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Old 10-08-2013   #41
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Re: Recent Reading

Murony, John Goodman shaved like a big Butterball baby may be illegal in 49 states but, by God, that image alone makes me hope for a Blood Meridian movie! The 'black opals for eyes' is a nice touch as well.
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Old 10-08-2013   #42
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
…a call for listings by TLO members of movies they felt were significantly better that the books they were based on. Sometimes it happens; Psycho is a good example. A solid piece of work by Robert Bloch, it was made into one of the greatest horror/suspense films ever. Joseph Stefano’s script was very faithful to the novel; yet the Hitchcock version is a masterpiece of the cinema. Bloch’s book is good, wickedly clever, and written in the kind of nut ‘n’ bolts style that often distinguished hard boiled crime thrillers. But Hitchcock brought such a degree of atmosphere to the story that it transformed everything…even though the script never deviated from the source work…
I totally agree with this assessment of Psycho.

Fight Club and John Carpenter's The Thing are two examples which spring to my mind as being better as films.

Fight Club is a way better movie than book---as an aside I'd like to say that it was definitely a "work of its time" and as such has not aged well---very stuck in the late 90's.

As for "Who goes There?", as good a piece of SF/Horror as it is---a classic of the field---it is no match for the cumulative atmosphere of dread and mistrust present in John Carpenter's best film---Ennio Morricone's score and Albert Whitlock (Hitch veteran) and Rob Bottinger's SFX,

This is sort of dubious though, as works of art are almost completely different when rendered in different media.
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Old 10-08-2013   #43
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Murony, John Goodman shaved like a big Butterball baby may be illegal in 49 states but, by God, that image alone makes me hope for a Blood Meridian movie! The 'black opals for eyes' is a nice touch as well.
;)

If the director play the rest completely straight, if he used that opal effect swiftly, sparingly and at key moments within the film, it would make you soil yourself, I think---especially with everything else that takes place in that savage book. Talking of savage books, it's time to go back to Pontypool Changes Everything which I am thoroughly enjoying thus far.
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Old 10-08-2013   #44
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Re: Recent Reading

Murony, I agree that books and movies are very different things and usually you do end up with an apples to oranges comparison. Viewers, who are disappointed in a film based on a loved book, often complain about factors like the plot being changed, some characters missing or acting very differently than their literary counterparts, whatever, that sort of thing: a very direct comparison of the two works involved. But these things, as you imply, can be due to films being a different beast altogether; and that compromises/changes are often necessary, dictated by the art form itself. No argument there. What I’m interested in is simply the emotional impact of the work. Psycho was a good example because it was faithful to the book and yet was a far more intense experience. King’s The Dead Zone directed by Cronenberg wasn’t nearly so slavish; and the result was (in my opinion) a more satisfying work of art than King’s book. It may still possibly be apples and oranges but I’m not talking about a direct point by point comparison. I just find it interesting when a director creates something superior to its source, one reason being that it’s much more of a rare occurrence … I may be mistaken about this—if I am someone out there will correct me—but I seem to recall a writer—I’m pretty sure it was Ligotti--saying in an interview something like If you’ve watched Silence of the Lambs why would you bother reading the book? There’s an implied comparison there, at least in the sense that the two works were attempting to achieve the same emotional reaction.
Jeeze, Murony, we already have a list of movies better than their books.


BTW, The Thing is my favorite Carpenter film by far! If only Carpenter had avoided one or two missteps in the final minutes of the movie. Kurt Russell is an actor I really enjoy but having him hurl both an obscenity and an explosive at the creature was a little too macho for me; it belonged in a lesser film.

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Old 10-08-2013   #45
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Re: Recent Reading

I'd also add Manhunter, the original film version of Red Dragon, to my list. It was better than the book, much better than the remake.
Colin Wilson gets a lot of scorn these days and I'd have to say most of it is deserved. But his fine crime novel, The Glass Cage, about a serial killer obsessed with the works of William Blake, has to be the template for Red Dragon. The protagonist is pretty much a Profiler though that term didn't exist in the sixties when the book was written.
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Old 10-08-2013   #46
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Re: Recent Reading

D. - I'm guessing you're referring to Russell's "F*** you too!" in response to the Thing's angry howl? Personally, I really enjoy that bit, and have never thought of it as 'macho' at all. Now, if it had been said to a human villain, I would agree, and think it would lose its impact, becoming just another generic '80's action movie quip a la Schwarzenegger and co. It is the context of the scene, I believe, that makes it effective; a man is facing off against something completely alien and completely inimical to life on earth, aware that his actions may be futile and result in a quick death or at best slowly freezing later on, and, confronted by the hungry maw of cosmic horror, cusses it out. It's such a *human* reaction, that perfectly captures both defiance and resignation, taking a potentially cheesy bit and imbuing it with a stirring stoicism, as well as black humor.
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Old 10-08-2013   #47
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Re: Recent Reading

ChildofOldLeech, that's the best possible defense of that scene I could ever imagine! It hasn't swayed me, but it is brilliant and a great way of looking at it. I just have trouble imagining anyone standing up to a Lovecraftian critter and not being paralyzed by the horror of it all. True, a Bob Howard hero could and I'm not being sarcastic because I admire howard's writings. (Pigeons From Hell is one of my all time favorites and would easily make any list of 20 greatest horror stories compiled by yours truly.
But your reasoning is valid and maybe some day I won't cringe when I watch that particular bit. Don't forget The Thing came out in the early 80's (1982) when you couldn't turn around without seeing Ahh-nold or Sly Doing Their Thing. And after awhile that wore a bit thin--at least for me.
But...Nice job!!!
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Old 10-08-2013   #48
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by blackout View Post
i don't generally read anthologies, but there are a few i have enjoyed recently: shadow's edge (edited by simon strantzas, delicate toxins( published by the fabulous sidereal press), and the recent bruno schulz anthology (ex occidente press). all are wonderful. i have also been re-reading some essays by john zerzan. his essays on linear time & the rise of the clock resonate strongly with me. also, if any one has an interest in reading memoirs of a ghost (from cisco's list), it is a small book & i could probably scan my copy & send it pdf. just pm me. it might take a week or three, but i will do my best to send it off in good time.
I, for one, would be very interested in a copy and could probably find something rare (pdf.) to give you as a show of "thanks".
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Old 10-09-2013   #49
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
I'd also add Manhunter, the original film version of Red Dragon, to my list. It was better than the book, much better than the remake.
Colin Wilson gets a lot of scorn these days and I'd have to say most of it is deserved. But his fine crime novel, The Glass Cage, about a serial killer obsessed with the works of William Blake, has to be the template for Red Dragon. The protagonist is pretty much a Profiler though that term didn't exist in the sixties when the book was written.
What is this scorn directed at Wilson and why? I've sensed it but don't really understand the reason behind it.
I read his somewhat idiosyncratic and interesting, if dated, survey of the occult and it got me reading him. I really must read The Glass Cage. Have you read The School Girl Murder Case or Ritual in the Dark? He's actually wrote a ton of books now that I think about it. The Mind Parasites will probably be forever somewhere in my top twenty horror books...speaking of which, here it is:


Horror Novels
1. The Green Man – Kingsley Amis
2. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
3. The Croning -- Laird Barron
4. Remember You’re a One-Ball! – Quentin S. Crisp
5. The Sub: A Study in Witchcraft – Thomas M. Disch
6. Uncle Silas – J.S. Le Fanu
7. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward -- H.P. Lovecraft
8. Zombie -- Joyce Carol Oates
9. Echo of a Curse – R.R. Ryan
10. Ghost Story – Peter Straub


Single Author Collections
1. Sub Rosa – Robert Aickman
2. Occultation -- Laird Barron
3. Divinations of the Deep -- Matt Cardin
4. Unpleasant Tales – Brendan Connell
5. Worse Than Myself – Adam Golaski
6. Feesters in the Lake – Bob Leman
7. Teatro Grottesco – Thomas Ligotti
8. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural – Arthur Machen
9. The Man Who Collected Machen – Mark Samuels
10. The Nightfarers – Mark Valentine


SF Horror Novels
1. The Death Guard – Philip George Chadwick
2. The Death of Grass – John Christopher
3. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch -- Philip K. Dick
4. Camp Concentration – Thomas M. Disch
5. Meat – Joseph D’Lacey
6. Brave New World -- Aldous Huxley
7. Dr. Adder – K.W. Jeter
8. The Quatermass Experiment -- Nigel Kneale
9. Some of Your Blood – Theodore Sturgeon
10. The Mind Parasites – Colin Wilson

Enjoy and feel free to upbraid, if it's an upbraidin' I be needin'
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Old 10-09-2013   #50
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Re: Recent Reading

When I was younger, I went through a Colin Wilson phase. I read everything from The Outsider to The Sex Diary of Gerard Sorme. I saw Wilson and heard him lecture at Keystone College in LaPlume, Pa. August Derleth asked him to personally inscribe a copy of The Mind Parasites, a book I reread several times, for this young punk kid from Scranton, Pa. I read and owned both books you mention. Ritual was his first novel and was quite good. I also enjoyed The Violent World of Hugh Greene, among several others. His collection of literary essays The Strength To Dream contains a chapter on Lovecraft and introduced me to the genius of Durrenmatt; he also wrote what he called a "Durrenmatt novel", Necessary Doubt. But I always felt The Glass Cage was his finest crime novel by far. I really think Thomas Harris owes him a real debt.

Wilson had all the tools for being a really good novelist; but, more and more, he let his philosophical ideas hijack what could have been fine books. His philosophy—and here we find the beginning of many critics’ low estimation of his work—is a rather naive version of the power of positive thinking. Optimists are healthy; pessimists are sick. The mind has powers we have only began to develop (telepathy, healing, etc.,). Combine this with endless volumes of the occult 'studies' he’s written…well, you get the picture. He believes humans are at a stage in their evolution where the development of what he calls “Faculty X” is possible. His views are seen as insipid and his philosophy dismissed as New Age nuttiness. In England, The Left regards his philosophy as "being fascist", a bit of nuttiness on their part. Being a Ghost Hunter hasn’t helped his reputation one iota. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but, in a nutshell, that’s how many critics see him, fair or not.

I recently read Spider World, a recent science fiction novel and one that’s part of a series, and enjoyed it. He wrote four Lovecraftian bits of fiction. His novel The Space Vampires (not Lovecraftian) has an excellent first half…it was filmed as Lifeforce by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame.

I find your lists quite interesting. Will take an even closer look tomorrow. My leg is aching, punishing me for too much sitting. But I find it hard to just leave my desktop for a few weeks…maybe impossible!

Last edited by Druidic; 10-09-2013 at 02:31 AM..
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