Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Gotham and ghosts

One of the good things of working on a podcast like Paura & Delirio is, it gives me a good excuse to dig deep into movies to try and find something intelligent to say when we record our episodes, and as a consequence, leads me to discover more movies, stuff I missed the first time around.

For instance – we are planning a special episode (it’s all hush-hush, so no details, sorry), about a movie I know almost by heart, but while looking it up in search of ideas, I followed the thread of one of the screenwriters, and came to a 1988 movie I missed – a TV thing called Gotham, featuring Tommy Lee Jones and Virginia Madsen.
A supernatural noir – why not?

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Let’s hope it fails, ’cause we’re True Fans

Of all the movies that have been announced or launched recently, the only one in which I believe I have a proper emotional investment is Dune. I am not a Dune cultist, I have not read all of the books in the series, and I can’t draw you the molecule of the drug Melange like some people I know can, but I always liked Herbert’s novel, and I believe it’s one of the best in the genre.
I did not care much for the Lynch film, I thought the TV series was OK, and I really hope the new movie is as good as promised.

I am also a little worried about what the movie will cause – I’ve seen it happen with other properties. I’ve seen the knuckleheads that started cheering for the “mindless violence, vulgarity and raw sex” in Robert E. Howard after watching Milius’ Conan. I’ve been fending back the dread hordes of the Tolkienoids eager to explain to me a book I had read when they were still in kindergarten. They go hand-in-hand with the guys that will spend half an hour on Youtube to explain Cthulhu and the Lovecraft Mythos to me.

New converts are always insufferable.
No really – look at Sain Paul.
Just sayin’.

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Silverado (1985)

My late father loved westerns and war movies. He’d re-watch Shane (Alan Ladd was his favorite actor) or From Here to Eternity whenever he had the opportunity, often providing a running commentary for the annoyance of anyone sitting there with him.
You know, the classic “Oh, and now watch what’s coming up…”

Growing old, I find there’s movies I re-watch in the same almost-compulsive way – but mine tend to be adventure movies (Romancing the Stone), spy thrillers (IPCRESS), comedies (Animal House), fantasies (Dragonslayer, or Ladyhawke)… but there is one western I’ll always re-watch with great pleasure. It’s not one of my dad’s faves, but it’s a western that hit the theatres when I was 18. It’s called Silverado, and I re-watched it last night.

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Hamlet, James Bond and Rick Blaine

A new book in my ever-growing collection of volumes about writing, Hamlet’s Hit Points is somewhat different, because it is a book at least nominally aimed at game masters willing to improve the structure of their roleplaying scenarios, upping their game. But in laying down the foundations of a system to structurally map stories, Robin D. Laws manages to create a tool that works for games, for fiction and for movies/screenplays.

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Folk horror: Eye of the Devil (1966)

Sharon Tate was so beautiful it hurts.
Which is stating the obvious, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Her fame rests on her beauty, on a handful of movies and on her tragic death at the hands of Charles Manson’s cultists.

Tate’s screen debut was slated to be Eye of the Devil, a small black and white occult/folk horror with a stellar cast: Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Donald Pleasence, David Hemmings. The lead female role should have been covered by Kim Novak, but the actress had a riding accident early on in the filming, and was replaced. Or maybe she was replaced because she fought with director J. Lee Thompson, and/or because she had had an on-set affair with Hemmings.

It was, all things considered, a very troubled production: change of leading lady, three directors stepping in and then out, at least a major rewrite of the script, a change of title (the movie was originally to be called 13) then the movie shelved for over one year.

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Egyptomania goes to the movies, a review

Last year I was paid 50 bucks by an Italian magazine to review books not available on the Italian market and related to the Horror genre1. I did it, and the reviews were so successful that my 50 bucks gig was not renewed for the second year – it was not worth the investment.

Now, my contract having been dead for over six months, I thought I’ll reprise here some of those reviews, expanding and revising the text.
Screenshot from 2018-08-22 13-13-12If you like them, you might consider buying me a coffee or supporting me on Patreon. Unless you did already, in which case, thank you.
Should there be any interest, I will go on with new reviews using the same format.
Let me know what you think in the comments, please.

For starters, here’s a bit about a very interesting non fiction book, called Egyptomania goes to the Movies . Continue reading


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Wasting time at the bottom of the sea: Deepstar Six

movieposterBetween 1989 and 1990 a number of movies were released that had to do with people underwater facing monsters.
The most popular was of course Jim Cameron’s The Abyss, a big-budget production with state of the art special effects. George P. Cosmatos’ lower budget flick, Leviathan featured a good cast but made a smaller splash (ah!)
The others disappeared – but can still be found, and for a while were on rotation on local TV networks.
So two nights ago I went and checked out (again) Deepstar Six, a movie I had completely forgotten.
I am writing this now because I feel the plot might vanish from my memory again soon. Continue reading