Celluloid Diaries: Reading / watching / listening to...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reading / watching / listening to...

Trick 'r Treat: Tales Of Mayhem, Mystery And Mischief by John Griffin


* Trick 'r Treat: Tales Of Mayhem, Mystery, and Mischief by John Griffin. This Halloween coffee table book is actually a making of to the movie Trick 'r Treat, but the main reason you should get it is because the visuals are so stunning. The book also contains several extra booklets and surprise packages: the comic book Season's Greetings (based on Michael Dougherty's short film), Halloween greeting cards, Jack-o-lantern cut-outs, Trick 'r Treat stickers and a Sam Halloween mask. Trick 'r Treat: Tales Of Mayhem, Mystery, and Mischief is a Halloween must-have that will be on my own coffee table every October from now on.

* Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus. Horror novel about a man who tries to save his daughter from an ancient evil. Sometimes I was getting into the story, sometimes not at all. I stopped reading after about sixty percent. Night Chill is getting many rave reviews from others, though.

* Koorts by Saskia Noort. A Dutch novel about two thirty-something girls who go to Ibiza for a fortnight of sunbathing, drugs, dancing, and Eyes Wide Shut parties. When one of them goes missing, the other goes looking for her. The novel is lots of fun, but simple. Way too simple. There are not many sentences containing more than five words. Reading this novel while actually vacationing on Ibiza certainly helped in my appreciation of the story.

* A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen. No wonder this true story of a street musician and his cat is such a bestseller. I think it's James' heartwarming personality and the special bond between him and his cat that made it so enjoyable. I dare you not to fall in love with this book.

* Angel Cats: Divine Messengers Of Comfort by Allen and Linda Anderson. A collection of true stories about how cats have changed our lives. Some of the stories are really unique; such as the one in which a cat keeps her owner's heart disease under control, or the one where a little girl protects her deceased mother's cat from the ongoing war. The majority of the stories is rather common though and don't go much further than saying that cats can be fun playmates. However, all the stories were definitely cute. As you could have guessed from the title, the events in Angel Cats are also linked to God's will and divine interventions from angels. This makes the book way too naive for its own good. I don't have anything against Christian thinking, but if you start believing that a stray cat that comes into your garden for the first time is a divine messenger from God, I'm out.


* Source Code. A man relives the same eight minutes over and over while trying to dysfunction a bomb on a train. Well-directed and entertaining, but not a movie that will stick.

* Lucia y el sexo. I watched this strange, beautiful and intriguing movie by Julio Medem the day after I visited its filming locations on the Mediterranean island Formentera. As most of Medem's other movies, Lucia y el sexo too is about odd coincidences and the symbolism of circles. When Lucia learns that her novelist boyfriend was in an accident, she visits Formentera where he once lived to recover. There, she meets his ex-girlfriend and learns about his secret past – a past that is linked with his fiction.

* Curse Of Chucky. The worst of all the Child's Play series. I stopped watching this after an hour, but apparently, I missed the best part.

* V/H/S/2. The new installment of this horror anthology is very much like the first one. Each story is a (visibly digital) VHS recording found by a group of private investigators. The found footage-style makes it impossible to get into the film. However, every story has at least one inventive find: there's an alien invasion seen from a dog's point of view, a bike ride from a zombie perspective, and some very cool-looking creatures.

* Big Ass Spider. When a giant spider escapes from a military lab and spreads chaos in Los Angeles, a pest exterminator might be the only one to save the world. With a title like Big Ass Spider, you know you're not in for a serious film. While not all the humor and storylines work equally well, Big Ass Spider is definitely a fun watch.

* Ghost Shark. Because the ghost shark attacks from any watery environment, you can expect shark attacks from bathtubs, water hoses, and buckets. It's silly to the extreme, of course, but it's also fun.

* Carrie. It's been a while since I last saw this. Though I know this film by heart, it's still surprising how excellent Sissy Spacek is in this film, how deftly layered the story is crafted, and how well Brian de Palma's trademark visual style matches the theme.

* Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch. I watch this almost every Halloween. The film got a bad reputation when it came out because people were expecting another Michael Myers film and this one had spiders and snakes coming out of children's heads instead. Halloween 3 is one of the first horror films I saw and it'll always be a favorite.

* Frances Ha. Woody Allen-style film about an irresponsible NYC girl who annoys everyone, including the audience. The filmmaker tries to impress with B&W photography and a theatrical, childish performance that matches Frances' behavior. Not sure why this gets so many good reviews. Maybe because it's so pretentious.

* Gravity. I'm glad I never pursued my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. Gravity shows how scary space can be and how working and surviving it is almost impossible. No monsters and big action scenes here. Gravity works because of its realistic approach and claustrophobic space shots. If only the dialogue could have been less lame, Gravity would have been perfect. Glad I saw this in 3D in the cinema, because I don't think it would have had the same impact on a small screen.

* Prisoners. Denis Villeneuve is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. His previous film, Enemy, which I saw at the Sitges Film Festival, is by far the best film of the year. He surprises once more with Prisoners. The story seems straightforward: when two children go missing, the parents take matters into their own hands as the police pursue multiple leads. But don't be fooled. Prisoners is intense, clever, multi-layered, a delight.

* Last Days On Mars. I like the idea of putting zombie astronauts on Mars. But where is the suspense? Where is the character development?

* Villa Captive. This was one of the better rape and revenge movies. It's all light material, both in content and violence, but it's a fun hour and a half. Look out for the Zeno Pictures edition as it contains a booklet and multiple DVDs with extras.

* Midnight. Obscure horror movie from 1982 in which a teenage girl runs away from home and bumps into a family of Satanists. Great early eighties atmosphere. Director/writer John Russo based this upon his own novel.

*Summoned. TV movie in which five jurors find themselves followed by the ghost of a serial killer they sentenced to death. Summoned is the kind of story where you can guess the twists way before they happen and where the only decent acting comes from a dog.

Listening to

* Owl Splinters by Deaf Center. The ideal background music for writing thrillers.

* Paris by Dido. This song has been on repeat ever since I heard it while vacationing on Formentera. So beautiful, especially the lyrics.

* Ballroom Stories by Waldeck. One of the better trip hop albums in recent years.


  1. I like to read "A Streetcat named Bob" too -- I saw a review of it and it looks like a wonderfully heart-warming story!

  2. Ooooooh! Just the cover gets me. I'm taken back to my pre-adolescent years when I THRIVED on all things terror. Must find book....

  3. Big Ass Spider and Ghost Shark - SyFy movies? That's right, most people never see the pool shark coming...

  4. I remember watching Chucky when I was very little. I blame that doll for my fear of all dolls. ;)

  5. I laughed at the title 'Big Ass Spider.' I bet it is fun. :D

  6. You watch a lot of horrors, sister Vanessa :)

  7. Taking a cue from the commentator before me: I like that you watch alot of horror and Trick-or-Treat is my favorite Holiday movie, one of the few I own on dvd. I am looking forward to both Carrie, Gravity and Prisoners.

  8. Aloha Vanessa:)

    I can't believe anyone could watch an hour of *any* Chucky movie, so more power to you :)

    PS... Thanks so much for your interest in the 50 States of Pray event and I have you down for Belgium (I just revisited Amsterdam, and I *love* your piece of Europe :)

  9. I'm not much for scary. Just the commercials for the Chucky movies used to scare me.
    I have seen and enjoyed Source Code, and I'm looking forward to seeing Gravity.

  10. Trick R Treat is my favorite Halloween movie- ever. It's got horror tropes but it's mainly about the day itself and filled with the traditions of if that I love so much. I will DEFINITELY buy the book given your recomendation!

    And boy am I surprised by your list of movies! I thought I was the only one with that much experience watching really, really bad horror movies!

    This list was so fun, thanks!

  11. Sissy Spacek really is brilliant in Carrie. That's why I can't stomach watching it again. Big Ass Spider is too amusing of a title to miss. I'm glad to know it's fun too. I'll have to get ahold of that Big Ass Spider some time.

    Be well, Vanessa.

  12. These all sound interesting. I'll check out the links.

  13. Happy #FF! New GFC and bloglovin' follower :) I love Trick 'R Treat - one of my fave horror movies. I really want that book. :)
    My FF @ Donnie Darko Girl

  14. Stunt 'r Treat: Tales Of Mayhem, Mystery, and Mischief by John Griffin. This Halloween end table book is really a making of to the film Trick 'r Treat, however the fundamental explanation you ought to get it is on the grounds that the visuals are so staggering.

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