Monday, February 23, 2015

AnachroCon 2015

I forgot to mention, I'll be a guest at AnachroCon in Atlanta this weekend. AnachroCon is a convention dealing with Steampunk, SF, Horror, Alternate History, and all kinds of other stuff. I'll be on panels discussing Gothic Horror, Victorian Horror, Ghost stories and a couple dealing with H.P. Lovecraft. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by and say hi.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Curse of the Crimson Altar

   Somehow I had missed out on even the existence of the 1968 horror film, THE CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR, which featured Boris Karloff (in his final role) alongside Christopher Lee. Yes, Lee and Karloff in a film together and somehow I was unaware of it. So of course, as soon as I learned of it, I spared no time in ordering a copy.
   Let me tell you folks, this is a SIXTIES film. The clothes, the music, and parts of the plot. It begins with antiques dealer Robert Manning (Mark Eden) searching after his brother who has gone missing in the English countryside, and whose last know whereabouts was a house called Craxted Lodge. Manning arrives at the house while a swinging sixties style party, with sex, drugs, and body-painting, is going on and is invited to join the festivities. The owner of the house, Mr. Morley (Lee) and his sexy niece Eve (Virginia Wetherell) claim to have no knowledge of Manning's bother, and invite Manning to stay the night.
   Manning has a nightmare about a cult of devil worshipers who want him to sign his name in a weird book. This has led several people to link this movie to H.P. Lovecraft's THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE because the hero of that story was coerced into signing "The Book of Azathoth" in his strange dreams. It's possible, but if so the link is tenuous at best. There's no mention of any of the Cthulhu Mythos Old Ones or anything of that nature.
   Boris Karloff looks tired but he still says his creepy lines with that distinctive voice, and it's good to see him one more time. Christopher Lee's star was still on the rise when he made this film and his performance is somewhat subdued.
   All and all though, I really enjoyed the movie, and recommend it to horror fans. Just be aware that it is, as I said, very much a product of it's time. Groovy baby. Fab and gear.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Book From William Meikle

My friend Willie Meikle has a new book release. Willie has written all kinds of cool books and tons of short stories. A recent favorite was THE CREEPING KELP, which has an unexpected Lovecraftian connection. He's also written some terrific Carnacki the Ghostfinder pastiches and some great Sherlock Holmes stuff. Anyway, more about the new one here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Interesting batch of stuff last night. Third issue of THANOS VS HULK written and penciled by Jim Starlin. Doc Savage magazine with two more pulp reprints. The second issue of CONAN VS RED SONJA which has Dan Panoisan at his most Marvelous, drawing a very Frank Thorne-ish Sonja and putting Belit, the Queen of the Black Coast, back into her Marvel Age outfit, as designed by the legendary Big John Buscema. I liked the first issue but I loved the second. The Starry Wisdom Library is a nifty volume of Lovecraftian coolness. And last but not least, the retro Legends of Cthulhu action figure. This is the Cthulhu Spawn figure. The other one I want, the Deep One, will be in soon.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Martian Legion Arrives

This isn't a review because I just got this half a million word novel and I haven't started it yet, but it was so cool that I wanted to post this pic. (Normal size paperback included for scale.) In this epic tale John Carter of Mars returns to Earth to enlist the help of Tarzan and ends up with not only the apeman, but Doc Savage, The Shadow, and other heroes too, who travel to Barsoom to fight a terrible threat. Yeah, the 14 year old me is going berserk. The book contains over a hundred illustrations and multiple color paintings and is simply amazing. After I read it, I will of course, provide an actual review. For now I'm just gazing at it in admiration for the sheer example of amazing bookmaking that it is.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Pride and Prejudice 2005

  Just finished up the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly. Yes I know it's ten years old but I'd never gotten around to watching it. Truthfully I was hesitant because I'm such a huge fan of the 1995 British mini-series that I didn't figure anyone else needed to film the novel anytime soon.
   Have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit and was impressed with how much of the story the filmmakers managed to fit into two hours and nine minutes. I've always found Keira attractive, so that helped, and I thought her somewhat understated performance as Elizabeth Bennet was well done. Rosamund Pike was positively radiant as Jane Bennet. I was also glad to see Sally Sparrow herself, Carey Mulligan show up as Kitty Bennet. Mulligan also appears in an adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel, Northanger Abbey.
   And speaking of Kitty, during the first ten minutes or so of the film I was a little taken aback by the constant giggling of Kitty and Lydia, but then I decided that the director was trying to show not only the girl's resemblance to their mother, but also the level of discord that Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) had to deal with on a daily basis. The settings of the film are perhaps a bit more realistic than the BBC version, though the subdued lighting sometimes approached the level of a Vermeer painting.
   I wasn't familiar with Matthew Macfadyen, who played Mr. Darcy, and though he's no Colin Firth, I thought he did a fine job. All in all, an enjoyable movie for a Sunday afternoon.