Bob Dylan’s 2022 Tour of Europe

Bob Dylan is currently embarking on a tour of England. The recordings are coming in pretty quickly. I’m not quite ready to collect and upload my own links for these shows, but I thought it would be fun to post other people’s links here as I find them. I’ll try to continue posting them as the tour moves on.

09-25 – Oslo, Norway – Expecting Rain
09-27 – Stockholm, Sweden – A recording has not surfaced as far as I can tell
09-29 – Gothenburg, Sweden – A recording has not surfaced as far as I can tell
09-30 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Expecting Rain
10-02 – Flensburg, Germany – Expecting Rain
10-03 – Magdeburg, Germany
10-05 – Berlin, Germany – Expecting Rain
10-06 – Berlin, Germany –
10-07 – Berlin, Germany –
10-09 – Krefeld, Germanyu –
10-11 – Paris, France –
10-12 – Paris, France –
10-13 – Paris, France –
10-15 – Brussels, Belgium –
10-16 – Amsterdam, Netherlands –
10-17 – Amsterdam, Netherlands –
10-19 – London, England –
10-20 – London, England –
10-23 – London, England –
10-24 – London, England –
10-26 – Cardiff, Wales –
10-27 – Hull, England –
10-28 – Nottingham, England –
10-30 Glasgow, Scotland –
10-31 Glasgow, Scotland –
11-02 – Manchester, England –
11-04 – Oxford, England
11-05 – Bournemouth, England
11-07 – Dublin, Ireland

31 Days of Horror: The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

the mummys hand
The Mummy (1932) is probably my least favorite of the classic Universal Horror films. Frankly, it is a bit dull and the Mummy doesn’t have nearly enough screen time. But it does contain some great set work and a wonderful performance from Zita Johann. This is probably why I’ve never bothered with any of the sequels…until now

The Mummy’s Hand takes the worst parts of the original and adds in some corny comic relief. Dick Foran and Wallace Ford, doing their best Abbott and Costello impressions play an archeologist and his trusty sidekick, both down on their luck. A broken vase they buy in an open-air market leads them on an expedition funded by a silly magician (Cecil Kellaway) and his daughter (Peggy Moran).

After a lot of plot, they eventually find the Mummy’s tomb. Some high priest or some-such thing feeds the Mummy some tea leaves and puts him under his control. Or something. My attention was waning at this point.

It isn’t a terrible film. The Mummy’s design is good, and some of the comedy is actually pretty funny. It’s just that the film feels so very slight. Its runtime is just 66 minutes and the Mummy doesn’t show up until about 40 minutes in, so there is a lot of filler. It had a tiny budget and pretty much no one involved with the original had anything to do with this sequel, so you can’t blame it for not being amazing.

31 Days of Horror: Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

happy birthday 2u poster

This sequel to the surprisingly good Happy Death Day (2017) starts off doing something really interesting and then falls into the same groove as the original and becomes, well not bad, but just a little disappointing when you consider how good it could have been.

The original was basically a slasher movie take on Groundhog Day (1994). Tree Gelbmon (Jessica Rothe) is a superficial Mean Girl college girl who gets murdered by someone wearing a freaky big baby mask on her birthday. She wakes up on the same morning and keeps getting murdered until she solves the case (and gains a little maturity in the process).

I don’t want to spoil anything about the sequel (as it is a film definitely worth not knowing much about when you go into it) but for the first fifteen minutes it starts down a road that I found really interesting and I was excited to see where it took us. But then it more or less becomes the same movie as the original but with some tweaks.

It is still a lot of fun and the cast is great (Rothe should really be a bigger star by now). The film has a lot of fun providing lots of calls backs to the first one. The two films really go well together in fun ways. But it is never really surprising. I wish it had been a little more daring in where it took the story. But if you like the first one (and what’s not to like?) then it is very much worth watching.

31 Days of Horror: The Blancheville Monster (1963)

blanceville monster poster

This is film #2 of Arrow Videos Italian Gothic Horror boxed set. I’ll be reviewing the entire thing soon so I won’t say much about it here. The Italians were great at taking successful American genres and making them their own. When Roger Corman found success with several Edgar Alan Poe adaptations the Italians started adapting his stories. The Blancheville Monster (also known simply as Horror as seen from the poster) basically rips Corman’s adaptation of The Fall of the House of Usher. The story, about a woman who returns home to her family castle, discovers that everything has changed and that someone (possibly a ghost) is trying to kill her before her 21st birthday, is pretty standard gothic horror story stuff.

But it looks great and contains everything you want – a spooky old castle, creepy shadows, flowing white gowns, and a monster in the attic – from this sort of thing. It isn’t a great film, its own director essentially disowned it calling it “a little film of no importance” but I found it quite enjoyable.

Billy Strings

My Twitter feed has been going crazy over Billy Strings for a while now and I finally checked him out. Gotta say I’m fast becoming a fan. I guess you’d put his genre as bluegrass or maybe newgrass, but he plays a lot of rock and roll covers (including regularly playing the good ole’ Grateful Dead). Dude is a great performer. He’s got a bunch of shows on the Archive, and I just listened to this one and I highly recommend it. Check out “Dust In a Baggy” for a taste of what he’s capable of.

31 Days of Horror: Don’t Look Now (1973)

don't look now poster

I recently read a short story collection by Daphne du Maurier which contained the story upon which Don’t Look Now is based so I thought it would be fun to rewatch the film. Truth be told I started it several days ago, when the calendar still read September, but I had to pause it and didn’t return to it until this past Sunday. But since it can be considered a horror film I’m counting it for my 31 Days of Horror collection.

After their young daughter accidentally drowned John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura (Julie Christie) move from their home in England to Venice, Italy. John has been hired to restore an old church. While there Laura meets two elderly sisters, one of whom is blind and proclaims to have “second sight”. She says that she could see the dead daughter standing by the couple while they were eating and that she was happy.

Laura, still deep in her grief, takes solace in this notion and wants to speak to the ladies some more. John, also still deep in grief but maintaining absolute rationality, thinks the sisters are up to something.

That’s the very basics of the story, but in director Nicolas Roeg, and editor Graeme Clifford’s hands the film is much more than the details of what actually happens in the plot. Most of it was shot in Venice and the city comes off as a shadowy, crumbling old town filled with strange characters, dark corners, and ghosts. The film flashes backward and forwards, often for just flickering seconds. It flashes back to the day when their daughter drowned and to moments we’ve already seen in Venice. It flashes forwards as if premonitions of a future they want to avoid.

There is a famous scene in which John and Laura make passionate love (so passionately that rumors persist to this day that the actors were fully engaged on set) and the scene flashes forward ever so slightly to the couple dressing afterward. We see them pull their clothes off to make love then immediately they are individually putting new clothes on for dinner. They kiss passionately then shirts are buttoned. Etc. Over and over throughout the film scenes do this, giving it a dream-like quality. Little moments mirror each other too. We’ll see a reflection in the Venice canals and then a flash of the pond where the girl drowned. Time loops in on itself.

The ending is one of the more startling finishes to a film I’ve ever seen. The whole thing is marvelous. I enjoyed it more this time than the time before.

31 Days of Horror: Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

hocus pocus 2

I suppose everyone has films that hit a certain nostalgic spot in their heart. Films that we watched at a certain age and loved, and even though we might recognize as adults those films aren’t actually very good artistically, we still love them.

Hocus Pocus (1993) is one of those films for an entire generation, who have now grown up, had kids and made the film an annual Halloween tradition. I was not one of those kids. I was a senior in high school when the film came out, and I completely missed it. In fact, I only just watched the film for the first time last year. A fact I had completely forgotten until my family wanted to watch this sequel the other night.

After a flashback to Salem in olden times the film begins with properly in modern times with three teenage girls who like to play at being witches. Well, I say three girls, but it is really just two of them (played by Whitney Peak and Belissa Escobedo) the other girl (played by Lilia Buckingham) has moved on. She’s got a boyfriend and has become popular and has completely left the other two behind. This creates some of the central drama.

I liked this part of the story. The teens trying to figure out who they are (and who they are just might be witches) were interesting and fun. Not amazing, mind you, but I was there for it. One of the dads is played by Tony Hale and he’s always a joy to watch. Sam Richardson owns the local magic shop and he is a delight.

Then the three witches from the original movie show up (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) and my interest level flew out the window. Initially, the tone of the film balances humor, witchcraft, and teenage drama with sweetness, but once those three arrive it becomes a much broader, much dumber comedy. They have their moments. There is a scene in which they create basically a flash mob singing Blondie’s “One Way Or Another” that’s pretty fun and there are some funny moments with them not understanding modern life, but mostly I found them rather annoying. Whenever they were on screen I found myself wishing they weren’t.

I suspect those who have that nostalgic feeling towards the first film will enjoy this one. My wife seemed to like it and my kid laughed quite a bit. I found it an enjoyable enough way to spend a Saturday evening with my family, but I have to admit I was mostly waiting for the credits so I could watch another gore-soaked blood-bath by myself.

31 Days of Horror: Mark of the Vampire (1935)

mark fo the vampire

Thanks to tometheridge57 for recommending this one to me. Directed by Todd Browning, who had helmed Dracula just four years earlier Mark of the Vampire is another film where Bela Lugosi stars as a bloodsucker.

The story, frankly, isn’t that interesting. It involves a gothic castle, some folks showing up dead with bite marks on their necks and blood drained from their bodies, and a professor who has come to investigate the matter. There is a plot twist in the final act that I won’t spoil but that I found rather unappealing. But it oozes style and gothic charm. The castle sets are fantastic and the monster effects are quite wonderful.

Legosi doesn’t have that big of a role, but he’s wonderful, even if he is essentially reprising his role as Dracula. Lionel Barrymore plays the professor and I have really come to love him in just about anything he does.

So, if you’ve seen all the Dracula movies but still need a Legosi as vampire fix, this movie is for you.

31 Days of Horror: Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (1965)

Lady Morgans Vengeance Poster

If you paid any attention to my last post then you might have noticed that this film does not appear on my list of horror films to watch this month. That’s because it is part of a four-film boxed set from Arrow Video entitled Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror which appeared in my mailbox today. I’ll be reviewing the entire set for Cinema Sentries in a few days or so, thus I’ll not say much about it here.

It is a surprisingly good film about a woman who marries a man she doesn’t love and finds herself in an old Scottish castle. Her husband and her staff begin gaslighting her, and she starts seeing spooky things and hearing spooky noises, and then she’s killed. Her ghost seeks some pretty fun revenge on those responsible for her death. I’d say that was a spoiler but those details you’ll find on the back of the box so it isn’t really a surprise.

I love a good gothic horror story and this has plenty of creeping sets, shadowy lighting, and billowy gowns. It is definitely worth checking out if you are into that sort of thing.

31 Days of Horror

Obviously, I like movies. Which is a funny thing for me to say since I feel like most of you had no idea I liked movies until I suddenly started flooding this blog with movie stuff after a decade+ of posting nothing but live music.

I’ve always liked movies. Some of my earliest memories are seeing movies like Return of the Jedi and The Goonies in the theater with my family. As a teenager going to the movies was the one thing I could do with my parents that didn’t end up in a fight or me thinking they were the dumbest people in the world.

That love has grown with me in my 4 plus decades of life on this Earth. The pandemic has only boosted that love. Having to stay at home all the time for 2 years or so led me to watch a lot more movies than usual. I used to watch a little over 100 movies a year, or about 2 movies a week. For the last three years, I’ve watched over 300 movies each year, or at least one movie a day. That’s a little misleading as I don’t really watch one movie every day. Throughout the week I often don’t watch a movie at all, but I make up for it on the weekends.

To help with my movie watching I’ve started creating monthly themes. I’ll choose a genre, or a director, or maybe a country or time period, and then try to watch as many movies from that theme as possible during that month. This helps me watch a lot of movies I might not normally watch, and it expands my understanding of cinematic history. Left to my own devices I’d wind up flipping through Netflix or some other streaming service, watching the same movies over and over again, or at the very least usually choosing safe films that won’t challenge me.

I like horror movies too.

This leads us to October. I’m not the only one who chooses monthly themes for my movie watching. Twitter is full of hashtags directing folks to watch certain types of movies during certain months of the year. October is probably the most popular month for this sort of thing as Halloween leads people to watching horror movies. I usually tag my movies this month with #31daysofhorror but others use things like #hooptober (for Tobe Hooper, director of such films as Poltergeist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as many others.

I decided it would be fun to share my list of films that I want to watch here, as well as post about each movie I watch when I watch them. I probably won’t review everything, but I’ll let you all tag along with my viewings.

You can find the list here on my Letterboxd page. If you happen to have a Letterboxd account please follow me, and I’ll do the same.

I won’t watch every movie on the list. I chose 31 movies as there are 31 days in October, but I won’t watch one horror movie every day. Some days I’ll watch a movie with my family (who don’t like horror movies) and I’ll have some official reviews to do for Cinema Sentries. I’ll also likely get in the mood to watch something not on the list. But the list is a good way for me to watch things I’ve been meaning to see and never get around to. It also helps me when I can’t think of something good to watch.

It is, perhaps, a little heavy on the Italians. I got in a Giallo mood while making it. And there aren’t enough true classics, or modern movies in there either. Over the last few years, I’ve watched all of the classic Universal monsters which is why not many of those appear here. I did include one Mummy movie which I haven’t seen. I think I only included one Hammer Horror film on the list as well, and I’ll likely search out a few more of those.

Every year I try to watch all the movies in a single franchise. Previously I’ve watched the Friday the 13th movies, the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and the Halloween movies. This year I’m thinking of doing all the Hellraiser films.

Anyways, this is my list and I’m sticking to it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.