As a former theater kid, I have a lifelong love of the theater and a sense of ongoing sadness that most theater is inaccessible to most people. I mean, yeah, there are often cheap student tickets available (but, of course, 50% of people in the USA don’t attend 4-year colleges), and if you jump on something quickly, you can sometimes find a ticket for 30 or 40 bucks, but for most professional performances in the Boston area, anyway, you’re looking at between 75 and 150 bucks per ticket.
So I’m always interested in efforts to make theater more accessible. I recently saw The Interrobangers, by M. Sloth Levine at the Boston Public Library. Tickets were pay-what-you-want, and, as a result of this (as well as the subject matter, probably), the crowd skewed much younger than a typical theater performance.
Maps! Secret rooms! Forbidden knowledge! Libraries! This book checked a lot of boxes for me, and it’s definitely a fun, engaging read. Most of the big reveals were telegraphed pretty early on, so I can’t say anything that happened was terribly surprising, but still, I enjoyed the ride.
But of course I have some quibbles. Read on only if you’ve read the book—there are major spoilers ahead.
I had a three-hour solo drive to do, so I went to the ol’ Libby app to grab an audio book. Ah, here’s Bob Dylan’s The Philosophy of Modern Song! With narration by a passel of respected celebrities!
I’m not a Dylan cultist, but I do know he’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of (American, at least) popular music, and he has written some great songs, so I thought it would be entertaining to hear a well-informed master of the craft give some insights into various songs.
Everybody else in my house is sick, which means horror movies on the big TV for me! This week’s selections go from the sublime to the ridiculous, and if you think you can tell which is which just by the title, you’re absolutely right!
The Netflix show, not the anti-reproductive-freedom Sex Pistols song. (How did John Lydon end up a fascist? Real head-scratcher!)
Anyway, Bodies actually concerns one body that is found in four different time periods and investigated by four different detectives. The performances are top notch, the script is smart and convoluted and features a number of those WTF twists we expect in a time-travel show. (Yes, Futurama fans, a character in this show does in fact do the nasty in the pasty and thereby become their own ancestor, just like Fred Ward in Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann).
But what I’d really like to talk about is the moral courage this show displays. This is gonna involve some spoilers, so…
Oh, wow, this is a gloriously awful movie. Christopher Atkins (star of The Blue Lagoon, A Night in Heaven, and The Pirate Movie) and Michelle Johnson (of the execrable Blame it on Rio as well as Waxwork and Death Becomes Her) star as a TV reporter and her cameraman who investigate a series of bird attacks.
So I read Schrader’s Chord by Scott Leeds over the weekend. It’s a horror novel about cursed records that open a portal to the land of the dead. I’m a music nerd with a soft spot for stories about forbidden texts (or, in this case, records) filled with dangerous arcane knowledge. So this should be right up my alley.
Decided to check out Messiah of Evil on Shudder, even though it was made by Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, the duo who brought you the most racist Indiana Jones movie (no, not that one—Temple of Doom) and the execrable Howard the Duck movie that I, as a huge fan of Steve Gerber and the original HTD comics, am still angry about 37 years later. (Oh yeah, they were also involved in Best Defense, a horrible movie with Dudley Moore and “strategic guest star” Eddie Murphy in a glorified cameo. Saw it with my mom, and I’m pretty sure we’re the only people ever to see that movie.)
Anyway, the blurb called this a “forgotten classic” or something, and while that may be stretching it a little, it’s definitely worth watching despite its flaws. So let me start with the flaws. It just doesn’t really hang together as a story, and we never really get to know the protagonist (played by Marianna Hill) that well and anyway Michael Greer as Thom steals every scene he’s in. ( Apparently he did a couple of gay porn movies and basically ruined his non-porn acting career, which is a shame because he’s got a great screen presence, and the question of whether and how much we should trust him is the most engaging through line in the movie.)
The setting seems very creepy because we only see brightly-lit, mostly-deserted spaces at night. The island of fluorescent light in a sea of darkness turns out to be a creepy rather than reassuring image here.
And there are two sequences that are among the best I’ve seen in a horror movie. I’m not going to go into detail, but the supermarket scene and the movie theater scene are both absolutely top-notch. The movie theater especially is a masterpiece of slow burning dread.
The movie is surprisingly squeamish about gore for a movie about cannibals, but those two scenes alone make it worth your ninety minutes.