Which Dark Tome?

DISCLAIMER: These aren’t really dark tomes, but that’s a popular horror cliche trope, after all.

I’m not absolutely certain, but I think this semester will mark my fourth time to teach the Horror Film course (officially called COM105.9: Film Seminar – The Horror Film). While warnings abound about fixing something that isn’t broken, I believe every course can be improved, even without needing actual fixing.

My most immediate concern is the course text, i.e., the book from which I will assign readings for my students. I’ve always used Mark Jancovich (ed.)’s Horror, The Film Reader (the leftmost cover with Kurt Russell from The Thing on it), but I’m now wondering if I should change to Brigid Cherry’s Horror or Ken Gelder (ed.)’s The Horror Reader:

From left to right: Mark Jancovich, Brigid Cherry, Ken Gelder.

From left to right: Mark Jancovich, Brigid Cherry, Ken Gelder.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve read one of Waggish‘s blog entries before, but one of those I read this morning cracked me up. I wish I knew enough to take a crack at Choose Your Own Philosophical Adventure #1: Escape from the Dialectic.

ASIDE: I’m unsure why Waggish mentions Erica Weitzman there (it doesn’t seem like they’re the same person) but so far, I’m enjoying what I find online.

This includes poems and an essay about punk entitled “I Wanna Destroy: Towards an Aesthetic of Violence” (PDF). That and “No fun: aporias of pleasure in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory” seem to reveal what might be Weitzman’s pattern of writing essays with punk rock allusions in their titles.

Back to Waggish: other highlights include a brief discussion on “Freud on the Uncanny/Unheimlich” and a series of pieces entitled “Thoughts on Genre.” Three entries under the latter focuses on blogs and ties in with my own attempts to figure out what’s up with this blog:

Editions of You “fails” on most counts.

The Osterman Weekend

I’ve just finished watching The Osterman Weekend, and Jon Hastings’s write-up generally sums up my opinion of Sam Peckinpah‘s final film.

Having been exposed to so many condemntations of it as a bad film, my expectations were close to zero. It also helped that I watched the VHS Dude’s video review of the film; its snippets and spoilers afforded me a glimpse of scenes that didn’t work too well. I was, in this regard, able to “prepare” for those scenes.

In addition, silly melodramatic stylized action is something I’ve long since gotten used to since more than a decade ago, when I spent so much time in the world of John Woo’s so-called “heroic bloodshed” films.

Woo is undoubtedly influenced by Peckinpah, but what happened here is a reversal: instead of appreciating Woo as a Peckinpah disciple, I went back to Peckinpah from Woo. The even more outlandish plot elements of Woo’s films made me more forgiving of Peckinpah’s own excesses.

So I kept trying to imagine a recasting, but that was hard. I was having less trouble entertaining fantasies of a remake being John Woo’s back-to-the-heyday film project, one that will finally allow film critics to forgive him for his work after Face/Off.

Strangely, though I remember reading the Robert Ludlum novel more than once, I can’t dredge up even a single memory of it that could help me spot the differences between the film adaptation and its source material.

Up on “About”

I need to do something with my About page. I realized this the other day when I began drafting another page, in the middle of which I interrupted myself to ask:

“Why am I drawing up a list of items I’m trying to sell [more on those some other time] when I’ve provided nothing about myself to the people I’ve added to my blogroll?”

(All of them, save two, are strangers to me. And while I have a friendly relationship with those two exceptions, one is someone I only know online and the other was a teacher of mine. This explains my use of quotation marks in this entry’s title, and perhaps also why I have been unable to tell you who I am pace that familiar adage.)

Based on my blogroll, you might draw conclusions about aspirations I (may) have towards certain kinds of blogs.

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  1. I laughed hard at Lost Comics of the Golden Age, especially when I reached the fifth page.
  2. Among other fun stuff, Chad, Matt, and Rob‘s site contains interactive adventures you can play on…YouTube.
  3. Potato Moon is a collaborative novel you can read online. Just to give you an idea what it’s about, the main characters are Jakob Blaq, Edwood Sullen, and a woman named Bela.
  4. I had no idea Donald Barthelme wrote, much less won a prize for, a children’s book entitled…The Slightly Irregular Engine, or the Hithering Thithering Djinn!
  5. Bill Kte’pi considers his story “David Bowie’s Mars Triptych an example of “real-person fan fiction.” That makes sense.

    And while I have no idea what’s up with the novel he was talking about, I’m pretty sure there’s a similar story in In Dreams. Maybe not Bowie though, but some other larger-than-life rock icon with multiple personae. Elvis maybe? Not Dylan, at least not yet.

Ballard Across the Universe (NSFW)

The universe of different arts and media, that is. Some examples, all from Ballardian, some NSFW:

  1. “Crouching Pervert, Hidden Meisel” and “Fantasy Kits: Steven Meisel’s State of Emergency”
    (NSFW commercial photography)
  2. “The Ballardian Primer: Surveillance Cameras”
    (surveillance technology…and screensavers!)
  3. “Architectures of the Near Future: An Interview with Nic Clear”
    (architecture and multimedia exhibitions)
  4. “Cousin Silas: Another Flask of Ballard”
    (music as ambient soundscape)
  5. “The fusion of science and pornography”
    (totally NSFW x-ray artporn from Wim Delvoye)

“You are Hochhaus!: Ballard in Berlin”
tells you how to screen a radio play. Brilliant.

Apophenia 1: Harrison, Derrida, Lacan, Poe, Public Enemy

I’m a big fan of M. John Harrison‘s writing in general: not just his novels and stories but also his blog entries.

Lately, Harrison’s been posting lists of works in the related genres of fantasy and science fiction. It would be an understatement to refer to these lists as unorthodox; while most of the entries are books, some are films, computer games, and pop songs.

In a comment on one of Harrison’s follow-up lists, an artist named Edwin Rostron mentions something called The Codex Seraphinianus. Following the link Rostron left, I found myself thrilled by both the book itself and that essay about it. Additionally, I was also thrilled by the mention of a professor named Terry Harpold.

That was when things became apophenic.

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Opening Theme

Is this really “one of the most heart-poundingly violent musical assaults of the age”?

I’m inclined to agree. Go ahead and sing along to it, but do not, even for a moment, stop dancing.