Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Re-Animator Made Me Live Again

I'm not sure this hilariously gory film is what Lovecraft had in mind when he wrote the story (Herbert West-Reanimator) this movie is based on, but who knows, maybe it is. After an unusually glum day at work I needed a pick me up and found this on my list for streaming at Netflix and hoped it would raise my spirits.

It did!

A lot of low budget horror movies were released in the 80s but I think I missed this one. It has the bloody gore and dark comedy that reminds me of the anything goes attitude of the 80s but found so rarely in recent decades. Back in the 80s, freedom and fun were bountiful before the push for celibacy in reaction to the AIDS epidemic, a nasty economic repression and the media's obsession with political correctness that turned the 90s and onward into a pit of repressive gloom and doom reflected in Grunge and Alternative Rock. Gone was the fun, in came the fear. 

Experiencing Re-Animator erased my mental numbness and brought me back to life!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Unbreakable (2000)

Unbreakable, written, directed and produced by M. Night Shyamalan, is a unique and very clever superhero movie. I didn't even realize it was a superhero movie until it was more than halfway over. The superhero, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) isn't just reluctant, he has no clue at all that he's not an ordinary man until Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) makes his acquaintance. It doesn't seem to occur to him that he's never been sick or injured until Elijah points it out. David has to ask his wife Audrey (Robin Wright) if she ever remembers him getting sick. 

David is depressed and withdrawn, his marriage failing, and doesn't want to be bothered with this stranger, Elijah, trying to convince him that he has the ability to mentally pick criminals and dangerous people out of a crowd, even though he does so every day as a security guard. David's son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) believes Elijah's theory and pressures David to test his superpowers. After Joseph helps him test his strength on the weight bench and lifts the barbell loaded with every weight in the house plus a few gallons of paint David begins to believe it might be true. 

David takes Elijah's advice and goes to a crowded public place and finds that when people brush up against him he can psychically see misdeeds and evil acts that the people have performed. He follows one evil doer and makes a heroic rescue, ceasing his reign of terror on an innocent family, unfortunately too late to save the lives of the parents.

This superhero story is unique because the character who enlightens the superhero to his powers is a villain who only became a villain to draw out anyone possessing the characteristics of a superhero. 

I like the Unbreakable David Dunn because he's an average working class guy who slowly and quietly awakens to his superpowers and once he masters them, remains the same low-key family man. His change of identity didn't change his priorities or his perspective at all, only making him happier by giving his life more meaning.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fall Out Boy - Uma Thurman (and The Munsters)

When I first heard the song Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy, I was so delighted to hear the sampling of the theme song to The Munsters, one of the great gothic TV shows of the 60s. Imagine the great Uma Thurman in her dance scene in Pulp Fiction or her ass kicking as The Bride in the Kill Bill movies set to the tune of The Munsters theme song! Every time I hear Fall Out Boy's Uma Thurman I think of Uma Thurman dancing in a Lily Munster-esque dress

Only Uma Thurman could pull that off and make it so very cool!

The Village (2004): Putting Your Fear to Good Use

Imagine almost everything you know in your life is suddenly revealed to you as a lie by the man you trusted the most. This is what happens to Ivy Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard) in The Village, written, directed and produced by M. Night Shyamalan. The man, Edward Walker (William Hurt), her father, who she looked up to as a trusted leader turns out to be the most cowardly man in the village - a mock 19th century village he created with a group of peers who had all experienced devastating personal losses through acts of violence in the outside world. He is so cowardly, in fact, that he allowed his beloved daughter to lose her eyesight rather than risk taking her into the outside world to seek modern medical treatment. 

Ivy, unlike her father, puts in a request to the elders to pass through the forbidden forest and risk being killed by the people-eating monsters (resembling the big bad wolf of fairy tales) to get the medicine her beloved fiance, Lucian Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), needs to survive an infection brought on by stab wounds inflicted by the distraught and confused village idiot, Noah (Adrien Brody) who is jealous over the news of Ivy and Lucian's engagement. Earlier in the movie Lucian is denied the same request in hope that Ivy's eyesight could be corrected and Noah's mental problems could be alleviated with the proper medicine. 

Ivy's journey through the forest alone with her imagination (after being abandoned by her two terrified excorts) is probably one of the best examples of human strength and bravery to ever be put on film. Even though her father revealed the truth that the monsters were fake, her mind couldn't let go of the possibility that her father was wrong. Perhaps she lost faith in her father's word when he admitted the huge lie. Perhaps it was just the fact that she was a blind girl alone in the woods! Still, she overcame great physical and mental obstacles by using her greatest fear, the loss of her beloved soul mate, Lucian.

Human beings can overcome any fear with the proper motivation, usually in the form of an even greater fear.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought I had seen this movie, but I think I had only seen the last few minutes as I passed through the room where someone else had it on. The ultra fake 19th century way of speech was annoying, but now I understand the relevance after seeing the whole movie.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Happening (Movie)

I found this movie in the $5 bin at Walmart. What a bargain! The Happening (2008) written, produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan was so scary I was still creeped out a half hour after it ended. I watched it alone in my living room and afterward felt the need to go somewhere public just to force myself back to reality and wash the creepy feeling out of my head. The greatest thing about getting so creeped out is what caused it-a toxin that causes the victims to lose control of their minds and commit suicide. No monsters. No aliens from another planet. No psycho killers. No vampires, ghosts or werewolves. How do you run from something you can't see, hear or feel?

Even during a few humorous scenes, the creep factor never relented. A greenhouse owner played by Frank Collison had a theory that the toxin was being emitted by plants that had evolved into beings that could communicate with each other and release toxins to intentionally murder humans as a specie that is destroying the earth. The theory seemed insane along with his speaking politely to the plants in his greenhouse. Later in the movie the main character, Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) spoke nervously to a house plant like a potential victim would speak to a crazed maniac waving a gun only to find that the plant was plastic.

Looking desperately for a remote location to wait out the attack, Elliot, his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) and Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez), the eight-year-old daughter of Elliot's recently deceased best friend Julian (John Leguizamo) come upon the farm house of Mrs. Jones (Betty Buckley) who, in my opinion, is scarier than the toxin. She allows them to spend the night but won't allow them to explain why they need a place to stay. She doesn't want any contact with the outside world or any news about its situation. She dies as crazily as she lived thanks to the mind blowing toxin.

I loved M. Night Shyamalan's movie Sixth Sense (1999) but wasn't impressed with The Village (2004) so I wasn't interested in following what Shyamalan had to offer after that, but Wahlberg and Deschanel and the $5 price lured me in and I'm glad of it. I'll give The Village another chance.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catherine Earnshaw Linton: A Woman to Die For

Catherine, a spoiled selfish, domineering teenager, captured the hearts and minds of the most desirable young men in the neighborhood. Heathcliff, the poor but really hot guy, who she truly loved, and Edgar Linton, the wimpy rich society guy. They both declared Catherine to be the love of their lives. Catherine expected to keep them both and didn't see anything wrong with demanding that they share her affections. She believed she should be able to have them both at her convenience and that they should accommodate her wishes without complaint.

Every time I read Wuthering Heights I have a different opinion of Catherine. I've felt sorry for her for choosing money and position over love. I've felt disgusted at her mindless selfishness and blaming everyone else for her misery. Also, except for the whole dying young part, I've felt envious of her power to attract and sustain the affections of both men, regardless of her bad behavior. I've also felt anger toward her as a woman who had the best position a woman of her time and upbringing could have, but didn't appreciate it. 

Here's the best of what she had: the jewel, the gem, the gold ring; the love of Heathcliff.

Everyone else in the novel describes him as a goblin, a devil, inhuman, evil, a monster because of his perverse cruelty and violence and obvious inability to feel any compassion or empathy whatsoever. The only person he never harmed or threatened was Catherine. In fact, she was the only one who could persuade him to go easy on someone he wanted to hurt. She was special.

Isn't that really every woman's dream? To be the one special person, peerless, revered above all others throughout eternity by the man of her choice with the power to drive a man mad after her death and search obsessively for a glimpse of her ghost and look forward to the day when he will die and join her forever.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Joy of Writing Your Own Obituary

Obituaries are similar to resumes in that they describe a person's accomplishments, education and work history; however, a resume is written as a greeting with the intention of impressing a perspective hiring manager while an obituary is written as a retrospective and farewell. Both written to portray an individual in the best light. The two documents are even set up the same way with their name, town of residence, origin at the beginning and contact information at the end. So why not write your own obit?

From experience assisting with my father's funeral arrangements, the funeral director can be very helpful guiding the bereaved with the wording and the design of the obituary. The funeral home places the ad with the newspaper which charges by the word count. When a loved one passes on, the family is emotionally shattered and not in a position to easily make decisions, never mind compose a piece of literature. I know I was still trying to accept that my father was gone, never mind remember what he did decades ago or which high school he graduated from. My mother did a wonderful job writing the obituary but she would have been relieved if she only had to hand a copy that my father had written himself to the funeral director.

The first page I turn to in a newspaper or news magazine is the obit page, not only to learn who died and if I knew them, but to read about some of the fascinating lives that have recently ended. Some people accomplish so many diverse things during their life it doesn't seem possible to have been done in only one lifetime. Others, who live to be very old, seem to have done pretty much nothing except exist. Maybe they accomplished much more in their life but their grieving children can only remember that they were a good parent and will be deeply missed.

Because of this, I think it's a good idea for everyone to write their own obituary to make sure that everyone is remembered for what really matters to them. The good thing about writing your own obituary is that you're already dead when it's published so you won't care about anyone's opinion unlike a resume that you write specifically to impress people. Another important point is you get to pick the photo that accompanies the text. Writing your own obituary also takes some stress off your loved ones by relieving them of one of the many tasks involved in planning your funeral.

Some people find the idea of writing their own obituary uncomfortable and creepy. I find it logical and practical. Depending on how much the family wants to spend, they can add anything they think you might have missed. If you want it done right and want to relieve your loved ones of the task, write your own obituary. Who else knows more about your accomplishments than you do?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff Returns

In Chapter 10, Catherine is beside herself with delight when Heathcliff returns after three years absence. No one has seen or heard from him in all that time. Although newlyweds, Ellen explains that Catherine and Edgar are already solidly settled at Thrushcross Grange as man and wife, Catherine assuming her new role as mistress of the house and fitting in quite nicely except for spells of quiet sadness, which Edgar attributes to her illness that occurred after Heathcliff's disappearance and took the life of both of the elder Lintons.

Ellen's description of Heathcliff's physical improvements from rough dirty farm boy to handsome, fiery-eyed, athletic gentleman are a vivid constrast to Edgar's small, pale politeness. Catherine absolutely gushes at Heathcliff's unexpected presence much to her husband, Edgar's dismay. When Catherine leaves Edgar's side and her wifely duties at the tea table to clasp Heathcliff's hands while he callously exposes his negative feelings about their marriage, his plan to get even with her brother for his abuse and his admission that his years away to make his fortune were all for her, Edgar still struggles to act the polite gentleman even though he's been seriously insulted in his own parlor. 

Catherine, on the other hand, sits at the table with Heathcliff, completely ignoring her husband as though he doesn't exist and is so excited she can't eat or drink or keep her eyes off Heathcliff. Later, she can't sleep because of her ongoing rapture over Heathcliff's return and wakes Ellen to tell her how upset Edgar was at her wanting to discuss Heathcliff's vast improvements. She can't understand why her husband isn't happy for her happiness.

I imagine this was a pretty sexual and shocking scene when it was first published. Women weren't believed to be able to feel sexual excitement or passionate urges, but live their dutiful and oppressed lives with the main emphasis being making their husbands happy and comfortable. Catherine emotionally and physically ignores her husband as she glows with excitement over Heathcliff's presence. She even fears his visit is a dream that she'll be doomed to wake up from and soaks him in with all of her senses. She is high on Heathcliff.

This scene is one of my favorites from the book exposing the dull depressing, although leisurely, existence of the well to-do ladies of country society in England in the early 19th century. It hints at the lack of emotional, physical and sexual freedom they had in spite of their wealth and ease.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wuthering Heights: 5 Pre-Burial Necessities

Although there are several deaths in the novel, Catherine Linton's death and funeral arrangements are the most detailed and allow us to learn a little about what a wealthy 19th century funeral was like. Here are five things required for a decent funeral:

1. Display the uncovered coffin in the drawing room, in case the deceased is not really dead. This    gives the recently deceased the ability to climb out of the coffin and avoid being buried alive.

2. Someone to sit with the body in case the deceased isn't really dead and regains consciousness. This type of body guard can watch for signs of life and give the recovering stiff some aid in either climbing out of the coffin or a glass of water, etc. They can also protect the body from vandalism or perverts.

3. Lots of flowers and potpourri to cover the stench of the rotting corpse.

4. Drapery around the face of the deceased. The wealth of the family probably determines how elaborate the drapery around the corpse and viewing room is displayed.

5. Adorn the corpse with a locket containing a lock of hair from a loved one.This way, a little piece of the loved one is with the deceased for eternity.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Night Gallery (1971): H. P. Lovecraft's Cool Air

Even sub-freezing temperatures and a strong will can't stop the inevitable decay of human flesh kept alive beyond its expiration date. Dr. Munoz was finally dragged to his death after existing longer than he should have. In Episode 12 of Season 2 of Rod Serling's Night Gallery as seen on Hulu Plus, Serling's teleplay adds a main character not found in H. P. Lovecraft's short story of the same name. Did Serling write the part especially for the talented and lovely Barbara Rush?

Lovecraft's story is told by a man with a heart problem who lives downstairs from the mysterious Dr. Munoz while Serling's narrator is the daughter of one of Dr. Munoz's former colleagues. Writing for television, Serling left out a lot of the gore and creepiness that Lovecraft so skillfully applied to the story. Serling also left out Lovecraft's unflattering description of the Spanish landlady and the other tenants of the boarding house.

It is cool to see and read about problems like keeping a room cold in the summer that we take for granted now. Lovecraft used a gas powered machine filled with ammonia to keep Dr. Munoz cool enough to prevent decomposition while we would simply turn up the AC. However, the failure of the machine and the rising temperature in his room could have occurred just as easily in our time with the AC breaking down. We probably could have a new one installed before the temperature rose to lethal level though depending on how far Dr. Munoz lived from a hardware store or Walmart. 

The episode ends with Barbara Rush screaming in the bathroom as she stands over the dried out corpse of Dr. Munoz in humorous contrast to Lovecraft's gory slimy trail that leads from the bathroom to the couch ending in a puddle of something indescribably horrible.

Wuthering Heights: The Heat in the Kitchen

Whether the action is taking place at Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange, the most dramatic scenes that change the course of the story and alter the passionate relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine occur in the kitchen as told by Ellen Dean to Mr. Lockwood, the current tenant at Thrushcross Grange. Not only is the kitchen an important setting for displays of emotional outbursts and revelations, but the fire is always mentioned and always present in one form or another.

Possibly the most famous scene in the novel is when Catherine, unaware that Heathcliff is in the room, reveals to Ellen her engagement to Edgar Linton. After Heathcliff quietly exits in humiliation and heartbreak after hearing Catherine say it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff, she goes on to describe her deep and infinite love for Heathcliff as compared to her, mostly, superficial love of Edgar's status and money. The fire is strong with light and warmth until Catherine realizes that Heathcliff overheard the first part of her speech and has run off into the oncoming storm that strikes the kitchen roof causing bricks to fall from the chimney into the fire. Heck, yeah! Catherine, cold and soaked from standing exposed in the storm as she desperately called and searched for Heathcliff, insists on lying corpse-like by the dying fire until morning.

Fast forward three years to another "fiery" kitchen scene that alters the path of the story when Catherine pits Heathcliff against her now husband, Edgar, in the kitchen at Thrushcross Grange. Edgar is appalled at Ellen's news that Heathcliff had just forced a liplock on his sister, Isabella, in the garden and rushes to the kitchen where Heathcliff is being scolded by Catherine over the same incident. Edgar accuses Catherine of allowing Heathcliff to behave so abominably and she's insulted by Edgar's accusation. As Edgar gives Ellen the nod to get him some backup to have Heathcliff removed from the property, Catherine shoves Ellen out of the way, locks the door and throws the key into the fire forcing her husband to confront Heathcliff man-to-man.

The fire rages as Catherine and Heathcliff taunt Edgar over his physical display of fear and cowardice until Edgar unexpectedly punches Heathcliff in the throat! Once again, we see Heathcliff exit the kitchen in a rage, breaking the lock with a fireplace implement leaving Catherine in a raging fiery state herself as she races to the parlor, intent on punishing both of her men for the anguish and upset they've caused her. A spoiled nineteen year old Catherine now rants in some of the most beautiful prose ever written that her life is now ruined!

And just like Jesus in his tomb, three days pass before the story comes back to life with Catherine's realization that she can no longer remain in her half-dead, zombie-like existence, Heathcliff's revenge and Edgar's worse nightmare come to life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Emily Dickinson: Forget! The Lady with the Amulet


Forget! The lady with the Amulet
Forget she wore it at her Heart
Because she breathed against
Was Treason twixt?

Deny! Did Rose her Bee—
For Privilege of Play
Or Wile of Butterfly
Or Opportunity—Her Lord away?

The lady with the Amulet—will face—
The Bee—in Mausoleum laid—
Discard his Bride—
But longer than the little Rill—
That cooled the Forehead of the Hill—
While Other—went the Sea to fill—
And Other—went to turn the Mill—
I'll do thy Will—

Does an amulet, worn as a charm to protect the wearer from evil, work if the person wearing it is up to no good herself? Does she think the protection of the amulet allows her to pursue immoral acts and be safe from the potential consequences? I think the first stanza of the poem is a warning for whoever the poem is intended to avoid the lady who wears the amulet over her heart because her heart is not true.

The second stanza continues the warning and urges the reader to deny any invitations to join the lady who is devising some scheme to implement behind her "lord" or possibly husband while he is away. I like to translate this stanza as an attractive, alluring lady trying to seduce a young man while her husband is away. It probably isn't, since Dickinson was a very moral, Christian woman, but it's fun to think so.

In the third stanza the speaker goes on to say that the lady "will fade" either her beauty will fade or the memory of her will fade or even the desire to succumb to her charms. The scheme that seems so exciting and tempting now will be gone forever after such a brief, possibly unfulfilling, experience. If her husband discovers the truth, she'll be cast out.

The remaining lines seem to refer to bodies of water, active in different ways for different purposes. Again, I like to think these passing bodies of water refer to past lovers of whoever these words are intended. The final line, "I'll do thy will" is the speaker promising to fulfill the needs of the reader as the former lovers have failed to do and the lady with the amulet falsely promises.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Annabelle Doll: Scary!

Annabelle, the movie prequel to The Conjouring was a pretty good movie if you aren't watching for the sole purpose of being scared out of your wits. The story of how the doll becomes possessed takes place in 1970 and the movie scenery and lifestyle of that time is portrayed really well, even showing the lead character and doll owner, Mia, watching TV shows of the era as she performs her housewifely chores while awaiting the birth of her first baby.

I won't spoil it in case you haven't seen the movie, but the evil possession of the hideous-to-begin-with doll involves demon worship, violence, blood, murder and suicide. That's pretty much all you get for bloody violence, but the creep factor is definitely there in evil spirits roaming around the house, pursuits by demons, music and camera shots that tease you into expect a scare.

There are a couple of funny scenes such as the scene where Mia is presented with the Annabelle doll by her husband, John. She's touched by his thoughtfulness as she's been searching for this exact doll to complete her collection. It's got to be one of the ugliest dolls ever made, but Mia fawns over it like it's the molded image of Grace Kelly. Check out the Raggedy Ann doll the movie is based on which is imprisoned in Ed and Lorraine Warren's Occult Museum.

Another funny scene is when the doll or demon starts a fire in the kitchen of Mia and John's apartment while Mia is home alone. All four burners of the stove turn on high igniting a container of Jiffy Pop until it bursts into flames and quickly spreads beyond the stove area. The funny part is that Mia is in another room, but would have smelled the fire long before it got to the stage where she had to try running for her life. Who doesn't smell burning popcorn long before it sets the kitchen on fire? 

I was pleased with the high quality of this movie.  Keep those scary doll movies coming!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff the Gypsy

Ellen Dean describes how Heathcliff came to live at Wuthering Heights. Mr. Earnshaw, on a trip to Liverpool, sixty miles from the Heights, found Heathcliff alone in the streets, speaking a foreign language. Rather than stay in the city to try to find his people, Mr. Earnshaw brought him home as though the little boy was a stray cat. His wife scolded him for bringing home another mouth to feed and wanted to be rid of him.

Bronte, by making Heathcliff a gypsy and not, for example, a white hired farm hand, allowed for more reasons for the Earnshaws and their neighbors to dislike him. It also accentuated Heathcliff's position as an outsider, forced into a household that didn't want him, by the master of the house whose decisions were final. Not only was he unrelated to them by blood and treated as a favorite son by Earnshaw, but he was dark skinned and, until he learned English, no one could understand his language. Soon, however, Catherine's heart opened to Heathcliff even more than her father's.

According to the website Gypsy Roma Traveller Leeds gypsies were historically hated in England and even put to death in the 16th century just for being gypsies. There were laws banning them from England. Apparently, gypsies were given the same low status as vermin in those days. It seems like they received the same treatment! Extermination or expulsion.

Mr. Earnshaw never adopted Heathcliff as a son, only as sort of a pet and even though Catherine described him as a soul mate, she chose to marry the wealth and status of Edgar Linton with the plan of keeping Heathcliff with her to improve his position as well as her own. She must have been thinking of Heathcliff in terms of a pet herself, since rules of marriage don't allow for wives to keep lovers in the house.

Would Earnshaw have adopted Heathcliff and given him a last name and a legal place in the family if he weren't a gypsy?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Willow: Still A Good Movie
What a bargain! I found a copy of Willow (1988) on VHS at the local Goodwill store for 50 cents! I hadn't seen Willow since the 80s, but I loved it just as much as I did the first time. I barely remembered any of it except a dwarf (Willow) having to save a baby and Val Kilmer (Madmartigan) helped. So, it was almost like seeing it for the first time. 

The story was created by George Lucas (Star Wars) and the movie was directed by Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons) so how could it not be good? Willow himself was very Frodo-ish from Lord of the Rings but the story was much less complicated and it all wrapped up neatly in a nice happy ending for all who deserved it and those who died in battle died for a good cause, saving the world from the evil queen. 

I just love dwarfs, fairies, witches and sorcerers and the like, and it had lots of that as well. Simple people in simple times, just wanting to live in peace and harmony makes a good story as they overcome the evil forces that want to rob them of their basic needs and plunge them into misery. It's always great when the hero is a modest character with the odds against him or her, but somehow manages to conquer evil, save the world and realize their strengths. 

Wouldn't it be great if we all could be heroes?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Terminator and Michael Myers

I recently found a copy of the original Terminator movie on VHS at the local Goodwill Store for 99 cents so I grabbed it. Netflix has Terminator 2 but not the original movie. Not having seen it since it first came out on video, I didn't remember much of it so I needed to see it before Terminator: Genisys comes out. I remember at the time (1984) the special effects and computer graphics were amazing and something we hadn't seen before on the big screen. It seems pretty lame now, of course. But it was great to see it again as though it was the first time. 

Linda Hamilton was so young and had some serious Joan Jett hair going on! At the time I thought she was kind of old and plain. I didn't remember Bess Motta as her roommate either, not that she had a very big part. I religiously followed Bess Motta on the 20 Minute Workouts back in the mid 80s on a Boston TV channel. She instructed us to keep going during the commercial break which usually consisted of at least one ad for the Boston Bruins. She was also on the remake of The Monkees in the later 80s and then disappeared from my TV except for my 20 Minute Workout VHS. 

When the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was driving the stolen police car in pursuit of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) did he resemble Michael Myers to anyone else? His eyebrows were shaved off and he had really pasty-looking makeup on his face and all I could think of was Michael Myers from the original Halloween movie. The two killers were also just as obsessed with killing and just as relentless in their pursuits. 

Where the Terminator was a cyborg created to kill, Michael Myers was the embodiment of evil, where in our culture, killing seems to be the most unforgiving and serious of sins and/or crimes.The first car the Terminator steals in his search for Sarah Connor is a station wagon very similar to the one Michael Myers steals from the sanitarium.  Michael Myers might just as well have been a cyborg the way he kept rising from apparent total destruction to create another sequel. 

The similarities were erased when the Terminator started wearing sunglasses to hide his naked laser eye after crashing the police car. He also traded in the cloth blazer that made him look like Herman Munster from the back to the leather jacket, better for riding a motorcycle. He could definitely give Michael Myers a lesson in fashion.

Crawling With Spiders

After my neighbor kindly demolished an old rotting wooden playhouse in my back yard, I set to disassembling it in order to pile the pieces on the curb for the town's annual clean-up day. Only about a week had passed after my neighbor tore the structure down before I set to pulling it apart to neatly stack on the curb. My only tools were a claw hammer, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a utility knife. So it took quite a while.

Spiders thrive in woody damp dark areas such as under and among the rubble of the playhouse. It only took a week for spiders to take up full occupency. The wood was crawling with them. Every broken section I lifted produced at least one long-legged crawly spider. As a person who doesn't fear spiders and even allows them to live peacefully undisturbed in certain corners of my house, I didn't really pay any attention at first. As I was diligently prying slats from framing and pulling out long rusty nails, I felt a sharp pinch on my Deet drenched arm and looked to find one of my spider friends cruising along my bicep. It bit me!

Reflexively, I flicked it off my arm and where it landed, I don't know, so I lifted my hammer and killed the next one I saw. I sought vengeance for the unjust behavior of a spider by killing one of his likeness no matter how innocent. Finding that I can make a comparison between any life event and either Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights or The Walking Dead, I thought of Heathcliff forcing young innocent Cathy to marry his sickly son Linton in order to gain ownership of Thrushcross Grange because he hated her father Edgar for marrying his true love and soul mate and treating him like a lowly servant.

Thankfully, the spider bite was nothing but a little pinch that didn't cause any skin reaction or illness on my part, so I was able to finish the job only slightly delayed by more spiders harmlessly crawling down my shirt and up my pants.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Horrible Boss: Catherine Earnshaw Linton

Growing up with the Earnshaw children, Hindley and Catherine, wasn't too bad for Ellen (Nelly) Dean while her mother worked as the Earnshaw's housekeeper, but after Hindley and Catherine's parents died and Ellen took her mother's position after her death things went downhill fast. Once Hindley's wife died and he took up drinking he became violent and unpredictable. Nelly would unload his gun to avoid being shot. He held a knife to her face ordering her to open her mouth so he could shove it down her throat. There's a boss to die for!

Just before this scene Ellen was pinched and slapped by Catherine for not leaving the room when ordered. Then when Hindley's son began to cry as a reaction to Ellen's tears, Catherine shook him until he "waxed livid" and he was rescued by her future fiance and husband Edgar Linton, who received a head strike for getting in her way. All in a days work at Wuthering Heights!

That next day Mr. Kenneth the village doctor diagnosed Catherine with an almost fatal fever and prescribed that no one cause her to be upset for fear of a relapse that could be fatal. This gave Catherine permission to abuse the two house servants, Ellen and Joseph, without restraint. During her period of convalescence at Thrushcross Grange, she killed Edgar's parents by sharing her illness with them which only made her more disagreeable to work for. 

After three more years of abuse on the job, Catherine married Edgar and wanted Ellen to remain her servant and accompany her to Thrushcross Grange. Although Ellen did whatever she could to avoid the move, she was finally ordered by Hindley to pack her things and go with Catherine. 

Catherine Earnshaw Linton must be one of the worst bosses ever if Ellen Dean begged to remain Hindley's servant rather than follow Catherine to her new marital home. After Hindley held a knife to her, threatened to kill her and everyone in the house and was such a violent drunk that she had to hide his son from him and try to avoid his company in general, she would still rather remain his servant than Catherine's.That says a lot about how horribly Catherine treated her employees.

It's no surprise, is it, when Ellen says, "She's fainted or dead, so much the better. Far better that she should be dead, than a lingering burden and a misery-maker to all about her." After Catherine dies and Ellen describes the peaceful look on the face of Catherine's corpse, she feels peaceful herself. Her work environment had improved tremendously!