eldritchhobbit: (Sherlock/NRK parody murder by death)
Good news! "Sherlock Returns for One-Off Special AND Series 4."

And here are a couple of other nifty things that may be of interest. (Thanks to Michael!)

- Living with Frankenstein, a web series: "Frankenstein’s Monster (aka Frank) is alive and living in Los Angeles with Mary Shelley, P.B. Shelley, and Lord Byron. In this dark comedy the Monster is not a fictional character. P.B. Shelley created Frank, and Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein to chronicle actual events." Check it out here and here.

- Finding Hogwarts: This is a documentary film about seven Harry Potter fans and their journey to find Hogwarts, as well as the stories and shared experiences they had as they followed Harry until the very end. More details are here.

Last but not least, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] lynn_maudlin, and happy early birthday wishes to [livejournal.com profile] morningapproach, [livejournal.com profile] gods_lil_rocker, [livejournal.com profile] splix, [livejournal.com profile] divadiane1, [livejournal.com profile] markbourne, [livejournal.com profile] sunshinedew, [livejournal.com profile] ithildyn, [livejournal.com profile] melissagay, [livejournal.com profile] faramirgirl, [livejournal.com profile] agentxpndble, [livejournal.com profile] arymetore, [livejournal.com profile] caster121, [livejournal.com profile] syrcleoftrees, [livejournal.com profile] ghislainem70, and [livejournal.com profile] johnjosephadams. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Phantom/Old School)
Happy birthday to Lon Chaney (1 April, 1883 – 26 August, 1930), The Man of a Thousand Faces!

"He was someone who acted out our psyches. He somehow got into the shadows inside our bodies; he was able to nail down some of our secret fears and put them on-screen." - Ray Bradbury about Lon Chaney
eldritchhobbit: (Dancer)
There are three new films related to Native America that I'm looking forward to seeing. The trailers are online now.
* Winter in the Blood
* The Cherokee Word for Water
* The Activist

eldritchhobbit: (Longmire)
* If you're looking for a worthy project to fund, check out this Indiegogo campaign to build the Museum of Science Fiction's Preview Location: Help us build a preview location for the new nonprofit Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC! (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] estellye!)

* Speaking of science fiction, next weekend I'll be conducting a live virtual interview with award-winning and bestselling SF author David Brin for the Sofanauts. I'm soliciting questions! If you've got something you'd like me to ask Dr. Brin, please let me know. I hope to "see" some of you at the interview.

* My latest "Looking Back into Genre History" segment is up on the latest episode of StarShipSofa, and it offers a tribute to the science fiction career of actor Russell Johnson, who passed away last month. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* Last but not least, a recommendation. I have a pattern when it comes to adaptations: I go the source material first and read it, and then I watch the adaptation to see how it measures up. Not this time. I fell hard for the A&E television series Longmire thanks to its gorgeous use of setting, consistently excellent acting, and most of all its informed and sensitive portrayal of the interaction and politics between Anglo and Northern Cheyenne communities in Wyoming. In fact, I hesitated about reading the novels that had inspired the show, in fear that this might somehow compromise my enjoyment of the series. I needn't have worried. (Thanks for your encouragement, [livejournal.com profile] ankh_hpl!) Reading the first two novels in Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series has only enhanced my appreciation of the Longmire show and convinced me that I need to read all of the other books in the series, which I will do very soon.

Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking. - Black Elk
eldritchhobbit: (LiW/I Know)
Two cheers and one moment of silence...

Cheer #1. Guess who's playing for the NCAA Division II national championship this upcoming Saturday? We are! Go Lenoir-Rhyne University Bears!

Lenoir-Rhyne University Celebration

Cheer #2. Dreams in the Witch House: A Lovecraftian Rock Opera is fantastic. I've come to expect nothing less from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, but even so, it exceeds my hopes. Consider it a "must listen" for fans of H.P. Lovecraft's work.

And a Moment of Silence:
R.I.P., Peter O'Toole (2 August, 1932–14 December, 2013). He was one of the true greats. My favorite film of all time, in fact, centers on his brilliant performance.

The Lion in Winter (1968)

What we do in dungeons needs the shades of day. I stole the candles from the chapel. Jesus won't begrudge them and the chaplain works for me.
- Henry II (Peter O'Toole) in The Lion in Winter
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo corner wonder)
Hello, everyone!

Fun things...
* From Medievalists.net: "The Hidden History of Christmas Carols." Well worth reading. (Thanks to James!)
* From Thirdroar: The Art of Amy L. Rawson: Santa Cthulhu 2013. Fantastic. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wellinghall!)
* Today is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug day! Woohoo!

* My free Hunger Games event begins on Monday, December 16, and registration is still open: "On Tyrants and Tributes: Real World Lessons from The Hunger Games." (Watch the trailer here.)
* Registration is also open for my Mythgard Institute Spring 2014 course on "The Gothic Tradition." (Watch the trailer here.)

Happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] tuesday_darling, [livejournal.com profile] juliakarr, and [livejournal.com profile] janellemadigan. Happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] mguibord and [livejournal.com profile] gypsyjr. And happy early birthday to [livejournal.com profile] ericadawn16, [livejournal.com profile] tuilelindowen, [livejournal.com profile] whswhs, [livejournal.com profile] arkhamdenizen, [livejournal.com profile] irisbleufic, [livejournal.com profile] i_llbedammned, [livejournal.com profile] internet_sampo [livejournal.com profile] pambachorz, [livejournal.com profile] cyloran, and [livejournal.com profile] mamomo. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!
eldritchhobbit: (Millennium/textless)
I hope all is well with you, my friends!

A few quick notes:

1. If you missed my "Sherlock, Science, and Ratiocination" seminar, you can now purchase all 36 hours of lecture (in both video and audio formats) for a reduced price from Mythgard Institute at Signum University. (The shop also includes course packs for my past classes, including "Science Fiction, Parts 1 & 2," "The Dystopian Tradition," and "Taking Harry Potter Seriously.") Go here for more details.

2. This week's episode of StarShipSofa includes my latest "Looking Back into Genre History" segment, which celebrates Chris Carter's Millennium TV series and the current Back to Frank Black Campaign related to it. If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

3. The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University has created a YouTube Channel for my LL videos.

I'll leave you with a touch of holiday cheer...

eldritchhobbit: (Hunger Games)
Here is my latest video sponsored by LearnLiberty, part of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.

I will be offering a free, online educational event sponsored by IHS at GMU later this month focusing on The Hunger Games: On Tyrants and Tributes: Real World Lessons From The Hunger Games.

The other films of mine in this series include the following:
* Forgotten Rebellion: Black Seminoles and the Largest Slave Revolt in U.S. History
* The Trail of Tears: They Knew It Was Wrong
* Protest Against the Trail of Tears
* The Expulsion of the Acadians
* Andrew Jackson: The First Imperial President
eldritchhobbit: (Dr. Who - Smith)
It's been a good weekend to be a geek. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was absolutely exceptional. (I'll be seeing it again this week, and then I'll post more of a review. Nutshell version: it's brilliant! Very, very well done.) And there was An Adventure in Space and Time (Mark Gatiss did it again!) and "The Day of the Doctor." Wow. We even got a new Sherlock trailer and an update to John Watson's blog.

Almost Last Call for Holiday Cards! Reminder: if you'd like a holiday card from me this year, please respond here. Thanks so much!
eldritchhobbit: (Default)
My Spring 2014 online, interactive, international course for The Mythgard Institute (available both for M.A. students who are seeking degrees and auditors wishing to participate the love of the subject) is now open for registration. It's "The Gothic Tradition."

The Gothic Tradition at Mythgard Institute

Here is the class description: The Gothic literary tradition began in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe and lives on in various forms across the globe through contemporary fiction, poetry, art, music, film, and television. Mad scientists, blasted heaths, abandoned ruins, elusive ghosts, charming vampires, and even little green men people its stories. With ingredients such as a highly developed sense of atmosphere, extreme emotions including fear and awe, and emphases on the mysterious and the paranormal, Gothic works tend to express anxieties about social, political, religious, and economic issues of the time, as well as rejection of prevailing modes of thought and behavior. This course will investigate the fascinating and subversive Gothic imagination (from the haunted castles of Horace Walpole to the threatening aliens of H.P. Lovecraft, from Dracula to Coraline), identify the historical conditions that have inspired it, consider how it has developed across time and place and medium, and explore how it has left its indelible imprint on the modern genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Here is the class trailer.

For more information, check out the course page here.
eldritchhobbit: (Holmes/Impudence)
Fresh from Wildside Press, the new Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #10 includes my essay "Sherlock Holmes and Science Fiction."

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #10 (October 2013)
eldritchhobbit: (Re-Animator/Weird)
As a follow-up to my earlier countdown post today, I have a few Halloween-friendly news items to share.

* First, I have been a fan of Jeffrey Combs for many years, and his portrayals of Edgar Allan Poe (in television's Black Cat and his one-man show Nevermore) are simply outstanding. I had a chance to talk with him about Poe last year at ConCarolinas, and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated his insights into the author. He takes Poe very seriously, and I take this Kickstarter very seriously. Let's make a feature film of Nevermore happen!

Master Horror director Stuart Gordon, brilliant actor Jeffrey Combs, and inspired screenwriter Dennis Paoli -- the team that brought you From Beyond and Re-Animator - team up again to bring you a brand new feature film: NEVERMORE. Visit the Kickstarter campaign.

* In other news, this week's episode of StarShipSofa includes the second of my three-part "Looking Back into Genre History" series that remembers the 125th anniversary of the Autumn of Terror by exploring the ways in which science fiction has wrestled with the mystery of Jack the Ripper. (The first part of the three-part series is here.) If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

* Last but certainly not least, TheOneRing.net's monthly Rewrite Tolkien Contest theme is [insert drum roll here] The Hobbit as written by Edgar Allan Poe. You know you want to take part in this. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jan_u_wine and [livejournal.com profile] wellinghall.)

"There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence in the supernatural..."
- Edgar Allan Poe, "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt"
eldritchhobbit: (Nosferatu)
It's film time! Every year about this time I think about good Halloween films (not necessarily horror movies, and definitely not lame slasher pictures, but suspenseful, atmospheric films that put a chill up the spine) that are "off the beaten path" -- that is, films that are independent, foreign, direct to DVD, or somehow under promoted, and thus might easily slip under the proverbial radar. Not the classics. Not the usual suspects.

Today I have quite a few new recommendations to add to the list, based on this past year's viewing. (We accessed all of these via Netflix.) Here they are, in reverse chronological order.

6.0 [Crime, Drama, Mystery] Jessica Biel the-awakening-poster

  • Mama (2013): This is a Spanish-Canadian treat based on the Argentine Muschietti's Mamá, a 2008 Spanish-language short film of the same name. Young children can be disturbing. Young children abandoned in the woods for several years and raised by a (territorial and possessive) spirit can be doubly so.

  • Dark Skies (2013): This wasn't the very best spooky film we saw this past year, but it was far, far better than I'd anticipated, and it scratched that "alien abduction" itch of mine that's been troubling me ever since The X-Files left the small and big screens.

  • Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013): This stand-alone story works independently of its prequel. It's not an unproblematic film, but if you have a taste for Southern Gothic, it's worth a look.

  • House Hunting, also released as The Wrong House (2013): What a surprise this psychological horror film was! Quite the mind game. Home-shopping families visit an empty farmhouse... and the house keeps them there.

  • The Tall Man (2012): I love it when a film goes in a direction I didn't foresee, and this French-Canadian mystery-thriller one did it again and again. In a small, poverty-stricken former mining town, children are disappearing on a regular basis. The abductions are blamed on a local legend called the "Tall Man." One of the standout favorites of the year for me, this one asks some uncomfortable and thought-provoking questions that keep you thinking long after the film is over.

  • The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012): This little Canadian film serves up some effective atmosphere. An antiques collector inherits a house from his estranged mother only to discover that she had been living in a shrine devoted to a mysterious cult. Soon he comes to suspect that his mother's oppressive spirit still lingers within her home and is using items in the house to contact him with an urgent message. Vanessa Redgrave's voice-overs as the late mother add depth to the spooky visuals.

  • In the Dark Half (2012): This was the first of three micro-budget movies to be made in Bristol, UK under the iFeatures scheme. Despite its humble beginnings, this is an absolutely riveting and deeply soulful work. Young Jessica Barden gives a particularly brilliant performance. Bad things are happening in a run-down working-class town, where a young woman is convinced that something nasty is out to get her. But she's also struggling with conflicting feelings toward her hard-drinking neighbor, whose son mysteriously died while she was babysitting him. One of my favorites from this year.

  • Sinister (2012): After moving to a new town, a true-crime writer discovers a cache of videotapes depicting brutal murders that took place in the very house he just bought. As he tries to solve the mystery behind the crimes, a sinister force threatens his own family. I'm sort of breaking my own rules here, as this wasn't an under-the-radar film, but merely hearing the music for this movie creeps me out!

  • Paranorman (2012): Okay, this wasn't exactly an off-the-beaten-path film either, but it's so wonderful, I had to list it. A perfect "feel-good" movie for Halloween!

  • The Awakening (2011): If I had to recommend one new(ish) film for this season, this would be it. Gorgeously done from start to finish. In post-World War I England, a boarding school haunted by a boy's ghost calls on Florence Cathcart, who disproves hoaxes for a living. But Cathcart senses something truly strange about the school, leading her to question her belief in the rational.

  • Whisperer in Darkness (2011): You can't go wrong with the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. This is a "talkie" instead of a silent film (like the HPLHS's Call of Cthulhu, and it works well.

  • Sound of My Voice (2011): Wow. I mean, wow. This is high on my list of favorite viewing from this year. In this psychological thriller, journalists Peter and Lorna undergo an elaborate preparation process in order to infiltrate a cult, leading from a desolate road to an unmarked location, but the mystery only deepens when their blindfolds are removed. This is a smart, chilling film with just the right touch of cerebral science fiction.

  • True Nature (2010): This is another film that really surprised me, to my delight. This tells the story of a family reunited when their college-age daughter is found after a year-long disappearance. With no memory of what happened to her, she soon discovers that her very presence threatens to expose the secrets and fragile lies by which her family has lived.

  • Womb (2010): This stark, minimalist, quietly haunting film stars Eva Green and Matt ("Eleven") Smith, both of whom turn in subtle performances. A woman's consuming love forces her to bear the clone of her dead beloved. From his infancy to manhood, she faces the unavoidable complexities of her controversial decision. I found this to be wrenching, disturbing, and darkly beautiful. Full disclosure, though: my husband found it to have more style than substance.

  • Imprint (2007): Can you hear their cries? Shayla Stonefeather, a Native American attorney prosecuting a Lakota teen in a controversial murder trial, returns to the reservation to say goodbye to her dying father. After the teen is killed, she hears ghostly voices and sees strange visions that cause her to re-examine beliefs she thought she left behind. This is a solid independent film with a gifted Native cast.

  • House of Voices, also released as Saint Ange (2004): This French-Romanian film is a sophisticated mind game that kept me utterly fascinated and glued to the screen. A young cleaning woman is dispatched to tend to a crumbling orphanage called Saint Ange that houses only one child. While going about her duties, the new housekeeper begins to witness supernatural occurrences, causing her sole co-worker, a cook, to question her sanity. Whatever you expect this to be, I guarantee it will surprise you.

[Note: I've repeatedly had The Uninvited (1944) suggested to me, but I've been unable to find it. I'm glad to say it will be available on DVD later this month. At last!]

Here are some of my 'off-the-beaten-path' Halloween-related film recommendations from recent years. )

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Okay, you're turn: what under-the-radar, off-the-beaten-path, Halloween-friendly films do you recommend?
eldritchhobbit: (Books and text)
Wow. Wow. Tremendous thanks to everyone who made SofaCON such a brilliant success yesterday. What a day! I had a fantastic time, and I hope all of the other participants did, as well.

A few quick items worth mention:

Burlington bar sur l'Ohio entre Pittsburg et Wheeling

Last of all, happy birthday, Alexis de Tocqueville (29 July, 1805 – 16 April, 1859).

“It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
eldritchhobbit: (Hobbit/Bilbo corner wonder)
Thanks to everyone who took part in my Peter Cushing poll! The poll is still open, in case anyone else would like to participate.

Here, have a new The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug trailer!

eldritchhobbit: (Dracula/Gorey)
On this day 100 years ago, Peter Cushing was born. He would go on to become an actor and a gentleman, portraying roles from Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy to Edgar Rice Burroughs's Dr. Abney Perry, a repeated Victor Frankenstein and Van Helsing, and a staple of Hammer Horror films. He became a very human Doctor Who, and he offered, over a number of years, one of cinema's finest interpretations of Sherlock Holmes (one of my "top three" favorite incarnations of the Great Detective). Last but certainly not least, Cushing became Grand Moff Tarkin himself, wielder of the Death Star, destroyer of Alderaan, and holder of Darth Vader's leash.

peter cushing tarkin photo: Grand Moff Tarkin tarkin.jpg

[Poll #1915650]

Peter Cushing in ''The Hound of the Baskervilles'' (1959)
eldritchhobbit: (Trek Reboot/Pike Hero)
I'm back, and I have updates, but everything will wait for now. What I want to do - indeed, what I must do - is share a few thoughts from my first viewing of Star Trek into Darkness. (These are my first, preliminary impressions; I'll see it again tomorrow, and my thoughts no doubt will develop further.)

General and Relatively Spoiler-Free Notes

* This film is an extended and deeply heartfelt love letter not only to the original Star Trek, but specifically to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. STII is by far the best Star Trek film to date, and one of the best science fiction films of all time, and so I find this to be completely right and proper. I was deeply moved by the generous (and - dare I say it? - beautiful) nods to the previous film. I suspect some of the deeper resonances will be lost on viewers who aren't familiar with Star Trek II, but, let's be honest: I couldn't care less. [See Footnote 1. Yes, this post has footnotes.]

* What absolutely makes this film, immediately, right out of the gate, and then throughout, is the remarkable and textured chemistry between Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike and Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. Greenwood steals every scene in which he appears, but he also draws a terrific performance from Pine, one that sells the very heart and premise of the rest of the film.

* Benedict Cumberbatch is, unsurprisingly, brilliant. His performance is exceptionally physical, from the details of each action sequence to the very manner in which he enunciates his words; in this sense, it reminds me most of his performance as the Creature in Frankenstein.

* Simon Pegg, bless you.

Now to the Spoilers! )


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