This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: Aug. 3rd – 9th, 2015.


Lauren Shera – Light & Dust (pretty witchy)

I think, this week, I’m most excited about:

the unwanted



The Raven (2012) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
John Cusack. I can’t remember if I’ve seen this or not. Might try to make time before it’s gone. Anyone out there love it or hate it?
On IMDb here.

Maggie (2015) PG-13

Available on DVD from Netflix.
(Not yet Available streaming on Netflix, will update if I notice.)
Available from Redbox.
This zombie drama starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was never widely released in theaters. I did mention it when it came out but I want to feature it again, now that it is available to most of us. This is a sweet, sad, slow story. It’s well worth a watch, if you aren’t expecting a horror movie. The Ogre, especially, respected the ending.
On IMDb here.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
(Not yet Available streaming on Netflix, will update if I notice.)
Available from Redbox.
This mockumentary  from New Zealand isn’t as good as Spinal Tap, (what mockumentary is?) but it’s fun. I adore the character Stu, and I suspect you will too. I also have a special fondness for Peter, who can’t seem to stop himself from making new vampires.
On IMDb here.

The Guest (2014) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I just Found this one for my 13 movies set on or around Halloween list. (Did you realize it’s only 13 weeks until Halloween?)  It’s a strange film. Half action flick, half … thriller? And there’s a fair bit of Halloween stuff scattered everywhere, including a high school haunted house. Not a bad watch.
On IMDb here.

The Unwanted (2014) NR

Not Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
This one was brought to my attention by a review at the blog Danse Noir. Looks like it was made for me. Southern Gothic? Check. Vampire sensuality? Check. Airstream trailer? Check. It’s on my queue, and I might watch it tonight.
On IMDb here. (linked)

Snowpiercer (2013) R

Available on DVD from Netflix.
Available streaming on Netflix.
Available from Redbox.
I resisted this movie SO hard. The premise is just ridiculous. I watched it reluctantly with my menfolk. I hated it pretty much all the way through … though, I had to admit at the time, there WAS a lot to like about the film-making itself. Now I see that it’s streaming on Netflix. And I’m going to recommend it to you. I’m listing it as an orange, but I think — in my heart of hearts — it’s really a green. What I know for sure is that I can’t get some of the film’s imagery out of my head, and the story has stayed with me far longer than the plots of many movies I have liked from the get-go.
On IMDb here.

Reading Rainbow (1985) G

Some themed sets are Available on DVD from Netflix; search Reading Rainbow.
1985 season now Available streaming on Netflix.
Not Available from Redbox.
Here’s my major outlier for the week. Got little kids? Fire up Netflix.

~Movies that have come to Netflix streaming since I featured them~

| Nightcrawler (2014) R Monsters: The Dark Continent (2014) R | The Quiet Ones (2014) PG-13 |

(note: I’m cleaning up old M&M Media posts today, so I’m continuing to work on this ^ little section.


The Gift (2015) R

In general release on Thursday, Aug. 6th
Oooh. I hadn’t seen any trailers for this yet, but I found it today, as I was checking new releases. I’m TOTALLY ready for a good thriller. Jason Bateman, huh? Ok. Could be interesting. 
On IMDb here. (linked)

Mr. Holmes (2015) PG

In general release right now. (Playing widely around me in the Twin Cites area.)
This looks entertaining. (And will probably be of particular interest to Tim Prasil: Inventor of Persons.) Starring Ian McKellen & Laura Linney — that’s a fine cast.
On IMDb here.

Cop Car (2015) R

In general release on Friday, Aug. 7th.
Speaking of fine casting: I’m intrigued by the opportunity to see my beloved Kevin Bacon portray a Very Bad Man.

We’re trying to save some money around here, and we plan to cut back on going to the theater, but I gotta say this looks like a GREAT flick for the drive-in … and we haven’t gone yet this year (even though a night at the drive-in is a MUST-HAPPEN event, at least once a summer.) Crossing my fingers that this will soon show up where I want it to be.
On IMDb here.

Dark Places (2015) R

In general release on … hmm. Supposedly Aug. 7th, but I’m getting the vibe that this might be hard to find.
Charlize Theron. Christina Hendricks. Oh my. Looks like this save-money thing might be more challenging than I thought. It seems this is based on a much-beloved book by Gillian Flynn. (And readers are saying the movie isn’t nearly as good as the book. Big shock.) Perhaps I can save myself by hitting the library to stave off the crave. (Sorry about all the rhymes there.)
On IMDb here.

The Vatican Tapes (2015) PG-13

In general release now.
I don’t know. This is one that looks like it can wait for renting. If you’ve seen it and loved it, send me a note, will ya?
On IMDb here. (linked)


All quiet on the TV front this week.


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links 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.

Schnikes! TONIGHT (Sat. Aug. 1st) marks 13 weeks until Halloween!

Countdown Main Saturdays

I was not prepared.

I realized the significance of the day at 11:00 pm on August 1st. Then I panicked.

Luckily the first offering in my little Halloween advent calendar didn’t require much updating. I’ve added two new Halloween-themed flicks to the alternates list, but the 13 Paranormalist-recommended films remain the same. (A classic is a classic for a reason.) I have added a direct Netflix link to each movie listing, to make it easy for you to set up your DVD queue. (Once again, most of the movies are NOT available on streaming.)

Click the following countdown image, or the link below that, to go to  the movie list.

H'ween CD 1 Aug 1 - 7 (THIRTEEN weeks 'til)

August 1st ~ 7th  

To start things off, here’s a list of Halloween-themed movies to watch in the next 13 weeks. It’s designed to lead you slowly, gently, inexorably, into the proper mood. If at all possible, watch one each week between now and Halloween, in the suggested order.

Read: 13 movies ~ set on or around Halloweentime ~ to watch in the 13 weeks before Halloween.

Over the next little bit, I’ll be watching the following films, as suggested by folks in the comment thread, for possible inclusion in this list:

  • Witches of Eastwick – update: watched it, loved the first two-thirds of it again, but determined there is NO Halloween.
  • Casper
  • The Frighteners
  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • House of 1000 Corpses

Can you think of any others I should check?

Activity here at The Paranormalist will be increasing over the next few weeks as we come into my favorite season. (Stay tuned for my upcoming list of the best horror / suspense films available THIS YEAR on Netflix streaming.)

In the meantime, remember to luxuriate in the high-summer weather we have right now; it will be gone soon enough.

The Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion broke something in me and I have questions.

I posted the following piece earlier today on my personal Facebook. After further thought, despite its disconnection from my usual subjects, I decided to bring it here. I am aware that I could lose readers over this, but I ask that if you are offended, will you take a moment to try to help me understand before you go?

Here’s what I wrote, words in italics were not in the original FB post:

“TLDR: Just a core-dump about the dentist who killed the lion.
Summary: Dentist = bad. Big-game hunting = bad. Middle class “normal” hunting = bad. Internet’s response = also bad.

Also, I’m probably going to regret posting this.

Is my [Facebook] feed especially thick with posts about the dentist who killed the lion, compared to yours? (Because I live in Minnesota, maybe?) Has this gone incredibly viral everywhere?

This thing is making me feel sick. I don’t appreciate sport hunting. I especially hate trophy hunting. I have an instant and immediate distrust of anyone who thinks killing animals is some kind of entertainment, or a way to prove prowess.

I eat meat. When it comes to killing for food, I lobby for comfortable, “natural,” humane living conditions and swift, efficient, painless kills. I do think that non-hunters / non-farmers / non-butchers (including me) have it too easy and are fortunate to live in a world where others are willing to harvest meat for us.

I think the dentist is a horrible person. I would never befriend someone like him, nor finance his hunts by patronizing his business.


I am disturbed by the internet’s response to his actions … or rather to him getting caught and outed for his actions. The collective is taking an awful lot of blood-thirsty glee in “hunting” him. His business, his name, his address and his telephone number have been widely distributed across the web. I keep seeing words like retribution, revenge, punishment, etc. The comments people are leaving for and about him are vicious.

How are we going to feel if someone kills him? And how do we feel right now about destroying his life? He has children and a wife. He must have friends. How is annihilating this one family making anything better?

What, exactly are we doing here? I think it’s likely that the guy didn’t know that he was going to shoot a beloved celebrity lion who was wearing a tracking collar … which is really the only reason we know what he’s done. I have to assume he thought this was a legal hunt … demented and sad, but legal. So in a weird way this was an accident.

Folks who focus on THAT part of this mess (the celebrity lion, the bad hunting practices, the missed shot) aren’t swaying any of the current or potential trophy hunters out there, because they all assume that they’d do it better.

When you take the bungling and the cheating out of the equation, and the sense of outrage that anyone dare be so self-indulgent as to spend $50,000 to shoot a rare animal in Africa, you are left with hunting vs non-hunting.

But most everyone who is commenting about this is very careful to draw a line of distinction between this $50,000 fiasco and “regular” hunting. That sets us up for a trophy-hunting vs meat-hunting showdown.

Here’s my problem: what meat-hunting is, for nearly all of middle class America, translates to this, “Of course I’ll eat it. And that makes it okay that what I really want is the thrill of the kill and a 10 point buck’s head in my living room.”

If you doubt me–if you think it’s about putting meat on the table–we could sit down and figure out the cost per pound of venison or bear, once licenses, and equipment are figured in.

I personally know people who hunt regularly. What they tell me is, “I love being outdoors and seeing the animals.”

Go outdoors then. Take a fucking camera.

[I apologize for the “fucking.” Not because I don’t swear like that, but because it injects more heat into my thoughts than I wanted to. I’m leaving it, though, because that IS what I said as I was figuring our what I wanted to say.]

Is it the camaraderie? Why can’t camping with your buddies be enough?

Is it the shooting? Why can’t that desire be satisfied by target-shooting, trap-shooting, trick-shooting?

Is it about running dogs (for bird hunting)? Why can’t that desire be satisfied by flyball trials, herding, agility coursing?

Is it about practicing and passing along survival skills that may become necessary if our society collapses? Do you understand that if our society collapses we’ll all be eating whatever we can catch and kill, with whatever tools we have at hand, and that it will have little to no relation to the kind of hunting that you do in season, with your guns and bows? [Fast birds, deer and bear are not likely to be options once the ammunition runs out.]

What I’m not hearing is an admission that there’s more to it. How much of the desire to hunt is about peer pressure, and tradition, and proving yourself? Why are you willing to yield to those kinds of pressure?

And if it’s not that stuff, than what is it inside you that wants to kill the animal personally?

That’s a serious question. I lack any desire to kill. To me, it’s a grim, unpleasant necessity sometimes. (Yes, I have intentionally killed small animals. I killed mice for snake food for some years. I’ve killed other animals to end their suffering.)

Hunting for anything other than needed food is pleasure hunting, just like what the dentist does. And I don’t get it.

If we are capable of hating this dentist so much, how is it that we regularly give Uncle Jack a pass for his annual deer hunting trip?

This is trivial, in some ways, compared to all the other ills of the world, except I have this creeping suspicion that it’s not. This overblown, sensational story is lightning in a bottle. This is about privilege and resentment. This is about the ability of a society to shape itself and to censure individuals who step out of line. This is about seeking understanding of the other side … or refusing to do that.

I’ve been trying to see and accept the other side my whole life. I have grown up in a state that approves of hunters. I have hunters in my family. I have friends who hunt.

I’m tired of the explanations for hunting that I’ve received.

What I see is a continuum that includes my duck hunting neighbors AND my lion-baiting neighbor. What is the difference? Why are we willing to crucify the dentist and accept the rest?”

PS: I was going to post some photos of hunters posing with their kills from Flickr’s Creative Commons, but doing that seems a little too similar to what the wider internet is doing to the dentist. My point would not have been to shame individuals, but to illustrate my biggest question to hunters:

Why are you smiling?

It’s a real question, not snark. I genuinely don’t understand.

And is there anything else you could do (like the activities I listed above) that could give you the positive feelings you get when you hunt? If so, why not do those things instead? 

An art car at Cub. (I love my life.)


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The owner came out of Cub to find me circling her vehicle, taking snapshots.

I told her I liked her car, and that I thought it was very personal.

She told me:

“A while ago, I decided to get rid of almost all of my stuff. I wanted to have only what I really needed. I was ruthless with most things, but I kept one box full of mementos.

“For a time, I lived in this car, and I was crowed, but I kept my box of keepsakes in the trunk. One day, when I was staying at a wayside rest, I got the idea to make a peace sign on the hood with my marbles.

“Now all of the things I couldn’t get rid of are attached to the car.

“Eventually the car will die and I’ll have to junk it. That’s how I’ll let go of these final things.”

She also told me she’s spent a fortune on adhesives, and that something called ‘Marine Goop’ is the best.

I’m looking at my trusty Toyota Tacoma with speculation.

Our distant future, glimpsed through a door.

Busy week. We’re all coming off the bustle of a holiday weekend and, as I mentioned on Monday, my husband’s car was rear-ended on Sunday afternoon. I haven’t had much time to go out looking for photographic opportunities, so I took a little time tonight to tweak an existing photo into an image suitable for postaweek.

It just so happens that I took a lucky photograph the night before this week’s photo prompt — “door” — was announced. It was a pretty boring shot in reality, but I’ve cropped it and played with some filters to make it look more like the way I perceived it when I was inspired to snap the pic.

come into the bar

I love being on the patio of a bar or coffee shop, and I don’t usually pay much attention to whatever might be going on in the building, but on this particular night a really good blues band was playing inside. I tried to sort of translate the auditory glow that was pouring out into the evening by making both a black & white version and a color-saturated version, then merging the two.


This bar is called Hoolihan’s, and it’s just a neighborhood joint, located a couple of blocks off the main drag that runs through a pretty, historic town. It’s a bit run-down, even a little dive-y. They serve a lot of beer, strong single-pour drinks, and overpriced Heggie’s pizza, which they bake in what amounts to a large toaster oven. Most nights there is a local band. The regulars are friendly, middle-aged working folks, many of whom live within walking distance of the pub.

The upper floor of the building is an apartment.

Someday, when my husband retires, we want to own, operate and live in a place just like it.

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the Door prompt  from others:

(I’ll add more as I have time to browse, so feel free to check back.)

No Naked Visitors | no prostitutes at this address | (I sense a theme here … or maybe these are the ones that are catching my eye because it’s late and I’m tired) | where does this one go?Chitradurga Fort | Green Doors | the leper’s door | maybe I’d disappear if I stepped through it | Once There Was a Door | guess which city these doors are in | check out the light captured in the last one |  barn door | Abandoned and Forgotten | the window painter’s vana scary door in a hotel (!) |

This Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: July 6 – 12.

If you follow me on twitter or FB, you already know this, but I thought I’d share here anyway:

The Ogre-Mobile was rear-ended at speed on Sunday afternoon. My husband is all right; alas poor Yaris is not.

crash w

It’s likely to be a tough week as we deal with car juggling and repairs
… and I was already behind on stuff.
Plus, I’ve got a lot of grateful mucking to do on my beloved.
If you’re waiting on something from me, please forgive the additional delay.
Now back to your regular M & M Media post.


Creepy Doll | song by Jonathan Coulton | video by John Ink

This week I’m most intrigued by the song & video above.
(My Ogre was actually the one who found it and brought it to my attention.)
Beyond that I guess I’ll go with:

movie poster selfless



We have a quiet week this time around. Nothing caught my eye on Netflix or in Redbox. As always, you can check for items I’ve featured in recent weeks by visiting Macabre & Mysterious Media links.


Self/less (2015) PG-13

In general release on Friday, July 10th.
Ben Kinsley and Ryan Reynolds. This one looks good to me.
On IMDb here.

The Gallows (2015) R

In general release Friday, July 10th.
I’m so tired of just about everything I see in this trailer: urban legends, a teenage cast, found footage. Bleh.
On IMDb here.

I’m going to leave the following advice here until Inside Out leaves the theaters. It’s that good.


If you can, go when the theater has a mixed audience of adults (male & female) and kids. For more thoughts about this movie, visit its updated listing here.


No interesting premiers this week either. I told you it was quiet. I did take some time this weekend to watch last week’s premiers, Zoo and Humans. (You can check out my updated thoughts about these two shows and the movie, Max, here.)


Recent Macabre & Mysterious Media links 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. Good (or great) work that lives up to its potential.

The pond is a muse that saved my sanity.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge theme is “muse”.  To me, a muse is anything that inspires me to do or to feel or to be.

For the purposes of this postaweek, I decided to gather up some photographs of the pond behind our apartment building. These shots are each taken from basically the same vantage point, our balcony.

Our windows all face this pond, so it’s the first thing I see every morning when I wake up, it is present in my life as I go about my day, and its reflective surface often lulls me to sleep. Seeing it there, with all its changing moods, often inspires me to take a photo.

This, then, is a “do” muse … but it’s more than that.


The pond is also a “be” muse. It has helped me to be content as I adjusted to an entirely new lifestyle.

When my husband lost his job, at the tail end of the The Great Recession, we were forced to move from our little farm in the country to an apartment in a first-ring suburb of St. Paul. It was a terrible time, even though the decision was right for our family. I was particularly devastated by the thought of losing my daily interactions with the wildlife that regularly visited our property.

(Sometimes, those interactions were inside our house! We were victim to an annual invasion of mice in the fall, for example. At least field mice are cuter than regular house mice.)

We chose the building where we now live based on its affordability, its location, and its pet policy. (Our dog is 50+ pounds.) I’m sure we would have taken one of the units on the other side of the building (the side that overlooks the parking lot and a major freeway) but the only two-bedrooms available at the time were on the pond side.

Moving to this particular apartment was a practical choice, but it was also incredibly lucky.

When we were preparing to leave the house, it never occurred to me that there was a place, such as our current apartment, where I could learn to love all the perks of city life, while still having access to nature every day.

(And I don’t miss the mouse roommates at all.)


Our pond is shallow. It rises and falls from one year to the next, depending on weather. It’s a habitat for all sorts of critters. At first I thought it would host just waterfowl and mosquitoes, but a few days of observation revealed an intricate, well-populated ecosystem.

I saw muskrats, raccoon, turtles — even an occasional jumping fish. The waterfowl was so much more than I expected. Sure, there were “just” Canada geese and mallards, but there were also wood ducks, teals, egrets, bald eagles, and a great blue heron.

The first time I looked out at the far shore and saw a deer, I cried with gratitude. Later, when I saw a red fox playing along the bank, I laughed. Back on the farm, I would have had to worry about my chickens. Here, in the city, I can just enjoy the sight.

By the way, I honestly don’t have any still photos of the pond in the winter. (Most of you know how I feel about that horrible season.) I did find a short video, though:


This theme is fascinating to me, and I’d like to do at least a couple of different versions. It would be fun to create galleries that capture some of the muses that inspire me to write. I’d do at least one comprised of haunting images and another of bookish things.


My art is really writing, not photography, so — for the moment — I’d better get back to my book project. I need another thousand words before I sleep.

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click here to visit the Post a Week home.

Here are some of my favorite entries for the Muse prompt  from others:

(I’m still adding as I have time to browse the entries, so feel free to check back.)

Black Hills of South Dakota | The SunJakarta cityscape (esp. the storm shot) | It’s my Park! | Graves | As long as you keep that fire alive… | Weird is Beautiful | Emily, a guiding genius | many moods of a cute dog | buskers | looking up | a perfect shot of beach, sea and sky |


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