Musings in the Dark: 2019


Fic Update Alert!

Chapter 19 of "Switchblade Romance" is ready for reading.  Happy Holidays, Dark Dilettantes!

Shantreyl knocked on the door of one of the Vermilion’s Presidential Suites, yawning and rubbing her lower back.  She was tired and left work as soon as her last class was done.  Earlier, she received a text from her mother informing her that they had arrived and Shantreyl was excited to see her parents.  She hadn’t been home in three years. 

A moment later, Shannon Troy opened the door and screamed when she saw her youngest daughter.  She held out her arms.  Shantreyl grabbed and held her mother tight, feeling warmth flow over and through her the way it always did when her mother hugged her.  Her eyes got misty because it had been a long time since the last maternal hug.  “I’m so glad to see you, Momma.  I’ve missed you so much.”


Fic Update Alert!!!

Chapter 18 of "Switchblade Romance" is ready for consumption.  Enjoy.  

Malcolm shrugged. “Shantreyl, would you be willing to sell this townhouse to my mother after we move if we stay in Siren Heights?”

Shantreyl looked at him, startled at the request.  “I guess so.  Will she like it?”

“I’m sure she will.  You have a nice place,” Kaphiri said.  “And there’s plenty of room in case she decides to let Pretty Ricky move in.”

“Fuck all that shit,” Malcolm said.  “He’s not moving into a goddamned thing.”

“They don’t live together?” Shantreyl asked.

“No.  Mama is old-fashioned; she doesn’t believe in shacking up.  Rick comes to visit, but he goes home at night.”

Kaphiri kept on.  “Betcha not every night.”

Malcolm glared at his friend.  “Asshole.”

Kaphiri smiled and finished off his drink.  “Get over it, Malcolm.  Pretty Ricky is fucking the shit out of your mama and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.  Rick’s laying that pipe.  That’s why Mama Marion is so happy all the time.  He’s doing what a man is supposed to do.”

Shantreyl giggled.  She couldn’t help it.  The thought of Pretty Ricky sexing the shit out of Malcolm’s mother was funny as hell; even more so because Malcolm didn’t like it.


Doctor Sleep

So I finally got to check out Doctor Sleep, which came out a few weeks ago.  I've already spoken of my love for the novel.  I didn't have high expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it.  The movie makes it a point to mesh the events of Kubrick's film with King's story.  It begins with a flashback in order to set up the situation grown up Danny--now called Dan--finds himself in.  

Mild Spoilers.


Fic Update Alert!

Chapter 17 of "Switchblade Romance" is ready for consumption.  Enjoy.

"Marion went silent, closing her eyes and pressing her hands together.

“Mrs. Sullivan?”  Shantreyl put a hand on her arm.  “Mrs. Sullivan?  Malcolm?”

“Give her a moment,” he said.  “I’ll be right back.”

Shantreyl nodded, but kept her eyes on his mother.  “Mrs. Sullivan?”

Marion opened her eyes—Malcolm’s eyes—and they were full of tears.  She put a hand over her heart and gave Shantreyl the biggest smile her face was capable of."


Gemini Man

I love assassin movies.  There's something about assassins that appeals to me.  Maybe it's the skill set required to take a motherfucker out and sleep like a baby for eight hours.  I don't know.  So when I heard that Big Willie Style was gonna be in an assassin flick, going head up with his younger self, I was all in.




A general search of "Joker" will reveal all kinds of analyses and think pieces about the latest DC flick.  Almost all of them praise the movie and go on and on about how it may very well be the best movie of 2019.

Mild spoilers ahead.


IT, Chapter 2

IT is my favorite book of all time. I read it every summer between the ages of 15 and 25 and took away something new each time. It’s not a book for a lightweight; you have to commit to IT (pun intended), which I did for three blistering days and nights in the summer of 1988.  I appreciated the effort the TV series made in the early 90s, but I wasn’t thrilled by it, with the exception of His Pimpness Tim Curry as Pennywise. So when I learned that TPTB were tackling IT for a new generation, I was skeptical but willing to give it a shot.


Fic Update Alert!

Chapter 16 of "Switchblade Romance" is ready.  Do enjoy.

“Your father filled in the blanks,” Kaphiri said.  “He was furious with the way your last relationship ended and how heartbroken you were.  He said, ‘If you are not 100% serious about being with my daughter, leave her alone now.  Right now.  If you don’t plan to keep my princess on a pedestal; if you can’t keep up after you’ve stepped up, end it.  If you hurt her, I will fly out there and invite you out to the nearest parking lot.  Do you understand me, young man?’”

“Daddy said that?”

“Word for word,” Malcolm said.  “And I believe him.  I don’t want him mad at me; I don’t want to be invited out to anybody’s parking lot.”

“Me either,” Kaphiri said.  “Pops looks like he’s good with his hands.”

Shantreyl smiled proudly.  “That’s my Daddy,” she said.

What's Next?

Well, October has officially passed and I'm sad about it.  The past four or five days have been extremely busy (changes and moves are being made; more on that later) and I did not get to write my final Halloween appreciation post.  I'm sorry about that.  I was debating whether to end with a TV show, novel or movie and ended up not doing any of them.  Sorry about that.

However, I am glad that my tribute to my favorite holiday got me blogging again on a regular basis and I'd like to try and keep up with that, even if only once a week.  I know I've said this before.  I think the issue for me is figuring out what to blog about.  My life in Indonesia is quite boring (which I don't mind), and there's nothing much to say about it.  The most fun thing I do is go to the movies and write stories.  

Last three movies I saw were IT Chapter 2, Joker & Gemini Man, in that order.  ITCh2 was a hot ass mess in so many ways.  Joker was pretty good, and Gemini Man could have been a whole lot better.  Maybe I'll write a review for each one and that will keep me blogging on a regular basis if I commit to it.  I should, because Doctor Sleep is coming out soon and I know I'm going to see it at least twice (if it's any good).

So, let's see if this little experiment works.  


Horror 101: "A Rose For Emily"

I read this back in high school as part of the curriculum for American Lit.  While I love almost anything Southern Gothic, I’m not a big fan of William Faulkner.  However, I love this story.  Basically, it’s the story of a lonely woman, Miss Emily Grierson, and an unnamed narrator tells it in a non-linear fashion.  Miss Emily’s father ensured that she would never marry and when he died, she struggled with releasing the body for burial.  Overall, it seems that Miss Emily struggles with change in general and clings to the past almost desperately.  


Horror 101: Falling Angel

Falling Angel is 1978 novel written by William Hjortsberg.  It
is the source material for the Mickey Rourke-led Angel Heart, which came out in 1987.  The story is about a detective named Harry Angel who is working a case for a mysterious client, Louis Cyphere (played by the badass Robert DeNiro).  Mr. Cyphere is looking for a man named Jonathan Liebling, aka Johnny Favorite.  Johnny Favorite was a popular crooner who got shipped off to WWII and got severely injured as well as amnesia, but he owes a debt to Mr. Cyphere.  


Horror 101: Harvest Home

Harvest Home is a 1978 novel written by Thomas Tryon.  It’s about a family that moves to the village of Cornwall Coombe, where the villagers adhere to the “old ways.”  Ned Constantine, his wife Beth and their daughter Kate relocate to Cornwall Coombe, which is a village that celebrates festivals revolving around the cultivation of corn.  The leader of the village, the Widow Fortune, is also a midwife and practices herbal medicine.  Nothing goes down in the Coombe without the Widow knowing.  Ned is suspicious of the Widow’s influence on the town and her medical remedies, but Beth and Kate grow to love her. 


Horror 101: "The Incredible Doktor Markesan"

This is one of the handful of episodes that featured the host of Thriller, the great Boris Karloff, in the lead role as Doktor Konrad Markesan.  It is a genuine creepfest.  A young couple, Molly & Fred Bancroft, arrive at a run-down manor owned by Fred’s uncle, Konrad Markesan.  Molly and Fred have a whole $12 to their names and seek to get jobs at the university where Markesan once worked.  Markesan allows Fred and Molly to move in, but warns them that he is not to be disturbed and that they are not allowed out of their room at night.  Of course, Molly and Fred disobey and shit pops all the way off. 


Horror 101: "The Cask of Amontillado"

I first read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” when I was in elementary school and I remember being shocked at the ending.  I do believe that was my introduction to all things Poe and I read every available story and/or book the school library had.  

For those of you unfamiliar with this sordid little tale (spoiler), it’s about a man named Montresor who is fed up with the bullshit of a man named Fortunato.  Apparently Fortunato has insulted Montresor in such a way that Montresor can’t get over it.  He meets Fortunato at a carnival and lures him home with the promise of some good wine, Amontillado in this case.  Montresor buries the inebriated Fortunato alive in the walls of the catacombs underneath his house, and gets away with it.

After reading, I was like, “Please sir, may I have some more?”  

I love this story, so much so that I attempted a pastiche...but I know my effort is bland compared to the master.


Horror 101: The Relic

This is one of my all time favorite movies.  My bestie and I caught it at the dollar theater waaaaay back in the day.  A detective, Lt. D’Agosta is investigating the decapitation deaths of the crew of a cargo ship and they lead him to Chicago’s Museum of Natural History, where he meets an evolutionary biologist, Dr. Green.  More murders happen in the museum and Green and D'Agosta have to work together to discover the culprit; which just so happens to be the Kothoga, a South American chimeric lizard god. The beast is quickly and constantly evolving due to rapid mutations in its DNA.


Horror 101: Trick 'r Treat

This wonderful little Halloween anthology came out in 2007.  It’s a collection of five interrelated stories involving the “Rules of Halloween” and featuring a precious orange-pajama-burlap-sack-wearing little scamp named Sam. I adore Sam (which is a nickname for Samhain) and even when he gets unmasked, he’s still adorable. Sam is the keeper of Halloween and it is his job to make sure that the rules are followed. 


Horror 101: "The Caterpillar"

I’m a fan of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery.  Night Gallery is an anthology series devoted to horror and the supernatural.  Some of the episodes are hit or miss, but for the ones that hit…they hit.  One of my favorite episodes is called “The Caterpillar.”  It takes place in the jungles of Borneo.  A man, Steven Macy, has been stationed with a couple as part of his job.  The couple is a 66-year old colonel, John Warwick, and his beautiful 26-year old wife, Rhoda.  Macy becomes infatuated with Rhoda and cannot understand how she can be so devoted to a man who is old enough to be her grandfather.  

Macy seeks the help of a ne’er-do’ well who promises him that he can get the husband out of the way.  The way he plans to do it is to put an earwig in the husband’s ear.  But there’s a mix-up and the earwig gets planted in Macy’s head, not the husband’s.  Macy undergoes a long period of excruciating agony because the earwig is chewing its way through his brain (but this is just for dramatic effect because the brain feels no pain) and he is restrained to keep from clawing his face off.  In time, the earwig exits the other ear—having chewed its way through in a straight line—and during Macy’s recovery, he learns from the local physician that the earwig was female and it laid thousands of eggs in his head.

Like I said, when Night Gallery hits, it fucking SLAPS!!!


Fic Update Alert!

Chapter 15 of "Switchblade Romance" is ready for consumption.


Nyx came out and refilled Malcolm’s coffee cup.  “More juice, Kap?  Shantreyl?”

“Yes,” they both said and she smiled.  “Everything okay, Shantreyl?”

“This is absolutely delightful,” she said.  “Everything is so good.”

“I like hearing that,” Nyx replied.  “I work hard.”

“Have you given any more thought to my suggestion of opening a bar next door, Nyx?” Malcolm asked.

“I have,” she said.  “And yes, I’ll do it.  I do like the idea of owning this corner of the block.”

Horror 101: My Favorite Slashers

For the past couple of years, I've been cogitating on my favorite slasher movie villains.  I struggled with this for a long time, obviously, because there are so many to choose from.  I consulted with my dear friend and fellow horror head Noob, but still it was a struggle trying to figure out my faves and why.  I mean, I love the genre so much that this was quite difficult.

Recently I watched Chiller's 13 Great American Slashers and it was a revelation.  The hour-long show runs down 13 classic horror movie villains and it was here where I was able to gather enough data to construct my Slasher Villain Mount Rushmore.  God bless YouTube.  


Horror 101: Doctor Sleep

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep was published in 2013.  It is a sequel to The Shining and it follows the character of Danny Torrance—now called Dan—who works in a hospice and uses his psychic gift to comfort dying patients.  Dan has followed in his father’s footsteps in that he has become an alcoholic, but when he relocates and begins working at the hospice, he stops drinking.  

Abra Stone is a little girl who has an extremely powerful psychic gift—stronger than Dan’s—and she unintentionally forms a bond with him that grows as she gets older.  Abra’s gift puts her on the radar of the True Knot, a wandering group of quasi-immortals led by Rose the Hat who feed on the essence of individuals with psychic powers.  The essence is called “steam” and Rose the Hat is convinced that she can kidnap Abra and she and the Knot can feed off of what she considers to be an unlimited supply of Abra’s steam. Shenanigans ensue.

As I’ve said before, I’m a SK stan and for the most part, I love his work.  Doctor Sleep is no different.  I read it on a train ride to Beijing in 2014.  It’s a fast read and an engaging story.  King said in his notes about the novel that he got the idea of the True Knot—a very nasty group of individuals—from being on the road and seeing a procession of RVs at random points on the trip.  That stuck with me.  When I come home during the summer, I go on road trips and ever since reading Doctor Sleep, I’m wary of any RV I see. Seeing a group of them traveling the interstate I’m on makes me outright nervous.  If I see a cluster of RVs at a rest stop, I keep on driving whether or not I need to stop.  I’m not psychic and I don’t believe I possess any gifts that would be of interest to anyone, least of all psychic vampires, but I’m not about to take that chance.

Love this book.  Check it out.


Horror 101: "The Cheaters."

Boris Karloff’s Thriller was an anthology series that aired from 1960-1961.  I’ve discussed the show in a previous blog post, but now I’m about to talk about some of my favorite episodes in this appreciation series.

The Cheaters.  Written by Robert Bloch, this story is about a supernatural pair of glasses that were created by a sorcerer 200 years prior to the events of the story.  The glasses are stamped with the word “Veritas,” which means “truth.”  This episode is a mini-anthology of four short episodes as different people encounter the glasses, called “cheaters.”  The protagonists put the glasses on and strangely enough, are able to “hear” the thoughts of others; usually negative thoughts directed towards them.  


Horror 101: "The Lottery."

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” was first published in the New Yorker in June of 1948.  It’s a strange little tale about a small town ritual that takes place every year at the end of June.  The residents gather and draw ballots from a black box.  Every family in the village must be accounted for.  The family that draws the ballot with the black mark then has to draw ballots for a second time; one for every member of the family.  When a family member draws the black marked ballot, that person is surrounded by the townspeople and stoned to death.  


Horror 101: An Appreciation (1/?)

For the past five or six years, I’ve been extremely lazy with my October postings.  You might argue that I’ve been lazy with any and all postings unrelated to my Shorties, and I would not disagree.  I’ve reposted my Halloween appreciation post regularly, but now in 2019, I need to do something different.  Also it’s nice to actually blog about something else instead of a Shortie update (which I don’t mind at all; I’m having a blast writing “Switchblade Romance” and I hope that you, Dark Dilettantes, are having a ball reading it).

So this year, I want to get back to my blogging roots.  I’m a horror head, and have been for most of my life.  When I was a child, I watched all the classic scary movies and most of them scared the shit out of me.  You would think I’d put as much distance between horror movies and myself after that, but naaaah!  Something about those movies (and eventually books) spoke to me on a primal level and ever since then, I’ve been nose wide open when it comes to any and all things horror.