“Doctor Sleep”: Terms of Psychic Warfare

Doctor Sleep!

“After that night, I could never watch The Tonight Show again.”

I read The Shining during my big Stephen King phase back in high school. devouring nearly all his books from Carrie up through Gerald’s Game. I’ve run across Stanley Kubrick’s version countless times in TV reruns over the years and I think I’ve seen the entire film, but never in one uninterrupted, sequential sitting….though I did catch the 2013 documentary Room 237, which tabulated conspiracy theories about Kubrick’s deep, dark, double-secret meanings with which the film was allegedly fraught if you paid more attention to the backgrounds than to the actors.

Decades later, King returned to the remains of the Torrance family with the sequel novel Doctor Sleep, which I haven’t read. The sequel film it inspired from writer/director Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) was escorted surreptitiously into theaters in the middle of an unusually packed November release schedule, then quietly ushered out the back doors, as if it were trying to escape the spotlight before Jack Nicholson came after it with an ax. As we prepare to trudge defensively into this long weekend in which internet folks will be slap-fighting over sequels that cling slavishly to their 40-year-old progenitors, why not pause and pay respects to a sequel that struck a dexterous balance between old confections and new directions.

Continue reading

“IT Chapter 2”: That Previous Evil Clown Movie Before the Next Evil Clown Movie

IT CHAPTER 2!

No, I am not ready to let go our our Dragon Con 2019 memories or souvenirs yet, thanks for asking.

My Stephen King phase lasted from roughly 1986 to 1993, and began when a late-night cable viewing of Christine spooked me so much that I checked out the novel from my junior high school’s library. Having consumed that, I resolved to catch ’em all. To an extent I inherited the fixation from my mom, whose all-time favorite novel is The Stand. I proceeded to read every novel from Carrie through Gerald’s Game, skipping only The Dark Tower series because the first one was impossible to find when my King spree began. (Drifting away from King’s work wasn’t his fault exactly. 1993 was among my darkest years.)

Though I do have my favorites among them, I have a particularly fond memory of the It reading experience. I sat down one evening with the 1000-page paperback edition and proceeded to devour the first 500 in one go. At 6 a.m. my grandma got up for breakfast and was quite surprised to see I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I haven’t done that in ages and would dearly love to have the free time and concentration power to devote to any task for that many hours in a row at my age. I blame the internet.

Continue reading

Our HorrorHound Indianapolis 2019 Photo Album

Patrick Wilson!

Patrick Wilson and me, posing for a TV Guide ad for our new CBS procedural dramedy.

Saturday marked our fifth trip to HorrorHound Indy, an annual Indianapolis convention in honor of the scary, bloody, icky, haunting, stabbing, disturbing, black-garbed aspects of pop culture. The folks at HorrorHound Magazine orchestrate the festivities so loyal fans of the murderous and the macabre can enjoy a themed geek space of their own apart from Star Wars and Star Trek and whatnot. (Well, mostly.) As we’ve gotten older and more puritanical, our touchpoints with horror, terror, and gross-outs have dwindled in number compared to the average attendee, but the intersections between their guest list and our favorite worlds continue to delight and surprise and draw us back into their waiting wings.

Continue reading

Our Dark Summertime Binge: Hulu’s “Light as a Feather”

Light as a Feather!

Once again McKenna (Liana Liberato) faces DEATH FROM ABOVE! OR AT LEAST SCARINESS!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: with weeks to go till vacation and no pressing obligations, my wife Anne and I have been bingeing a few different shows together, while I’ve done some additional grim watching on the side. Certainly not through careful planning on our part, each of the shows has had their own depressing and/or tragic aspects. As I wrote at the time, Veronica Mars season 4 fit right in once we finished the finale. The Netflix documelodrama The Last Czars couldn’t help but depress with its take on Russia’s traumatic early-20th-century history, though it would prove the most unintentionally funny show we’ve seen in ages about war, revolution, murder, and gloomy orgies.

Meanwhile on Hulu, I caught a supernatural thriller in its second season that was easily the youngest-skewing show I watched this summer, possibly this year. But I had a pretty good reason.

Continue reading

“Us”: Revenge of the Duality of Man

Lupita Nyong'o!

Now I’m imagining a do-over of 12 Years a Slave in which this version of Lupita Nyong’o turns Michael Fassbender into so much whittling scrap.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: once upon a time in 2002 I once spent most of a museum walk expounding at length on how virtually every piece of art in front of me, no matter how abstract or realistic or kitschy or modern, could in some way be deconstructed into a metaphor for the Duality of Man. It’s not hard. Take a thing, figure out a way to chop it into two warring halves like you’re Karnak of the Inhumans teaching a philosophy class, and presto. You’ve just written some tenth-grader’s literature report. It was fun till I began annoying myself and possibly our friends.

Leave it to Jordan Peele to follow up his Best Picture nominee Get Out with an unofficial adaptation of my blathering seventeen years later as the raging box office smash Us. It’s about time someone better than me did this.

Continue reading

Our HorrorHound Cincinnati 2019 Last-Minute Photo Parade

chibi-Devil's Rejects!

Say hi to Chibi-Captain Spaudling and Chibi-Otis B. Driftwood from Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects.

Convention season is here again!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last year we attended our first HorrorHound Cincinnati, an annual convention in honor of the scary, icky, disturbing, stabby, psychotropic aspects of pop culture. The folks at HorrorHound Magazine orchestrate the festivities so loyal fans of the deadly and the dead can enjoy a themed geek space of their own apart from Star Wars and Star Trek and whatnot. (Well, mostly.) We’ve attended four of the same company’s HorrorHound Indy shows in our own hometown because, even though horror isn’t a primary focus for our entertainment habits, their overseers have a flair for assembling a top-notch guest list filled with actors we’ve seen in a lot of great works throughout our lives…and who also just so happen to have one or more Halloween-apropos movies or TV shows among their IMDb credits.

Continue reading

Our HorrorHound Cincinnati 2018 Photo Mini-Parade

C. Thomas Howell!

For our Gen-X pals out there: C. Thomas Howell kicks off our 2018 convention season in style.

This weekend my wife Anne and I attended our first HorrorHound Cincinnati, an annual convention in honor of the spooky, bloody, gross, unsettling, slashing, nightmare-inducing, id-tastical aspects of pop culture. The folks at HorrorHound Magazine orchestrate the festivities so loyal fans of the murderous and the macabre can enjoy a themed geek space of their own apart from Star Wars and Star Trek and whatnot. (Well, mostly.) We’ve attended four of the same company’s last five HorrorHound Indy shows in our own hometown because, even though we’ve detached from much the genre as we’ve gotten older and finickier, their showrunners have a flair for assembling a top-notch guest list filled with actors we’ve seen in a lot of great works throughout our lives…and who also happened to have one or more scary movies or TV shows on their resumé. Win-win.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: