Friday, December 28, 2012

GETTIN' OUR COONSKIN ON


This is Daniel Boone.
Supposedly he's my great, great, great, great, great
grandfather on my dad's side.
Anyway, it's what I've grown up believing.

James Fenimore Cooper was inspired by Boone, and Edgar Rice Burroughs was inspired by Cooper, so the father of Hawkeye is also the grandfather of Tarzan.

For all I know, he never wore a coonskin cap in his life.
That's all right. Around these parts, the frontier spirit's still going strong.






















































Monday, November 19, 2012

MORE CROWMAG










 












 CROWMAG are:

Gerry Maze - drums

Conor Ross - guitar

Jon Lindberg - bass

Stewart Kirby - vocals






We'll have songs for the downloading
and pics from gigs
in the near future!


















Sunday, November 11, 2012

PICTURES OF CROWMAG

CROWMAG







Stewart Kirby vocals



 Conor Ross guitar















         
  Gerry Maze drums





 Jon Lindberg bass














More CrowMag to come....





Email me at:


Monday, October 22, 2012

BEST OF HORROR MOVIES: THE 31 CHOICEST CUTS



1. Frankenstein (1931) – It’s nothing like Mary Shelley’s novel, but director James Whale creates a visual marvel with Boris Karloff earning our sympathy as the monster. Bride of Frankenstein, the sequel to which Whale reluctantly acceded, in some ways exceeds, but the first one is the purer.

2. Dracula (1931) – No, it’s not scary, and not a bit like the book, either. But the coach rattling on up to the castle, the creak of the door, and Bela Lugosi bidding welcome are essential to the season.

3. Nosferatu (1922) – Director FW Murnau’s silent German classic re-works Bram Stoker’s novel because he couldn’t get the rights to Dracula, and makes the vampire a rat-like plague-guy. Excellently re-made in 1979 by Werner Herzog with Klaus Kinski as the abhorrence.

4. Shadow of the Vampire (2000) – Not really a solo monster film, per se, but deserves special mention as the movie that imagines what if FW Murnau got an actual vampire to play the role.

5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Francis Ford Coppola’s vampire vision is the richest feast. Opulent, surreal images with incredible music composed by Wojciech Kilar keep this classic on the Halloween must-watch short list.

6. Mad Love (1935) – Peter Lorre as a monstrously mad doctor amazes. Has Colin Clive as a pianist who loses his hands in an accident and gets a murderer’s hands grafted on by Dr. Lorre.

7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) – Fredric March won an Oscar for his double role as the ultimate mad doctor. His transformation into the leering, sneering, animal-like Hyde still holds up due to an ingenious use of camera lens filters.

8. Psycho (1960) – A Jekyll-and-Hyde with no mad doctor. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates evokes our sympathy in the manner of the Frankenstein monster, and a simultaneous repugnance worthy of Nosferatu. Hitchcock’s classic has it all.

9. An American Werewolf in London (1981) – The special effects that made this movie fresh are dated now, but not prohibitively.

10. The Haunting (1963) – Shirley Jackson’s haunted house story is to horror what The Sound of Music is to musicals because Robert Wise directed them both.

11. The Shining (1980) – Stephen King famously dislikes it, but the Stanley Kubrick film is the best haunted house movie ever.

12. Invaders from Mars (1953) – Early in the Cold War, movie sci-fi saw the value of…foreign invasion! Kid has hard time getting grownups to believe he saw an alien spaceship crash land in the back yard.

13. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Works the same Cold War issue of infiltration in a smarter way because it doesn’t push anti-Commie propaganda, but rather reflects on the witch-hunt dynamic.

14. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – George Romero’s low-budget classic sets the bar for zombie stories and slowly, but inexorably, tackles prejudice.

15. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – The greatest host-woman for Devil-boy gestation story ever told.

16. The Wicker Man (1973) – In his best horror movie, Christopher Lee worked for free. Search for a missing girl on a remote island village. Avoid re-make.

17. American Gothic (1988) – A group of stranded travelers finds a freaky family, led by Rod Steiger, that practices some of that old-time religion.

18. John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) – More than the special effects, Ennio Morricone’s stark, ominous music makes this sci-fi re-make work. Antarctic researchers wake up ancient alien. A masterpiece of mood.

19. Silver Bullet (1985) – This werewolf story from Stephen King works in the context of the monster as group works a hair better than The Howling.

20. Sleepy Hollow (1999) – Tim Burton’s vision of Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman legend removes all doubt of the specter’s existence, and incorporates the crimes of the town’s elite into the bargain. Drips with Gothicism and features Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane.

21. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Bad guys George Clooney and Quintin Tarantino take hostages down to Mexico, but wind up at the wrong bar. Raunchy dialogue and over-the-top violence.

22. The Ninth Gate (1999) – Roman Polanski directs Johnny Depp in a hunt for a book reputed to be written by the Devil.
 
23. The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) – This early Polanski film uniquely blends ‘60s camp with stylized vampire fun. Features the director as a mousy helper to a professorial stalker of the undead.

24. Young Frankenstein (1974) – Gene Wilder co-writing and starring in this horror movie send-up makes this the ultimate Mel Brooks movie.

25. Creepshow (1982) – George Romero and Stephen King’s love letter to the horror magazines of the ‘50s.

26. Re-Animator (1985) – Based on a story by HP Lovecraft and with music from Psycho. Features underrated actor Jeffrey Coombs as a med student with a serum that can re-animate the dead, kind of.

27. Army of Darkness (1992) – Hilarious tale of a store clerk (Bruce Campbell, another great underrated actor) who gets a weird book in a creepy cabin that zaps him to a Medieval, sorcery-packed past.

28. Dead Alive (1992) – Before directing The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson made a movie about a zombie-like condition spread by a Sumatran rat-monkey. 

29. Beetlejuice (1988) – Endlessly fun Tim Burton classic about a dead couple trying to rid their house of weird and scary yuppies.

30. Shaun of the Dead (2004) – Brilliant zombie movie parody. Hysterically funny.

31. Dark Shadows (2012) – Overshadowed by The Avengers when released, this film version of the daytime TV cult favorite is one of the best movies of 2012. Tim Burton outdoes himself in terms of pure visual style, and Johnny Depp is perfectly cast as vampire Barnabas Collins.



 Stewart Kirby writes for

   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BEST OF CREEPY READING GUIDE



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ETA Hoffmann- The Golden Flower Pot, The Automata- The beloved holiday favorite of The Nutcracker comes from this twisted German dude who reviewed Beethoven's new stuff. Chiefly notable for cracking descriptive power and an imagination to which the advance of time has merely added mojo.

Mary Shelley- Frankenstein- Now her we've heard more about. Familiar as we are with the movie versions, once the creature starts bounding around the craggy mountain peaks and starts telling his side, things get really interesting.

Edgar A. Poe- The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart- Master of the short story. Poe works atmosphere and gets into the head of his narrator like nobody else.

RL Stevenson- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- We take it for granted as an image because it's so effective, but the split-personality story, and the mad doctor story, has never been outdone--in spite of spawning such great works as Altered States and The Silence of the Lambs.

Bram Stoker- Dracula- Still spot on. The dark inventiveness of the first main section from Harker's journal carries the rest of the story.

Shirley Jackson- The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle- The darkest and loneliest writer of all, with sentences as good as Steinbeck's best.

HP Lovecraft- The Colour Out of Space, The Whisperer in Darkness- He started out copying Poe and wound up becoming seminal in terms of unique style and the dark, consistent richness of his universe. Has aliens, tentacles.

Stephen King- The Shining, 'Salem's Lot- Bringing the modern world and all its pop culture brought his stories of death to life at the time they were written. These two novels don't just still hold up, the history they hold of '70s-ness has quite nicely gelled.

Stephen Gilbert- Willard- A top-quality story in every respect, and twist on the Pied Piper, about a guy living with his invalid mother, stuck in the rat-race at work, who finds he can control a whole lot of rats. For awhile.

Ira Levin- Rosemary's Baby- Could be the best Gothic book ever written. Host-woman for Devil-Boy's gestation. Just about interchangeable with the movie.

Washington Irving- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- Two schools of Gothic thought: On the one hand, there's Ann Radcliffe--Scooby-Doo follows the Radcliffe Gothic model, which says that there really aren't spooks, it was just the wind, basically. And then on the other hand we have Matthew Lewis--the last fifty pages of The Monk are especially sweet--in whose Gothic world the supernatural does exist, and can get you. I love The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but would prefer if Irving weren't so Radcliffe-like in his leanings.

Philip K Dick- Imposter- It's not typical October fare, but Imposter is an exciting and frightening great American short story about artificial life and identity.

William Goldman- Magic- The same guy who wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (the most successful Western movie ever) also wrote All the President's Men, and The Princess Bride, and this dark gem about a man and his ventriloquist dummy.

HG Wells- War of the Worlds, The Island of Dr. Moreau- Big on concept, Wells' strength is not in memorable characters so much as memorable situations, too often disturbingly prescient. Was Wells influenced by the mythological figures of artist Gustave Moreau? Take a Google and see what you think.

Craig Jones- What Happened to Rhodri, Outbreak- Master of the zombie story. Huge on humor, Jones works elements of Poe, Wells, and George Romero in ways that make tales of rotting bodies fresh.

Sheridan LeFanu- Carmilla- Gives Dracula a run for the money as best vampire story--and precedes it, written by a fellow Dubliner.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A TASTE OF REDWOOD


...They entered the forest from the south end of town, descending into the cool lush darkness of the redwoods via Maloc’s Pinto looking for and finding the good pullout that they wanted. Shouldering their backpacks they steamed up a hillside rife with emerald fern and green redwood twigs turned to the rust duff of decay, until they reached the trail that took them out of sight from locals and tourists alike driving in occasional cars on the winding road below.

Maloc led. Unseen strands of spider web encountered on his arms and face assured him of the trail’s disuse. Multi-colored mushrooms of vivid orange and red and bright white mushroom ghosts dotted moss of neon green. The hollow tok, tok in the upper reaches of the trees and bold swoop of wings announced a raven or two...






...Crossing the vociferous creek I accidentally slipped all the way up to the cut on my leg. The way the body on my back shifted in the pack felt repulsive.

I saw a mushroom in the woods–fat, saucer-like, chalky, looking like a moldy white discus jammed in a tree. The fungus on the mossy bark reminded me of my own burden. Envisioning myself back in the cave, holding the alien in my arms, I was struck with the image of an alien pieta. Hosts of images assailed my mind. It was as though a mask had been removed from the world. In the most distinct and profound manner imaginable I felt a sense of the perennial presence of magic...







...Some point soon after I tripped on a banana slug scrunched up to the size of a foot stool. It left a wet smear on my pants leg with a beefy audible slap. The dirty yellow body, dotted with black over-ripe spots, moistly oozed as it stretched across the trail in the span of several seconds, four obscene and canny horn-like feelers bobbing on the end of the bulging hood as it lurched into the primordial fern with skin dimpled like an elephant’s...













 
...Hopping over some brush not far from The Burl Barn, I saw on the road roll into town a masked man clad in motley, cap and bells. There were harlequins and mimes, Shields and Yarnell. Sonny and Cher ponderously pedaled the Yellow Submarine Sandwich. The Captain and Tennile worked the Hieronymous Bosch and Loam eight-wheel Pullman car with mustered diligence, looking like fish with legs on a green shag carpet as they labored up the steep hill into Madrani.
             
Aboard the Danish Inquisition, the Grim Reaper Ballerina conveyed a contraption consisting of various torture devices and glazed rolls. A UFO on wheels rolled by with a hatch at the top propped up. The driver pedaling away inside wearing a Richard Nixon mask hunched up his shoulders and flashed sudden peace signs.
             
It was Local-Motion Days’ Promenade of the Odd. Up the street past Just Desserts was the road to Mrs. Hutle’s. That was where I had to go. She was the only one who could help me. Everything’s riding on her. I’ve been at her place about an hour now, writing...