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Friday, July 30, 2010


(Hey, I had to show you how he ended up in the hospital, didn't I?)

This week I thought I'd try something different. My current entry in my other blog (Sun Through A Broken Window) is a humorous short short story in the horror/science fiction genre, so I thought I'd try showing it to my fellow genre fans here too. I'm not going to make a habit of it, but I'd love to know what y'all think. Enjoy!


I suppose it’s a good thing that we’re trying to get along with them. It’s certainly not fair to deny them anything just because of where they’re from. They should be able to use the pool at the hotel, of course. If everyone else gets out of the pool when one gets in, that can’t be helped. You can’t control everybody, now can you?

But let’s face it – if given a choice, would you share a hospital room with one?

We have one TV between us. True, we each have a remote. But it doesn’t matter which button I push, when he can just flick out one of those tentacles of his, without getting out of bed, and change the channel back. So he picks all the programs. Ten hours a day of nature shows about squids and octopi gets old fast, let me tell you – and what do I care how homesick he is for a world where everyone has tentacles?

And the first time the doc needed to check his private parts, what does he do -- have the doc just drag the curtain around, like anyone else would? Oh no, he has to eject this cloud of noxious-smelling black fumes for camouflage! The staff were quick to point out that it’s harmless, that it doesn’t pollute the air anymore than an octopus pollutes the water with its ink. But they don’t have to lie here and smell it all afternoon. I don’t care how much Glade the nurses spray in here, I can still smell it. And I don’t care if he just did it by instinct – what it means to me is that in here, it stinks.

Then his squeeze comes to visit him, and they do pull the curtain around. If I wasn’t hooked up to all these tubes, I woulda been outta here. I know they were just kissing hello, but I never heard such a disgusting sound of slurping and gurgling and smacking in all my life. And the flashing red lights! You’d think he just pulled in his own private ambulance over there!

I used to be a lot more liberal, but now that I’ve had to live with this for five days, I think we need to ship them all back to Venus where they came from.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

(All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.)

Friday, July 23, 2010


When I see a horror film, the primary thing I’m hoping for is that I’ll be scared. I find being scared by movies therapeutic – it’s good for my soul. And, truth be told, it seldom happens anymore. I’m usually mildly amused, but I don’t often find myself getting lost in the action, jumping at surprise movements onscreen, etc. When I do, I’m so delighted that I can easily forgive a film for failing in lot of other ways. Whether it satisfied the demands of my intellect is way down on my list of priorities – when I want that, I read philosophers.

I also particularly enjoy horror films that have some sort of spiritual content. I’m a recovering Roman Catholic, so I’m especially susceptible if – as in “The Omen” or “The Exorcist” – the imagery and atmosphere are Catholic. But I find most religions equally scary (don’t think about that statement too much). Any faith will do.

This week I watched "The Unborn" (2009), an American horror film about a young woman named Casey (Odette Yustman) whose unborn twin brother was possessed by an evil spirit called a Dibbuk -- which is gradually forcing its way into the world of the living so it can come after her. The story is tinged with Jewish mysticism from the Kabbalah; the biggest name in it was Gary Oldman, who did a plausible turn as a rabbi exorcist.

It was fairly eerie, and it took awhile before what was going on became clear; the girl is menaced by apparitions in mirrors, receives ominous warnings from her long-lost grandmother, and is stalked by a creepy little boy (unnervingly played by the remarkable Atticus Shaffer).

The flick got very bad reviews, mostly for things that are readily accepted in a movie that's say, Italian; the biggest criticism was that it didn't make really narrative sense (you could say that about practically any Dario Argento film, but critics love those). Yes, the plot made a point of telling us that twins are particularly vulnerable to possession by a Dibbuk because twins are like living mirrors, through which Dibbuks enter this world -- and yet the spirit possesses almost every non-twin character in the movie while trying to get to heroine Casey. Point taken, but -- who cares?

The movie is a roller coaster ride of scares. The demon in its non-human form is a repulsive vision that varies a bit each time we see it -- as did the monsters in "Alien" and John Carpenter's "The Thing." The cast does an excellent job, the cinematography is wonderfully stylish and spooky, director David S. Goyer times every shock perfectly. It kept me on the edge of my seat and made me jump several times. I enjoyed it, and I'd recommend it. You'll have a great time if you suspend disbelief and allow yourself to get into it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm unable to write a blog this week because I'm busy covering a national accordionist's convention for my local newspaper. No, I'm not kidding.

In place of my blog I give you this short horror film from YouTube called Night Of The Living Accordion. At the end, you'll find the credits attribute everything to the star, one J. White. The only other film I've seen with similar credits was Bambi Meets Godzilla, which looks like a Hitchcock masterpiece compared to this thing. It's 8 minutes and 14 seconds you'll never be able to get back, so don't sue me. I warned you.

Ever hear several people sitting around in a hotel hallway playing different songs simultaneously on accordions? Now THAT'S scary.

See ya next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010


(Divine has nothing on leading lady Shirley Stoller, who also played the female Nazi -- the "Bitch Of Buchenwald" -- who humiliates Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties).

This 1969 flick, the only known film by director Leonard Kastle, made an unforgettable impression on me when I first saw it, and it still impresses me every time I watch it again. The film depicts the real-life story of Ray Hernandez and Martha Beck, a notorious couple who murdered at least 12 women. Though it takes considerable liberties with the facts, The Honeymoon Killers is utterly believable – it has a gritty fly-on-the-wall perspective that makes it seem almost like cinema verite. Tony LoBianco and Shirley Stoller are also perfect for their roles. The Honeymoon Killers was originally supposed to have been directed by Martin Scorsese, who got canned due to “creative differences” with the producer. Brilliant as he is, he couldn’t have done a better job than Kastle.

Alternately funny, sexy and horrifying, the film follows Ray and Martha as they con a series of gullible women into marrying Ray so they can abscond with their money. Overweight Martha poses as suave, hunky Ray’s sister so she can accompany him, but her jealousy compels her to kill the women he marries, transforming his modus operandi from mere con jobs to mass murder. Martha and Ray’s real passion for each other makes us identify with them rather than the whiny women they victimize, but their ruthlessness and cruelty still shocks when the murders are shown – especially in the one case where they kill not only the latest wife but her young daughter.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say that the film makes us empathize with the killers even at the end – putting it in that rare category, along with In Cold Blood and a few other titles, of films that truly succeed in portraying multiple murderers as human. Though it doesn’t shrink from showing violence, it’s more of a crime drama than a horror movie -- but it’s riveting from start to finish. And The Criterion Collection DVD does a superb job with its presentation.

And yes, Tony LoBianco looks as good here as he did in God Told Me To, and we do see him shirtless.

Friday, July 2, 2010


(John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe in Shadow Of The Vampire)

This week I revisited Shadow Of The Vampire (2,000) director Elias Merhige's fictionalized account of the making of the classic silent film Nosferatu. The film's central conceit is that star Max Schreck (brilliantly played with twitchy, barely-restrained menace by Willem Dafoe) actually is, unbeknownst to the cast and crew, a real vampire. Director F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) has convinced him to play the role in exchange for the blood of his spoiled leading lady (Catherine McCormack) -- and on condition that he wait till the filming of the final scene to actually drain her on camera.

The company finds it odd that Schreck is shot only at night, and that they only see him in character and in full makeup (and the makeup job, I might add, is an unnervingly effective homage to Schreck's original). The catch is that, as they say, "you can't eat just one" -- cameraman Wolfe (Ronan Vibert) ends up a snack for Schreck, and producer Albin (a perfectly cast Udo Kier) starts to suspect what's really going on.

Everyone plays their role flawlessly, The film is darkly funny at times, but also really spooky and suspenseful. It lives up to the ingeniousness of the idea and makes it plausible. It also makes a very respectable tribute to the original film, especially in the recreation of "Nosferatu" scenes where it moves seamlessly in and out of the camera's POV, adding peeks at events occurring out of camera range.

The film's gay connection? For one thing, the title character in the novel Dracula is rumored to be inspired by author Bram Stoker's repressed love for his employer, stage actor Sir Henry Irving, on whom the vampire is allegedly modeled.

(Sir Henry Irving -- looks a bit like Gregory Peck, doesn't he? But perhaps what turned Bram on was having to call him "Sir.")

More to the point, Nosferatu director F.W. Murnau, a major character in Shadow Of The Vampire, was gay -- a fact the film doesn't ignore but doesn't really dwell on, either.

(F.W. Murnau)

Ironically, Bram Stoker's widow successfully sued Murnau because he filmed her husband's novel without her permission, and ordered all prints of Nosferatu destroyed. Luckily for us, a few bootleg copies survived.