Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Links: Terrors of Dracula, Ghostwatch, and Battle Royale

It's the start of summer, and there ain't no cure for the summertime blues like catching up on what's been going on in the world of the bizarre and horrific this week:
  • Sean Eaton did me the honor of riffing on a recent post of mine at his unforgettably invaluable R'lyeh Tribune: "As a speech language pathologist by profession, my university training included the study of early childhood language acquisition.  This is a fascinating process inseparable from the growth of the young child’s cognitive understanding of the world.  Certain key “cognitions” appear to underlie the ability to understand and use words:  that objects continue to exist even when no longer present to the senses, that sounds and gestures can stand for objects and actions, and—around age 3 or 4—that communication need not be about actual events, but can in fact be pretend, or put to other more entertaining uses besides the merely informative, which can become tiresome after a while."
  • John Kenneth Muir set his eyes on Battle Royaleanalyzing it as only he is capable: "The film depicts a few-days-in-the-future Japanese society in which children are out-of-control and violent, but where, ultimately, the adults are responsible for the worsening situation because of the laws they have imposed.   In the fictional Japan of the film, specifically, a BR (Battle Royale) law (or Millennium Education Reform Act) has been enacted. It states that troublesome students can be removed from their school rooms and remanded to a remote island, where they will kill each other in a contest over a three day span."
  • At Jim Mcleod's Ginger Nuts of Horror, George Daniel Lea dove into the Retro Zone and brought up a 1990's television show from the UK: "Consisting of on-site investigations, interviews, on-going commentary from the family affected, parapsychologists, skeptics, all presented in the familiar format of a “crime-watch” style documentary, Ghostwatch traumatised the nation with its brilliantly subtle, almost subliminal scares, by upsetting the audience's expectations and desires; their very relationship to the media in question. Not only did it present its content as factual and live, it also directly involved them in the narrative by urging them to phone in with their own accounts of the supernatural, and later as part of an unwitting mass séance created by their viewing of the show via the television."
  • At Zombos' Closet of Horrorwe got a rare look at Terrors of Dracula Vol. 2 Issue 3 from August of 1980.  It's racy, raunchy, and remarkable.  Put your peepers on it.
  • The Film Connoisseur reviewed The Babadook: "I think the root of the films effectiveness comes from the fact that it plays with our fears of being a parent, of thinking our kids are weird somehow because of their particular child like behavior. Ever seen your kid grinding their teeth at night? Scary, but only because we don’t see ourselves doing it when we sleep. Children’s fear of imaginary monsters makes us think our kids are schizophrenic, truth is all kids are scared of imaginary things." (Also look at my review of The Babadook here.)
  • William Meikle gave us a look at his past, present, and future at Nev Murray's Confessions of a Reviewer!!: "It's one of my biggest regrets that I didn't start writing until I was in my mid-thirties. Since then it's felt like I've continually been trying to catch up to where I want to be with it, and now that I'm fifty seven I can feel the pressure build as time gets ever shorter and age starts to wither both my attention span and my eyesight."
  • Visiting Ghost Hunting Theories, we were treated to reports of spiritual visitors to the dying: "When my father had a heart attack in 1979, he was proclaimed dead by the paramedics for four minutes. During that time, he witnessed his dead parents, aunts, uncles, cousins from Norway he hadn't seen since he was a child. He was relaxed, happy, and smiling as they took him to the hospital. He truly visited them and every fiber of his being showed it. Days later he did die, and I have no doubt at all he went to his relatives, but before he did, he visited me at the time of his death. That kind of visitation is called 'after-death visitation.'"
  • Here, I brought you from truth to fiction to truth, and pointed you to some novella reviews I wrote for Ginger Nuts of Horror.
Illustration by Frank Brunner for Chaosium's Stormbringer 4th Edition Rulebook.

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