Oct 04

Blogtoberfest – Urban Legends – Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine

By Chris C Jones (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

As part of Blogtoberfest and the season of Halloween in general, it’s always fun to take a look at the urban legends which stay a part of our pop culture.  Every state seems to have their own, and some states have more than one.  Some of the urban legends have found their way onto as in this case.

The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is a legend, that, much .like many legends, is steeped in fact.  It is, obviously, a gold mine located in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.  As legends will go, there are many stories that circulate around how to find the mine, leading to people actually trying to find it.  And, yes, some have perished on their quest for the riches.

A little history:  The mine is named after a German immigrant names Jacob Waltz who found it and  kept it a secret. Interestingly enough, despite the lack of information we have about it, it might be the most famous “lost mine” legend in American history. 

I was tricked into watching an “entertainment program” that I thought was a documentary about the mine.  Called Legend of the Superstition Mountains, it  resembled a factual program until I found out it was a six season “fakumentary”.  Also, it was pretty boring, which is the real crime.  I mean, if you’re going to fake something, please, make it interesting.

The film based loosely around this legend is called Dark Mountain, and to be honest, I tried to watch that one too….but wow, a snooze fest it was. I couldn’t finish it.

So there, you are, a taste of the urban legend, the Lost Dutchman’s Mine.  If you plan on going to look for it, be sure to bring plenty of water.  Arizona’s pretty hot and dry.

 

Dahlia

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Dutchman%27s_Gold_Mine

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Oct 03

Blogtoberfest – Halloween Teapots

Welcome back to BlogtoberFest!

 

As the weather grows colder in the Northern Hemisphere, the morning (or afternoon) beverage of choice can change, depending on the mood.  Sure, I’m a coffee gal at heart, but there’s something about tea, with its .little bags and cute little teapots which make a cold fall morning so much cozier.

What’s that, you say?  You don’t have a teapot?  Well, reader, you’re in luck.  Keep scrolling.

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite spooky-ish teapots along with buy links for your shopping pleasure.  Beware, however, most of these teapots are from Etsy and are most likely “one of a kind”.  If you see one you like, best jump on it while you can.  I made it easy to shop. Click on the link to buy.

Please note:  These are NOT affiliate links, nor am I affiliated with the seller in any way.  Now go on and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy shopping and lots of hot tea!

 

Dahlia

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Oct 02

Blogtoberfest – Horror Movie Review – Friend Request

Title:  Friend Request

Synopsis:  A popular college student graciously accepts a social outcast’s online friend request, but soon finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.

Genre:  Horror

Opinion:

Let’s face it, most of us live online these days, especially those under 30.  Between online dating and online classes, people find themselves either at the computer or on their cell phones.  People are judged by the number of friends they have on social media or the number of likes they have on a post.  Some people pay good money to acquire followers and/or garner even more interest in their online musings.

Okay, you might be saying, it’s a movie review, Dahlia, get to the damn point.  All right then.  I say all that to say is when we see a post with no likes or a person with a low number of “friends” or “followers”, we assume that means low popularity.  And of course, someone with low popularity online is to be pitied and “felt sorry for”

And now we come to the crux of this movie.  A popular college student receives a friend request from a girl who doesn’t have any friends.  Feeling sorry for her, she “friends” her.  The relationship then degenerated into a sort of stalker/stalkee symbiosis, with the popular college student trying to get away from the cloying, smothering of her new “friend”.

::::::::SPOILER ALERT:::::::::::::::SPOILER ALERT::::::::::::::::SPOILER ALERT:::::::::::::::

After cutting off the friendship, the girl commits suicide and posts the video on the popular girl’s social media page.  This leads to her losing online friends and then DUN DUN DUN, she begins losing friends in real life….TO MURDER MOST FOUL.

Anyhoo, the rest of the movie invovles her tracking down and trying to eliminate the girl’s ghost, who is apparently causing all the trouble.  Will she succeed?  You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

All in all, it wasn’t the best horror movie I’ve seen, but I thought the premise was interesting.  It is well-acted and well-shot with some disturbing imagery, but I must say the movie does contain an almost paint by the numbers list of horror cliches, including jump scares with stinger chords.  Despite these flaws, it’s moderately intriguing and is a good movie to have on in the background.

Grade:  B-

 

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Oct 01

BlogtoberFest 2017 – The Days of Halloween

Let’s face it, the holidays start earlier and earlier every year.  I saw a six foot light up snowman in Costco at the end of August.  Therefore, I see no reason not to begin the celebration of all things spooky, macabre, and scary in the month of October.

You faithful readers of my blog:  I thank you.  AND you already know what’s going to be happening.  Recipes, Top 3 lists, Top 5 lists, spooky songs, movies, books….everything relating to the theme of Halloween and horror.  Click over every day to see something new!

So pour yourself a Bloody Mary with bacon garnish and come on along for the ride.  We’ve been expecting you.

 

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Aug 16

Horror Movies Based on Books

That Aren’t by Stephen King

 

Everyone’s got a favorite horror movie.  But, I think you would agree, the ideas have to come from somewhere.  Many of these movies are based on or strongly influenced by books.  Let’s take a look.

The Collector – John Fowles

Film Adaptation starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, 1965.

While this may be more of a thriller than a horror, meh, this is a personal favorite of mine and will be included on the list.

 From Amazon: Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller, The Collector is the internationally bestselling novel that catapulted John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelists. This tale of obsessive love–the story of a lonely clerk who collects butterflies and of the beautiful young art student who is his ultimate quarry–remains unparalleled in its power to startle and mesmerize.

 

Burnt Offerings – Robert Marasco

Film Adaptation: 1976

This is one of the first horror movies I’ve ever seen and Bette Davis was in it too!

From Amazon:  Ben and Marian Rolfe are desperate to escape a stifling summer in their tiny Brooklyn apartment, so when they get the chance to rent a mansion in upstate New York for the entire summer for only $900, it’s an offer that’s too good to refuse. There’s only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs. Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals.

 

Jaws – Peter Benchley

Film Adaptation: 1975

“Smile, you son of a bitch!”

Gosh, how many times have I seen this?  Too many.  I read the book as a teenager, back in the 80s, after having seen the film.  The book offers a different slant, concentrating on a lot of soapy stuff between Mrs. Brody and Hooper, but it’s still a keeper.

From Booklist:  This novel about a rogue shark that terrorizes a beach community hasn’t aged a day since its publication more than 35 years ago. Benchley’s writing is lean and efficient—this is his first novel, and also by far his best—and the story is a solid mixture of small-town politics, mystery, and outright terror. The author positions his protagonist, police chief Martin Brody, as virtually the lone voice of reason in a town filled with people who want to downplay the shark’s presence (so as not to scare away tourists with their bulging wallets); and when the body count starts to rise, it’s Brody who has to find a way to kill the beast, even if it means putting his own life on the line.

The familiar characters—Brody, oceanographer Matt Hooper, shark-hunter Quint—are not as likable as they are in Steven Spielberg’s classic film adaptation, but in the context of the novel, they are well drawn and compelling. Those who are familiar with the movie, but not the book, are in for some surprises, and those who read the book way back when should definitely give it another look.

 

A Stir of Echoes – Richard Matheson

Film adaptation: 1999 as Stir of Echoes

Richard Matheson’s first entry on this list is a heck of a thriller written on 1958.  Granted, the story is dated, and some of the “morals” aren’t as strong as they are today, but the book is still a good ride.  The film version updates the core issue quite a bit, and is a great starring vehicle for Kevin Bacon.

From Amazon: Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he’s hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom’s existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message from beyond the grave!

 

The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin

Film adaptations:  1975, 2004

“I thought you were my friend…I thought you were my friend…”

Written by Ira Levin, this sci-fi/horror mash-up had a concept that most are familiar with.  Again, the book itself is dated, but the writing packs a good punch that keeps you reading, even though you probably already know the twist.  Sometimes it’s the journey, not the destination. It was made into two film adaptations,  one in 1975 and in 2004.  The 1975 is far superior in its execution and also has no Matthew Broderick.

From Amazon:  For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic facade lies a terrible secret — a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

 

The Sentinel – Jeffrey Kovitz

Film adaptation:  The Sentinel, 1977

This is one of the books I haven’t read, so I cannot offer personal commentary.

From Amazon:  Jeffrey Konvitz’s New York Times–bestselling horror novel about a young woman descending into demonic madness who discovers it’s not simply in her mind.

Aspiring model Allison Parker finally moves into her dream apartment: a brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. But her perfect home quickly turns hellish.

The building is filled with a cast of sinister tenants, including a reclusive blind priest, who seems to watch her day and night through an upstairs window. Eventually, Allison starts hearing strange noises from the empty apartment above hers. Before long, she uncovers the building’s demonic secret and is plunged into a nightmare of sinful misdeeds and boundless evil.

 

Let Me In – John Ajvide Lindqvist

Film adaptations:  Let the Right One In (2008), Let Me In (2010)

This too, I have neither seen nor read.

From Amazon:  It is autumn 1981 when inconceivable horror comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenager is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night.

 

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

Film adaptation: 1991

“I’m having an old friend for dinner….”

Of course, you know this one and it’s kind of caught between thriller and horror. I judge it….mash up.  Both chilling and entertaining, the reader finds themselves drawn to Lector’s suave, cultured personality while at the same time repulsed by his killer/cannibal ways.  It’s a great read and adds layers to the film.

From Amazon:  A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname–Buffalo Bill–is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter–Hannibal the Cannibal–who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

 

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

Film Adapations: : The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), I Am Legend (2007), and direct-to-video I Am Omega (2007).

This author was prolific, to say the least.  I purchased an anthology of his stories a while back and realize most of them were Twilight Zone episodes.  This is his second entry on the list, and I believe the one that was adapted into the most fillm.

From Amazon: Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.

 

Falling Angel – William Hjortsberg

Film Adaptation:  Angel Heart 1987

“I gotta thing about chickens.”

Interesting movie, stands out because of Robert DeNiro’s performance as a mysterious Louis Cyphre.

From Amazon:  Big-band frontman Johnny Favorite was singing for the troops when a Luftwaffe fighter squadron strafed the bandstand, killing the crowd and leaving the singer near death. The army returned him to a private hospital in upstate New York, leaving him to live out his days as a vegetable while the world forgot him. But Louis Cyphre never forgets.

Cyphre had a contract with the singer, stipulating payment upon Johnny’s death—payment that will be denied as long as Johnny clings to life. When Cyphre hires private investigator Harry Angel to find Johnny at the hospital, Angel learns that the singer has disappeared. It is no ordinary missing-person’s case. Everyone he questions dies soon after, as Angel’s investigation ensnares him in a bizarre tangle of black magic, carnival freaks, and grisly voodoo. When the sinister Louis Cyphre begins appearing in Angel’s dreams, the detective fears for his life, his sanity, and his soul.

 

Duel  – Richard Matheson

TV Movie adaptation – 1971

As you can tell, I am kind of a Richard Matheson junkie, but I’ll be brief.

Man in car vs. Evil 18 wheeler

 

Psycho – Robert Bloch

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Film Adaptation:  1960

Classic.  What more can be said about this one?

From Amazon:  Norman Bates loves his Mother. She has been dead for the past twenty years, or so people think. Norman knows better though. He has lived with Mother ever since leaving the hospital in the old house up on the hill above the Bates motel. One night Norman spies on a beautiful woman that checks into the hotel as she undresses. Norman can’t help but spy on her. Mother is there though. She is there to protect Norman from his filthy thoughts. She is there to protect him with her butcher knife.

 

The Birds and Don’t Look Now – Daphne DuMaurier

Film Adaptations:  The Birds – 1963

Don’t Look Now – 1973

Two separate titles made into two very good film adaptations.

Don’t Look Now is the story of a husband and wife grieving from the loss of a child while in Venice.

The Birds – well, basically, they get theirs.

These are short stories (novelettes?) rather than full blown novels. Still they offer a quick read with a big punch.

 

The Hellbound Heart and The Forbidden– Clive Barker

Film adaptations:  Hellraiser (1987) and Candyman (1992) respectively.

The Hellbound Heart focuses on a mystical puzzle box and the horror it wreaks on a family that is unfortunate enough to come across it.

The Forbidden is about a university student named Helen is doing a thesis on graffiti, and selects a run-down estate to focus her study. She notices disturbing graffiti in an abandoned building that makes references to some sort of mythical figure known as the Candyman. Further enquiries lead her to believe this is connected with recent murders and mutilations in the neighbourhood, although the locals are seemingly reluctant to discuss the incidents. She eventually encounters the Candyman himself, gaining notoriety by becoming his latest victim.

 

Herbert West: Reanimator, The Dunwich Horror, From Beyond –  H. P. Lovecraft

Film adaptations:  Reanimator (1985),  The Dunwich Horror (1970), From Beyond (1986) respectively

Herbert West: Reanimator

From Goodreads: “Herbert West: Reanimator” is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was first serialized in February through July 1922 in the amateur publication Home Brew. The story was the basis of the 1985 horror film Re-Animator and its sequels, in addition to numerous other adaptations in various media.

The story is the first to mention Lovecraft’s fictional Miskatonic University. It is also notable as one of the first depictions of zombies, as corpses arising, through scientific means, as animalistic, and uncontrollably violent creatures.

The Dunwich Horror:

From Wikipedia: Written in 1928, it was first published in the April 1929 issue of Weird Tales (pp. 481–508). It takes place in Dunwich, a fictional town in Massachusetts. It is considered one of the core stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. “The Dunwich Horror” is one of the few tales Lovecraft wrote wherein the heroes successfully defeat the antagonistic entity or monster of the story.

 

From Beyond:

From Wikipedia:  The story is told from the first person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is the graphic meant to do any more than to augment the article.  So, show me what you got.  What are some of your horror movies that were influenced by books.  And, which did you think was better – the book or the movie?  Throw your thoughts in the comments.

 

Dahlia

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Aug 03

Thriller Movie Review: Kidnap

Kidnap:  Every Parent’s Horror Movie

In the US, a child goes missing every 40 seconds. You never think it will happen to you. Until it does. Alone and scared, Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is unwilling to leave the fate of her son’s life in someone else’s hands. When she catches a glimpse of the abductors speeding away, she decides to fight back. In a heart pounding race against time, Karla begins a high speed pursuit and will stop at nothing to save her son’s life. Written by https://teaser-trailer.com

Remember that time you stepped off to the side in the store to take a kind of important call and you got so engrossed you took your eyes of your child for more than a couple of minutes?  Yep.  That’ was Halle Berry’s mistake in Kidnap.  But boy, does she make up for it, if I may say, in spades.

Berry plays single mother Karla Dyson, who’s set up in the movie is done quite well.  She works at a diner in a thankless waitress job, as demonstrated by one snooty patron, and is looking forward to a well deserved break at an amusement park with her son, Frankie. But what should be an idyllic afternoon between mother and son turns into the worst of nightmares, as Frankie is spirited away under his mother’s nose and she’s helpless to stop it.

The film is non-stop action.  The moment Frankie is stuffed into that car, Halle Berry goes full tiger mom mode.  Without stopping to call the police, she makes an attempt at stopping the kidnapping right away and chases the villain’s car in her minivan.  This begins a cat-and-mouse game, which keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire movie.

The story is told from Halle’s point of view and that’s all the insight we need.  In such an impossible situation, she knows the police will move too slowly and that it’s up to her to save her son.  She digs deep down and finds the strength to chase her son and his kidnappers all the way into the Louisiana countryside.

Halle carries most of the movie, both in talking to herself and screaming in frustration at the kidnappers.  As a mother, I felt her pain every step of the way.  Not many people want to see a child in danger or hurt, and it was harrowing to see Halle’s near misses at getting Frankie back.  Though the villain remains unseen for most of the movie, just the fact they’ve kidnapped a kid launches them into full-on villain status.  There are no gray areas in this movie, and Halle is justified in the things she does.

It’s also refreshing to see a woman of color in a lead role in a thriller.  Instead of playing the “girlfriend” or the “woman who sits home and frets”, she takes an active role in reclaiming her child.  Digging deep for the reserves of power and ingenuity within her, there’s nothing she won’t do to get him back.  I simply love how she goes all out in pursuit.  No minivan ever has seen such action!!

For steady movie goers – you won’t see anything new in this movie.  However, Halle puts a fresh spin on the “child in peril” movie and seriously owns some of the scenes in it.  Is it a great movie?  Not at all, but it is entertaining, and isn’t that what we go to the movies for?

All in all an effective thriller with great car chases and a heroine you can root for.

A

 

 

 

 

SPOILER FOR THOSE SENSITIVE TO CHILDREN IN PERIL

 

 

 

 

 

No children were hurt or harmed in the film.  There are some scary situations, yes, but no children were harmed.

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Jul 18

Horror Movie Review – Hell House, LLC

Title:   Hell House, LLC (2015)

Synopsis:
Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened. (from imdb.com)

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Opinion

Well, well, well. The found footage genre isn’t completely dead.

If you’re a friend of mine on social media, you should well know I’ve never met a found footage film I didn’t like. Well, scrap that, because I realized, yes, I’ve met a few I didn’t care for at all. However, I am fascinated by the whole genre of found footage horror films and never pass up a chance to screen them….if I can take it. Some I won’t see because the gross factor is too high. But that’s blog post for another day.

Hell House, LLC is a little gem I found hiding on Amazon Video. Sidenote- I got the prime membership just for the shipping, but the Video area is kind of like your favorite Palmer Video. I’ve been finding quite a few cool films included with my Prime membership. Back to the movie.

The premise is quite simple: A group of friends put on haunted houses each Halloween season in New York City. This season, they decide to rent an old hotel. The Abbadon hotel in Abbadon, New York. Now, I’m pretty genre savvy, so I knew that Abbadon meant something or other, but was too lazy to reach for my phone to look it up. No matter, because I simply like watching the story unfold before my eyes. Why do research when surely the filmmakers will do it for me?

As a found footage film, this is one of the better ones. There’s not a ton of shaky cam or people yelling profanity at the camera, which is good. The movie opens telling us of an incident that happened five years prior, where people were killed/injured at the opening of the haunted house. It then circles back to before the incident, where the haunted house was being set up.

I must say, this film offered me quite a few scares from places I didn’t expect and had me covering my eyes at one point. It’s fun and it holds together, pretty much, plot wise. There is very little blood/gore – it’s not a slasher film, but I tell you, it’s creepy enough that I remember some of the scenes from it a few weeks later.

Recommended – have fun!

Rating – B

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Apr 03

Horror Movies-Original vs. Remakes – Battle One

So, you call yourself a horror movie fan?  Well, even as a middle of the road fan, meaning I won’t watch them at night, and if something is too gory or too much, I will turn it off to preserve my sanity.  Given that, I’ve seen a lot of scary movies, but even I was surprised to find out some were remakes. Let’s take a look, beyond the obvious.

 

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Yep, this sister vs sister thriller/horror was remade in 1991 starring real life sisters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave.  John Glover plays the part, I think, that Victor Buono played in the original.  I’ve seen it, I’ve noted it, I’ve blanked it out.  Nuff said.  Here’s the trailer.

 

The Crazies

Timothy Olyphant, who I will always forever see as sexy salesman Danny Cordray on The Office, and Radha Mitchell do a great job in this remake of the 1973 classic.  I don’t mind telling you, the trailer scared me.  The image of people enjoying a nice day at a baseball game as a huge, zombie-like dude marches across the field carrying a bloody weapon….that’s horror, where the ordinary go so wrong, so fast.  I haven’t seen the original, so I’m not sure how it measures up, but I can say it sure scared me.

Last House on the Left

As an exercise in 70s horror, I watched this.  It was an awful experience because the movie was so good at being awful.  The feeling of dread, of hopelessness and fear exudes from the screen after the two fun-loving girls meet up with that terrible crew.  Once seen, it is not an experience I’d want to repeat, because the movie did so well at making its audience feel terrible.  I won’t watch the remake.

The Fly

David Cronenberg is a body horror master.  In The Fly, he lets it all hang out.  Ugh.  I’ve seen both, but the remake is more stomach turning, and probably realistic than the original.  Both movies, however, do have good points.

The Blob

Yes, Steve McQueen was dreamy as a 40 year old high school student, but let’s be real.  The original Blob depended more on suspense than gross out scenes.  In the remake, it was a disgusting thrill to see the dude sucked down the drain by the blob.  The telephone booth scene was also a good scare.  Again, with what they had to work with, the original Blob was pretty good, but the remake’s special effects made a scary story much better.\

 

 

So what’s your vote?

 

 

 

 

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Mar 30

Horror Movie Review -The Collingswood Story

Title

The Collingsworth Story (2002)

Synopsis

A young girl staying in touch with her boyfriend via a webcam discovers an unimaginable horror linked to the house she just moved into.

Genre

Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Opinion

I’d started watching this movie some time ago.  Something happened where I couldn’t finish it, and I never got back to it because I couldn’t remember the name of the movie! Luckily, or unluckliy for my time and temper, I rediscovered the movie while researching found footage movies.  As you know, I’m a sucker for found footage, no matter how terrible, so I suppose in watching this movie, I got what I deserved.

The movie begins with some newspaper clippings and vague old-time pictures you know are going to come into play later.  Yeah, yeah, let’s get to the movie.  Stop with all the history you’re just going to repeat over and over throughout the movie.

The premise is a woman moves to New Jersey for college, leaving her boyfriend behind in Virginia.  Because they are so very attached to one another, they use a webcam and video chat to keep in touch.   

First of all, the Windows 95 interface and the silly looking software for the videochat kind of hooked me right away.  Being a tech oriented person, I was really wondering how they were able to connect via video chat using a telephone landline.  It looked like Prodigy or CompuServe interface.  But my tech meanderings aren’t really important right now.  Let’s get on to the movie.

Dude, really?  He wore a backwards baseball cap so well, I should count it as the actor in the movie.  Every single time he was on screen, dude was sporting that backwards hat.  To be fair, the movie was made in 2002, so the style was HAWT back then.  Other than that, he looked like a real desperate grease monkey trying to hold on to his lady friend.

On the other hand, the female lead was quite striking and charismatic.  Now, I usually don’t go on and on about the leads, but when there is nothing but chit-chat going on, you have nothing to do but focus on the two actors involved.  I enjoyed watching her performance.

The mystery itself was pretty intriguing, and we get some glimpses of early 2000 webcam folk, but I must say, the entire movie fell flat at the end.  With all the web research, the spooky buildup and a scary psychic, the ending was a little bit of….what just happened.  Hey, maybe it’s me and I didn’t get the deeper meaning of the movie or I missed something when I looked away from the screen.  Bottom line is, The Collingswood Story held my attention, then dropped it like a lead balloon.

Not Recommended, unless you are interested in early 2000 computer technology.

Rating:

D

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Mar 17

My Top 3 Favorite Versions of Danny Boy

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

In celebration of the day, I’d like to take a moment to wish you all the luck of the Irish and I tip my cap to you.

 

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

 

There’s nothing I like more in classical/traditional music than a lovely Irish tenor.  Tenors in general are the neglected vocal part. It tears me apart when the altos are recruited to sing tenor.  The timbre can be so very different.

Well, before I have a flashback and lapse into musically technical terms, let me give you what you came here for.

 

Danny Boy:  Placido Domingo & Itzhak Perlman

Domingo has a pleasant timbre and his phrasing.  I feel that this version is a little rushed, as Danny Boy, to me was a song of mourning.  Domingo takes it a little too quickly and his phrasing is a little bumpy. However, he does make up for it by hitting “here” in “It’s I’ll be here”, without resorting to falsetto.  Not my super favorite, but doable.

 

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Danny Boy:  Mario Lanza

While not an “Irish Tenor”, Lanza was known as the “greatest tenor in the world” long after his death in 1959.  Many of his songs carry a tinge of an Italian accent, however his pitch and timbre, especially on such a sad song, give me the goosebumps.  Certainly, his version is a little rushed also, however, the singing is well worth it.  He also sings full voice on “It’s I’ll be here….” and  “For you will bend…..”  The strings give the arrangement an extra poignancy.

 

Danny Boy: Finbar Wright

Perfect pace.  Perfect breath control.  The timbre is hair-raising (in a wonderful way). Get out your handkerchiefs, folks, this is the tear-jerker Danny Boy was meant to be.  One. Tiny. Thing.  Wright resorts to falsetto on “It’s I’ll be here.…” and  “For you will bend…..”  Yes, it’s a beautifully sweet falsetto, however, I wonder how it would have been had he full-voiced the note.  However, the rest of the performance is flawless.

Honorable mention – Danny Boy – John McDermott

I leave you with this

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

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