Macabre & Mysterious Media: Movies for the long holiday weekend.


YOUR MUSICAL / HISTORICAL INTERLUDE: Parish Apartment Unlocked After 70 Years

For a little more on the story, read the Wikipedia entry: Marthe de Florian




This movie clocks in at more than two hours and forty-five minutes, but you won’t feel it. (As long as you don’t drink too much soda.)

Rated: PG13
Stars:  Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Playing at most theaters (in general release)

If you’ve seen it, and your head is still spinning, here’s Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the science behind the ending of Interstellar:

GONE GIRL (2014)
I don’t remember if I mentioned this movie here at the blog. I suppose it will heading out of the theaters soon, so if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s a great date movie if “normal” romances and rom/coms leave you cold.

Rated: R
Stars:  Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Playing in theaters now – might be on the way out.


Ogre and I saw this at the theater, when it was just called Edge of Tomorrow. It’s a fun, action-packed movie. If you haven’t seen it, it would be a good choice for group viewing during the upcoming long holiday weekend.

Rated: PG13
Stars: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton
Available this week at Redbox

I LOVED this film, but not everyone will. One word captures its essence nicely: languorous. Other words that describe it include sensual, jaded, passionate, pretentious … let’s just say it might be irritating for anyone looking for a fast, fun movie. Be aware it’s not horror, despite most of the characters being vampires. In fact, I guess it’s a romance. Well, what do you know? A romance I actually liked, (besides Silver Linings Playbook … but I REALLY digress.)

Rated: R
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton
Available this week at Redbox (also on Netflix DVD)

This is either brilliant or the cheesiest dystopian you’ve ever seen, depending on who you talk to. For me, it’s another one of those films I kind of hated while watching, but am now glad I’ve seen. (Some of the images and story elements have real sticking power.) It’s a risk, but hey, it’s streaming on Netflix, so see how the trailer strikes you.

Rated: R
Stars: Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
Available on Netflix streaming


And here’s the stuff I can get ahold of this weekend — that I haven’t seen — that looks good:



Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
FINALLY playing at most theaters (in general release)


Rated: R
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Playing at most theaters (in general release)

PS: Nice to see Tilda Swinton and Bill Paxton getting so much work 🙂


I didn’t see the first movie, and I don’t have any interest. I thought the intriguing concept of a society that allows such a purge was totally wasted in a home invasion movie. I haven’t see Anarchy yet, but I plan to.  A review I read, by one of YOU, made me think, “This is the movie I wanted to see the first place.” (Who wrote that review? I’ll happily link to it.)

Rated: R
Directed and written by: James DeMonaco
Available from Redbox (and Netflix DVD)

I just watched an episode of MonsterMen about found footage films. I’m picky about these, but I am intrigued by The Taking of Deborah Logan.

…And now that I’ve watched the trailer, I am deeply creeped out. This one is the one most likely to seriously scare me.
Rated: R
Available streaming on Netflix



BTW, did you know that you can use Redbox in much the same way you used to use a brick and mortar video store? If you create an account online, you can view the current contents of all nearby kiosks, reserve titles, then go pick up your movie(s) at you convenience. Start here:

Redbox Reservations

Here’s how M&M Media listings work:
If an item is posted in the “NOW” section, I have seen (or in some way experienced) it, and am actively recommending it. NOW items are immediately available to you if you have access to the same basic services I do.
If an item is posted in the “& LATER” section, it may mean that it has not yet been released, but it may also mean I have become aware that something of potential interest is currently available, but have not yet sat down with it.

Horror in the night.

I dragged my husband to hell last night.

temp bedLately, I’ve been running on too little sleep, so last night I decided to take a hot bath and turn in early (for me.)

At about about 1:30 am, I finished ripping off my skin with my new, incredibly effective, exfoliation cloth. It’s a chore, but it makes you all silky-smooth. It also restores a kind of tactile sensitivity that you didn’t even know you’d lost. You “feel” more — a warm breeze which would have been pleasant before the flaying, is even more noticeable and more pleasant afterwards. (The reason this matters will become clear in a bit.)

After applying restorative unguents and potions all over, I crept into our bedroom where Ogre had been asleep for an hour or two. The TV was turned on and a PBS show was filling the room with  a dim light and a soporific drone. The cat — who is normally curled up wherever Ogre’s hands are (because he knows The Man pets soft things, even in his sleep) — was NOT on Ogre, but, instead, on my nightstand. Every line of his body told me that he thought he was hunting something.

He does that.

I gleefully put myself next to Ogre’s hands (because I, too, know The Man pets soft things, even in his sleep) and told the cat he was a fool. He ignored me and continued to stare into the corner.

I was turning on my sleep tracker when a peripheral motion, a couple of feet to my left, caught my eye. I looked directly at the wall just in time to see something big and insectile scurry behind the drawn blinds.

Now, I don’t really fear spiders, but I don’t believe they belong in my home, and certainly not in my bedroom. I turned on the bedside lamp and carefully opened the blinds so I could see just how creepy this particular trespasser was. (Ogre is used to me moving around all night, so this didn’t disturb him.) I couldn’t find a spider. I kept looking, because I knew I hadn’t imagined the movement. After a long examination of the windowsill, I finally found the crawler, but it was no spider. It was a huge, hideous, billion-legged centipede (about two inches long) and it was trying desperately to blend into the woodwork.

We were both frozen for a minute, then it moved. No, that’s not right; It undulated. As each of its legs rose and fell, I could FEEL a corresponding footfall somewhere on my skin.

I threw on a robe and ran to get the little vacuum, which is my preferred bug-catching tool. By the time I got back to the room, the cat was on the floor under the window, peering into the heating register.

Well, damn.

I plugged in the vacuum which immediately roared to life. I quickly unplugged it and soothed Ogre, who was becoming just barely aware something abnormal was going on. I told him that I had to vacuum up a big bug, but that he could go back to sleep. He did.

I changed from my robe into a heavy flannel nightgown while keeping an eye on the cat and the area around him. I made sure the vacuum’s switch was off, plugged it back in, and took it into the bed with me. From there I could watch the cat, as he watched the register. We waited.

Nothing happened. I turned off the bedside lamp and kept vigil by the light of the TV. Sure enough, The Thing eventually came out of the register and headed toward the bed. The cat did not notice as it skittered past his haunch.

I turned on the light, switched on the vacuum, and dived for it. It escaped …into the shadows under the bed. Ogre rolled over.

I got up, went into the living room, tucked my legs up under myself in the desk chair, and googled centipedes. I found this:


Ayup. That’s it.

I read the article entitled, ‘The House Centipede: Get Rid of Them or Let Them Be?” I learned that centipedes are GOOD bugs. That they hardly every bite people, and that they eat other bugs (including spiders.) That they are scared of people. And that an individual centipede can live for TEN-FUCKING-YEARS.

Then I read the comment thread. (My son has warned me repeatedly to never read the comment thread, but do I listen?) I learned that centipedes do bite people (and that the bite isn’t much worse than a bee sting.) That they often skitter right toward, and over, people. And that they seem particularly fond of getting right into the bedding, then …wriggling. (With all their billion legs.)

Every few minutes I “felt” something crawl onto my exquisitely sensitized skin.

After an hour of that, I pulled on a pair of sweatpants under my nightgown and put on some socks. I went back into the bedroom, exhausted and determined to get some sleep.

As I sat  in the spot closest to center of the bed, in a posture that would make a second grade teacher proud, with my head  spinning 360 degrees every minute or so — you know, like you do when you’re tucking in for the night — I saw The Thing again. It was on the wall, up near the ceiling, above Ogre’s nightstand.

I took a few deep breaths. I slid out of bed and grabbed the vacuum. I crept around the foot of the bed to Ogre’s side. I got into a good position and stretched the hose out so that its opening was hovering just over the creature. I switched on the vacuum and and saw part of The Thing’s body lift away from the wall … then The Thing came to life again. With some magnificent, twisting motion, it managed to escape the hose. Instead of being sucked up, it dropped behind Ogre’s dresser and out of sight.

I lost my freaking mind.

Perhaps that doesn’t convey what happened clearly enough: I shouted bad words at the top of my lungs, then burst into tears, then fled the room. (Remember, I was very, very tired even before this saga began.)

Ogre woke up.

After some explaining on my part and some consoling on Ogre’s part, Ogre asked me to sit with him while he waited for it appear again so that he could kill it. Of course, The Thing refused to come out where we could see it. (It was probably under the bed … or somewhere in the covers. Or behind the picture that hangs over the bed …)

Finally, I decided I would have to sleep on the sofa. I told Ogre I’d be fine and that it was important that he get some sleep, and yada ya. I know he would have been fine just going back to sleep in there, but he opted to join me in the living room instead. I am a lucky woman.

Well, I’m a lucky woman who will not be able to sleep soundly any time in the next ten years.

(Yes, I am aware that The Thing could be anywhere in the apartment now. So very, very aware.)


Macabre Media: Behold the Darkness, Fit to Write, Pandemic, The Theory of Everything & The Imitation Game

Today, in Minnesota, we are having our first winter snowstorm of the season, and it’s a doozy. Some parts of the metro are expected to get more than a foot of snow. Before the snow, there was sleet, so the roads are awful. Also, the temperatures are dropping fast and the wind is picking up. It honestly doesn’t look too bad right here where I live, but I’m dreading going to fetch my boy from work.

The shift to winter-time (the end of daylight savings time) has been kicking my butt. I lose all energy with the sunset, which does not work for me. I need my late-night hours to be productive. My son and I came up with the idea to close the blinds and turn on all the lights in the apartment at about 4-4:30. This trickery seems to be helping, at least a little.

I’m trying other strategies to get past my general malaise, too, so I’ve been preoccupied with health & wellness this last week. That, too, seems to be working. The good news is I got some fiction writing done today and I’m still feeling pretty good, even though it’s deeply dark and treacherous out there. I’m hopeful for the coming week.


YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Behold the Darkness by Medwyn Goodall

I know this is on the soundtrack of some game I’ve played, but I can’t put my finger on it.
If you, like me, need this song for your writing playlist it can be downloaded in MP3 at Amazon, for 99 cents HERE.



I’ve mentioned the fitness and weight loss community called Spark People before. (Back in February, I wrote the post ‘Resolutions Review: How Spark People helped me lose 10 pounds in 11 weeks without dieting.‘)

There isn’t much overlap between that world and this one, but I thought I’d share the project I’ve been working on over there. I intend to grow it slowly, and mostly by invitation. (If you’re part of my regular blog crew, you write well enough for me to want you in the group, if you have an interest.)  It’s sucked up a lot of time to get it set up, but it’s well organized now so it should be easy to run and use. It should help keep me aware of my physical needs this winter.

fit to write collage

Wanted: Dedicated writers who need to develop & maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let’s build a community centered on being Fit to Write. Check out “Welcome Letter” in the general forum on the team page.


PANDEMIC — A cooperative board game


My son used some of his tip money to buy a new game and I am completely addicted. My family has been playing several times a week. I don’t have a competitive bone in my body, so the cooperative nature of this game means I’m actually having FUN. We’ve managed to win a few times. Here’s the description from the game designer’s site:

Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.
Players must work together, playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.

Source: This is from the same company that gave us Carcassonne.
Cost: approximately $25 – $40, depending on where you get it. (We got ours at Barnes & Nobel, but you can also order it from Amazon.)
Players: 2 – 4, working together against the game
Special Features: This is a good-looking game, with quality game pieces. It has fantastic replay-ability, because each player randomly selects a new specialist role for each game. Expansions are available.


We are STILL waiting on Horns. I’m afraid we may have missed it. It played two weekends ago, in one local art house. We intended to go this weekend, but it was already gone. This week, it’s way up in Duluth. We saw St. Vincent instead. (Which was really good, if just a tiny bit sappy. The skill of the actors in it, though, saved it.) This weekend we’ll probably go to Before I Go to Sleep, before that disappears.

At St. Vincent, we did see two trailers for movies we’re excited about. Granted, their subject matter stretches the boundaries of the “paranormal” theme here at the blog, but if Stephen Hawking and Allen Turing aren’t “alongside, near, beyond, altered, contrary to” normal, I don’t know who is.

I’m pretty sure these films will be around for a while, once they finally open. (Oscar bait, anyone?)


Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Release date: playing now in select theaters.

(Local folks: it’s at the Edina Theater this week.)



Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
Release date: November 28th (in select theaters)

Here’s how this works:
If an item is posted in the NOW section, I have seen (or in some way experienced) it, and am actively recommending it. NOW items are immediately available to you if you have access to the same basic services I do.
If an item is posted in the & LATER section, it may mean that it has not yet been released, but it may also mean I have become aware that something of potential interest is currently available, but have not yet sat down with it.