Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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If this is Thursday, this must be Peking… no, wait, maybe Shanghai…

As I am planning a special podcast episode for my Patrons to celebrate both my birthday and the Feast of Long Shadows, that is, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee’s birthdays, I am re-watching for the umpteenth time the 1972 classic “faux Hammer” movie, Horror Express.

A movie I love, and I have watched thousands of times – one about which I believe I know everything.
And yet, five minutes in, the screen announces…

Peking, Russian Concession

… and my brain does a double flip, and I go…

Hold it. There was no Russian Concession in Peking in 1906. Must be Tientsin, or maybe Shanghai. You guys are playing fast and loose, here…

And then of course I kick myself for a pedantic idiot, because I’m here to enjoy the movie, not to edit it, at least until, exactly one minute later…

Peter Cushing: “Ah, professor Sexton! What brings you to Shanghai?”

There, you unknown Spanish title-writer! I was right! And Peter Cushing knows!
And that’s a little sad about me, right?
But only a little.

Onwards we go – the podcast is going to be a smash.


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A special (or two) for my birthday

My birthday is coming up in ten days, and I’ve decided I’ll do something special for my Patrons – because they are my special fans, and I felt like giving them something different.
Why not use my 53rd birthday as an excuse?

In the last few weeks I have started a podcast, in Italian, together with my friend Lucy – basically we sit in front of a microphone and talk about our favorite horror/fantasy/thriller movies. We started with pandemic, post-apocalypse British flick Doomsday, from 2008, and continued with the classic 1972 BBC production of Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape. We’re having a lot of fun, and when I asked her, my partner-in-crime accepted to do a special episode of our ‘cast, exclusively for my Patrons.

And why not let them choose the movie?, I said.

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Killer fossils on a train

Some movies remain with us for a long time.
I caught the trailer for Horror Express in 1972, and later saw the movie in some seaside drive-in.
I was around 12 or thereabouts.
Horror Express.
Featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Telly Savalas.
A Spanish movie set on the Trans-Siberian.

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And yet, here I am, thirtyfive years later, a paleontologist writing a blog about my obsession for the East and the Silk Road and pulp writing and all the rest, and all of a sudden I remember… Continue reading