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Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Best left alone?

Best left alone?

I mean, it’s just asking for trouble:

And speaking of Pluto’s features, NASA scientists are now giving unofficial names to some of the things they’ve spotted — names they can submit to the International Astronomical Union for official approval. They’re sticking with the trend of underworld creatures and gods — Pluto, after all, was the Roman god of the underworld — and have tentatively named a previously observed dark, whale-shaped splotch (just to the left of the broken heart) after “Cthulhu,” the dark deity invented by author H.P. Lovecraft. Described as part man, part dragon, and part octopus, Cthulhu has gained something of a cult following in the Internet age.

Okay, so Cthulhu is supposed to be trapped under the Pacific, where he lies dreaming, but what if R’lyeh was really located on a dark plane on a dark planet at the far edge of the Solar System, and Lovecraft was trying to spare us the sanity-blasting truth? And what if this awakens him… er…. it?

Yeah. We’re doomed.

PS: Let us enjoy this moment while forgiving the article’s author his apparently weak knowledge of all things Cthulhuoid. First, he’s never been described as “part dragon,” though he does have wings as I recall, and an octopoidal head. But he is definitely not a god. Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, and Hastur are gods. The Big C is “merely” a Great Old One, himself a servant of the gods.

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When his children can leap out of the water, hunt you down, and drag you away…

From the article:

This here video of an octopus exploding out of the shallows, moonwalking on land, grabbing a crab, and pulling it back underwater was shot in Australia just days ago, which means that there’s a good chance this very octopus and others like it are still alive, which means that you and I and all of our loved ones are in danger.

I am never going near the surf again…

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You’re sure to sleep well after looking at these:

"They're coming for you..."

“They’re coming for you…”

 

Here’s an excerpt from the Wired article:

It can be hard to take your eyes off a good GIF. Turns out, it can also be tough to take your eyes off a terrifying one.

In Oswra, a collection of GIFs by self-taught animator Hayden Zezula, we witness baby parts rearranged into all sorts of endlessly-looping abominations. A plaster-white baby head sits atop a churning cone of arms and hands. A dense cluster of legs marches nowhere at all, like a sea anemone with tiny feet instead of tentacles.

A couple of these convince me the artist is secretly a Yog-Sothoth cultist. And I bet the mutant babies work with the evil clowns.

Sweet dreams!

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book cover odd thomas

“Odd Thomas,” written by Dean Koontz, is one of those books I wanted very much to enjoy, but just didn’t. It is the kind of story I should have found gripping, but, like a spirit almost ready to leave this world behind, I often found myself close to “letting go.”

“Odd Thomas” is the name of the title character, a short-order fry cook in his early 20s in a fictional California desert city who has an unusual ability: he can see the spirits of the dead, those who haven’t been able to “move on” for one reason or another. They cannot talk to him, but some do find ways to communicate with him, in order to lead him to the person or persons who killed them, or otherwise solve the mystery of their death. Odd uses this ability to aid the small local police department. The local police chief is a good friend and knows of Odd’s talent, as does Odd’s girlfriend, “Stormy,” and a few close others. (His parents are not among that group.)

The plot surrounds Odd’s realization that something very bad is about to happen in his town, “Pico Mundo,” when he sees a somewhat disconcerting man and then begins to notice “bodachs” luking about town. Bodachs are creatures (Odd isn’t sure if they’re spirits, demons, or something else) that appear when bad things happen. Odd frequently sees one or two, but now dozens and even hundred are appearing. They don’t involve themselves in the disaster, but they like to watch, and their growing numbers give Odd an urgent sense of desperation to prevent whatever they’re here to “enjoy.”

No spoilers, but there is a serious threat our hero must prevent. He succeeds, but only mostly and at great cost to himself and others, fitting for a horror novel.

My problems with this book are twofold: first, I’m convinced there is a superb short story hidden within this plodding, overwritten novel. I only wish Mr. Koontz had realized that. I often found myself thinking “get on with it.”

Second, the writing style put me off almost completely. Told first-person from Odd’s point of view, his narrative is very straightforward, almost formal, and at times overly descriptive, like a talented but undisciplined young writer. His own personality is odd, of course, and studiously even-tempered, polite and again formal. While Koontz makes clear why he made these choices over the course of the novel, I found the execution off-putting, almost dull, and even annoying.

Others obviously disagree with me; this is the first book in a popular series and it has been made into a movie. But, in comparison to the works of masters of horror and occult fiction, such as Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, and Ramsey Campbell,  I found “Odd Thomas” bland and  lacking.

Not recommended.

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And you have to suffer with me. Presenting “The Creepiest Collection Of Doll Photos Ever Assembled”

Here’s just one:

Creepy killer doll

Why, yes. I do have a mild phobia about dolls coming to life. Don’t you?

PS:  In case you still doubt dolls are evil.

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You have to admit, there’s a certain justice:

Police had identified 17-year-old Santos Ramos as the possible culprit in the attack on 35-year-old Leandra Arias Janco Sunday in a Quechua community near the municipality of Colquechaca, said Jose Luis Barrios, the chief prosecutor in Potosi province where the community is located.

Enraged, more than 200 community members seized Ramos and buried him alive alongside his alleged victim Wednesday night, according to Barrios. He said residents on Thursday blocked the road to the community, preventing police and prosecutors from reaching it.

A local reporter for an indigenous radio station, who would only speak on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told The AP that Ramos was tied up at the woman’s funeral. Mourners threw him into the open grave, placed the woman’s coffin in it and filled the grave with earth.

I’m not without sympathy, given the atrocity inflicted on the woman. Still, it sounds like this was done after the man was only  identified as a suspect, not convicted in a court of law where he would have been able to present a defense. This isn’t (just) sanctimony on my part: the Rule of Law, under which life and property are protected for all and everyone gets their day in court, is essential to national stability and prosperity. Without it, you simply have mob rule, the stronger dominating the weaker, and the near-anarchy of a Hobbesian state of nature.

And trial by lynch-mob.

To be fair, the Bolivian court system in Bolivia is corrupt, and the villagers may well have felt that they would never have received justice and so had to take it into their own hands. Like I wrote, I can sympathize, even if I don’t approve. (In fact, the villagers should be prosecuted, but, being Bolivia, the government probably doesn’t want a regional revolt on its hands.)

On another note, what an ending for a horror story, straight out of Poe or Machen: buried alive with your victim, whose spirit may be looking for her own justice…

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"Where'd those kids go??"

“Where’d those kids go??”

I hope:

A 63-year-old South Korean woman was shocked to learn she became pregnant with 12 baby squid after eating a portion of calamari. The story — definitely giving new meaning to the term Octomom — was detailed in a scientific paper authored by researchers at the Kwandong University College of Medicine.

Here’s what happened: The unnamed woman, who we will refer to here as New Octomom, said she was eating a portion of whole squid when she felt an extremely sharp pain in her mouth. She told doctors she could feel something in her mouth, which she described as bug-like organisms.

She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately, the researchers wrote. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity.

After the woman was hospitalized, doctors discovered baby cephalopods — tiny pods covered in a cementlike material to make them stick — attached to the inside of her mouth. The pods, which covered her gums, tongue and cheek, were filled with an ejaculatory apparatus and sperm, with the apparatus discharging the sperm very forcefully.

Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa, the researchers said. On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.

Spermatophores, according to Science 2.0, are packages that carry semen and other tools that attach themselves to the female squid’s body. Spermatophores are adhesive in some species of squid, which allows them to easily glue onto the surface of the female’s skin.

So, you see, the real danger isn’t Cthulhu eating you or driving you insane; the real danger is that he’ll make you bear his children.

Read the rest, but be prepared to be utterly grossed out.

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"Where'd those kids go??"

“Where’d those kids go??”

 

Two new species of microorganisms that bear an uncanny resemblance to The Big C:

UBC researchers have discovered two new symbionts living in the gut of termites, and taken the unusual step of naming them after fictional monsters created by American horror author HP Lovecraft.

The single-cell protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, help termites digest wood. The researchers decided to name them after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe.

“When we first saw them under the microscope they had this unique motion, it looked almost like an octopus swimming,” says UBC researcher Erick James, lead author of the paper describing the new protists, published in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Sadly, the UBC researchers didn’t realize  these were “children” that went missing from a Deep One city far beneath the waves off the coast of British Columbia. Nor will anyone ever truly understand what happened that night when the UBC labs were destroyed and the samples went missing…

Definitely a Delta Green plot.

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"Stay on target!"

“Stay on target! The stars are right!”

The mighty Flying Squid Squadron!

Squids ‘can fly 100 feet through the air’

The oceanic squid can fly more than 100 feet through the air at speeds faster than Usain Bolt if it wants to escape predators, Japanese researchers said.

(…)

Yamamoto and his team were tracking a shoal of around 100 oceanic squid in the northwest Pacific 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Tokyo, in July 2011.

As their boat approached, the 20 centimetre (8-inch) creatures launched themselves into the air with a powerful jet of water that shot out from their funnel-like stems.

“Once they finish shooting out the water, they glide by spreading out their fins and arms,” Yamamoto’s team said in a report.

“As they land back in the water, the fins are all folded back into place to minimise the impact.”

Can’t wait for when group inevitably lands on some loungers on a beach or boat deck. Hilarity, as they say, would ensue.

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California, here we come!

That’s it. I’m doomed. Time to retreat to the bunker in the high Sierras:

Another day, another unexplained brutal murder by a naked man strung out on drugs. This time the victim was a 62-year-old female motel cleaning woman, who was herself half-naked and covered with blood when Jermaine Haynes, the man who found here, came upon the grisly scene.

Haynes, a resident at the Hacienda Inn, in Sacramento, told reporters with CBS Sacramento (video here) that the suspect, 25-year-old Andrew Carreiro, knocked on his door the evening of July 7, saying he was selling candy. “He was on like cloud 20,” Haynes recalls. “I don’t know what he was on, but he was on something, though.”

(…)

Carreiro, who reportedly kept mumbling, “I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t do nothing,” was taken to San Joaquin County jail. He faces a number of charges including murder.

Of course he “didn’t do nothing.” The out of control chemical nanobots created in the secret labs of the evil pharmaceutical company took control, turned him into a zombie, and did it for him. He tried to explain, but…. Who would believe it?

We know the sanity-blasting truth, though.

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Okay, what is in the water in Florida? First, they start the zombie apocalypse with a little face-chewing, and now they have naked men invading homes, whizzing on the floor, and taking a bite out of people’s stomachs:

A naked man allegedly flew into a violent rampage, biting a chunk out of another man’s stomach after leaping from his roof onto a truck and urinating inside his home.

Officers responding to the scene needed backup to restrain Jeremiah Aaron Haughee with leg shackles, a spit hood and handcuffs after he continued fighting despite being Tasered five times.

Authorities did not carry out tests on Haughee to see if he was under the influence of any drugs.

Police first arrived at the home in Flagler Beach, Florida at 4.30 a.m. to find two men restraining the naked 22-year-old in a puddle of urine and glass.

Flagler Beach police didn’t test Haughee for drugs because state law doesn’t provide for that, but it wouldn’t have done any good; the kind of weird alien drug that somehow escaped from that mega-pharmaceutical laboratory (Come on, you just know it has to be!) that’s causing this won’t show up in any standard tests. This calls for SCIENCE!!!

Cue weird 50s sci-fi music.

On the other hand, does this look like a crazed stomach-chomping maniac to you:

Er… Well… Right. Never mind.

PS: The wounded man? Probably permanently disfigured. And what makes this even scarier? Haughee’s been released on bail.

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“Don’t eat me , bro!”

Well…. There were no human brains available, so what’s a mutant cannibal zombie to do?

 A man who was high on synthetic marijuana reportedly ate his family dog alive. Just as the “zombie apocalypse” hysteria began to subside, another man in a psychotic meltdown makes national news. Michael Daniel, a Texas man from Waco, was arrested for eating his family’s nearly 40-pound pooch, on Monday. He faces felony animal cruelty charges, according to police.

Daniel allegedly was “on his hands and knees and chased a neighbor while barking and growling like a dog,” according to KWTZ.

After his deranged behavior frightened his neighbors, he turned to his black dog that was sitting on the porch and beat and strangled the dog. When he had sufficiently injured the pup, Daniel began to eat him.

Sure it was “synthetic marijuana.” Sure. Just like in all the other cases…

What’s next? Zombie brain-eating gerbils?

Wait! The president has eaten dog, too! That means…

The horror!

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Forget George Romero. This is going full-blown Cthulhu:

Swedish professor ‘cuts off wife’s lips and eats them’

A Swedish professor cut off his much younger wife’s lips with a knife and ate them because he believed she was having an affair, according to a report.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet said the unidentified man, an associate professor at Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute, is behind held in police custody on suspicion of attempted murder.

“He cut off her lips and ate them,” a source close to the case told the Swedish newspaper, according to Agence France-Presse. “He doesn’t seem to regret anything. He thinks she is the one who has offended him.”

I’ve heard of Swedish Fish, but “Swedish lips?”

Sadly, his bride may not recover from the damage. Can you imagine the reconstructive surgery needed? At least he didn’t eat her face.

And you’ll no doubt be surprised to learn the professor was ordered into a psychiatric evaluation. The fools. Lovecraftian ghouls aren’t bound by our feeble notions of sanity.

Or maybe it’s the tcho-tcho people, instead…

h/t to Political Math

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Red beans, rice, and braiiinnnssss!

Great, now they’re chewing face in Louisiana:

A 43-year-old Louisiana man was arrested after biting off part of his neighbor’s face over the weekend, and critics fear that the incident could be among the growing list of recent cannibal attacks potentially linked to “bath salt” drugs.

Carl Jacquneaux, who police say was “under the influence of some kind of drug,” arrived at Todd Credeur’s home where he violently assaulted him “over a domestic issue,” according to Gawker.com.

Credeur, who was left with a chunk of flesh torn from below his left eye, was able to escape from further injury after spraying his attacker’s face with Wasp spray.

“During the attack, the suspect bit a chunk of the victim’s face off,” said Scott Assistant Police Chief, Kert Thomas, adding that the gruesome attack is “very unusual” and “not something we see [every day].”

Sure, uh-huh. It’s “just a drug case.” Drugs that make people eat face! (And maybe carve themselves up for use as weapons?) No need to worry, everything’s under control…

Somewhere in a secret mega-PharmCorp lab, probably near Miami, a hysterical assistant is confronting his profits-at-all-cost boss:

“It was experimental! It was supposed to be under tight security! We weren’t ready for human trials… WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!” 

Happens every time.

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Craaaab caaaakesss!

So first it was Florida, then New Jersey, and now Maryland. I’m telling ya, it’s time to stock up on those emergency supplies:

The 21-year-old college student allegedly told detectives that he hadn’t just killed the man who’d lived with his family for months, but had eaten his heart and portions of his brain. The victim’s severed head and hands were found in the men’s Harford County home; more remains were left in a trash container outside a church.

Authorities outlined the macabre circumstances Thursday in charges against Alexander Kinyua, an electrical engineering major at Morgan State University and member of his school’s ROTC program, of first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, a Ghanaian national and a former master’s degree student.

Kinyua’s father reported that Agyei-Kodie went missing last Friday after going for a jog, but the investigation eventually led back to the family home. Kinyua was being held Thursday without bond, and authorities were exploring whether others participated in the crime or knew about it, based on what they called inconsistencies in statements made by the suspect’s family.

Harford authorities said the killing was among the most brutal — and bizarre — they’d seen. The case comes on the heels of grisly incidents in Miami — where a naked man believed to be high on synthetic drugs known as “bath salts” ate another man’s face — and New Jersey, where a man disemboweled himself and reportedly threw his intestines at police officers.

Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane said of the allegations against Kinyua: “I’ve been with the agency 40 years, and I would say this is the first time I can remember … where someone was placed under arrest in Harford County and as part of his crime he consumed the victim.

“I’ve not encountered that in this county, and I hope we never encounter it again,” he added.

Sorry Sheriff Bane. It’s only just begun.

Can’t wait for them to get to Congress; they’ll feel right at home.

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It spreads…

Now it’s in New Jersey:

New Jersey man stabbed himself, threw skin and intestines at cops: authorities

Officers encountered 43-year-old Wayne Carter on Sunday morning when they responded to reports of a man barricaded in a room in Hackensack and threatening to harm himself, police Lt. John Heinemann said.

Two officers kicked in the door and saw Carter in a corner, holding a knife in his hand, police said. Carter, ignoring the officers’ orders to drop the knife, stood up and stabbed himself in the abdomen, legs and neck, they said.

Carter yelled at the officers and took an aggressive stance, and the officers used pepper spray in a bid to subdue him, but it had no effect, Heinemann said.

Police said Carter then cut off pieces of his skin and intestines and threw them at the officers.

Okay… first it’s a naked guy eating face who needs several bullets to drop, then someone who cuts off pieces of himself to use as weapons…

Yep. This is how it always starts.

But, from Florida to Jersey? Methinks there’s a Patient Zero out there.

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I can’t deny it: my favorite president takes on vampires? Monstrous bloodsuckers in the White House, and this time they’re not politicians?

Yeah, I’m there.

Booth has got to be a vampire. 🙂

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It begins…

Come on: naked guy eating another guy’s face off, refuses police orders to stop, takes several shots to put down?

Time to start buying shotguns and chainsaws?

It was a scene as creepy as a Hannibal Lecter movie.

One man was shot to death by Miami police, and another man is fighting for his life after he was attacked, and his face allegedly half eaten, by a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp Saturday, police said.

The horror began about 2 p.m. when a series of gunshots were heard on the ramp, which is along NE 13th Street, just south of The Miami Herald building.

According to police sources, a road ranger saw a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away.Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.

The officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said. The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots.

Maybe it’s time to seal off Florida. Just in case. New Yorkers can retire elsewhere.

More: The NY Daily News has (non-gruesome) photos. Quote: “the guy just stood… with pieces of flesh in his mouth and he growled,…”

Dude.

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As I’ve said here, here, and here, I’ve been looking forward to seeing the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society‘s film adaptation of HPL’s “The Whisperer in Darkness,” one of his most famous stories. The movie arrived last week and, a couple days ago, I sat down to watch both it and the accompanying “extras” DVD.

Executive Summary: If you like Lovecraft’s horror tales and aren’t a “no deviations from the text” purist; if you enjoy horror movies from the 1930s in the “Universal style;” or if you’re a fan of well-done independent film-making, I think you’ll greatly like “Whisperer.” Grab a hot dog, popcorn, and coke, sit back, and enjoy.

Full Review: In brief, “Whisperer” tells the story of Dr. Albert Wilmarth, Professor of Folklore at Miskatonic University and a deep skeptic of the idea that there is anything real behind the legends of strange beings haunting the hill of northern Vermont. When Wilmarth receives an invitation from a regular correspondent in the area, Henry Akeley, to come for a visit to discuss the legends and strange happenings more deeply, he accepts.

And then Very Bad Things happen.

One thing to bear in mind is that, conforming to the styles and standards of the period, there is little blood and gore in Whisperer. “Halloween” this isn’t, and I say that’s a good thing. Rather than trying to make you throw up by overwhelming you with buckets of guts and severed limbs, and without resorting to yet another nubile 20-something ingenue pretending to be a nubile teen who’s investigating a strange noise while dressed only in her lingerie (1), we’re presented with a patient (but never slow) build up of tension and mood that brings us into the movie’s world and lets us get to know Wilmarth before the action really gets going.

The use of black and white film, albeit required for the genre, fit the filmmaker’s needs perfectly; I don’t think this story could be done right in color. And special praise goes to whoever was in charge of the lighting (there’s no lighting credit on the site); at times I was reminded of the wonderful use of light and shadow from German Expressionist films of the 1920s and 30s.

Other technical matters were equally well-handled: costuming, makeup effects (God save me if I ever have to wear a life-mask as Barry Lynch did.), modelling and miniatures, the works. Special note has to be taken of the Mi-Go, the hyper-intelligent brain-stealing jumbo shrimp from space who are the monsters behind the legends. Originally planned to be done with models, the creators finally had to resort to CGI, but I didn’t feel them out of place with the rest of the movie’s look.

(It’s a this point, also that I commend to you the DVD extras disc. Not only does it have deleted scenes and the trailers, but a series of neat documentaries on the making of Whisperer, one general, the others being short treatments of specific topics. They were as interesting as the movie itself.)

As for the cast, everyone was good to excellent, but two stand out: Matt Foyer as “Albert Wilmarth” and Barry Lynch as “Henry Akeley.” It’s safe to say that their performances “make” the movie: Foyer portrays Wilmarth as a good-natured rational man of the 20th century brought face-to-face with The Horrifying Truth(tm), while Akeley wins the award for the creepiest old man in movie history. His rasping giggle could make Dracula’s servant Renfield cringe.

The secondary cast all play their parts well, and I was impressed by 11-year old Autumn Wendell, who played Hannah Masterson: a very disciplined and good actress.

One thing I alluded to above is deviations from Lovecraft’s original story. They’re considerable and of necessity in order to make a good movie. Some are little, such as giving Wilmarth some background that comes into play later in the story and adding minor characters in a few scenes. Others are more substantial: “Hannah” is an addition, used to hook Wilmarth through his family’s past and to give him something to care about and fight for.

The other is a continuation of the story past the ending Lovecraft gave it, which, as I’ve described before, is typical of the style of the weird fiction of the time: ending on a weird, horrific revelation with no definite conclusion.

This would be, for most people, unsatisfying in a movie, so the filmmakers decided this moment was the end of Act II and added an entirely new “Act III.” Purists might object to this and other changes made, but I think they all came together in a way that improves the story and works better for an audience. I’d like to think old HPL would approve.

Of any complaints I have, they’re all minor: I would like to have seen the deleted scenes left in. (The setting of Wilmarth’s discovery of an old manuscript wasn’t clear to me until after I saw the deleted scene.) I thought Daniel Kaemon, who plays cult leader P.F. Noyes, played his part a bit over the top, but not out of line for the period and genre. And the disc menus and “subtitle” text in the making-of featurettes were way too small: the text was very hard to read at a normal viewing distance.

Yes, those are quibbles. As I said at the start, I was greatly looking forward to this movie and I wasn’t let down. I had a blast watching it, and I think you will, too.

Just stay away from Vermont. Trust me.

Footnote:
(1) It’s not that I object to nubile 20-somethings running around in lingerie, but it’s such a cliche…

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The first trailer for The Hobbit is out!

I may not have agreed with every decision Peter Jackson and crew made in The Lord of the Rings, but, overall, I thought it was a fabulous series and a great overall adaptation of the trilogy. (Or should it be “The Trilogy,” as there is no other in it’s league?) And I have great faith that Jackson and Del Toro will do a fine job here, too.

Originally, the movie was to be in two parts, with part two showing those things that happened “off camera” in the book, such as Gandalf’s investigation of the Tower of the Necromancer in southern Mirkwood and the White Council’s attack on it, but del Toro’s comments in the Wikipedia entry make it look like that’s changed. Still in two parts, the movie would stick to facts in the book. And yet, the trailer sure makes it look like Gandalf is wandering around a spooky tower…

(Come on. We all know evil demigods like Sauron just have to have a spooky tower. It’s in the union rules.)

Ah well. Something to chew over until next year. I can’t wait. 🙂

Meanwhile, my copy of The Whisperer in Darkness came yesterday, just in time for the holiday weekend! Huzzah!  You can’t get much more “Christmas-y” than hyper-intelligent brain-stealing crustaceans stalking the mountains for Vermont.

Right?

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