Just like the ones I used to know…

Last night, I was thinking about the blog and how I’ve ignored the blog. I sketched out something like the old monthly updates that Quinn and I used to do. He updated today after a long silence, so I took it as some synchronicity not to ignore.

Reading

I ordered The Horror Hall of Fame from a mail order book club sometime in the ‘90s. I read it then and liked it, but I think many of the oldest stories went over my head. In re-reading it, I’m struck by how many times I think, “This is boring, but I still like it.” This held particularly for Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows.” Originally published in 1907, it felt like watching a found footage horror film, a genre I don’t usually care for. “The Willows” had the camping/strange place element and the long build-up complete with bizarre happenings and mysterious feelings and sights unclear that lead to kind-of-an-ending. It’s oddly told in first person, which echoed found footage to me. I liked it more than most of those films, which I guess make me think, “These are boring, and I don’t like them.”

I’m enjoying Roxanne Gay’s takes on teaching, television, Scrabble, and Sweet Valley High in Bad Feminist.

Watching

Bava! In particular, Mario Bava. This guy made some incredible images. I’ve been watching his films since I was a teenager, but I’ve only recently gotten into his direction and cinematography. If you’re familiar with Italian horror, than his movies suffer from similar problems that trouble these films: overdubbing (even in Italian!), recycled plots, bizarre or illogical plot moments (Not always twists! Not always a bad thing!), music that’s fantastic, but seems out of place, etc.

But Bava’s movies are like beautiful, morbid fairy tales. If I ever have some extra cash, I’m going to seek out some nice transfers and releases for my collection. Recently I’ve watched and rewatched:

Black Sunday (1960)
Black Sabbath (1963)
The Evil Eye (1963)
The Whip and the Body (1963)
Kill, Baby, Kill (1966)

And that’s a very small part of his filmography.

Listening

Just got off a kick of listening to a lot of Steve Reich, especially Electric Counterpoint, and I probably listened to ten different recordings of it alone. Who am I kidding? I’m still cranking this up regularly.

Just discovered electronics pioneer Bruce Haack. I cannot believe I’ve never heard his work before. It’s unique, but reminds me of elements of The Residents, Dick Hyman, Raymond Scott, and David Lynch’s music projects.

Eliane Radigue’s work has become obsessive listening for me. Still digesting, but I’ve noticed I’ve liked her instrumental work more than anything that incorporates audio tracks of talking.

I’ve been checking out a mix of Clash, Kendrick Lamar, and Beach Boys records.

Writing

Recently started my column on horror films and culture for The Terror Test. We had been talking about this almost since the inception of the show, but I just couldn’t eek out time for it. Finally can and it’s a lot of fun for me and I hope it is sometimes for others. My column is called Test Prep and I usually write on subjects that lead into the set of movies or readings that are going to be a part of the next episode of the podcast. I try to take the ideas to somewhere other than just reviewing the films, since the podcast will do that. It’s been fun and challenging, and sometimes the writing has been some of the most personal I’ve done. I’ve been a horror fan since seeing Harryhausen, King Kong (1933), and the Godzilla films all around the age of five. I think I tried to shed my interest of the genre in college while studying Serious Literature and Film. I just don’t see things quite that way anymore.

You can read those columns bi-weekly—Friday-ish.

I’m also working on at least three distinct manuscripts: one of prose poems, another of odd, little 100-word poems, and another one that is sort of prose and sort of poetry and sometimes list-ish and likely to be a collaboration. My goal is to have one ready to submit by next summer. I’ve worked on some of these pieces for a few years, but I’ve finally made some time to put in the work. It means things like not ever going to a concert or movie and watching way less Bava than I want to.

I have some poetry and fiction in the submitting machine.

As always, thanks for reading!

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