Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Links: The Towering Inferno, The Devil's Bottles, and The Mark of Satan

The day we've all been waiting for: Friday! Let the revelry begin. As you celebrate, why not take a look at what happened over the week in the world of the bizarre, horrific, and just plain weird?
  • Violent Shit: The Movie got an interesting write-up at The Slaughtered Bird: "Fans will be divided – they already know the story and want to see blood spraying as Karl hacks his way mercilessly through those that stand in his way. What they get is a benchmark to work off. Setting a new scene, a new pace, a new style…"
  • Sean Eaton wrapped up his must-read analysis of Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath at his always-erudite, never-derivative R'lyeh Tribune: "Another striking aspect of the novel is its overt religiosity.  This is a very temple-ridden, priest-ridden, prayerful adventure. In the very beginning, Carter “prayed long and earnestly to the hidden gods of dream” and asks for a formal blessing from two priests, whose advice—essentially: ‘Don’t mess with Great Ones’—he ignores."
  • The Horrors of It All brought us The Devil's Bottles.
  • In Japan, ghosts are taking taxicab rides: "Taxi drivers working in towns in north-east Japan that were devastated in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami are reporting picking up "ghost passengers". At least seven drivers in the coastal town of Ishinomaki, where nearly 6,000 people died after it was battered by tsunami more than 30 feet high, claimed to have encountered phantom fares."
  • At his Confessions of a Reviewer!!, Nev Murray reviewed Dallas Mullican's A Coin for Charon: "The plot has been done before. Hasn’t it? Serial killer that is seemingly impossible to trace and stop, with the main cop having a troubled past that interferes with his life on a daily basis? Yeah I seem to remember a few books and films with a similar vain. What makes this different then? Why does it hold your attention to the very end? This would be where tick three for writing skills comes in."
  • The disturbing film Room got a poignant write-up from Jeremy the Critic: "The plot details of the screenplay (adapted by Emma Donoghue from her own best-selling 2011 novel) are almost incidental, as the commercials and trailers freely gave away what most would consider spoilers under different circumstances. It's also an ordeal, albeit one built on the foundation of logic and sound decision making by the filmmakers. And none of it comes together without the two performances at its center, functioning as a single unit."
  • Zombos' Closet opened, and out fell issues one and two of Shriek! The Monster Horror Magazine. Take a look at them: they...they have to be seen to be believed.
  • John Kenneth Muir dipped way back into 1974 to discuss an old favorite, The Towering Inferno: "Essentially, the film suggests that if the contest for a business is between turning a profit, or insuring the safety of its customers….the bottom line is going to win out, and people aren’t. As we discover early in the film, shortcuts have been taken on the fiery building’s electrical wiring by a morally bankrupt subcontractor, Simmons (Richard Chamberlain). Simmons wasn’t exactly acting alone, either. Jim Duncan (William Holden), the head of the construction company, was going perilously over-budget on the project, and needed Simmons to save two-million dollars...somewhere."
  • Ruined Head reviewed Ann Loring's 1968 novel The Mark of Satan: "Unable to escape the considerable shadow cast by Rosemary’s Baby, The Mark of Satan casts a web of diabolical intrigue around its innocent young heroine, but fails to provide the least bit of surprise in delivering its occult chills."
  • Albert Pyun's Alien from L.A. got the House of Self-Indulgence treatment: "Every time they would refer to "Africa," as if it were a country, I would cringe. Thankfully, all references to "Africa" cease the moment Wanda arrives in... "Africa." Judging by the climate and architecture, I'm guessing she's going to Egypt or Tunisia."
  • Here, I reviewed the movie Pay the Ghost, told you about R.M. Huffman's Leviathan, and pointed you to an interview I conducted with Adam Howe at The Slaughtered Bird.
Illustration by Earl Geier for Call of Cthulhu's The Complete Dreamlands supplement, 4th edition.

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