Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: the links

La ragazza che sapeva troppo
Below, the links to this week's reviews and citations As always, please let me know in comments when I've missed yours or someone else's...and, as always, thanks to all our contributors and to you readers...

Anne Billson: La ragazza che sapeva troppo (aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much)

Bill Crider: Hardcore [trailer]

Brian Arnold: back to school: "Charlie Brown and the Spelling Bee"

BV Lawson: Media Murder; Murder and Mayhem Milwaukee

Dan Stumpf: Two Days in the Valley

Ed Lynskey: The Turning Point (1952 film)

Elizabeth Foxwell: Man in the Vault; "Exile Noir" at UCLA

Evan Lewis: Disney Family Album: Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen

George Kelley: Babette's Feast

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Opportunity"
How Did This Get Made?: Stayin' Alive

Iba Dawson: The Best Man Holiday

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Parachute Jumper; Ex-Lady

Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Opportunity"

Jackie Kashian: Nic Dressel on multimedia fantasy franchises

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Ann Blyth, Hollywood Teenager

Jake Hinkson: Bogart and Bacall 1: To Have and Have Not

James Reasoner: Need for Speed

Jeff Gemmill: Robin Williams 

Jerry House: Vaudeville Acts 1898 to 1910

John Charles: Vengeance (aka Joko invoca Dio...e muori aka Joko's Vengeance)

John Grant: The Ringer (1952 film); The Scarlet Web

Jonathan Lewis: The Tall Target; West of Shanghai; Confessions of a Nazi Spy

Kate Laity: LonCon and ShamroKon

Kelly Robinson: Carmen with Theda Bara

Kliph Nesteroff: Broadside:"Follow the Pigeon"; The Sandy Duncan Show

Laura: Wonder Man; Out of the Past; 10 favored films of the last 25 years

Lucy Brown: The Greatest Show on Earth

Martin Edwards: Crimes of Passion (BBC package of Scandinavian tv); The Tourist (2010 film)

Marty McKee: Five Fingers of Death (aka King Boxer)

Michael Shonk: The Whistler (the television series)

Mystery Dave: Old Yeller

Patti Abbott: Trouble in Paradise

Prashant Trikannad: Everybody Loves Raymond: "The Thought that Counts"

Randy Johnson: She (1935 film); Mallory Must Not Die...(aka Il mio nome e Mallory...'M' come 'morte'--literally, My Name is Mallory...That's "M" as in "Death"

Rick: Veronica Carlson, Hammer star; Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

Ron Scheer: 3 Bad Men

Sergio Angelini: The Anderson Tapes

Stacia Jones: The Winning of Barbara Worth

Stephen Bowie: traces of New Wave film in 1960s US television

Todd Mason: a pointer for viewing tonight (for those in the US with "faithful" PBS affiliates handy), and will be repeated on the affiliated World network over the next week: I don't know how good this docudrama is, but the subject seems to me to be pretty remarkable (and PBS will be feeding their Robin Williams tribute afterward):

Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

In August of 1943, the last surviving clandestine radio operator in Paris desperately signaled London for additional weapons and explosives for the French underground. She knew her time was limited. Within a month, she too would be taken. This is the story of a woman’s extraordinary courage, tested in the crucible of Nazi-occupied Paris. With an American mother and Indian Sufi father, Noor Inayat Khan was an unusual British agent; her life spent growing up in a Sufi spiritual center in Paris seemed an unlikely preparation for the dangerous work to come. Yet it was in this place of universal peace and contemplation that her remarkable courage was forged. --PBS blurb and promo images:


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some important horror fiction you can read online, at least at this time:

A few examples of the better horror fiction you can currently read online (no promises that any given item will still be posted tomorrow, but I'm avoiding the more obviously criminal sites on the web, or anything that demands that you download):

Fritz Leiber:
Conjure Wfie (original magazine publication)
"Smoke Ghost"
You're All Alone (original magazine edit)

Theodore Sturgeon:
"Shottle Bop"
"The Professor's Teddy Bear"

Damon Knight: 
"Special Delivery"

Robert Bloch:
"The Weird Tailor"
"The Man Who Collected Poe"

Ray Bradbury:
"The October Game"

H. Russell Wakefield:
"Ghost Hunt" (if you were wondering about ancestors of The Blair Witch Project)

Beasts and Super-Beasts (for a sample, try "Laura," the second story)

Ambrose Bierce:
Can Such Things Be?

and, for some Real Life Horror (aside from that included among the above):
William Saroyan:
"Seventy Thousand Assyrians"

(a few suggestions for Prashant Trikannad and others...more to be added soon)

Friday, September 5, 2014

FFB: the anthologies of Kirby McCauley, 1941-2014: NIGHT CHILLS (1975), BEYOND MIDNIGHT (1976), FRIGHTS (1976) and DARK FORCES (1980)

George Zel's cover for the St. Martin's original; below, the Warner mm pb.
The agent and, briefly, anthology editor Kirby McCauley has died this week, ultimately apparently of renal failure while treating with diabetes; George R. R. Martin's remembrance of the man and his work is getting the most play, I think. He produced only four volumes I'm aware of, and I've yet to read his first two reprint anthologies (the work I've read that's in them is pretty impressive), but his position as one of the most energetic and enthusiastic agents for writers in and around horror fiction in the 1970s into the '80s helped him put together two very impressive anthologies of original fiction, with Frights and the very heavily promoted and heftier Dark Forces, and these I definitely did read and enjoy as a young horror fan, in the paperback editions. I recall Dark Forces being the most expensive mass-market paperback I'd purchased to that point.

Frights for its part was the first anthology of new horror fiction I recall purchasing, not long after discovering the then-new fifth volume of Gerald W. Page's The Year's Best Horror Stories...it was a banner year for me, and I'd just found the First World Fantasy Awards volume, and through that Stuart Schiff's Whispers and Charles L. Grant's Shadows anthologies in hardcover in the libraries, to supplement the ever-wider remit of fiction magazines I was finding (rather luckily, in the latter 1970s) on the newsstands. Frights led off with Russell Kirk's "There's a Long, Long Trail a-Winding" (already familiar from the World Fantasy Awards volume), and further discoveries of Kirk's ghost stories in back issues and anthologies from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction...I wouldn't read any of his conservative political thought, in the pages of National Review or elsewhere, for another couple of years, and a slew of stories by a number of the better writers still active in the field from the heroic years of the 1930s or '40s onward (Robert Bloch, Davis Grubb) as well as a couple of folks whose professional careers hadn't quite finished a decade and a half by then (Dennis Etchison, Ramsey Campbell), along with those a bit further along: R. A. Laffterty, Robert Aickman, Gahan Wilson (with a typically daft tale...Lafferty not too far behind in that). Aside from the lack of women contributors, save Karen Anderson in collaboration with her husband Poul, a not bad sampling of much of the best of the horror field in English in 1976.

Oddly functional (at best) covers.
Dark Forces went a bit bigger, and demonstrated that the horror boom that McCauley and his star client Stephen King (among many other notable artists, but no others yet quite as commercially potent)  helped to detonate was starting to let itself be felt. Again. light on women contributors (though Lisa Tuttle and Joyce Carol Oates, the latter having a new story published for the first time in an explicitly horror/suspense context, are excellent representatives), but featuring an Edward Gorey illustration story (or a graphic story, a term just coming into the language), and an even more impressive roster of contributors to the horror tradition, from Isaac Bashevis Singer and Manly Wade Wellman to the relatively young T.E.D. Klein and Ed Bryant, Karl Edward Wagner and Joe Haldeman, and reaching out also to folks as diverse as Clifford Simak and Gene Wolfe (not too often writers of horror fiction, less so than the likes of Singer, Oates or Kirk, certainly) to augment the previous crew and the addition of such other major figures as Sturgeon, Bradbury and Matheson (with younger Matheson)--even if the Sturgeon and Bradbury items were perhaps not the best in the book...which was led off by Etchison's brilliant and jarring "The Late Shift" and wrapped up with King's stupid but highly popular and well-regarded novella "The Mist" (this was one of the key works by King that helped put me off him almost as soon as Carrie had made me receptive to his work). Dark Forces, in part on the strength of the King draw, was a hard book to miss over the early '80s, and "The Mist" was famously adapted (in "3-D" sound) by the NPR radio drama anthology Earplay, in its turn issued widely as a "book on tape", in the decade or so before the film version...but for one reason or another, perhaps largely because of his personal and professional troubles, McCauley never put together another volume in the clear. Sparing a thought for him, and the good work he was able to do and to further over his career.

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for more prompt reviews today.  And the fine Vault of Evil blog for some reviews of the books story by story...

Courtesy ISFDB:

  • Publication: Dark Forces 
  • Editors: Kirby McCauley
  • Year: 1980-08-00 Pages: xvi+551+[2]

  • Publication: Frights 
  • Editors: Kirby McCauley
  • Year: 1976-08-00 Pages: 293

  • Publication: Beyond Midnight 
  • Editors: Kirby McCauley
  • Year: 1976-11-00 Pages: x+210 
  • Notes: Story Notes by T. E. D. Klein. 

  • Publication: Night Chills 
  • Editors: Kirby McCauley
  • Year: 1975-11-00  Pages: 260