Blithe or No

BLITHE SPIRIT (2020) An impulse purchase this week: I suspect it was the subliminal effect of the tarot spread in the cover image. And I like Judi Dench. And Dan Stevens. And I love Coward, the snap and crackle of his dialogue. Certainly the play could use an update — like removing all the casual…

Out Now: Stalking the Stalker

My essay ‘Stalking the Stalker: Jamie Thraves adapting Patricia Highsmith’s The Cry of the Owl‘ is out now in Film International. You can get the essay via your library or purchase from the journal. Thanks Matthew and the crew. Here’s an overview: The 2009 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Cry of the Owl faces the…

Got Gothic? Turney’s The Other One (1952)

The Dell paper back edition: ‘Black magic — and a modern sorceress!’ That ghastly green: I love it. Last week’s film Back from the Dead was based on this mid-century Gothic thriller and scripted by the author, who certainly streamlined the narrative — perhaps a little too much. By coincidence (or due to us both…

Saturday Matinee: Back from the Dead (1957)

BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957) You know I can’t help but wonder whether Hitchcock saw this before he made Vertigo the next year, but of course I am too lazy at present to do any research on either film. In any case, if he did yer man also decided ‘But why don’t we focus on…

TAROT IN GRESHAM’S NIGHTMARE ALLEY

[N.B. Written when I first heard that GDT was remaking it] When I showed Nightmare Alley to the students in my noir film course, one came up at the end to complain that the tarot readings were way off. I agreed and encouraged him to pick up Gresham’s novel. I assured him that the author cared a…

MAPACA & Witches

MAPACA kicks off today and the rest of the week will be a blur obviously because of ISSS Surrealisms, too. Yes, I am grateful that my two presentations do not overlap (though both are Saturday, argh). I am grateful, too, that I know ISSS panels will be viewable for a couple weeks after the conference…

Film for a Friday: Derek (2008)

Today in films I can’t believe I’ve not watched before, I watched Derek via my local library Kanopy account which has far more films available than my campus account does. Though it limits me to five a month, the wretched pace at which I have managed to watch films lately means that I have not…

FFF: The Mystic (1925)

THE MYSTIC (1925) Tod Browning’s silent film can be watched on the ‘tube. Sometimes it shows up on MUBI, too. Of course it involves the ‘spook racket’ and grifting, two things I am fascinated by always. The film opens in the familiar ambience of the traveling carnival, where Aileen Pringle plays the titular role of…

Neo-Noir: Julia (2008)

JULIA (2008) dir Erick Zonca An A-list star takes a role in a crime film that offers a chance to slum it as a low-life in a downward, drunken spiral amongst the neon flicker of dive bars and low-rent flop houses. A recipe for Oscar-bait — well, if you’re male. If you’re Tilda Swinton, not…

Review: The Witch of Kings Cross

THE WITCH OF KINGS CROSS Writer/Director: Sonia Bible The story of Rosaleen Norton is not very well known outside Australia, even among the pagan world. I was lucky that a friend who was a huge fan introduced me to her art in the 90s. Powerful stuff, it is, too. With occult, spiritualist, and surreal art…