally taken the plunge and published a novella, and am deep at work on a more full-length novel.

Since I've written so much here about jantelogen and related concepts, it's probably no surprise that I'm not wildly comfortable with the self-promotional aspects of all this. When I started this blog, it was with the idea that it wouldn't contain anything that gave away my identity, unless people came here because they already knew me. And now that I'm in a position where I could make use of it for real-life purposes, I certainly feel like mocking my ideals.

However, I have always agreed with Auden that "private faces in public places are wiser and nicer than public faces in private places." So what the hell.

Oh, and about this book. There's a picture on the side of the screen. I tried to get a proper widget, I really did, but we'll have to do this the old-fashioned way: with hyperlinks.

It's called The Jack-o-Lantern Box, and it's available in print and ebook formats. It's about kids in a small town in the '70s who are planning for Halloween, telling ghost stories, and generally creeping each other out. Even though it’s never openly stated, the book partly exists to answer the question I often get in life: “What’s your deal with Halloween? Why do you love it so much?”

Of course, the correct answer is: “Because it’s awesome!” But along with the self-evidentness, there's the joy of being scared, and the combination of the holiday’s sense of freedom, forums for creativity, and even surface silliness, with an underlying seriousness that comes with the reality of death.

Plus candy!

So go buy it. See how smooth I am at this?

At any rate, I'm hoping to post more regularly, with some Retro Halloween-themed goodness, my backlog of reviews, and the usual random. Fingers crossed.