Bibliography

Posted in Bibliography, Gargoyle, Morbidezza, My Bantam Black Fay, Spectral Realms, Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society, terza rima, Thalía, The Baleful Beldam, Vampire Vigil with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

A listing of my published works and appearances.

2018

Thalía (poetry): Spectral Realms #9 [Hippocampus Press]

2019

Morbidezza (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

Gargoyle (prose poem): Spectral Realms #10 [Hippocampus Press]

My Bantam Black Fay (poetry): Speculations: Poetry from the Weird Poets Society 2018

Vampire Vigil (prose poem): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

The Baleful Beldam (poetry): Spectral Realms #11 [Hippocampus Press]

Night Hag (prose vignette): The Phantasmagorical Promenade [Planet X Publications]

The Fell Fête (tribute fiction): The Averoigne Legacy: Tribute Tales in the World of Clark Ashton Smith [Pickman’s Press]

2020

Satanic Sonata (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

Kiss of Life (prose poem): Spectral Realms #12 [Hippocampus Press]

Update 05/29/2020: Horror Host aspirations

Posted in Creature Feature, Dr Paul Bearer, horror host, The Dark Young, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, vlogs, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 29, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well this is what, the 3rd or 4th post in as many days? LOL! Anyway, I have been very thoughtful the last few days. I am not one to get on a soapbox to declaim my political opinions, but suffice it to say that I am deeply troubled by the state this country is in at the moment. I do worry about this brazen irrational non-compliance with safety measures and, as a minority (I am Hispanic, of Puerto Rican and Spanish descent), as well as an outsider personality, I am horrified by the surge of intolerance and hate crimes proliferating my newsfeed every time I go online. It feeds my anxieties and my darker thoughts, which anyone familiar with my work knows are pretty bleak already. That said, I try to distract myself with my writing and my reviews.

One thing that has been taking over my thoughts lately is my desire to start a YouTube channel for the sole purpose of putting on a sort of show or vlog where I recite poetry, either by my own hand or by poets I know and/or admire. I want to present it sort of like a Horror Host show, only instead of showing B-movies, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about authors and poets of the Weird variety. This has been a longtime dream for me, which I explored a bit in the 90s through my onstage persona with my old band The Dark Young.

But it’s roots go back much further than that. As I have mentioned here before, I think the show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein had a big influence on me as a boy, as did  Creature Feature, with Dr. Paul Bearer. I would like to do something like that, only a bit less campy, and with more mordant humor. So, no faux plugs for “Slays potato chips” or “Ghoul-Aid”… sorry Dr. Paul, it was funny to 10 year old Manny, but the grown up Manuel just can’t bring himself to do it. Besides, I want to create something with at least a modicum of class to give the pieces I hope to share some dignity and deference, which they so richly deserve.

Once people start meeting up again in earnest I will look into finding a small crew willing to help with setting up a regular space to host and record it. As I mentioned before, I have started recording little video recitations with my cell phone. The audio is pretty good, but I am having issues with the image being too dark. I need to film in the daytime for the better light, and I may switch from my narrow bedroom to my spacious living room. We’ll see. More on that as things develop.

Update 05/28/2020: The Emperor of Dreams

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Charles Schneider, Clark Ashton Smith, Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams, Darin Coelho Spring, Donald Sidney-Fryer, George Sterling, H.P. Lovecraft, Harlan Ellison, Hippocampus Press, horror host, K.A. Opperman, Ron Hilger, S.T. Joshi, Scott Connors, Updates, W.H. Pugmire, Weird Tales with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I received my DVD of the documentary Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams from Hippocampus Press. I have been wanting to get this since it came out in 2018, but just never got around to it, but as Hippocampus Press has it on sale for the moment, I decided it was time to invest. I am so glad that I did! Director Darin Coelho Spring tells the story of the weird bard and outsider artist through interviews with various weird scholars (Donald Sidney-Fryer, Scott Connors, S.T. Joshi, Ron Hilger, et.al.) writers (Harlan Ellison, W.H. Pugmire), artists (Skinner, whose art graces the DVD cover) and other Smith enthusiasts to create a fairly vivid picture of the elusive recluse of Auburn, tracing his life from his childhood, growing up in his family home in the hills of Auburn, California with no electricity or running water, leaving school as a teen to self-educate, his brief moment in the sun with his entry into the California poetry scene, his tenure in Weird Tales and, ultimately, to his final days in relative quiet comfort with home of his wife and step children.

Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961)

The film explores his apprenticeship under San Francisco auteur poet of the Bohemian sect, George Sterling, who encouraged his early forays in poetry. This fruitful relationship, unfortunately soured when Sterling tried to dissuade Smith from his tendencies toward the weird and the macabre, which Sterling dismissed as played out. It was around this time that Smith was introduced to H.P. Lovecraft, who encouraged this direction and became a valuable friend and ally until his untimely death in 1937. It was Lovecraft who encouraged Smith to try his hand at prose tales, and when he passed Smith lost the desire to continue, turning his focus back to poetry and eventually even deserting that for his idiosyncratic artwork and sculpture.

There is no film footage of Smith, but there were plenty of photos and even a recording of his distinctive resonate voice reciting some of his poems. Other partial recitations are peppered throughout by Harlan Ellison, Donald Sidney-Fryer, and in the bonus features there are full recitations by Charles Schneider, Ashley Dioses and K.A. Opperman. I highly recommend this documentary for anyone interested in learning about the one of the greatest weird talents of the 20th century.

Buy your DVD or Blu-ray at https://www.hippocampuspress.com/clark-ashton-smith/documentary

Cover art by Skinner for
Clark Ashton Smith: The Emperor of Dreams.

Parting related thought: I was so inspired after watching the documentary that I recorded myself reciting Smith’s poem Offerings to share on Facebook. Unfortunately, the video portion is really dark and murky. I need to find a way to light myself, before I bother to start a YouTube channel, so that my face isn’t lost in the shadows cast by the lamplight. I eventually want to do a show like a horror host, but with poetry and prose instead of movies. And not quite so campy, of course.

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Posted in Anne Rice, Dracula, Dracula's Daughter, Dracula's Guest, Gloria Holden, James Whale, The Vampire Chronicles, Universal Horror Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

In my last post I spoke of the story Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker, and was reminded of a draft of a review which I had begun back in 2014, and worked on over the years since, but never posted. I have wrapped it up and here it is, unbelievably, six years in the making…

Purportedly inspired by “Dracula’s Guest”, by Bram Stoker, “Dracula’s Daughter” is the 1936 sequel to the successful 1931 Universal film, “Dracula” featuring Bela Lugosi. There is little information available about the production of this film, aside from the respective IMDB and Wikipedia entries, but according to those and a few other Internet sources, there are a few commonly accepted “facts” which are frequently mentioned in the few articles I saw. Fact one, Gloria Holden, the statuesque beauty who plays the titular role, was not happy being saddled with it. Most aspiring actors loathed getting slated for Horror films and Holden was no exception. Holden’s main concern was that, like Lugosi, she would be typecast as a Horror actor and never be considered for anything else.

Gloria Holden and Bela Lugosi converse on set.

Gloria Holden and Bela Lugosi converse on set.

Ironically, even though it is the only Horror movie she ever did, it is one of the two films she is most remembered for; the other being “The Life of Emile Zola” (1937). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloria_Holden#Films -retrieved 03-18-2014]

Oddly enough, the general consensus seems to be that this worked for her, as her disdain for the role played in with the character’s self loathing. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula%27s_Daughter#Casting_retrieved 03-19-2014]

This particular aspect of the film (the self-loathing vampire) was also an inspiration for Horror novelist Anne Rice when she wrote her Vampire Chronicles.

“Dracula’s Daughter, 1934 [sic], with Gloria Holden — that’s my favorite vampire movie of all time, and the first one I saw as a child in the neighborhood theatre. There’s a great Youtube of the original Trailer. I feel [sic] in love with the metaphor of the vampire when I saw that film as a tragic, tormented outsider. I recommend the film.” [https://www.facebook.com/annericefanpage/posts/428675387184001_retrieved  03-17-2014]

Wax bust of Bela Lugosi as Dracula.

Wax bust of Bela Lugosi as Dracula.

Another “fact” is that several Universal Monster legends were originally slated to have parts in the film, including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Colin Clive, but the only one who appeared was Lugosi, after a fashion, as a waxen bust. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula%27s_Daughter#Casting_retrieved 03-18-2014]

Originally, the rights to “Dracula’s Guest” belonged to MGM, whom had purchased it from Stoker’s widow. Fearful of stepping on Universal’s toes (legally, since they owned the rights to “Dracula”) they sat on it for a few years, bouncing around script drafts until they eventually sold it to Universal. Once theirs, Universal wanted James Whale to direct it, since he had made the original Frankenstein franchise such a success with “Frankenstein” (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), but he had his eye on doing Show Boat. There is even early poster art for this version, which never came to pass. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula%27s_Daughter#Production_retrieved 03-18-14]

Early poster art for a tentative version of

Tentative poster art for an early version of “Dracula’s Daughter” with James Whale as the director. Note also that the figures look like Lugosi and a woman totally unlike Gloria Holden. Possibly they intended it to be Jane Wyatt, their first choice for the role.

The movie that we know and love now was written by Garrett Fort and bears no resemblance to Stoker’s story. “Dracula’s Guest” was basically an excised chapter from the original novel that describes an incident that befalls a traveler, presumably Jonathan Harker, on the road through Germany en route to Transylvania. Happening upon a deserted village, the traveler wishes to peruse the ruins but the coachman is insistant that they go on as it is growing late and it is Walpurgis Night, when the spirits of the dead run rampant and the Witches practice their Sabbats. The traveler scoffs at the coachman’s superstitions and sends him on his way. After a couple of hours strolling he comes upon the ruins just as a snow storm hits. Finding himself in a graveyard he tries to take refuge in a tomb which bears the inscription “Countess Dolingen of Gratz / in Styria / sought and found death / 1801. Inscribed on the back of the tomb “graven in great Russian letters” is: The dead travel fast.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula%27s_Guest_and_Other_Weird_Stories#Plot_summary_retrieved 03-18-14]

“Dracula’s Guest” by Bram Stoker [Arrow, 1966]

Basically, he enters the tomb and briefly sees what one assumes is the Countess: “In the instant, as I am a living man, I saw, as my eyes were turned into the darkness of the tomb, a beautiful woman, with rounded cheeks and red lips, seemingly sleeping on a bier.” [Stoker, Bram. “Dracula’s Guest”. The Vampire Archive. Ed. Otto Pnzler. Quercus. 2009. p. 167]

It is implied that he is saved by Dracula, who pulls him from the tomb then sits on his chest in wolf form and licks his neck to keep him warm until help arrives.

The only carry over from Stoker’s tale into the Universal movie was the idea of a female vampire, and possibly that she is a countess. Picking up from where “Dracula” left off, “Dracula’s Daughter” starts with Edward Van Sloane reprising his role as Van Helsing (albeit with a slight name change to “Von Helsing”) explaining himself to a couple of goofy bobbies who for some reason have stumbled into Carfax Abby just as Von Helsing finishes dispatching  the Count and his brides. After a brief awkward exchange that comes off as a poor Abbott and Costello routine, the Bobbies decide to contact Scotland Yard.

Subsequently, Von Sloane is sticking to his story about Dracula being a vampire, as his friends at Scotland Yard try to persuade him to change his tune to avoid murder charges. He calls for his friend Dr. Jeffrey Garth to come to his defense. Garth feels indebted to his old master and agrees to help, but is of the same mindset as the others. As a psychiatrist, he also finds Von Helsing’s talk of vampires to be a little credulous.

In the interim, a mysterious woman in a black cloak, showing only her eyes, and brandishing a bejeweled ring, hypnotizes one of the bobbies into giving up Dracula’s corpse, which is being stored at the local police station.

 

Dracula's daughter (Gloria Holden as Countess Marya Zaleska) glamors a bobbie with her ring and her hypnotic gaze.

Dracula’s daughter (Gloria Holden as Countess Marya Zaleska) glamors a bobbie with her bedazzling ring and hypnotic gaze.

She is later seen burning the corpse on a pyre, reciting a doleful incantation, which we soon learn was intended as an exorcism of Dracula’s spirit. Believing herself freed of the curse of her father’s vampirism. Unfortunately, we soon find that is not the case when her thirst for blood returns. Desperate, she seeks psychological help from Garth, whom she meets at a soiree in the home of a local socialite. Her mouthy manservant, Sandor, is not pleased with this development as he intends to have the Countess give him the gift of eternal life in payment for his loyal service. He is the devil in her ear constantly reminding her of her duty to her vampire heritage.

Despite his multiple requests for her to come clean, the Countess never directly tells Garth what the nature of her issue is, so he cannot diagnose her properly, and thus his treatment inevitably proves ineffectual. Things get really sticky when one of her victims is found to have survived an attack and although she doesn’t name her, Garth is able to surmise who the young woman’s assailant was and hotfoots it to the Countess’ Chelsea apartment to find her.

Realizing that the jig is up, the Countess decides to flee for fear of capture after a recent spree of murders is traced to her doorstep, and she decides she cannot leave without bringing along Garth to continue her therapy in Transylvania. Garth refuses to follow so she kidnaps his secretary Janet (his sassy love interest in the movie, and aggressive rival of the Countess) to secure his compliance. He of course comes to her rescue and one can surmise how things turn out for the countess and her sinister servant.

I love this movie for Holden’s excellent portrayal of the shadow haunted countess, although the screenplay itself feels a bit watered down. I would have been curious to see the original script, which was supposedly a lot more dark and decadent and vetoed by the films censors at the time. Also, the inclusion of Lugosi, at the very least in a proper cameo, would have helped give the film some gravitas.

Update 05/27/2020: Cover art for Nightmares in Yellow

Posted in Bela Lugosi, Dan Sauer, Dracula's Guest, Duane Pesice, Joseph S. Pulver Sr, Kronos Quartet, Nightmares in Yellow, Philip Glass, Russell Smeaton, Spectral Realms, Universal Horror, Walpurgis Night, World Dracula Day, Yellow Tale with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Greetings my darklings! I know, I have posted more in the last few days than I usually do in a month! But I always try to post an update when I have something pertinent to tell you, and I actually do have a genuine update to share, but first… Last night I observed World Dracula Day by watching my DVD of the 1931 Universal film adaptation, featuring Bela Lugosi, and selected the bonus option of the revamped score for the movie composed in 1998 by Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet. I think it is an improvement over the original soundtrack which never had an original score, but used excerpts from famous Romantic works.

Owing to the costs of adding an original musical score to a film’s soundtrack, no score had ever been composed specifically for the film. The music heard during the opening credits, an excerpt from Act II of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, was re-used in 1932 for another Universal horror film, The Mummy. During the theatre scene where Dracula meets Dr. Seward, Harker, Mina, and Lucy, the end of the overture to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg can also be heard as well as the dark opening of Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” in B minor. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula_(1931_English-language_film)#Music, retrieved 05/27/2020]

CD for Philip Glass’ 1998 score for the 1931 Universal film, Dracula.

I feel that Glass’ score suits the film well, with it’s brooding themes and understated arrangement.

Of the project, Glass said: “The film is considered a classic. I felt the score needed to evoke the feeling of the world of the 19th century — for that reason I decided a string quartet would be the most evocative and effective. I wanted to stay away from the obvious effects associated with horror films. With [the Kronos Quartet] we were able to add depth to the emotional layers of the film.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula_(1931_English-language_film)#1998_score]

Cover art for the collection Dracula’s Guest (1914, George Routledge & Sons )

 After that, I read the story Dracula’s Guest (1914), published two years after the death of Bram Stoker and purported to be an excised chapter from the original novel. I have discussed this story before, so I won’t get into it here. It is an entertaining yarn though, and it was a definite inspiration for my early prose poem Walpurgis Night. I have considered revamping that one and submitting it to Spectral Realms.

Speaking of submissions, one of my older submissions, which was accepted, is finally going to be seeing publication, most likely this Fall. It is my Yellow Tale story and it shall be appearing in one of the books from the two volume set Nightmares in Yellow, which were put together by Duane Pesice as a tribute to author Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. Apparently, Pesice got so many good submissions that he decided to make it into a two volume set. In his announcement of the table of contents on Facebook, Mr. Pesice included the cover art, with the illustration by Russell Smeaton and the layout designed by Dan Sauer.

Front cover art for Nightmares in Yellow, edited by Duane Pesice.

 

Update 05/26/2020: World Dracula Day!

Posted in Bram Stoker, Dracula, Powers of Darkness (1901), Valdimar Ásmundsson with tags , , , on May 26, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

1st edition of Dracula.

Happy World Dracula Day! Bram Stoker introduced his infamous vampire count to us on this day in 1897. It is his most significant legacy, as his other novels fall short of having the same impact. I have read Dracula at least twice and love it, despite its many flaws. The character of Dracula is compelling and has outlived even his own story, becoming a household name and spawning countless (see what I did there?) imitators; he is the subject of everything from myriad book, comic and film adaptations to children’s shows, toys and even breakfast cereal. The novel is a bit clunky in spots, but it has great atmosphere and the character of the count is compelling.

The count climbs down the castle wall in an a scene taken from the novel. Cover art for a 1916 edition.

In 1901 an Icelandic translation, Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness) by Valdimar Ásmundsson, was published, with Stoker’s apparent blessing, yet with major alterations in the story. Characters names were changed, the story streamlined, and salacious bits were added to spice it up a bit. This version was rediscovered in recent years and translated back to English for fans of the original to peruse. I picked up a copy a few years ago, but haven’t read it yet. Perhaps now in the quarantine, I shall.

Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula (2017, Harry N. Abrams).

Update 05/25/2020: Reopening Blues

Posted in A Blade in the Dark (1983), Bernard Rose, Candyman (1992), Clive Barker, Giallo, Lamberto Bava, S.T. Joshi, Scott J. Couturier, Spectral Realms, Stay-at-home order, Tony Todd, Updates, What We Do in the Shadows (TV series), Zachary Strupp, Zia Records with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well, now that some of the lockdown rules are being relaxed for a partial re-opening, it is time to assess which rules I shall continue to keep (for the present) and which I shall, tentatively, eschew. I am not anxious to go to any clubs or large events, although as I have been shopping for essential supplies, I figure there is no harm in shopping for non-essentials, so long as I wear my mask and observe social distancing. I have been to Zia Records a few times, but that’s really it, as nothing else is open. I just needed something new to entertain myself on those long and lonely weekends. I also did something I swore I wasn’t going to: I accepted invitations to visit some friends. I went to see my buddy Zach and his wife on Saturday. We had dinner and watched some shows. We kept a respectable distance, but we did not wear masks.

French poster for A Blade in the Dark (1983).

We watched a giallo by Lamberto Bava called La casa con la scala nel buio (1983, A Blade in the Dark) about a composer who rents a Tuscan villa while scoring a Horror movie where a killer stalks his female visitors. Originally intended as a TV series, it proved too gory for Italian television censors and was later edited into a 2 hour feature film. It was okay, although it didn’t quite hold my attention for long, while we caught up on our respective lives. Then we watched a couple episodes of season 2 from What We Do in the Shadows, which were brilliant! I am so glad they’re being picked up for a third season. Lastly we watched the Shout Factory Blu-ray of the director cut for Candyman (1992). Based on the story The Forbidden, by Clive Barker, from his Books of Blood, the story was transposed from the slums of Liverpool England to the worst neighborhood in Chicago, Cabrini-Green by director Bernard Rose, who wished to use the film as a vehicle to explore race in America at the time. Although some details were changed, reportedly with Barker’s blessings, including the ethnicity of the killer and his victims, the story supposedly remains faithful in spirit to Barker’s vision. This cut was very interesting, with a slightly altered denouement and some extended scenes. Tony Todd is so imposing in this film, with his incredible voice and presence, I can see why the studios pushed to continue the franchise even though director Bernard Rose refused to have any hand in it. I enjoyed seeing the film so much after years of not having watched it, that I intend to read the story while it is fresh in my mind to see just how much they changed.

Shout Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of Candyman

The next day, I went to my buddy Rand’s house to run an errand for my cousin Lorraine, and ended up staying for a while to visit with his daughter and her family. This was a little different than the previous night’s visit, as they’re a much more tactile group and I acquiesced when offered hugs. I have been so long without human contact, I just melted at the first opportunity. I don’t regret it, but I may feel differently if I start coming down with something in a week or two. To be honest though, I am not really worried, although I won’t be running out to hug everyone I meet, just yet.

While at Zach’s house, he showed me how to use the camera on my smartphone so on Sunday afternoon, I recorded two videos of myself reciting poetry. The first was of Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe, and the second was Jorge Luis BorgesGeneral Quiroga Rides to his Death in a Carriage. They went over really well, especially the Poe video, and several people suggested I start a YouTube channel. I confess I have been considering just that for quite some time now, and may finally begin seriously looking into the specifics of how to do that. If I figure out how to do it, I’ll try posting one here.

PS: I have received a response from Scott J. Couturier whom I had sent my latest prose poem Dream of a Dead Poet. He streamlined it a bit but didn’t change much. He had some very kind things to say about it, referring to it as “…a sweepingly dark & marvelous macabre vision!” so I am hopeful S.T. Joshi will like it as well and will accept it for Spectral Realms #14. I sent it out to him this morning, so we’ll see.

 

Update 05/22/2020: World Goth Day

Posted in Black Hymeneal, Casting the Runes, Love Song of the Lugubrious Gondolier, M.R. James, Mr Humphreys and His Inheritance, Playhouse (ITV), Scott J. Couturier, Updates, Zachary Strupp with tags , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Happy, or should I say dreary, World Goth Day to you all! I didn’t realize this was a thing until I logged into Facebook this morning! Apparently it’s official and even has a Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Goth_Day Had I known what day it was, I would have dressed for the occasion. Well, at least I have mt Edgar Allan Poe socks on.

Edgar Allan Poe socks that I got for my birthday a few years back as a gift from my cousins.

Maybe I’ll do something Gothy tonight, like light candles, pop the bottle of absinthe I’ve been putting off for a special occasion and listen to Bach organ music. Yesterday started off well with some pleasant messages from friends, but quickly went south with some frustrating calls which made my very anxious and agitated. I tried to get an early break but that did not happen so a little while before my lunch break I opted instead to just go home. When I have an episode like that, it just effects my whole system. I get physically ill and my mind becomes cloudy and I cannot focus. The worst part is that I get really snippy and start to swear a lot and I keep having to catch myself when on call, so I don’t say anything that the clients will see and be upset by.

Anyway, on my way home I stopped at Zia Records and picked up a birthday gift for my buddy Zach, whom I shall be visiting this weekend (safety precautions in place). While there, I also found something that I did not expect. I saw a used DVD of a program I only just read about on Facebook just a few days ago, and never realized existed. It is a 1979 ITV Playhouse adaptation of Casting the Runes, by M.R. James. It was updated and some things were either cut (like Karswell’s creepy children’s show) or changed like the manner in which the runes are returned to him. The acting was good and I liked some of the ideas they had for the updates, but the scares weren’t very thrilling and the demon which was only seen briefly in the beginning with the death of Harrington wasn’t very impressive, nor was the spider in the bed of Dunning, who in this version was a female journalist named Prudence. I’m glad to have seen it, but it was not worthy of the source material. Also on the disc was an interesting documentary on the James, as well as a very peculiar short film adaptation of Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance.

Cover art for the Acorn DVD of the ITV Playhouse adaptation of Casting the Runes by M. R. James.

I have been working on a few different things lately, specifically some rewrites of older poems. Currently I am trying rewrites of Black Hymeneal, and Love Song of the Lugubrious Gondolier. I also have sent my latest prose piece, Dream of a Dead Poet, to fellow weird poet Scott J. Couturier for review. He is an editor for an independent publisher, so I thought he might have some insight into whether there are any glaring issues which I may not have seen in the work, before I submit it anywhere. I just gave a read to his as yet unpublished weird thriller You Came, which was brilliant. I thought it was going one way and it did a very well executed switcheroo in the 3rd act which payed off in a very unique way. He is currently working on an anthology of his poetry which I am very anxious to see on my bookshelves once it becomes available.