Fun facts

Fun fact: I cannot write while drunk. We’ll try this again tomorrow.

Another fun fact: I LOVE fun facts! Whoever originated fun facts deserves huge props


Movies horror

It’s nearly July. June’s summerness was uninspiring, but we put that behind us and live July. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not going to spend glorious July in dark theaters watching movies. YOU WILL NOT SPEND GLORIOUS JULY IN DARK THEATERS WATCHING MOVIES. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. You are going to be crushing it on the beach and falling in love under the boardwalk. You’ll get yourself some tan-lines, exhibit your dominance on the slip-and-slide, bring back aqua-socks, blast-off a digit with fireworks…wait…wait…my editor says don’t blast-off a digit with fireworks. For goodness sakes, do eat an ice-cream sandwich.

About those dark and desolate movies, here is what we’ll do. I’m Erich, the new movie column guy. I’m going to share my take on some movies that I’ve seen. I’ll start with the horror genre. This will serve two purposes. First, you can watch them anytime without spending July in a movie theater, and second it allows you to decide whether you can stand me or not. I’m adding a third reason. The third reason is because you can make-out during nighttime horror movies and that is an officially-sanctioned July activity.

These appear in no particular order and without further ado…

The House of the Devil (2009)

At first you see that it’s a 2009 movie made to appear like it’s an 80’s movie, and if you didn’t hear it from me you’d think it was just that through about the first 70 minutes. What happens after that seems so modernly demented that I cannot conceive it resulting from other generations of filmmakers. Here’s a helpful tip: don’t house-sit in the 1980s. Perhaps the best part of this movie is the overall structure. A subtle tension slowly builds throughout the movie then escalates into a scarringly traumatic crescendo. House of the Devil is a category all on its own. Available at Tacoma and Pierce County Public Libraries or streaming on Netflix.

The Shining (1980)

A true classic and by-far my favorite horror movie. Director Stanley Kubrick is a master of bringing literary works to the movie screen. He has a modern writer’s flare for the psychologically abstract. His movies feel like a far-out psychoanalysis session. Don’t worry if none of the symbolism relates to the plot, just sit back and experience your own building paranoia – which by the way is the essential emotion for the horror movie. Revel in one of Jack Nicholson’s more obtuse parts. The Shining and Chinatown are where he earned his floor-side season tickets to the Lakers. Available at Tacoma and Pierce County Public Libraries or rent from Netflix.

Cure (2001)

Japanese horror films like Ring (1998) have claimed international popularity. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Not to be confused with Akira Kurosawa) Cure is more obscure. His past non-horror movies have featured deft and emotionless violence and here it’s extended and punctuates the entirety of this movie. Among Cure’s achievements are discomforting uses of atmosphere, hypnosis and other psychic threads. Rent it from Netflix or buy it elsewhere.

Insidious (2010)

This is kind of like The Exorcist for the 21st century, except there was that other movie from the 21st century called Exorcist (2004). Stay with me. This 21st century exorcism story called Insidious is about a little jerk kid who, and I’m not kidding you, goes and seeks-out the devil in his own head. So while other kids watch Saturday morning cartoons and have to work to keep their snot in check, this little delinquent’s parents are finding creepy ghosts and demons inside family home on uninvited play-dates. My nerves were completely shot from all the looking around dark and shadowy corners. Ah…Parenthood. Available at Tacoma and Pierce County Public Libraries or streaming on Netflix.

Kwaidan (1964)

Dead lover ghost spirits haunt dark, medieval Japan… It’s nighttime and I just typed that. Now I’m scared. Wonderful. Filmed entirely with richly-crafted sets, this movie feels akin to Kabuki theatre. This traditional tale is adapted to the screen in grand and frightening fashion. Rent it from Netflix or buy it elsewhere.

I’ve rated a bunch of other movies at

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