Friday, October 12, 2018

everyday is halloween

terrifier [2017] 

i don't know what the fuck is wrong with me but i had one of those days when everything seemed just a little off.  it wasn't bad but every time i tried to speak it felt as if language took a holiday leaving my brain and my mouth to work out their own confusion.  it wasn't a bad day.  but again, it felt as if my shoes were on too tight, my ability to speak was slightly muzzled, and my energy level sagged, just a bit.

things perked up when i walked home.  the weather was fucking gorgeous.  my city looks better when it gets darker early.  houses are decorated for halloween.  i stopped to get dinner out our favorite taqueria.  we had the doors and windows open to the clement evening.  there is a german hall at the end of our street, the turn verein, doing its annual oktoberfest so my neighborhood is chock full of people to-ing and fro-ing to the turn verein.  yes, there was lederhosen.

and my pal in the art, tim kahl, and his wife, stopped by for a lovely unannounced visit as they were on their way to oktobefest.  so what was a fairly awkward day transformed into a beautiful evening.

except for this movie in consideration.  i watched it last night.  perhaps it was this flick that set my blahs into motion.  terrifier is about a serial killer clown [of course! is there any other kind of clown?], art the clown, on a killing spree one halloween night.  already, seen it!  art the clown is one nasty motherfucker.  he laser focuses on two young women who have car trouble after a long night of partying.  guess what happens!

still, the principals were game and the dude who played art the clown was pretty good.  he does not utter a sound.  he works by his actions, and his tools consisting of rusting axes, hammers and saws [again, is there any other kind of tool that psychos don't use?], and his body and facial expressions are pretty effective.  but there was one twist.  the girl i thought would be the final girl, tara, played by jenna kanell, was not the final girl.  in fact, there were no final girls.  silly me!  obviously the filmmaker/writer, damien leone, knows his horror.  he wisely penned a flick to fuck with the viewer's knowledge of the horror genre.

but that is about as good as it gets.  the movie is your standard grue fest.  people get chopped up.  the fx were not bad.  the kills were creative, too.  but the character of art the clown lacked the serious repose of more infamous celluloid killers like michael myers and jason vorhees, and lacked the charisma and sense of humor of freddy krueger.  oh well.  sometimes a bad movie is just a flick.

i haven't given it up and i seek for more so good they are bad horror and exploitation movies.  i love that thousands of titles are available at the touch of my thumb via streaming services.  but man! i do miss the days of video stores, particularly at this most wonderful time of the year, halloween.  because the store would be decorated with ghouls and goblins, it would smell of popcorn, and most likely a cool horror flick would be playing on a monitor in order to whet your whistle for the scary season.


Monday, October 08, 2018

everyday is halloween

i had today off work.  i had the house to myself.  it was a lovely day, sunny, warm.  the doors & windows were open.  leo the cat was in & out & out & in all day.  i even had two cups of joe.  usually i limit my caffeine intake to one cup of rocket fuel in the morning.  but today?  what the fuck.  i had some chores to do.  i finished them.  i read a short story, 'sonny liston is a friend of mine', by the wonderful writer, thom jones.  i read poems online & a few twitter feeds.  then i turned the TV on & watched the news.  holy shit.  all bad.  politics suck.  & a new study released today is the most stark, most dire, warning from the UN that states we only have a few years to decarbonize our economy, & change our lifestyles, if we are to limit global warming to mere hellish conditions.  fuck me.  that is scary.  i think we have missed our window.  if we get 'mere hellish' global conditions from a disrupted climate we will be lucky.

so then i was watching the TV news & texted the climate change story to a couple of friends.  both were just as horrified as me.  but one texted me, 'lopez, turn off the news & watch a stupid movie!'  good idea.

i flipped on netflix to watch one of the scarier films i've seen in a long while, under the shadow [2016].  this iranian-made movie is about a young mother & daughter who live under enormous stress of 1980s post-revolution, war torn, tehran.  the father is a doctor & conscripted by the military to the front lines.  tehran is under constant bombardment.  the child says that a neighbor boy told her that a djinn arrives on the wind as it sports along the fears of both mother & child.  should the djinn take a beloved possession of yours you will be haunted by that demon.

the girl's doll goes missing.  the mother's husband calls from the front to urge her to get the hell out of the city & to his parents' house in the country where it is safer.  she resists.  she is an independent woman who has a VCR & exorcises to contraband VHS jane fonda exercise tapes.  she is also frustrated because her earlier radical political activities prevented the young mother from resuming her medical studies.  the mother changes her mind when the rest of the building's occupants flee one by one to safer ground.

there is a hitch.  the child will not leave without her beloved doll.  the mother appears to be fighting madness caused by stress but she agrees they won't leave the city until they find the doll.  the filmmaker does an excellent job of ramping up the tension so that when there is a jump scare it makes for a large jolt, at least in this viewer.  of course, i couldn't tell if the demon is real, or a psychological manifestation of the enormous fear & stress both the mother & daughter suffer from.

that is what makes this a brilliant movie.  it is not just a horror film, but a war movie, a study of the intense pressures of living in wartime.  & too that post-revolution iran was transitioning from a fairly open, liberal, western style, society to a conservative theocracy where a woman can be punished by the lash if she dared to appear in public in western clothes & head uncovered amps up the making strange hyper-reality of a world going crazy by war & fundamentalist religion.  would it be so weird for a djinn to terrorize someone under such conditions?

at any rate, i admire this film for its artistry of stark terror caused by the war & a burgeoning theocracy.  i watched this flick in broad daylight with the doors & windows open to a beautiful early fall day.  didn't help.  the movie still scared the shit out of me.  & as i measured the nuanced terror that the filmmaker created by inserting demons into a war film i thought maybe a filmmaker can insert something from my beloved horror genre into the utter massive scale & terror that is climate change.  at any rate, this movie needs repeated viewings like any good story or poem needs rereading.  i know of no higher praise.


Sunday, October 07, 2018

everyday is halloween

the following short film was shown to school children in the 1970s, perhaps even in the '80s [tho i suspect kids in the '80s were more sophisticated moviegoers since the introduction of the VCR & mom&pop video shops where all manner of contemporary cinema were available to anyone who had access to a mom&pop video shop membership card].  i don't remember this movie, 'winter of the witch', being shown to me when i was a lad.  anna remembered it & it became something like a holy grail to find it.  found it she did some years ago.  the internet never forgets & here it is on youtube.  the plot?  you had to ask.  a young boy & his mother moves into a new house.  the boy is a bit lonely.  the old house already has an occupant, a witch whose specialty is the making of blueberry pancakes.  yes, you read that right, the witch is a short order cook who makes these magical, almost hallucinogenic, blueberry pancakes that causes happiness in anyone who eats them.  lo!  the boy is no longer lonely, the house becomes a restaurant, & the witch is given a mission to make everyone freaking happy.  what can i say, this childrens' flick was made during the height of hippiedom, 1969.  here is a 2011 new york times article about the internet as a repository of nostalgia & history of the film.  below is the movie in all its wholesome innocence.  but i gotta warn ya, once you watch this flick you cannot unsee it.

fair warning


Saturday, October 06, 2018

absolute music

my secret sharer


Monday, October 01, 2018

everyday is halloween

halloween kitsch

i do love me some halloween decor & accoutrements.  the sights of such things make me happy.  black & orange are, natch, my favorite colors.  i grant these things of halloween are kitschy as hell.  but, as the saying goes, the heart wants what the heart wants.

& but so last saturday we headed up to apple hill, a collective of apple orchards that have become an annual autumn tradition of hereabouts where the intrepid traveler can find hand-made crafts, baked goods, a zillion variety of apples, of course, restaurants, wineries, breweries & all sorts of activities for the kids.  we've been going to apple hill for years.  we go early in the morning before the crowds make the drive to & in the hills pretty damn unbearable.  yep, apple hill is that popular.  we even go later in the season to cut down a fresh christmas tree at one of the many christmas tree farms.

back to halloween.  one shop had a wall laden with all things halloween.  i was, for a little while, in all kinds of geek heaven,  or would that be hell.  at any rate, below are a few pics i snapped of these lovely decorations.

feast your eyes.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

everyday is halloween

below is a vid from the vlogger, sharp productions, that i've been a fan for a few years now.  i love their halloween horror haunts vids.  below is a trip thru the queen mary anchored in long beach, california.  the crew get lost & find themselves in very maze-like storage areas of the great ship.  their adventure reminds me of the time when my brother & i explored the queen mary way back in the early '90s.  somehow, my brother & i found ourselves below decks & in areas that were, i think, off limits to tourists.  my memory is not as good as it used to be but i do remember finding the engine room.  we looked at each other & said, how the hell did we get here.  but like these vloggers we had a great time.  a proof that no matter where the path takes us it is the journey that counts.


2 views of the bay bridge

night at the opera

i buried my deep loathing of driving to & into san francisco, last nite, because a favorite band of mine & anna's, the the [you read that right, that is indeed the name of the band], reformed & is currently on tour.  anna tells me that the first two albums she bought were the english beat by the dave wakeling led band of the same name, & soul mining by the the.  both albums were unleashed on the public in 1983.

now that we are older we sometimes indulge in a few minor extravagaces.  one such indulgence was prepaying for parking, & access to the VIP room.  why the fuck not.  i've never even seen the inside of a VIP room so when anna purchased the concert tix a couple months or so ago she couldn't resist a little extra something for our rock&roll nite.

only problem is getting to sf.  i took the day off work.  anna went to her office.  the only exigency was to make sure nick was provided for & to get a quick dinner for all three of us before anna & i took to the road.  no problem, no sweat.  even the drive to the bay area was routine & dull.  it was a very hot day in sac so when we saw the fog rolling over the east bay we rolled down our windows & breathed deep of the cool, moist air.  i love california cold, above freezing but chilly enough to warrant wearing a coat.  the next thing is to cross the bay to the city itself.

that we easily did.  i snapped a few pics on my phone of the bay bridge at nite & in the fog.  i texted a couple to nick.  it was when we landed onto the city streets proper was where we lost our minds.  san francisco is a great walking city.  it is a terrible city for driving.  we got ourselves lost on market st.  we took a few loops around market & california looking for the masonic on nob hill.  i don't know why we got lost.  the fucking gps on our phones was telling us the masonic was here when it was really over there.  the experience really fried the nerves.

but a few minutes later we pointed our prius to california st, up nob hill, where we found the masonic buiding on our left.  remember it was nite, dark, & the building signage sucked.  i wondered if the building was indeed the masonic so i rolled down my window, shouted to a security guard, hey!  is this the masonic!  yeah, dumbass!, was the reply.  i didn't see the security guard's mouth move.  huh?  the same voice that answered me said something else. i looked up.  dozens of people were on the balcony facing california st.  rock&roll!, i shouted & drove in to the parking garage.

the rest was elemental.  we only had a few minutes to spare before the the was set to hit the stage.  but we insisted on going to the VIP room.  when we found it the room was nearly empty.  we wanted a glass of wine.  so i went to the bar and several minutes later, for there was a couple who insisted on getting an elaborately made concoction that took forever to make, & 20 bucks light in my wallet, we headed to our seats on the balcony right when the the took the stage.

& the the?  OMG, if you don't know the band i beseech you to stop reading, point your browser to youtube, & watch the video of the song 'this is the day'.  the leader of the the, matt johnson, can change your life.  johnson is the owner of one of the more beautiful & expressive voices in pop music.  deep, resonant, soulful are decent description of matt johnson's voice.  the band's set hovered over three albums, soul mining, mind bomb & dusk along with one song, 'i saw the light', from matt johnson's album of hank williams' covers, hanky panky.  & this iteration of the the was stunning musicianship.  the the are no strangers to synths & sequencers but for this version of themselves they stripped down their sound to keyboards, bass, guitar, drums & vocals.

in the middle of their set anna turned to me & asked if i identified a theme to all of johnson's songs.  i couldn't.  she said, time; they are all about the passage of time & growing older.  forsooth, i looked at the audience.  quite a number looked like me: older, white haired rock&rollers who still loved to rock to their favorite band.

which we did.  but we left a bit early.  the very last song of their set was 'lonely planet' from the dusk album.  a gorgeous song.  but they just plaid 'uncertain smile' a favorite among my very favorites.  anna & i were holding hands as we sang along to the chorus.  we didn't need to duke it out of the garage with a couple thousands other cars.  we beat the crowds, as maxwell smart said, by that much.  we pointed the prius to the bay bridge & getting out of the city, & on toward home to our beloved town of sac, was utterly uneventful.  anna & were still electrified by the magnificent the the performance that she plugged her phone into car's stereo [wow!  i know!  i am 51 years old & never in my wildest imaginations would i have envisioned a smart phone & blue tooth tech when the the's soul mining was released], & we sang along to 'cruel to be kind' by nick lowe [another near perfect pop song] & other tunes as we left the damp foggy air of the bay area & moved into the familiar hard, hot air of the central valley. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

last splash of summer

yes, i know we are as of yesterday, headlong into fall.  autumn is my very favorite time of the year.  still, i do like summer.  i miss the lazy sunday afternoons marinating at the pool with anna and nick, as well as our good friends b. c, and j.  my tan is sloughing off!  so in honor of those lazy poolside days i present the killer surf sounds of the sufrajetttes doing britney spears' song 'toxic'.  sounds goofy?  give it a listen and dig these gals' vintage dress, furniture, decor, instruments and amps.  this band has chops to spare.  they are gifted musicians.  oh, and did i mention they love their reverb?  the surfrajettes are my newest favorite band.