Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Biblioholic's Bookshelf - Death Cuts the Deck by Robert L. Fish

Robert L. Fish is probably best known for his Sherlock Holmes parodies featuring Schlock Homes of Bagel Street. Ebook editions of many of the tales are available.

As Robert L. Pike, Fish penned the novel Mute Witness which became the police thriller classic Bullit with Steve McQueen. 

This one's a cozy mystery set on a cruise ship, so deck has an extra meaning. It's from 1971, published by Ace Star. 


Death Cuts the Deck by Robert L. Fish


Death Cuts the Deck



 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Biblioholic's Bookshelf - Devil Day - basis for the film Madhouse

I'm a big fan of the Vincent Price vehicle Madhouse (1974), in which he plays a horror star whose return sparks a series of murders. To me, it along with Theatre of Blood from United Artists, are interesting, seventies tales of horror and revenge that showcase Price in diverse roles. Madhouse was his final excursion with American International Pictures, however, ending an era. 

The film's based on the British novel Devilday. Editions with Price on the cover exist, but this is the British edition from Sphere that's dated September 1970. The ACE edition with the same cover is listing for $768 on Amazon right now, with $3.99 shipping, so I'm glad I got it when I did. 

 






Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Home For the Holidays - Mining Moments

 The holidays seem vast and brief at the same time. I always feel a little tinge of something when I'm putting away Christmas decorations.

I open a box to put something back and find an item I tucked away in November when I took everything else out. And it hits me that the time has passed quickly, as all time does. It immediately feels as if it was long ago the boxes were put back in storage and as if it was seconds.

I had a nice holiday season with my wife Christine, and it did stretch a bit in spite of the flash feeling. I watched a lot of movies, of course. We're working to stay safe and sane.

Happiest Season on Hulu caught my interest early on because it was not just another Christmas movie. It's LGBT-themed and semi-autobiographical for writer-director Clea DuVall, and I thought it was fun and equally poignant in its exploration of people finding their true selves while coping with family pressures.

Christine and I watched and liked The Queen's Gambit together,  at the same time everyone was. "You always have liked smart girls," Christine reminded me. 

I got on a Bond kick later in the season. Friends were rewatching and a common podcast led to several concurrent purchases of the Nobody Does it Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond. 

Several Christmases ago, a lot of Christmases actually, I got boxed sets of the films up through the Pierce Brosnans. (Later, as they came out, I got Blu-Rays of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.) During the holiday break that first year of ownership, I rewatched most of the flicks starting with Dr. No and enjoyed the disc extras with each.

That was long enough ago, the new viewing experience was fresh.  

Doing that again was a different but fun experience, and afforded a bit of "where was I when" thinking. The first ever Bond on my radar was On Her Majesty's Secret Service

My mom got her hair done in a hair salon across from the theater in the little town where I grew up. One of the younger stylists mentioned the film and that a new star was taking over. I remember looking out the window at the poster of George Lazenby on skis. Didn't  actually see a Bond other than the David Niven Casino Royale until Man With the Golden Gun, though I recall ads for Diamonds are Forever and Live and Let Die. I can't recall ads for You Only Lives Twice, but it open roughly the same time as The Dirty Dozen, for which I saw ads on TV and in magazines. I went to see that with my dad and my uncle. My uncle feared I wouldn't sit still for a feature film, but I did, half of it on the upper edge of a theater seat because my weight didn't push the folding cushion down. 

SEE ALSO: The Red Cardigan

Back to Now
In the mix this season, I kept up with The Mandalorian though there were still a few spoilers in spite of everything. You can't watch fast enough. When I saw You-Know-Who's Instagram post of himself going Shhhh, I knew what that had to mean. Clearly, as I just noted, you gotta watch it when it drops. 

I fit in a Christmas Day showing of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim as well, the classic 1951 rendering that holds up so well. It was a nice alternative to Bells of St. Mary's or It's A Wonderful Life, both of which I love but also have memorized.

We got enough cold in Williamsburg for it to feel like the holidays, though it deterred walking a bit too, which Christine and I enjoy.

Christine and I fit in a few walks to look at decorations in spite of the cold, and we got to see the Saturn/Jupiter alignment, though with streetlights and surprisingly busy sidewalks, we didn't get quite the view we were hoping for. Part of the time I thought it might be distant radio towers we were seeing before deciding that had to be the view. So it goes.

We adopted our new friend ZoĆ« right before the holidays as well, so part of the time we enjoyed the journey of her feeling more and more at home. I put Band Aids on a few bites and scratches as she was getting comfortable. 

I also spent a good bit of time shaking out shoes and looking under furniture for feather-tailed toys she enjoyed but had a tendency to lose. 

Nothing profound here, just a few notes so that I'll remember later, because with my friend Lee's death, I've realized how much days can blur together and how hard it can be to mine moments from memory. 

Once that wasn't as hard, but there were fewer years to look back on. Now there are more with more thoughts crowding the attic.




Monday, January 04, 2021

Biblioholic's Bookshelf - The Butterfly Revolution by William Butler

I suppose The Butterfly Revolution by William Butler fits best into a sub-genre somewhere along side something like Glendon Swarthout's Bless the Beasts and Children and maybe even Lord of the Flies. The cover blurb suggests that as you can see. You can also read a brief review here

The book focuses on an uprising at a summer camp and the establishment of a new, brutal order by the victorious young revolutionaries. It's copyright 1961.

It's not a slasher film, though the marketing and poster for the loose movie adaptation, Summer Camp Nightmare (1987) channels that vibe at least at a glance. 

The big name in the cast is Chuck Connors as the camp director with Melissa Reeves of Days of Our Lives in a supporting role. 

This Ballantine edition is from December, 1973, the 11th printing. Butler's other books include The House at Akiya and The Experiment. 




SEE ALSO: Biblioholic's Bookshelf- The Scarf by Robert Bloch


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