Lazy Sunday CLI: More Movies, Part XV: Movie Reviews, Part XV

After three poetical Sundays (here, here, and here), it’s time to get back to the schlock and sleaze you’ve come to expect from yours portly.  That means more movie reviews!

These three flicks date from late October and early November, the beating heart of the so-called “spooky season.”  As such, these films fall nicely into the spooky category.  Two of them are masterpieces, while another is a dud.

Well, per Meat Loaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad“:

  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Dracula (1931)” – The local library showed a bunch of the classic Universal Monster Movies in October, and I managed to make it out to 1931’s Dracula.  What a great movie!  It’s easy to see why it was and remains an instant classic.  Highly recommended.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Halloween Kills (2021)” – Alternatively, some classics are meant to die young, even if their villains never do.  2021’s Halloween Kills is a lackluster sequel to the 2018 Halloween reboot/sequel/soft reboot/reimagining/etc.  That was a good movie; Halloween Kills was tedious and grating (how many times can random characters shout “Evil Dies Tonight”? before it gets annoying; it might make a good drinking game for those so inclined).  There’s a ham-fisted attempt to work in a message about the violence of mobs, but the movie is ultimately just dull.
  • Monday Morning Movie Review: Wait Until Dark (1967)” – So it’s back to the 1960s, a time when concerns about youthful street hooligans and declining civic virtues (hmm, sounds familiar) wound up on the silver screen.  1967’s Wait Until Dark, starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman living with her photographer husband in a basement apartment in New York City, is actually a good movie, and a tense, Hitchcockian thriller.  A couple of thugs and an intimidating Mod harass the poor blind woman, attempting to gaslight her into revealing the location of an antique doll full of drugs.  The setup is a bit ridiculous, but the story itself is taut.  Also highly recommended.

There you have it!  Back to the movies this Lazy Sunday.

Happy Sunday!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

November Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first Friday of November, which means it’s another Bandcamp Friday! That means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.64 as of 1 November 2021, according to Bing, for my British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.09) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

I’m also sitting on a lot of great, but unsold, Spooktacular merch, including my shocking original painting “The War on Halloween.”  If the price tag is too rich for your blood, contact me and we’ll work something out.

It’s also a great time to pick up my debut book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.  It’s just $10 (and available in Britain, too).  Christmas is approaching, and it’s a great time to read absurdist, ludicrous detective stories by the fire (or to give as gifts—why not buy four or five copies to hand out as stocking stuffers to your friends?).

Bandcamp began doing Bandcamp Fridays during The Age of The Virus, when most musicians (myself included) witnessed a catastrophic drop in their revenue.  Venues closed or stopped live music; parents withdrew students from one-on-one lessons; and private parties were cancelled, meaning fewer of those lucrative gigs.  Also, fewer live performances meant fewer royalties for songwriters.  It’s only $10

Fortunately, that situation is improving, and people are eager to get out and hear live music again.  Still, pitching in a few bucks helps immensely—and you get some good music in the process, too!

So, on with the sales pitch!  Here are my seven releases, in chronological order:

  • Electrock Music (2006, $5) – Twelve tracks from my senior year of college, all instrumental MIDI tunes.  I gave physical copies to my Fiction Writing Workshop class; I wonder if they still have those little homemade copies.
  • Electrock II: Space Rock (2007, $7) – I’m obsessed with the idea of the sci-fi rock opera (I actually tried to write one for piano and vocals back in 2012-2013, but never finished it)—it’s the most decadent, self-indulgent form of musical expression.  That was the driving spirit behind this rockin’ collection of out-of-this-world jams.
  • Electrock EP: The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse (2012, $4) – My younger brother introduced me to a song call “Biomachinery” by some melodic death metal band, and the rhythm of that word inspired the lead-off track of this four-song cycle, “Cyborg Unicorn.”  Of course, the instrumental chorus of that track is basically Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so it’s true what they say:  composers swipe from each other all the time.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume I: Dance Party (2013, $3.60) – I had a number of tracks stored up for a never-completed Electrock III, so I thought I would begin dribbling them out as part of repackaged “retrospectives.”  This first one, Dance Party, features “Robobop,” which is also a perk for $5 subscribers to my SubscribeStar page.
  • Electrock Retrospective, Volume II: Technological Romance (2013, $2.14) – Technological Romance features “Pwrblld (Ballad II)“—with apologies to Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration.”
  • Contest Winner EP (2015, $5) – This album is my tour de force.  I recorded it in a real-life studio, overdubbing my vocals with my piano part.  It was an amazing experience, and these tunes are staples of my live shows (especially fan favorites “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair“).
  • The Lo-Fi Hymnal (2020, $4) – I started playing piano at my little Free Will Baptist Church a couple of years ago, and I began taking little recordings of offertory, invitational, etc.  I compiled the four very lo-fi recordings into a short compilation.  I’m hoping to record a second volume at some point.

An easy (and free) way to support me is to “follow” my Bandcamp page and my Amazon author page.  I post updates about new merchandise, new music, and other interesting offers about once a month to the Bandcamp page, and new books will pop up on my Amazon page as they’re published.  It’s a good way to keep up with the latest news on my musical adventures.

Another free way to support me is to turn off your ad-blocker.  The site delivers several thousand ad impressions monthly, but most of those are blocked, which means they don’t pay out.  You can usually find the ad-blocker as a little widget or icon in the upper-right-hand side of your browser; click on it and it will usually give you the option to “pause” or stop the blocker from running on this site.  I know ads are annoying, but seeing a few DuckDuckGo ads helps out in an incremental way.

Even if none of that entices you, no worries!  I’m just glad to have you here, reading my self-indulgent garbage and my lengthy advertisement posts.

Happy Friday!


Halloween in England

Good ol’ 39 Pontiac Dreamer, one of my regular readers, is as big a fan of Halloween as I am.  To that end, he e-mailed me a TON of Halloween pictures over the weekend, including his and his wife’s Jack O’Lanterns.  He says hers is the more elaborate one, while he goes for a simpler, more classic approach (like me).

Per Ponty:

We had a few trick or treaters over the evening but, thankfully, not at a crucial point in any of our films…. The films in the pictures by the way are Ringu and the Romero classic Dawn of the Dead.

Ponty also sent me some excellent photographs of an English sunrise—in September!  I’ve been so slammed, I keep forgetting to upload them.  Look for those next Tuesday.

For now, here are the pictures of Ponty’s British Halloween:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Halloween Kills (2021)

Halloween has come and gone, and we’re now entering the season of thankfulness—and then Christmas!  But I figured I’d squeeze in one more movie review related to the holiday, as my girlfriend and I saw—perhaps, it’s better to say, “endured”—2021’s Halloween Kills.

Halloween Kills is the sequel to 2018’s Halloween, itself a sequel to 1978’s Halloween (here’s a handy chart of all twelve Halloween films, and a diagram showing the different continuities within the bloated series).  Like Halloween II (1981), which starts immediately following the events of the original, Halloween Kills takes place on the same night as the events of Halloween (2018).  Confused yet?

Well, none of that much matters, besides the characters repeatedly mentioning the Michael Myers murders “forty years ago.”  Really, most of the movie is a sad attempt at making a statement about a mob mentality, itself muddled by the fact that the mob—which keeps chanting, “Evil dies tonight!”—is actually right about the necessity to annihilate Michael Myers once and for all.

Needless to say, it’s not a very good movie.  The 2018 Halloween was a great follow-up to the original (even taking into account that horror movie sequels are almost never good, or justified), and explored the theme of complacency in the face of a real existential threat.  Lori Strode’s character correctly understand that there is evil in the world, and Michael Myers is the relentless embodiment of it.  She therefore wisely takes major precautions to protect herself against the inevitable return of the man in the mask.

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Lazy Sunday CXXXVII: More Halloween Hijinks

I’m getting a late start tonight, as I’m recovering from last night’s Spooktacular.  It was a good night overall, though attendance was down somewhat from last year.  Still, we had tons of trick-or-treaters (they literally came by the truckloads, with kids dangling off of truck-pulled trailers), and some good music.  I’ll have a full rundown later this week.

For now, it’s HALLOWEEN!  As such, here’s a collection of some recent Halloween-related posts for your delectation:

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Halloween—and that I don’t get any more truckloads of trick-or-treaters, because I am all out of candy!

Happy Halloween!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT^2: Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween is nearly here!  This year, Halloween falls on a Sunday, which has thrown everyone into a state of chaos trying to figure out when to trick-or-treat (the correct answer is “Saturday”).

October always passes by so quickly, no matter how much I try to savor the season.  Predictably, it’s gotten warmer here again after a week or so of blissfully autumnal weather, though the forecast for the Spooktacular is looking appropriately cool.  If it gets cool enough, I’ll brew some coffee and make some hot chocolate for guests.  As long as it doesn’t rain, I’m happy!

In the tradition of the last two “Happy Halloween!” posts (the original and last year’s TBT), here is this year’s Jack O’Lantern:

Jack O'Lantern 2021 - Lit on Front Stoop

I don’t have much more to add, so with that, here is 29 October 2020’s “TBT: Happy Halloween!“:

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Halloween and Spooktacular Preparations

It’s Halloween Week!  Besides Christmas (and probably Spring Break), it’s quite possibly my favorite week of the year.

It’s also the week of my third annual (and second on the front porch) Spooktacular!  As such, I spent a good portion of the weekend making the preliminary preparations for having lots of people sitting on my front lawn for a couple of hours or so.

Among the myriad tasks I completed (such as some long overdue weed eating, and applying more ant bait to the lawn), I engaged in my favorite Halloween season ritual:  carving a Jack O’Lantern!  I picked up a couple of massive pumpkins from Sam’s Club for $7 each, and this one made for particularly attractive gourd.  Just look at its perfectly jaunty, stout stem!

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Trick-or-Treat When You Want

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

One of the more interesting aspects of serving as a Town Councilman is discovering the kinds of matters residents really care about.  While they tend to worry about big issue things—fixing the water system, for example, and keeping their water and sewage bills low—most of their day-to-day concerns are smaller:  getting lawn waste picked up in a timely fashion; being able to pay their water bill conveniently; requesting information about upcoming events.

That’s to be expected:  people have busy lives, and one reason we have representative government is because most folks want someone else to take care of the delivery of basic services.  Just as we expect the electric company to keep the lights on and our ISP to keep the YouTube videos piping in over high-speed connections, residents want their water to flow when they turn on the spigot.  I don’t lie awake at night wondering how to generate electricity because a lot of other capable people are involved in doing just that, and I’m happy to pay them to do it.

But one thing that I have noticed is that there are some matters that people really can figure out for themselves, but they still want some official guidance or direction.  I’ve noticed this most with questions about the time-honored Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating.

The issue is straightforward:  Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, which throws everything into chaos.  Here in the South, our relationship with Halloween is sometimes tenuous at best, although most everyone I know loves it and celebrates it in some way, including trick-or-treating.  But Sundays are for church, not for dressing up as witches and devils and ghosts.  Also, more practically, there is work and school the next day, and no one wants to be out too late.

The big question, then, is, “when do we trick-or-treat?”—or, as I have been asked by residents, “when does the town observe trick-or-treating?”

The Town of Lamar has answered that question:  Saturday, 30 October 2021, from 4-7 PM.  But I am still getting questions about trick-or-treating—more than about any other piece of town business.

To read more of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

TBT: Monsters

As the days grow shorter and cooler, with a full moon overhead, that old Halloween spirit has me excited for mischief and fun to come.  Shirts for this year’s Spooktacular have come in, and I’m ready to play more spooky tunes from my front porch!

I’ve already reblogged one of my favorite posts, “On Ghost Stories,” and it’s a bit early to throwback to past Halloween posts, so it seemed like a good time to consider another post pertaining to the so-called “spooky season.”  This post, “Monsters,” is very much in the same vein as “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” but from the angle of cryptids—think “Bigfoot“—rather than strictly supernatural creatures.

I don’t know if I believe in Bigfoot or not—I want to believe in it, at least—but I’m very much open to the possibility that there is far more to God’s Creation than we can even hope to comprehend.  As such, it seems self-limiting to outright deny the existence of certain creatures.  There might be plenty of evidence against the existence of Bigfoot, Mothman, etc., but such was the case—as I point out in this post—with the adorably weird duck-billed platypus.

But I digress.  Whether these monsters exist or not, there are still plenty around us.  With that, here is 21 October 2021’s “Monsters“:

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