An exhausting week. Sometimes in a good way–a decent amount of work and writing done, children’s art and messiness–and sometimes bad–just sort of, well, exhausting.
David Foster Wallace said that the production company’s edits on Lynch’s Dune meant that some of the film became “literally incomprehensible.” As I mentioned last week, I quite like it anyway, and I quite like Evil Brain from Outer Space (1964) though it offers an even more absurd level of incomprehensibility. Likely, part of the problem is that it is three Japanese films from the ’50s spliced into one American Z-grade sci-fi flick in the ’60s.
It’s everything I love about these kinds of films: melting alien brains, kung-fu aliens, superhero aliens (Starman–like a Superman with little moth wings and one antenna), dada robot aliens, Batman-aliens (or just miscreants dressed like Batman–I can’t remember), and an alien that looks like an emaciated Devine in an unbraided Elsa wig. It’s a mess. But I’d watch it again.
Speaking of Devine, John Waters recommended Eileen, by Ottessa Moshfegh, to David Sedaris, who recommended it to those of us in his reading audiences on his tour before the big diary compilation came out. Moshfegh’s writing is as crisp and raw as Eileen’s winter hands and is a true morbid joy. I love the voice captured in this book, but if you’re someone who wants to be friends with your narrator (and not hear about how her fingers smell or her challenges with bowel movements), this book’s likely not for you.
I’m looking forward to reading more of Moshfegh’s work.
I’m continuing with the horror book club I mentioned a few weeks ago. Afterage by Yvonne Navarro is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel and is way better than that probably sounds. A lazy critique could call it Salem’s Lot meets The Stand.
It’s one helluva first novel. There’s a lot of control, especially since she chooses to follow multiple characters like As I Lay Dying. Many contemporary YA novels I’ve read that attempt this usually aren’t very successful. Same with horror, though. Are these characters approaching anything like Moshfegh’s Eileen? No, but that’s also not what this book is trying to do. I Am Legend (the book) does something like that fantastically.
What’s surprising about Afterage, published in 1993, is how many recently popular tropes may have started here: there’s a badass with a crossbow (Walking Dead), human farm (Daybreakers (2009)), Stake Land (2010) comes to mind, there’s a wintery thing with light like 30 Days of Night at one point, and, I don’t know, probably others I missed.
Besides listening to a bunch of stuff for my music blog at The Drunken Odyssey, I’ve also been listening to several Entombed records, Johannes Ockeghem’s choral music, and the Shirelles, who are so great I don’t even know what else to say about them.
I’ve also come around to Danzig III, which I had never heard in its entirety. It may have his best vocal performances. It seems peak recording quality anyway.
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