This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 27 – July 3

~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~

A conversation with composer and musician Rob Kapilow,
about the magic of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

As July begins, there isn’t much in the way of newly released ghost- or monster-based media around, but I’ve found a selection of sci-fi and fantasy films that should keep us entertained. (Plus my usual one complete outlier, in the form of The Great British Baking Show, which comes back to PBS on July 1st.) The July 2016 Netflix new releases list has a few fresh-from-the-theater titles, but mostly it looks like they went into the vault to pull out and dust off some old stuff. So many classics are being made available, in fact, I had to add a special section to M&M Media this week, to list old favorites returning to streaming. (They aren’t macabre or mysterious, but when it’s this hot outside, we need lots of viewing options as we seek cool, dim places.)

This week I’m most excited about:

gallery-uktv-great-british-bake-off-02-2 legend-tarzan-movie-poster-2016

~THE MOVIES~

NEW NETFLIX & REDBOX:

Dreamcatcher (2003) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I’ve read the Stephen King novel, of course, but I’ve not yet seen the movie. I’m wondering how the filmmakers will deal with the … indelicate nature of the symptoms caused by the parasite. I find the story itself and the relationships within it to be compelling, but Constant Writer’s descriptions of the intestinal distress experienced by the protagonists was just too visceral for me. In this case, for that reason, the film might be better than the book for me. All that aside, I do love watching a deep-winter movie in the heat of high summer. (And vice versa.) Stars Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee. 

Friends on a camping trip discover that the town they’re vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space.
-from IMDb.

~***~

The Lovely Bones (2009) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
Here again, I’ve read the book, but haven’t seen the movie. With this one, I suspect the film will be less enjoyable than the novel. It’s tough for a movie to capture the magical realism of a written story without going over the line. The shots of Susie’s “own perfect world” in the trailer below feel forced to me. I should confess, too, that I’m one of the few people who didn’t go gaga over the novel. Reading it was a pleasure, thanks to its elegant prose and rich characterizations, but I found the ending unsatisfying … which is my usual response to literary fiction. 

Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
-IMDb.

~***~

Pandemic (2016) NR?

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I’m looking forward to firing this one up. I love a good post-apoc and this one seems to be a crowd-pleaser (85% audience score at Rotten Tomatoes.)

Pandemic is set in the near future, where a virus of epic proportions has overtaken the planet. There are more infected than uninfected, and humanity is losing its grip on survival. Its only hope is finding a cure and keeping the infected contained. Lauren (Rachel Nichols) is a doctor, who, after the fall of New York, comes to Los Angeles to lead a team to hunt for and rescue uninfected survivors.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Terminus (2015) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
An Australian indie film that many critics are praising as sophisticated and low key sci-fi. Hmm.

Following a near-fatal accident, David Chamberlain makes an unprecedented discovery that will not only determine the fate of his family, but of mankind.
-from IMDb.

~***~

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) PG13

Not yet Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
The way they use the song I Think We’re Alone Now in this trailer is brilliant. It hits the perfect creepy/unsettling chord for me. Some reading around the net tells me this movie is a favorite with both fans and critics, with the critics loving it a little more than the fans. That puts it square in my “I’m probably going to love this” sights. I think I’ll go ahead and rent it this week, rather than waiting for it to hit Netflix.

After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Catwoman (2004) PG13 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
This movie is legendary in some circles for being so very, very non-canon. And, at the 25th annual Razzie Awards, it won for Worst Actress, Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Director. Is this so bad it’s good? Should I add it to my queue?

A shy woman, endowed with the speed, reflexes, and senses of a cat, walks a thin line between criminal and hero, even as a detective doggedly pursues her, fascinated by both of her personas.
-from IMdb.

~***~

Batman: The Movie (1966) NR

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
Luckily for Batman fans, Netflix is also going to stream this gem.

The Dynamic Duo faces four super-villains who plan to hold the world for ransom with the help of a secret invention that instantly dehydrates people.
-from IMDb.

~***~

Phenomenon (1986) PG

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix July 1st.
Not Available from Redbox.
On IMDb here.
I honestly can’t remember if I saw this. If I did, it didn’t leave much of an impression. As I read reviews though, I ran across the phrase “Capra-esque”, which intrigues me. John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forrest Whitaker, Robert Duvall. Should I give it a go?

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.
-from IMDb.

~***~

 ~Titles in the following section are linked directly to Netflix for your queue management needs.~

OLD FAVORITES RETURNING TO NETFLIX STREAMING JULY 1ST:

* Lethal Weapon1 (1987), 2 (1989), 3 (1992), & 4 (1998)  *
* Beverly Hills Cop 1 (1984) & 2 (1987) *
* Back to the Future ~ 1 (1985)2 (1989),  & 3 (1990) *
* Big Trouble in Little China (1986) *
* The Sting (1973) *

HEADS-UP ON MOVIES LEAVING NETFLIX IN JULY:

* 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ~ leaving July 1st *
* A Clockwork Orange (1971) ~ leaving July 1st *
* Medium, seasons 1 -7 ~ leaving July 1st *
* all the Star Trek movies ~ leaving July 1st *
* Serenity (2005) ~ leaving July 16th ~ Tell me it ain’t so! *

~***~

NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS:

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) PG13

In general release as of June 24th.
On IMDb here.
Oh, dear. The reviews coming in aren’t good, which is sad, because I loved Independence Day (1996). (You can get that one from Netflix DVD.) The only good thing I’m hearing is that the special effects are amazing … and plentiful. I’ll be waiting for this one to come to me on Netflix.

Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?
-from IMDb.

~***~

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) PG13

In general release July 1st.
On IMDb here.
Now this looks like fun. It even has Christoph Waltz as the bad guy. The trailer is so chock full of pretty and awe-inspiring visuals that I know I want to see it on the big screen while I can. (I have a thing for big gorgeous apes … speaking of which, my husband wants to see it too.) This, I believe, is certain to earn our movie money this week. 

Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.
-from IMDb.

~***~

~ON TV~

The Great British Baking Show | PBS | Fridays | 9/8c | Season 3 starts July 1st

I’m slightly less excited about this than I normally would be, because I accidentally found a spoiler last year, and I know which contestant wins. (Such are the perils of watching British shows on PBS, a year after they air in the UK.) Though I’m still annoyed about that, I’ll probably forget all about it once the season gets underway for me. After all, this is less about who wins and more about the baking itself — which is a soul-soothing experience for an American TV watcher like me. (There’s just something so wonderful about watching a reality show that doesn’t emphasize or fabricate drama between the competitors.)  

Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the U.K.’s best. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker, serve as judges. Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts, crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.
-from the PBS homepage.

~*~

Overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape for the upcoming long holiday weekend. 

What are you doing to celebrate? What will you be watching?

Because the Ogre has been working long hours and some weekends lately, he’ll be taking some extra time off this week. That should give us enough time to build some bookshelves, make beef jerky with our daughter, hang out at the pool, and watch a hell of a lot of movies. (We still need to go see The Conjuring 2 even!) 

PS: I suppose I should’ve mentioned that The Purge: Election Year (2016) is also coming out (on July 1st) but, blech. 

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: June 13 – 19, 2016

~YOUR MUSICAL SPOKEN WORD INTERLUDE~

Christopher Walken reads The Raven

The first M&M Media of each month is always more extensive than those that follow, but the following paltry offering is ridiculous. I promise, I’ve checked all my sources; this week is just a dud for new macabre and mysterious entertainment. Remember to check last week’s edition if you missed it, because all the media I featured there is still available.

How bad is it that the most exciting thing about this list, for me, is my own nostalgia for an imported melodrama I watched for a while 30+ years ago?

prisoner_cell_block_h

~THE MOVIES~

NEW ON NETFLIX & IN REDBOX:

Orange is the New Black, season 4 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix – seasons 1-3 already available, season 4 arrives June 17th, 2016.
Not Available from Redbox.
Not a movie. Not paranormal in any way, but a guilty pleasure, nonetheless. I drifted away from watching this show after the second season, for no particular reason. It’s ideal for a marathon though, so there may be a stretch of too-hot-to-think days ahead that will allow me to catch up with the women.
On IMDb here.

That reminds me: Does anyone besides me remember the show Prisoner: Cell Block H? (Fun article at that link, from Den of Geek.) I got totally sucked in as a very young teenager, when I could watch it in syndication in the afternoons. Netflix has a DVD collection on offer, but by all accounts it’s terrible. (Incomplete, out of order, etc.) All 692 episodes, however, are apparently available on You Tube. Just sayin’.

NOT-NEW, BUT GOOD, ON NETFLIX:

Dream House (2011) PG13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
I had completely forgotten about seeing this until I ran across it today while desperately searching Netflix. This movie belongs on two of my existing best-13 lists, and on one I’m still compiling. There’s some controversy around this film, including the idea that the trailer below gives away too much. (Skip it if you want to go in completely cold.) I don’t mind. I think the story is compelling and the atmosphere is delightfully mysterious. Excellent acting by Daniel Craig. Visually striking, lovely to look at. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
On IMDb here.

Angel Heart (1987) R 

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not yet Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
Ah, I found a gem. I’ve seen this movie, but I’ll be honest and admit that it was so long ago that all I can remember is thinking it was amazing. It’s now in my to-watch queue. I’ll reserve my final color coded judgement until the re-watch, but it’s either going to be green or orange (I’m pretty sure it’s REALLY intense, possibly too intense for some.We’ll see what my older, kinder, wiser self thinks of it.)
On IMDb here. (linked)

~ON TV~

Mother May I Sleep with Danger? | Lifetime| June 18th| 8/7c 

I’m too old for this, right? I mean, the original was a 90s phenomena, and I’m more of an 80s chick. That’s gotta mean at least part of the cool factor here is lost on me. (But the way, I checked; the ’96 version is NOT available on Netflix.) I’ll have to go in clueless. Still, I love James Franco, so I’ll give it a shot.

From the homepage:
“In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the cult classic, “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?,” Lifetime and Sony Pictures Television team up with James Franco to remake the classic TV movie … The retelling stars Franco and reunites Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei from the original film …With a story by Franco, this updated classic features a vampire love story that brings a whole new meaning to “sleeping with danger.””

~***~

Find links to all featured Macabre & Mysterious Media here.

The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.

~***~


Grave and scary numbers.

On Fridays, when the weekly prompt for the Post A Week photo challenge is revealed, I try to think of a way to respond that will suit the theme of my blog. My first thought for this week’s prompt Numbers was to seek out the number 13, but even though I kept an eye out all week, 13 was elusive. Other numbers, though, prominently featured in my week, in fact I was haunted by them.

SCARY NUMBERS:

As recent transplant to a new state, I’m desperately trying to figure out how to get around. This process is complicated by my multiple driving phobias. (High bridges, high speed, ramps, forced merges, and getting funneled against my will, to name a few.)   I am determined, however, to establish some comfortable routes, and carve out a territory that feels safe. That means I’m spending an awful lot of time pouring over maps, trying to figure out how to stay off the roads that have numbers but no names.

scary map for numbers 2

#FunWithFilters — I see versions of this and other local maps in my dreams. If only that were actually helpful in any way.

GRAVE NUMBERS:

I had one slight territory expansion success this week. I headed east from Raleigh, in search of two small towns promised by the maps. I found and explored both of them. (One even has a metaphysical shop just a block off Main Street, but that’s another story.)

The excursion was my last ditch attempt to find a good photo op for this week’s challenge. I meant to go to a graveyard — because a graveyard is filled with stories, histories, and mysteries, each told in a few  cryptic words and numbers — but I failed.

(I drove past one that looked promising, but couldn’t figure out how to get back to it. Once the route is more familiar, I’ll make my way  back.)

Luckily, I have a whole folder of photographs taken at graveyards. Here are a few I don’t think I’ve ever published, that have interesting numbers:

2016.05.20 Lexie's Vacation Old Burying Ground graveyard grave 12

This was taken in the Old Burying Ground, of Beaufort, NC, a cemetery that is full of some of the most complete stories I’ve ever found in a graveyard. (There are more photos from the same beautiful cemetery here.)

The iron cross appears to have a ‘4’ on it, but it’s actually a confederate battle flag.

The ’12’ marker at this grave-site is keyed to a pamphlet available at the graveyard. The pamphlet reads:

“(12) Jechonias Willis (1838-1862) — A Beaufort man killed when Fort Macon was taken by the Federals. Beaufort members of the garrison were brought home on a flat and released on parole. The body of Willis was brought at the same time. General Burnside himself stood at the wharf witnessing the joyful reunion between soldiers and families. Then, as the pine box containing the body of Willis was claimed by sorrowing loved ones, sympathetic tears rolled down the general’s cheeks.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This sad and simple stone, located in White Bear Lake, MN, is a glimpse into history, and we must try to imagine the story behind the memorial, using only the clues provided by the numbers.

graveyard tree growing over grave stone

This gravestone, which caught my eye precisely because it is disappearing, had just enough visible information that I was able to identify the deceased by using the excellent database at Find A Grave. There I learned that this is the grave of the founder of a northern MN city named Staples.

Which leaves me with a new mystery: Why is the founder of Staples buried in Anoka, 119 miles away from his namesake city?

Find all my photographic projects at Haunting Photos (there’s also a link in the blog header.)