Showing posts from November, 2008


I seem to have wiped my link list, which was foolish in the extreme. Never mind, it'll be restored to a pristine condition in due course. Fear not, all shall be well.

The Red Shoes

I've just watched a Korean horror movie that is 1. half an hour too long and 2. visually stunning while seriously lacking in originality. It's not to be confused with the 1948 British ballet movie T he Red Shoes , with Moira Shearer. This 2005 shocker is typical East Asian horror, lifting ideas from most of its illustrious predecessors. Thus we get the vengeful ghost ( Ring, Phone ), the curse ( Ring, The Grudge ), the troubled mother-daughter relationship ( Dark Water ), the seriously twisted twist ending ( A Tale of Two Sisters , Shutter ), the normal bloke who falls for the strange woman ( Audition ), and the long haired female apparition (almost all of 'em, really).  That said, The Red Shoes is not bad as entertainment if you don't expect too much. I could have done without the explicit horror - too much blood, gallons of it in fact. But I enjoyed the symbolism of the red shoes, which appear mysteriously on or near a subway in Seoul. They are linked, we gradually l

Bad Ghosts!

Yes, those bad ghosts - they're so... bad, aren't they? What with their persistent 'woo' noises, their habit of moving your things around when you leave the room (incredibly painful), and their insistence that you avenge their untimely deaths. Anyway, there's a website dedicated to Bad Ghosts . Actually it's not about 'real' spectres, but all those ridiculous TV shows called 'Britain's Most Haunted Abbatoirs', and so forth. Quite light-hearted and cheerful, but scholarly too, as you'll see. The chap in charge has the right sceptical attitude to all things ectoplasmic. Here's a clip of the debunkulator at work. Not particularly spooky. I mean, if a ghost were to balance a Challenger 2 main battle tank on its edge, the Madame Arcates might have a case. But a bottle? If it was a ghost I'd give it about three out of ten for spookiness.

I receive an electronic mail message!

Brian J. Showers, an American in Dublin (which should be a musical) was moved to contact me re: the classic movie I mentioned earlier, downstairs on this blog.  David, I recently rewatched KWAIDAN as well for my annual Halloween film list. Here's my short write up: "3. KWAIDAN, Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, Japan, 1964 "Kwaidan is a portmanteau featuring four folkloric ghost stories: In 'The Black Hair' a samurai attempts to return to his faithful wife whom he has deserted for power and fortune. 'The Woman of the Snow' tells the story of a young woodcutter who meets a mysterious woman who  commands him not to speak a word of her existence to anyone. In 'Hoichi the Earless' a blind bard sings a song of an epic naval battle to the ghosts of the dead soldiers who fought in it. And finally, 'In a Cup of Tea' is a tale about a man who is visited by ghostly stranger whose image he keeps seeing in a teacup. "At the time it was produced in


I'm trying to add links to the not-very-long list to the write. First phase is to bung in some more writers whose work appears in ST. Any writers want me to put a link to their site or blog in? Let me know, for I am an obliging fella.


I loaned my copy of Kwaidan to a friend some time ago and had completely forgotten about it. But she brought it back this week, along with the latest DVD of Battlestar Galactica. I'm glad to say that my intelligent young friend and her partner enjoyed Kwaidan, which has been described as one of the most beautiful films ever made. This is ironic, given its origins. Kwaidan is based on four Japanese ghost stories that were written, in English, by the Irish author Lafcadio Hearn. Hearn, a great Japanophile, was almost blind. His life was unusual, to say the least. He was clearly a man out of sympathy with his own culture, and you can see why. Because his parents were married in the Orthodox faith, those sons of fun in the Irish Protestant Church considered young Lafcadio illegitimate. When he grew up he became a journalist in America, but made the cardinal error of marrying a black woman - which was a crime. Unbelievable. Japan must have seemed a haven of sanity after his experienc

Put the flags out, possibly

Good newsingtons indeed, my multitudinous followers. British actor, writer and all-round smartydrawers Mark Gatiss is filming a three-part ghost story for Christmas. Gatiss is what we experts (and/or posers) call the genuine article - he knows his stuff. So the news that Mr G has penned an original tale, entitled Crooked House, is as good as getting stuck into a very juicy pear on a scorching hot day in the Cotswolds. Possibly better. From the BBC press release : In addition to writing and co-producing the drama, Gatiss takes the role of a museum curator with an in-depth knowledge of the fictional Geap Manor, stretching through Tudor, Georgian, the Twenties and contemporary times. When school teacher Ben unearths an old door knocker in the garden of his new home, the curator suggests it may come from the now-demolished house. A house reputed to be haunted... Intrigued, Ben prompts t

Killed to death...

I enjoyed the original Omen movie, not least because it was so absurdly over the top. I'm not sure what someone who genuinely believes in Satan, the Antichrist and all that stuff would make of it. But over at the amusing Scaryduck blog, what do I find but a condensed version of the movie? Even better, it's EXACTLY as I remember it. Ah, and that reference to the 2nd Doctor Who - was Patrick Troughton our most underrated thesp ever?

Cardinal Cox is at it again...

Cardinal Cox was appointed Poet Laureate of Peterborough in 2003. The Friends of Broadway Cemetery in the city has released a pamphlet of poems by the Cardinal to tie-in with a brief exhibition at the city council chambers. I can report with some satisfaction that the Cardinal's collection, Memento Mori, is very good; the poems are allusive, witty, well-crafted and set all sort of images ricocheting inside the sensitive noggin. As my thoughts were very much on Remembrance lately I was drawn to a poem about a ceremony in a city park: 'They gather in the sunken garden Flags hanging still to the staff With silence in the service A silence for all that died' Other poems deal with burial customs from prehistory, the distinguished visitors who passed through Peterborough at various speeds, and the general themes of loss and memory. Not exactly ghost stories, these poems, but they are haunted by spirits of the past and certainly haunt the reader. You can obtain a copy of Meme

Explore a Gothic Portal

No, that it not an invitation to anything kinky. Well, maybe it is. The point is someone asked me to link to a sort of Goth megasite, so I have. It's over there, on the right - links are in alphabetical order for the benefit of cultured types. I'm not a Goth myself but I like the whole thing, and I'm sure that if I'm reincarnated as somebody a bit cooler and who needs a less powerful ophthalmic prescription I would wear more black. That said, the original proto-Goths didn't wear black all the time, if at all.

About Bloody Time!

Right, they've arrived. There are a few logistical problems, because they sort of arrived in the wrong place. But I am going to be posting out copies of ST14 over the next few days. All you vain, preening authors, expect your complementary copies jolly soon, so you can leave them casually on the coffee table when that Someone Special pops round. 'What? Oh that, it's nothing, a mere bagatelle - some little chap published a short story of mine. Yes, I write, purely for my own amusement of course. Angsty, tortured genius, feels things profoundly, sensitive lover, yes that about covers it. Another large glass of Australian plonk?' I know what these literary types are like. Also people who actually paid for the flippin' thing will get it too. I will get a wiggle on and make sure that subscribers around this big blue marble we call a world get their ST14 before the mad evil Christmas postal meltdown. Dear me yes.