Celluloid Diaries: Currently reading / watching / listening to

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Currently reading / watching / listening to

Strange Seed by T.M. Wright

Reading

* Seed by Ania Ahlborn. This novel about a child possessed by a demon took me by surprise. It's one of the better horror novels I've read in a long time. Written with style, well-structured, and so entertaining and creepy.

* The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. The Fifth Child was a good example of how to create in-depth characters. Good build-up and theme (a mother trying to love a horrible child), but a weak ending.

* The Influence by Ramsey Campbell. Campbell's writing is controlled and lyrical, so I get why he's considered one of the most influential British horror authors. For me, it was too descriptive though and I couldn't get into the story, despite all the good elements.

* Strange Seed by T.M. Wright. A couple moves into a new home and finds several children living in the woods surrounding their house... But are they really children? The premise is intriguing, but the editing is non-existent, the characters unbelievable and the action repetitive. Also, characters repeat each other's names incessantly which makes the dialogue almost unreadable: "I'll understand, Paul." "I asked why I would want to stay, Rachel." "How soon will they die, Paul? It's their last night, isn't it, Paul?" "Rachel, they want us to stay."

* Nightmare Child by Daniel Ransom. Daniel Ransom is the pen name for horror author Ed Gorman. In Nightmare Child, he tells the story of a couple who kills the child under their custody for the financial benefits and the child comes back from the dead to seek revenge. Ed Gorman's writing is sleek and concise, but Nightmare Child never turns into something satisfying.

* That Sadie Thing and other stories by Annalisa Crawford. I'm IN LOVE with this new short story collection. I read the first story out of curiosity and while I had the intention of finishing Nightmare Child first, I just wasn't able to put That Sadie Thing aside for so long. The stories are short yet profound, simple yet stylish, emotional yet grounded... A delight.

* Chi's Sweet Home volume 9. Don't even try to understand how hooked I am to this cute cat manga series. Volume 10 has just been made available for pre-order and I can't wait till it comes out on August 27.


Watching

Orphan Black (episode eight to ten). Maybe not the most stylish and intelligent TV series around, but definitely one of the most suspenseful and fun.

* Shame. I loved the minimalist and intimate style of Shame and Carey Mulligan was excellent as usual. Just a pity that the characters were too scarred and bizarre to identify with.

* The Dark Half. I was still in college when I first saw The Dark Half and I was a fan from the start. It's still fun, but does the second half really have to be so silly?

* Come Out And Play. This was the remake (read: exact copy) of Quién puede matar a un niño? (Who Can Kill A Child?) from 1976. In this extremely atmospheric and sinister film, a couple goes on an excursion to a Mexican island where the local children have murdered the adults. Fun fact: the director of Come Out And Play (Makinov, as he calls himself), prefers to stay anonymous and directed the movie with a mask on.

* The Bad Seed. Made in 1956 and based on the novel The Bad Seed by William March, this story was pretty shocking and progressive for the era, but not entirely devoid of flaws. The Bad Seed is too talkative (it's like a filmed play) and a good forty minutes too long. The last fifteen minutes in particular were unnecessary as they only softened the shocking ending.

* Evil Dead. Over-the-top gore and downpours of blood don't necessarily make for a scary horror movie. Even my sister didn't think it was creepy and she usually watches nothing but romantic comedies.

* Clash Of The Titans. Nostalgia personified. I lost count on how many times I watched this battle between gods and humans. It's old-fashioned to the extreme, but I'll never get bored of it.

* Paperhouse. I saw this fifteen years ago and I never forgot about the dreamscape visuals, the desolate landscape and the house resembling a children's drawing.

* Behind The Candelabra. If you liked Boogie Nights and Auto Focus, then Steven Soderbergh's new movie about Scott Thorson's relationship with the piano player Liberace is just the thing for you. The story is both touching and hilarious (the plastic surgery scenes are my favorites) and Michael Douglas is beyond amazing as Liberace. Based on Thorson's autobiography My Life With Liberace.

* The Exorcist III. What's not to like about demonic nurses and old women crawling on the ceiling? Such creepy elements make you forget that most of the film is actually quite boring.

* Only God Forgives. Nicholas Winding Refn opts for Greek tragedy with a setting in the criminal underworld of today's Thailand. The extreme violence is efficient. So it the excessive use of red, the lack of dialogue, Ryan Gosling's stoic performance and Kristin Scott Thomas' foul-mouthed blonde character.

* Bad Influence. Remember that 90s movie in which Rob Lowe destroys James Spader's life? I used to enjoy this one and I was curious if it would still have the same effect on me. Well, the beginning is definitely strong, but once the realism goes, so does the fun.

* Bloody Birthday. Watched this again with my sister last night. I introduced her to this film when she was still a child and she remembers it as her very first horror movie. Even though it was made in 1981, it's still extremely entertaining today. So what makes Bloody Birthday so cool? Either the evil kids are killing someone... or planning to kill someone. No boring transition scenes in between. It's a rollercoaster ride of cute evilness. It's not always logical, but who cares when it's so much fun?


Listening to

* Cliff Martinez' soundtrack for Only God Forgives (but I'm skipping the karaoke parts).


What are you currently reading, watching and listening to?

51 comments:

  1. Strange Seed by T.M. Wright is one of the most original, bizarre, and creeping tales I’ve ever read. Never heard of Nightmare Child and That Sadie Thing.

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  2. Seed sounds amazing. Gotta try it!

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  3. Thanks for sharing these books and movies! I'm going to have to dig in to a lot of your posts -- real info and stories I can use and relate to!

    Kate x

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  4. That picture is super creepy.

    I loved your collective list- it's so fun to see what other people are looking into. Great exposure, too!

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  5. I love horror. Seed sounds really good.

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