Wednesday, January 9, 2019

You Scream, We All Scream....

Excuse me, is that a Fruit Roll-Up on your face?
So, when does the screaming start?

Ah, good ol' Amicus Productions delivered once more. This time with And Now the Screaming Starts! (sometimes with an exclamation mark, sometimes not).

Last night, the Scoobies and I at the Tates Creek Public Library Classic Horror Film Club (try putting that on a business card) watched this great little departure from Amicus's usual anthology format and traveled to 1795 England. Sort of entering Hammer Film Productions territory with the period sets and the characters wearing drapery.

Young Catherine (poor woman doesn't even get a last name), marries Charles Fengriffen, lord and master of Castle Fengriffen. Unfortunately for Catherine, she gets handed some extra Fengriffen baggage in the form of a family curse, a ghost, and a Rosemary's Baby-style pregnancy. Of course, no one believes any of her protestations, even after a visit from the family doctor. It's not until Dr. Pope (played perfectly properly and British-ly by Peter Cushing) comes visiting that the ectoplasm really hits the fan.

Great cast gives this fun screamer a big thumbs up. Just one thumbs up, on the left hand, as it's the disembodied right hand that's crawling around in the film. Oh, did I forget to mention the crawling hand sequences?

Stephanie Beacham plays the unfortunate Catherine. She's been in everything from Dracula A.D. 1972 to Coronation Street.

Ian Ogilvy was Charles Fengriffen. Ian I best remember for his role as Simon Templar in the TV series in the late 70s, Return of the Saint.

Herbert Lom played Henry Fengriffen, Charles's evil grandfather, the one who got the whole curse thing started. Wonderfully wicked performance.

As I mentioned, Peter Cushing was excellent as Dr. Pope. Mr. Cushing has been all over the map. Always love Peter Cushing in anything.

And then there was Patrick Magee (not Patrick Macnee -- that's John Steed of The Avengers) as Dr. Whittle, giving his usual spot-on performance. We saw he, Herbert Lom, and Peter Cushing recently in another Amicus title, Asylum, also an excellent film.

Some fun effects with hands bursting through paintings and ghosts with no eyes. And the ending, well... that would be telling, now, wouldn't it.

Be seeing you.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Space Family Robinson

That was the original title of the Gold Key Comics series that started in December, 1962. I had one or two of the issues, but who knows where they went with all my family's moves over the years. Anyway, before I get too sidetracked, the comic inspired the series, Lost in Space, that fired up in 1965.

Seems we've had a fascination with the Robinsons ever since, leading to a more rugged, updated Lost in Space series launched by Netflix in April or 2018. I went to visit my buddy, Cran, yesterday, and we had ourselves a mini-marathon of the new series. Watched six episodes yesterday, and usually I'm ready to throw in the towel after so many episodes of a single show, but if it hadn't been for the fact that it was getting late, we'd have watched the remainder of the first season. I think there were 10 episodes for season 1.

Gotta give a tip o' th' old space helmet to Netflix, the writers, and cast of this new series. There's a lot to like here. I won't go into a whole lot of detail on it yet, but a lot of the first episode is told through flashbacks.

First off, the Robinsons are a tad dysfunctional, which makes them a whole lot more interesting. John Robinson, the father, is a Navy Seal, and has been estranged from his family for two years. Maureen, the mom, is pretty much a super-genius, and has been running the family while he's been gone. But one of the things I especially like is, unlike the original series (and I still love the original's campiness and just pure fun), all the female members of the Robinson clan are serious professionals in their own right.

Penny has the standard teenager amount of complaining, but I gotta tell you, when it's crunch time, she gets the job done. Doesn't matter if it's being talked through performing emergency surgery by her doctor sister, Judy, assembling the chariot, or off-roading the chariot after she's put the thing together, she may gripe about it as she's doing it, but she completes the mission every time.

Okay, enough on that for now. More later. If you get a chance, watch the new Lost in Space series.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Still Stuff to do in Morehead

So, where was I?

After we roamed around the Kentucky Folk Art Center, we hit another of our favorite hangouts in Morehead. We always just call it the Fuzzy Duck for short, but I think the full title is CoffeeTree Books and Fuzzy Duck Coffee. Once upon a time, I think Wendy and I used to know the reason it's called Fuzzy Duck Coffee, but my brain has atrophied, so that'll be something for you folks to ask them about.

We didn't get any coffee this time, or any of the incredible pastries (saving ourselves for our next stop, which I'll get to in a sec), instead promising ourselves we could get one really cool book of our choice. Which we did. I picked up a copy of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison. Always wanted to read some more Ellison. Wendy picked up The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers. That should be a wild read. Fuzzy Duck has some off-the-well-worn-path kind of books.

Time for lunch. If you're looking for some incredible Italian food, you can't beat this restaurant down the street from Fuzzy Duck called Melini Cucina. The only thing comparable in Lexington is Paisano's. Many moons ago, Freddie's in Danville could've given them a run for their money, but man, everything we've had at Melini's has been fantastic. Check it out. Try one of their football-sized calzones. Ask for a box to take the other half home.

And for a topper afterwards, there's Root-a-Bakers Bakery & Cafe. Somehow I managed to not eat all the snickerdoodles on the trip home.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Continuing on Down the Road

Charles Williams's Pencil Holder
Picking up from last week, and our journey to Morehead, Kentucky. Before we hit the Folk Art Center, we stopped off at a Goodwill in Morehead. In case you want to check it out, you take the first exit for Morehead, then go left. Another immediate left, and you're there.

We love roaming around Goodwills and flea markets. Never know what you'll find. Best I recall, we found some DVDs and shirts. Can't go wrong with ninety-nine cent DVDs. Shirts were 3.99. Now, as most of my readers know, I also love to find the tackiest items possible, then post them. Nothing tacky this time out, though.

So, the Folk Art Center. Here you'll see art in its most pure stage. Whatever media the artists had, on whatever surface, was and is, fair game. Crayons, markers, charcoal, home-brew paints, all good. They might apply it to Bakelite, plywood, and old door, just anything on hand. It's inspirational for those of us who want to get back into art. Makes us look at our surroundings with a clearer eye.

As far as subject matter, a lot of the work contains biblical references. Some depicts natural scenes and wildlife, occasionally fantasmagorical. Lots of critters and wild boogers. Other scenes are of their hometowns and streets where they lived. One artist, Mark Anthony Mulligan, lives in Louisville, is self-taught, and is a mystery. His crayon-based street scenes show the city he grew up in a mind-gobbling panorama, billboards and signs exploding in your eyes. Here are a few examples of several artists' works:

Mark Anthony Mulligan's work
Another work by Mark Anthony Mulligan
Charley Kinney's Wild Booger
Brent Collinsworth's Hazel Green, Wolfe County
It's definitely worth your time to visit the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Most everything's for sale, plus they have a gift shop where you can buy smaller versions of the work.

Well, more later. And remember, please leave your comments on my blog. I'd love to hear from you folks.

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Start Your Day with Santa

That's what Wendy and I did this past Thursday. We'd decided on a drive to Morehead, Kentucky, for the day. It'd been some time since we'd been there, going to some of our favorite spots.

Well, we decided on Wild Eggs for breakfast before our trek to Morehead, and who should be be seated close to? None other than Santa Claus. For those of you who don't believe in him or have been wondering, the photo above should prove he does exist. And he was handing out candy canes to the other kids.

Wild Eggs is a great place for breakfast, especially for us old breakfast junkies who are trying to modify the concept of breakfast. Over the last several months I've been full-out vegan, occasionally vegetarian, occasionally flexitarian. About once every other week I'll have an egg breakfast. This time, though, I ate mostly veggies, with some interesting cubist kind of tater tots. Tots are one of my weaknesses.

Okay, moving on, you folks didn't come here to read about my breakfast. So, we headed on down I-64, Morehead-bound. Not much traffic that day, which was nice. First stop, the Kentucky Folk Art Center connected with Morehead State University. This is one of our favorite art galleries, with rotating exhibits. Here's the web site:

Kentucky Folk Art Center

If you love folk art, this is the place to go. Here you'll see works by people self-taught, some who started at an early age, others getting into it later in life. Gives some of us latter-day artists inspiration. Several things Wendy and I love about folk art -- the simplicity, the rawness, the edginess. It's pure, uninhibited expression of the creative spirit.

Gonna cut this post short, as I'm trying to do that from now on, to give my readers a bit of a break. Put things in bite-size chunks. My next post will continue with our trip to Morehead, and I'll have a few photos of the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

Keep writing, friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Silent, Wooden Guardian

Here she is, Thanador, one of the last of the Woodland Dragons. After the Battle of End Days, she transformed herself into solid oak, where she now stands guard outside an antique store in Nashville, Indiana. Standing beside her you cannot help but feel the raw power within. One day her story shall be told within the DragonFox chronicles.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

You Want What?

Ain't takin' this away from me!
This'll be a short post (unless I get long-winded, as happens). And it's a reminder for myself, as much as for my writerly friends.

A story gets down to what everyone wants. And what keeps them from getting what they want. Your good guys want something, your bad guys want something. Elsewise, no story. Think of the most person you can imagine, whether it's a yogi master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the wise woman on the mountain, whomever. They want for nothing. But what happens when something intrudes on that peace? Just something to think about.

Makes me think of the Rolling Stones' song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want". "....You can't always get what you want But if you try sometimes well you might find You get what you need...."

Sometimes your characters can't even get what they need. But that won't keep them from trying like hell.

Keep writing, friends.