Post #5: The Curse Of Physical Media

I love DVDs. This can prove costly unless I manage to miss the 24-Hour Criterion 50% Off Sale. “Miss” is a strong word. “Abandon” may be better. For one thing, it’s just too frustrating. Seriously. Weeding movies out of my $500-plus cart is daunting and makes me sleepy.

My first edit only takes me down to $329 or so, and I just can’tt justify eliminating more than that (which was fine since the method of payment I planned to max out use had $340 of available credit, and my retirement plan is to die in debt).

Naturally I proceed to Checkout where I’m prompted to login to complete my transaction. Imagine my horror when doing so empties my cart.

So this is how it’s gonna be. Sigh. Fine then.

I reconstruct my list and assume it’s fate that I forget some titles, bringing me down to $220-something. This is when I’m informed I have to update my card which I do only to find my cart empty again.

Now I’m irked.

At this point I can’t remember anything from the cart, so I take another forced march through the entire film list–1400 or so titles.

Cuz I got time.

With two exceptions I decide this time to only get movies I haven’t seen yet. I glow with the pride of financial responsibility as this knocks my total to around $165. What a good boy am I.

What’s still on this list? Well thank ya fer askin’.

  • Exterminating Angel
  • Four-movie horror set from Shochiku (cuz I want Living Skeleton)
  • Jigoku
  • Kiss Me Deadly (seen this)
  • Leave Her To Heaven (and this)
  • Onibaba
  • The Red Shoes
  • Solaris
  • Two-movie Lady Snowblood set

It’s late, I’m tired, my brain has turned to Cream Of Wheat, so I go to bed. Cuz who knows? Maybe I’ll come up with some more essential titles I gotta pick up. Somewhere in the wee hours, I hear my cat swatting stuff off my desk. One of those somethings sounds like a credit card. She’s such a pain in the ass cute little furball.

Sadly, I wake up to an empty cart. I try every way I can think of to recall said cart. This consists largely of hitting the Back arrow and muttering, “What the fuck?” Still, I quickly reconstruct the list before I have to teach my first class online, but not quickly enough to also find where the cat has swatted my card to. Cute. Little. Furball.

No worries. I can finish up after class. Except when I come back–



I give up and consider the relative merits of abandoning physical media.

A Small Post Script: A word to my buddy, Bob, over at A View From This Wilderness–just wanna point out that these are all good movies.




Post #4: Why I Shouldn’t Read Comment Sections

Why yes, I’m on Goodreads. Anyone who knows anything at all about me knows I love books almost as much as movies. It was in perfect innocence, therefore, that I stumbled across this list: 48 Books That Scared The Bejesus Out Of Readers.

It was a good list. I own and have read most of the books on it. Sadly, I made the mistake of reading the Comments. In my defense, the original post ended with, “Check out some of the best in horror below, and be sure to tell us, What’s the scariest horror novel you’ve ever read??” So, of course, I went looking for titles I may need.

Big. Mistake.

I was fine until I got to the following from Han (names altered to protect the terminally clueless): “Does that mean the Name of Jesus has to be abused again?” Normally I could just shake my head and move on, but Han wasn’t done. “If you don’t believe in God don’t abuse His Name. thanks.”

Soon this was echoed by Gracey (get it? “Grace”y? I’m a yuk tsunami): “Same goes for ‘bejesus’. Not okay” and K.T. “Hey, I’ll be frank. Can you please not use Jesus’s name in vain? I’m Christian and I was very disappointed to see such disrespect on the front page of a professional website that I trusted to be classier than that.”

Well now all bets are off, and I’m not the only one who felt that way. They were quickly deluged by needling like, “Oh my god, jesus christ these comments are funny,” and, “for christ’s sake, no Lovecraft?”

Naturally I mentioned some titles.

  • The Book Of Cthulhu– ed. Ross Lockhart
  • The Book Of Cthulhu II– ed. Ross Lockhart (collections of stories inspired/influenced by Lovecraft)
  • The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward– H.P. Lovecraft (someone commented that Lovecraft is creepy and atmospheric, not scary…not sure what Lovecraft she’s been reading besides At The Mountains Of Madness)
  • Demons By Daylight– Ramsey Campbell (criminally underrated)
  • Haunted– Chuck Palahniuk (couldn’t stop reading this…it was that bizarro)
  • Hot Zone– Richard Preston (one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read, and it’s real)
  • The House Next Door– Anne Rivers Siddons (one of Stephen King’s favorite books)
  • Night Shift– Stephen King (never gets old…I read it every few years)

In my reply, I called it My christ-on-a-bike List. I know. I know. This doesn’t help anything, and I’m no better than the people who annoyed me. I’m just exacerbating the problem. Same kinda thing happened once at a laundromat. Someone was playing loud jeebus music and singing along. I had my laptop on hand, so I started blasting “TV Set” by The Cramps.

The last comment I read was another lament from Gracey: “Wow – there are some deeply ugly people on Goodreads.” What I didn’t say in reply (yet) was, “Maybe try that whole Matthew 7:1-3 thing–judge not, mote that is in thy brother’s eye, and all that. Forgiveness, ain’t that y’all’s shtick?” Perhaps I’ll get to that later.

And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that much of this is a character flaw on my part. I’ve been goading self-righteous religious types since, like, 1980. Probably has a great deal to do with my infantile response to authority.

What can I say? Apparently I’m 12. Oh well…


Post #3: Ratched (or American Horror Story: Noir)

Normally (well, for some value of normal), we don’t much traffic in recent stuff ’round Castle Blogferatu, but I can’t rave enough about Ratched. When I first heard about it, I was understandably apprehensive. Seriously, Nurse Ratched is one of the most chilling characters in cinema. When she hits the screen in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the temperature plummets.

Providing her backstory becomes a fantastic idea and a lofty goal, one that could end in disaster if not handled right. That said, Ratched has received a shit-ton of bad press. I’m not sure what these folks were watching, but it couldn’t possibly have been what I watched. One Mashable article listed 10 Unanswered Questions from the Season 1 finale. 8 of those were totally answered, so somebody wasn’t paying attention. As for the remaining 2, I’m perfectly willing to wait for the next season.

Plus my adoration of Sarah Paulson started with Murder House. Huge fan of Ryan Murphy as well. His hand can be seen all over the place reinforcing a bleak AHS Freakshow tone and feel. And based on the writing, you’d think that Evan Romansky has worked with Murphy for years (he hasn’t).

Sure, Ratched has weak spots. The first half hour drags some, but if you power through it, you will not be sorry. The season finale is not much of a cliffhanger, which is fine, but it’s also less effective than the rest of the series. Also Dr. Hanover’s story arc doesn’t quite pull off its attempt at irony and becomes disappointingly anticlimactic. But overall these things remain minor and never break the spell.

Amongst the subplots that surprised me were the Bonnie & Clyde relationship of Edmund and Dolly, Sharon Stone and Brandon Flynn as Lenore and Henry Osgood (recalling Gloria and Dandy from Freakshow), and the scene-stealing Sophie Okonedo as Charlotte Wells.

The show’s most enjoyable aspect may well be the human awfulness oozing from most of the characters. We’re talking film noir levels of reprehensible that serve to heighten the straight-up horror elements. Almost everyone has something(s) to hide, some ulterior motive, someone they want dead, some delusion they will do anything to maintain.

These people are Just.



And so, having finished this first season of Ratched, I’ll likely rewatch it, then rewatch One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and await Season 2. While I’m at it, maybe I’ll bust out Double Indemnity, Detour, and Nightmare Alley…again.