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The Week That Was, or You got some Duncan Idaho on my Gurney Halleck.

The week began with some semi-restful snow days. I don’t believe anyone in our home was permanently damaged, though a few tears were shed and more than a few markers bled.

The almost-four-year-old sang while we were discussing dinner plans. Her song began, “Tiki masala / I need a dolla.” Not bad.

I wrote about the new Sparks record for The Drunken Odyssey. I also wrote about one of my favorite movies, The Brood, for the new semester of Test Prep, part of The Terror Test podcast.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 7.09.17 PM

Frank Herbert’s Dune has been on my to-read list for over twenty years. I liked, and still like, the David Lynch movie, which introduced me to Herbert’s mythology.

The book was a blast. Not only is it a satisfying sci-fi/fantasy adventure story,  but it also delivers beyond action. I particularly enjoyed the use of multiple texts contributing to the story as history, the Machiavellian political machinations, and the variations on religious teachings. If you’ve even contemplated reading it before, I recommend it.

I’ve heard the first three books in the series are worth reading. I’m going to consider that, but I find I am often as bad about completing a book series as I am about finishing a TV show.



I’ve only just seen Margarethe von Trotta’s fantastic work. While she has her own style and subject matter, there are shades of Kieslowski, Bergman, and Tarkovsky. She’s associated with the New German Cinema movement, which includes work by Wenders, Herzog, and Fassbinder.

She’s as good as anyone on that list.

Sisters, or The Balance of Happiness (1979) and Sheer Madness (1983) are the two most recent films I’ve seen by her. Both films focus on difficult interpersonal relationships, societal expectations, and suicide.

Last year I watched her first feature, The Second Awakening of Christa Klages (1978), along with Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground (1982). They were both revelations. It’s argued whether or not Collins is the first or second African American woman to direct a feature. Unfortunately, the film only played a few festivals, Collins died of cancer soon after the film debuted, and she left a great deal of work unfinished. A biography was recently published about her and it’s on my reading list for this year.

I watched Losing Ground because I saw Duane Jones in the cast list. Jones is the lead in the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) and the main reason that movie, I think, stands out as not just a good horror movie, but a great film. Notoriously, he seemed embarrassed by it and did very few movies after that, but was well-known and respected on stage and as an educator. He died at 51 in 1988, the same year as Collins. I wish I could have seen him on stage. NOTLD and his performance have meant so much to me over the years that I choked up a little seeing him on screen in a different role. Some of that may have been Romero’s recent death as well.

I’ve seen a few episodes of Tales from the Darkside: Season Two and I’m excited that Monsters has now made it to Amazon Prime. I love these mostly dreadful (and not in the expected sense of the macabre) horror anthologies.


Categories: Art Inspiration Listening Movies Music Podcast Poetry Reading Writing

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Stephen McClurg

I like red peppers and Jan Švankmajer movies.

1. Current Listening: Lots of soul from Muscle Shoals

2. Current Viewing: A Hard Day's Night (1964).

3. Current Reading: H.G. Wells: In the Days of the Comet

2 replies

    1. Ha! Oh boy…Well, I’ll give it a shot. That first book felt near flawless. And there’s obviously so many places to go considering the amount of –it’s not even world-building–but, hell, universe building. You sold me on the Brad Warner book and you weren’t wrong there either.

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