Princeton and Chappaqua Book Festivals, The Magnificent Seven and at-home horror film viewings on Monday Morning Diary (September 26)
September 25, 2016 by wondersinthedark
With our very dear friend John Grant (realthog) at the Princton Book Festival on Saturday
by Sam Juliano
What a fabulous surprise was in store for Lucille, Danny and I went we walked down the rows between tables at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival on Saturday. Lucille actually noticed that our venerated comrade John Grant (realthog) was posted behind one of the tables with his lovely wife Pam, promoting his new book Eureka, which we secured a copy of. Grant, the ever prolific writer and blogger was quite the welcome site during the one hour or so we spent there before reversing direction for the two hour right north to Chappaqua, New York -the hometown of Bill and Hillary Clinton – for another children’s book festival of annual renown.
The science-fiction countdown is down to its final quarter, and it continues to offer up one superlative essay after another in what has become a sterling display of cinematic scholarship. Thanks to all who have supported it by way of comments and page views. It has been quite a ride, one sadly accompanied by our unconcionable tragedy.
Lucille and I saw one film in the theaters – the western remake of The Magnificent Seven. With the season of horror upon us I also caught several genre films at home, with one a just-released blu ray of a cheesy sci-fi-horror flick from the 50’s that worked quite well after so many years.
The Magnificent Seven *** 1/2 (Saturday night) Secaucus
The re-make of this much beloved western classic isn’t anything special, but still a most entertaining two hours plus movie.
The Monster of the Piedras Blancas (1959) **** Saw it twice and laughed my ass off both times -or as much as I could really in view of my exceedingly depressed mind these days for obvious reasons- a real cheesy oft hysterical drive-in theater monster flick with some over the top dialogue and surprisingly excellent photography, shown gloriously on this Olive blu ray. The shopkeeper Kochek was played by an actor named John Ardvison, and he has to be one of the all-time greatest hoots with his fake accent and bizarre inflections. Worth watching just for the scene where he berates John Harmon who is qually entertaining as the introverted lighthouse keeper. Sucha gorgeous print, and a camp film extraordinaire! Of course the monster itself borrows heavile from Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The Haunted Strangler (1958) *** Karloff in Jekyll & Hyde mode. Some great moments but overall a rather unsatisfactory film. Narratively convoluted with a rather preposterous central idea. Karloff does his best though, I must say. And he is quite creepy
Corridors of Blood (1958) *** 1/2 Karloff is a doctor who is on the verge of discovering anesthesia, but he becomes an addict. Decent historical drama, not great remotely but better than The Haunted Strangler.
Cat People (1941) ***** The Criterion blu is quite nice, though I was even expecting something more pristine than what we got. Of course always a joy to watch this low budget psychological horror masterpiece again for all sorts of reasons.