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FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Head Cheese (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) by steFANedit

Ha ha ha. Though still listed, this gem remains “banned” at the all-inclusive joint.

Matthew McConaughey and Renée Zellweger give career defining performances in Kim Henkel’s directorial highpoint, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. The film is an odd mix of slasher gore, unfunny comedy, and incredibly broad over-acting. steFAN degraded the film into a VHS. To heighten the effect of “found video” he added a couple POV porn shots, as well as the end snip of Motel Hell.

Video - Looks like crap, by design, so great work steFAN. This is ugly looking and the 4 X 3 aspect ratio does not help this one bit. No, sir.

As for the POV porn, it did not add to the edit. It enhanced the concept of a found VHS tape, but the oral opener was a tactical error. Had steFAN slipped the footage on at the end, after static, cable preachers and info-mercials, it might have worked. Straight from the get-go? No. Some folks have no problems watching heads decapitated, women set on fire, or news reporters shot to death. Those very same souls often get bent outta shape over what they perceive as immoral.

Audio - Pretty good, although Heather the unkillable (AKA - Too Dumb To Die) is really hard to understand. Otherwise, Matthew’s hollers and Renée screams had me lower the volume, and the man-in-black (Mr Devil, maybe?) had me dial up the decibels. No subs.

Narrative - First off, adding that Motel Hell finale proved riveting. Forced me to dig though my guy films to rewatch another classic. Anyhoo, this edit neither hurts nor improves what is already a head buried in armpit story. The flow drags for stretches, then screeches incessantly. Grinds on your nerves after awhile until you start wishing - kill 'em all. You have all these twisted souls, forced to kill, who don’t enjoy killing? Blah blah blah. Strikes me that Mr Devil can’t get good help. loser with a small-cap L.

Enjoyment - Not really. The VHS effect is overdone. No matter how hard everyone tries, the yarn is a bore. The idea of creating a VHS is novel, but could have been executed better. I like steFAN’s edits, but ofttimes he labors on these without seeking ongoing feedback. Well placed advice might have turned this into a FanEdit Of The Month instead of Banned.

Listen, this is a ballsy edit, and I applaud steFAN for seasoning this with hardcore. The fact that they were not incorporated into the story proper hurt approval chances, I suspect. Still, plenty of hombres ought to hanker after this. You folks, go ride it down. You might even see relatives during the naughty bits. Such are the stuff of dreams.

What are you reading?

Bukowski, Charles - South Of No North

Stories culled from the Los Angeles Free Press and Doug Blazek’s “Ole.”
The narrator recollects growing up poor, living rough. Childhood, poignant, bleak, overlaid with an adult wonder of how everyone survived.
Companions drift in and out, fellow discards, clutching bent pipedreams.
Women stroll into the Life’s bar, give, take. When the gauge hits empty, they hit the breeze.
The sex stories are pretty funny. Sex itself can be funny, unless you’re one of those types who view the mortal coil oh so seriously.
Chinaski visits the doctor for various ailments. The doc, an ex-Nazi, treats him, yet wails about his own problems.
Chinaski sees a fellow starving poet. Only this guy is about climb out of the ditch. This story seems eerily prophetic.
Two honchos of a roller derby league take an over-eager achiever to task.
(The roller derby awakened an old memory. Years ago, for four months, in a period of sheer lunacy, I dated a jammer. That didn’t go so well.)
Sour luck, bad choices, narrow chances, liars, drunks, the crooked game.
These are timeless stories, always timeless.
Don’t believe it? Go on, be pleased with yourself. It won’t last. It never does.
Then, when you’re staring at your empty hands, these essays will resonate.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Alien-Ate (Alien: Resurrection) by TMBTM

One of the earliest fanedits I ever viewed.
Like many, I disliked the original.
The edit is tighter, less haphazard than the Jeunet film.
Audio is solid and well focused. Nice incorporation of video materials from AVP.
Was enjoying this up until the final act, until the Ripley business, which I found, and still find, ridiculous.
As far as the Alien franchise goes, neither Resurrection nor Alien-Ate are films I return to.
Hey, and a shout out! Thank you TMBTM for your “Making Of” extra.
That is helpful and generous to those contemplating their own edits.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Super 8 Digest by Dr. Sapirstein

Brilliant concept by the dependable doctor, crafting a showreel of big moments.
Plus, he has generously given viewers the choice between an HD restoration and a scruffy 8mm print.
Since both are only 17’, greedy souls can watch the whole shebang in one sitting.

Video - 720 X 480p MPEG. 4 X 3 ratio. Wonderful choices here and superb editing. The HD is wonderful, though for me the 8mm is too scratchy and fuzzy. Too much damage, though I realize many find charm there.

Audio - 448 kbps AC3. 2 Channel. The major numbers are here and the sound - again, the HD - just pops. Crank and sing along! Dialogue is clear, especially diction clinic Charles Gray.

Narrative - It’s amazing how well this works. The essence holds together into a hot short. My brother and I had a Super 8 projector and used to buy 200’ movie reels. Fifteen minute soundless assemblages of whatever movie, usually sold by Blackhawk. While faithful to those old reels, this is actually superior to any of those I owned as far as storytelling and sound!

Enjoyment - For five or six years, I watched “Rocky Horror” to death. Even when I tapered off, from weekly to monthly to every other month, it would seem excessive to outsiders. Then I flat quit cold, and did not view it for five years - ten years - more.
Sapirstein’s short is a perfect encapsulation of the show. Faithful (though I do miss Eddie). and ideal if you want to return and relive “some” of the jollies but not 100 minutes of them.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

Hunt (The Hunt) by Maniac

Shy, mild mannered Maniac delivers a hard nosed version of President Trump’s favorite film of 2020.
Two noticeable sequences have been cut. The pressurized opening, which adds little to the narrative, and an extended flashback. The latter trim makes “Manorgate” a reality, which is darker and funnier.
As with the original film, the fight finale goes on too long for me, but I know I’m in a minority there.
Some specs for you tech-heads.
4 GB mkv. Video is 1920 X 1080p. Audio is 5.1 DTS! Kick ass and thank you!
I liked the original film, I like Maniac’s edit.

FanEdit Reviews - Post Your Reviews Here

This is a review thread for “finished” fanedits. For ongoing projects, please post comments and suggestions in those specific topics.
Anyone can post their reviews in this thread.
List the title of the fanedit, the original title, and the faneditor.
Please try to share what you liked or disliked about the edit. Details.
If you particularly enjoyed something, share your experience. Other members, especially newcomers, often seek recommendations.
If, unfortunately, you did not enjoy an edit, try to be gracious.
Keep in mind, someone worked on their project for a long time. Perhaps months, perhaps longer. They also made the effort to share.
Live outside our age, be respectful.

This is a REVIEW thread, not a REQUEST thread.
You want an edit, contact the faneditor (PM), learn about UseNet, prowl I2P.

Finally, fanedits cannot be bought or sold. Do not post reviews of any edits or individuals associated with commercializing their fanedits. Protect OT, protect the fanedit community.

Good luck out there.



300: Earth And Water (300 & 300 Rise) - Aztek463
2001: Recut - Steven Soderbergh
Adventures of Superman: The Kryptonite Saga Vol 1-3 - Siebener
Alien-Ate (Alien: Resurrection) - TMBTM
Alien: Ripley Does Dallas (Alien 1979) - heathen3017
Alligator – Elongator’d (Alligator - 1980) - MusicEd921
All-New Adventures Of Chastity Blade (2000) - Dr. Sapirstein
American Businessman (American Psycho) - verifypassword
Apocalypto: The Legend Of Jaguar Paw - Sinbad
Apocalypto: The Legend Of Jaguar Paw - Sinbad
Austin Powers: Shaggedelic Extended Edition - ADigitalMan
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Shaggedelic Extended Edition - ADigitalMan
Batman and Robin: Deep Freeze - Musiced21
Batman The Killing Joke restructured - JeromeTheEditor
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Part 2 - The Consequences Edit - Wakeupkeo
Battle (Duel) - Maniac
Battlestar Galactica: That Sought-After Sun - Menbailee
Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming - BionicBob
Bill And Ted’s Tubular Adventure - Wayne Workman
Black Lagoon: S01 Recut - Common-Eye
Blade Runner (1982) The Nexus-7 Cut - Krausfadr
Blade Runner - The Nexus-7 Cut - Krausfadr
Blue Skies on Mars: A Total Recall Fanedit (Total Recall) - Jorge
Blue Steel 44 (Blue Steel 1990) - Maniac
Bond, The Dead Are Alive (Spectre short) - Problem Eliminator
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 - steFANedit
Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Silent (Coppola’s 1992 film) - Paulisdead2221
Bruce Wayne: Depths Of Darkness - Infodroid
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Planet of the Slave Girls - Slavery & Sorcery - Lapis Molari
Casino Royale: The Big Picture - Problem Eliminator
Cave, The (The Descent / The Descent 2) - Maniac
Christmas Horror Story, A: All Your Gifts at Once Edition - MusicEd921
Cleaner, The (The Professional a.k.a. Leon) - Maniac
Comorbid (Lords Of Salem) - steFANedit
Conan: Man Of War (Conan The Barbarian) - TMBTM
Cosmography - The Man Behind The Mask (TMBTM)
Crouching Dragon: The Tiger Lily Cut (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) - ssj
Crow: The O’Barr Edit - Suicidal Wombat Productions
Curse, The (The Witch) - Maniac
Dark Chronology: Chapter 1 (Dark: Seasons 1-3) - Dizzy_108
Darkest City (Dark City) - Jorge
Dark Knight: Retribution, The - Krausfadr
Darkman Lives! (Darkman) - MusicEd921
Dark Phoenix: Reborn (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) - Krausfadr
Derelict (Alien / Prometheus) - Job Willins
Descent: Extended Cut (The Descent) - Mikedrew87
Diabolique: Alternative Cut (1996 version) Dr Sapirstein
Dinner With A Vampire (A Cena Col Vampiro - 1989) - Dr. Sapirstein
Doctor Who: ‘Fortress of the Daleks’ and ‘Invasion of the Daleks’ - TM2YC
Doom: The Possessed Re-Cut - CBB
Dracula: Restored - Billy Batson
Dreams (Requiem Of A Dream) - Adabisi
Dune: The Alternative Edition Redux (Dune) - spicediver
Dune: The Alternative Edition Redux (Dune) - spicediver
Dune: 50 Minute Edit (Dune, 2021) - blankblank
Elysium: PanzerKut (Elysium) - PanzerKut
Empire Begins, The (Prequel 3-in-1) - Darth Awesome
Episode V: The Overclock Edition (The Empire Strikes Back) - Overclock
Eternal Sunshine (Of The Spotless Mind) - Ken Poirier
Father Time (About Time) - NJVC
Fear and Loathing In Fantasy Mission Force (Fantasy Mission Force) - matrixgrindhouse
Film World War - Gaith
Firefly Clan Both Parts, The (House 1000 Corpsees, Devil’s Rejects ) - Maniac
First Order, Last Jedi: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars sequels) - TriggeredPuppy
First Order, Last Jedi - A Star Wars Story (Star Wars sequels) - TriggeredPuppy
Flash Gordon: Ming Strikes Back! (Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe) - Billy Batson
Flash Gordon: Savior of the Earth Edition (Flash Gordon) - havok1977
For Your Eyes Only: A Fan Edit - Echo3
Friday the 13th Part X Jason In Space - Reaper18783x
Frighteners Recut (The Frighteners) - Neglify
Frozen Death (Cold Prey 1 - 2 ) - Mikedrew87
Fury Road (per Mad Max) - Amadi
FvJ (Freddy Vs Jason …) - NegaJuice (AKA: juice4z0 & Neglify)
Game, The (SAW / SAW II) - Maniac
Game of Thrones: An Honorable Cut - Gotedits11
Ghostbusters 2: Time is But a Window - Bobson Dugnutt
Ghost in the Shell 2017: Lean & Mean Edition (Ghost in the Shell 2017) - FairFriend
Gill Man, The (The Creature) - Scribbling Man
Gill-man, The Silent Jaws Edition (The Creature) - Scribbling Man
Godfather Extended Edition - hal_over_9000
Godfather Part II: Extended Edition HD - hal_over_9000
Godfather II Extended Edition - hal_over_9000
Godzilla King of The Monsters The Dramatic Cut - INIGHTMARES
Grasshopper Lies Heavy, The (The Man In The High Castle) - Heavysyde
Grindhouse Vol. 2 (Death Proof/Machete) - Leeroy
Halloween: Restructured (Halloween (2018)) - Bobson Dugnutt
Halloween: The Doctor’s Cut - JNisch
Hard Target: Ultimate Cut - Commodore Schmidlapp
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Revisited (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2) - Anjohan
Haunted (Poltergeist) - Maniac
Haunted World Of Katie Featherston, The (Paranormal Activity) - Frantic Canadian
Head Cheese (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) - steFANedit
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - The Maze of the Minotaur Unclipped - Gelfinghand
Hitchhikers - Wayne Workman
Hitler: Memories Of The Past (Triumph Of The Will) - Maniac
Hobbit: Battle of the Five Edits - Stromboli Bones
Hobbit: Spence Edit - Spence
Home Invasion (Don’t Breath 1 and 2) - Maniac
Humans Are Limited (2001 short) - Adabisi
Humans Are Limitless (2001: A Space Odyssey) - BlueYoda
Hunt (The Hunt) - Maniac
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull Recut - 15MAF
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull - MMP EDIT
In The Mouth Of Event Horizon (In The Mouth Of Madness & Event Horizon) - RollWave
In the Mouth of Event Horizon (In the Mouth of Madness; Event Horizon) - RollWave
I, Zathius (Babylon 5) - TM2YC
Jaws 2: Extended Integral - RidgeShark
Jigsaw: A History of Desperation (SAW franchise) - Maniac
Jigsaw: A History of Violence (Saw, 2004-17) - Maniac, Zagadka (2020)
Jigsaw II: Endgame (Saw, 2004-10) - Maniac, Zagadka (2021)
Jigsaw II: Endgame (Saw, 2004-10) - Maniac, Zagadka (2021)
Jigsaw II: Endgame (Saw, 2004-10) - Maniac, Zagadka
Journey To The Planet Of Gods (Prometheus) - Agent 9
Judas Breed, The (Mimic) - TMBTM
Justice League Reborn (Justice League) - JLfanedit
Kaiju FanEdit: Gigan - Ghidorah - Armageddon - Markus Bruckner
Kenobi: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars prequels) - JXEditor
Killing Joke, The (Birds Of Prey) - Jack Tourette
Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, The - Gatos
Klone (Solaris - 2002) - Elbarto1
Kong: God Of Skull Island (Kong 2005) - Maniac
Lament Box, The (Hellraiser and Hellbound) - Maniac
Last Son Of Krypton (Smallville/Man Of Steel) - SouperboyX
Leon: The Non Lolita FanEdit (Léon: The Professional) - Tykjen
Lovecraft Actually (The Mist - In The Mouth Of Madness - Deep Rising) - Job Willins
LV 426 (Prometheus) - TMBTM
Machete Order, A (Star Wars prequels) - TriggeredPuppy
Man Of Tomorrow (Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice) - Job Willins
Mark 13 (Hardware) - Maniac
Matrix Hacked: Revolutions - Doctor M
Matrix Revolutions Decoded (Matrix sequels) - Jerick
Matrix Revolutions: Epic Edition - geminigod
Mayhem & Mistletoe - ThrowgnCpr
Memento: Parallel Cut - INH5
Men in Black: Intergalactic Duology - Bobson Dugnutt
Mercedes Killer, The (Mr. Mercedes) - Maniac
Miami Vice: 01 Vendetta (Miami Vice) - Ranger613
Midnight Slaughter Train (The Midnight Meat Train) - ranger613
Mr. Wick - Maniac
Mulholland Drive: The Pilot - Q2
Natural Born Killers: Tarantino Cut - the cuddlyninja
Nightbreed: Cabal Cut (Nightbreed) - hollowshape
One Shot (The Deer Hunter) - Maniac
Pearl Harbor: Strength and Honor Edition - ADigitalMan
Per Sempre - 1988 (Until Death) - Dr. Sapirstein
Pet Sematary (2019): The Extended Cut - DEJ-Flounder
Phantom Strikes! (The Phantom 1996) - BionicBob
Plan 2001 (2001) - Adabisi
Predator Chronicles Volume 1 - Uncanny Antman
Prometheus: Giftbearer - Severian
Prometheus: Special Edition - Agent9
Psychos - Steven Soderbergh
Pulp Empire (The Empire Strikes Back) - NJVC
Pussy Control - Mollo
Quantum Of Solace: Bond’s Revenge - Last Survivor
Raiders (Raiders Of The Lost Ark) - Steven Soderbergh
Raiders Of The Lost Ark: The Serial - Roger Rmjet
Raiding The Lost Ark - Jamie Benning
Raising Cain: Re-Cut - Peet Gelderblom
Revenge Of The Sith: The New Canon Cut (workprint) - NFBisms
Rise and Fall of The Dark Phoenix (X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Dark Stand) - jimbojka
Rise of Skywalker: Ascendant (The Rise of Skywalker 2019) - Hal9000
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: Resurgence - krausfadr
Rise of Skywalker: The Final Sith - MacsDamage
Rocky Horror Picture Show: Super 8 Digest - Dr. Sapirstein
Rosemary’s Baby: Hell A Cometh Swift - MusicEd921
Run Marty Run (Back To The Future) - BlueYoda
Saga Of The Apes (Planet Of The Apes) - BionicBob
Savage Sword of Conan: Mask of Archeron (Conan The Barbarian) - Agent9
Savings Never End! (Batman) - Grievous Angel Draven
Schism (Elephant) - Neglify
Scream: The Giallo Cut - Neglify
SCUM (May and American Psycho 2) - BlueYoda
Self Help (Fight Club) - thecuddlyninja
Shadow Strikes! (The Shadow 1994) - BionicBob
Shazam: Origin (The Adentures Of Captain Marvel) - Billy Batson
Silence (A Quiet Place; A Quiet Place Part II) - Maniac
Silent Hill: Christopher’s Story - Spence
Split Unbreakable Glass - Wraith
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring* (500 Days Of Summer) - That One Guy
Star Trek 10 “Through A Glass Darkly” (Star Trek Nemesis) - BionicBob
Star Wars 30’s Serial Edition Part 1 (Star Wars prequels) - TMBTM
Star Wars 30’s Serial Edition Part 2 (Star Wars trilogy) - TMBTM
Star Wars: Abridged I The Republic (Phantom Menace, Attack of Clones, Revenge of Sith) - subjectzero
Star Wars: Blackened Mantle (Star Wars prequels) - Darth Lunar
Star Wars: Episode I - Cloak Of Deception (The Phantom Menace) - HAL 9000
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith-Expanded Edition - Bobson Dognutt
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (The Definitive Anti-Cringe Cut) 2018 - DonKamillo
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (The Anti-Cringe Cut) 2020 - DonKamillo
Star Wars: Fall Of The Jedi (Neon Noir) (Star Wars Prequels) - ONLYYODAFORGIVES
Star Wars Last Jedi: Coward’s Cut (The Last Jedi) - JXEditor
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi-The Spence Final Cut - Spence
Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker: The Anti-Cringe Cut - DonKamillo
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Youngling Edition - DigModiFicaTion
Star Wars: The Epic Picture - T-Bone
Star Wars: Ultramachete (Phantom Menace & Attack Of The Clones - Razil
Stranger, The (Eyes Of A Stranger) - Maniac
Sukaiwaka Fortress, The (The Hidden Fortress) - ssj
Tales From Hell: Vol. 5 (The Dead Next Door - The Midnight Hour) - Mikedrew87
Thirst (Raw - 2016) - Maniac
This Is Tokyo (Gojira - 1954 and Godzilla - 1956) - G&G-Fan
Thunderball: Warhead Edition - Rangerkris
Time Waits For No One (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) - TM2YC
Tools (Toolbox Murders) - steFANedit
Transformers: Darkest Hour - Mark Moore
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me: Extended Blue Rose - igorleoni
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me: Teresa Banks and the Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer - Q2
Under The Terminator’s Skin (The Terminator) - DominicCobb
Vanishing Point: The Molecule Of Speed - 15MaF
Violent Mistress (Revenge) - Maniac
Visions Of The Past (Le Jette) - jsweert123456
War Of The Stars II: The Future In Motion (Empire / Jedi) - TMBTM
War Of The Worlds: Extinctive Cut (War Of The Worlds - 2005) - CBB
Wes Craven’s Dark Nightmare (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) - Dr. Sapirstein
Wild About Harry (Ipcress File, Funeral Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain) - Steven Soderbergh
World is Yours, The (Scarface) - Maniac
X-Files: Exordium (taken from S01 episodes) - ThrowgnCpr

^ Updated = 2022 08 13

What are you reading?

Brantley, Avalon - Aornos

Orpheus myth in the character of Alektor, pining for his bygone beloved, Philomena.
Though barely a slip of a tale, the word choice, as expected, is superb.
Dionysus, who acts as chorus and our guide, has the juiciest lines.
Alektor himself comes across as impulsive, over-earnest, and a bit dim.
The narrative unfolds, and there are turns which I guessed and I imagine you will, too.
Aornos is brief and I read it twice, each time going through it as if it were a play on the stage.
The first telling, I let the characters act as if they were from a Kenneth Branagh enactment.
Next, I went for dell’arte melodrama, characters declaring and projecting, over the top at times (think “Horse Latitudes” by The Doors.)
Neither way was especially gripping. To be honest, the whole thing feels like an academic exercise.
For those curious about this author, Aornos might not be the best entry point.

What are you reading?

McCammon, Robert - The Night Boat

Zzzzzzzz . . . . . .
Scuba diver in small Caribbean island accidentally releases Nazi sub stuck in a sand bar.
Superstitious islanders want that U-boat removed or sunk as soon as possible.
So, of course, the sub gets towed to the local salvage warehouse.
Sooner than you can sing the Horst-Wessel song, Nazi zombies emerge, seeking unhappy snacks.
Shock Waves, a 1977 film with Peter Cushing, seemed the inspiration for this silly saga.
Said flick finished in 90 minutes.
Sadly this took longer to slog through.
Slow going, stereotyped characters, shallow-pool plot.
Sleep, Nazi zombie, go sleep now.
Zzzzzzzz . . . . . . .

What are you reading?

Watt, D. P. - Terroir

Cecilia, early 20’s, wondering what to do with her life, hires on to work the grape harvest at Château Fontaine.
She catches the eye of Marcel, oldest son and heir apparent.
Mutual attraction and hormone driven activity belie a fleeting undercurrent.
Cecilia’s intuition senses a mystery behind the smile, charm, and grace of Marcel, and indeed, of his whole family.
Questions are evaded or glossed over, as are worries.
And slowly, you, like Cecilia, are eased into story that pulls you down like quicksand.
There was a point in this when I sensed a trope, and really worried Mr. Watt might go that route.
For me, at least, he did not, and I enjoyed this immensely.

There is a long passage on the vendange, or grape harvest, and it was bang on.
Several years ago, I participated in a preliminary harvest in Sonoma County.
Ostensibly, this was to check how close the Chardonnay was to maturity.
The bulk of the “pickers” were the affluent and well heeled of Marin and San Francisco.
We picked for a couple hours, finished, enjoyed a sumptuous outdoor lunch. (also in Terroir, and also accurate)
Around us were preexisting case buying regulars, or invitees from a select list.
And no, my wife and I were guests of a “regular,” and there was no repeat invite.

(Note: As soon after I finished reading Terroir, I rewatched Vagabond, along with Éric Rohmer’s Conte d’automne. Diverse views of the wine region.)

What are you reading?

Matovina, Dan - Without You: The Tragic Story Of Badfinger

Extremely depressing book about a legendary group.
Their manager arranged the contract so he was a member, entitled to an equal share of revenue.
Their US business manager, royally fleeced all earning from recordings and touring.
(One of the girlfriends became the template for the blonde girlfriend in Spinal Tap.)
Songwriters Pete Ham and Tom Evans were ignorant they were due royalties for “Without You” which became a well covered standard.
Apple deleted their entire catalogue after tiring of threats and bullying from the business manager.
Warners deleted “Wish You Were Here” after seven weeks due to the manager threatening lawsuits.
“Head First” was similarly halted before it even came out.
In despair, Ham committed suicide by hanging.
Eight years later, Evans committed suicide by hanging.
It’s a long way to the top, and for Badfinger, it was ugly and painful, up and down.
Brilliantly written, hundreds of photos, CD of unreleased material.

What are you reading?

Lee, Edward - Brides Of The Impaler

Ha ha ha. So, I grabbed a title off my shelves at random.
I rarely do that. Last time I did that, I selected Eddie Lee’s Witch Water.
That turned out to be his attempt to emulate M. R. James, borrowing heavily from “The View From A Hill,” packing it with sexual escapades. Mr. Lee’s pastiche was, my goodness, regrettable.
Anyway, Brides Of The Impaler.
Straight off, in the intro, Lee credits favorite influences, such as film directors, Jess Franco and Jean Rollin. Once the novel gets going, we meet a lawyer named Jess, and a priest, John Rollin.
Hard-nosed attorney fleeces the Catholic diocese of adjoining property.
He and his voluptuous girlfriend, who makes trendy Goth-ish dolls, move in and spawn like crazy.
Add a quartet of trashy homeless women who worship Romanian accented nun.
Add a detective who investigates a grisly series of impalements.
Did I mention sex? Multiple configurations? Well imagine more! Mr Lee did.
Yes, back in the day, I had purchased several Lee titles, for when I had time in the world to read.
Like now. What a muffin. Ha ha ha.

What are you reading?

Hodgson, Barbara - Opium: A Portrait Of The Heavenly Demon

Richly illustrated, glossy book on smoking poppies.
Lots of pages wandering notorious “Chinatowns,” the cultivation and trade of opium, not to mention tons of ink scribbled by authors. Hopeless addicts and annoying do-gooders.
Also poets, painters, thrill seekers, the lost set.
Lurid paperback covers grace several pages.
For me, the best were terrific vintage adverts.
Yer kid giving you trouble? Give 'em candy laced with narcotics!

What are you reading?

Crisp, Quentin S - Graves

An obsession with death. Death and afterwards.
After decay and putrefaction, is there a metamorphosis, a transfiguration? Does the soul endure? And what is the soul? A construct of memory?
Damien dwells on these matters, along with similar depths.
He becomes a nurse, working at the crossroads of existence and expiration. He bears the cross of intelligence, often more a burden than a blessing.
Unlike the majority, his overwhelming curiosity compels him to activity.
This is a novel rich in thought, vivid with details. Not a page turner, either, as many passages demand reflection and contemplation.
I will likely read this again, as I suspect multiple readings will be rewarding.

What are you reading?

Farmer, Philip Jose - The Evil In Pemberley House

What a pile of poo. At least mercifully brief at 200 pages.
American girl - distant relative of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam D’arcy - inherits famed country manor.
The house apparently has a ghost who haunts the master/mistress three midnights every year.
Other relatives in the family tree include Lord Greystoke (AKA: the Jungle Lord), as well as the Duke of Holdernesse, so Holmes is involved - or at least his notes are consulted. Oh, and the family doctor is Dr Augustus Moran, grandson of Colonel Sebastian Moran.
Far be it from me to omit, this is also a bodice ripper, and there are several passages of stripping, whipping and squeezing.
This read like very bad fan fiction to me, yet I must confess, other readers adored it.
The mystery aspect was poorly developed.

What are you reading?

Various (Editor: Beech, Mark) - A Miscellany Of Death And Folly

Tales of the Reaper, or those reaped, and meditations on the other side of Life.
“The Bone-Cage Blues” catches the newest arrival in Skull Town, who literally tumbles out of the sky. Nor does she belong, though rectifying that, well, there’s the rub.
Scenes of death, grotesque and hidden, are glimpsed in rare stereoscopes. Watt’s “Székely’s Last Plate” is a warning to would-be observers. Just how much do you want to see?
A trio of essays act as indexes, glossaries, or entries. One lists omens and superstitions (eg: black birds, cracked mirrors) and other things to avoid, to keep the sharp scythe at bay. Another offers brief snapshots of one of Death’s nemeses, and the activities she performs to protect her neighbors from their final breath. A third essay delves into tawdry commerce. Not so much the high cost of dying, but rather the expense of mourning.
The day was cloudless, warm. The ambitious, though shallow, man had taken a shortcut, and then, fatigued, stretched out for a midday nap. Perhaps one should not take a shortcut through a cemetery. Perhaps one ought not sleep on a grave. For there may be consequences. In Enciso’s, “A Monument,” there are indeed consequences.

Throughout, the old poem by Frye, which, sadly, I have heard far too many times, echoed.
“… Do not stand at my grave and cry;
“I am not there, I did not die.”

What are you reading?

Lloyd, Rebecca - Mercy

The first clutch of stories are not what I would define as uncanny or strange, but rather, to paraphrase Mr. Bukowski, tales of ordinary madness. In this book, however, not so ordinary.
“Mercy” is narrated by an obsessive soul, nurturing a shrine of love, who explains his routine with detailed rationale.
The broken couple gradually circle around each other, drawn by habit and need, in “Salsa.” A friend, Janet, acts as onlooker, though she seems in the corner, leashed with her own restraints.
The builder of kites works quietly, while his eyes evaluate youthful trespassers in “The Meat Freezer.”
70 odd pages in, and new neighbors work to restore a neglected house, and repair their relationship. “What Comes” is the first tale of real unease or disturbance. on several levels, that seeps like a stain that cannot be washed clean.
In “The Bath” young John tries to help the reclusive couple. The pair are long married, though close mouthed, to the annoyance of the inquisitive. Eventually, John makes it past the front door and gazes on secrets, eccentricities, and a wet afternoon mystery.
“Gone To The Deep” is lengthy, and a satisfying release from the half glimpses that have come before.
A mounting tale of a sea spray triangle. The haunted island fisherman, torn between his passionate mainland lass and the bewitching song of the waves.
All make worthwhile reading, yet this collection never caught fire for me.

What are you reading?

Prokudin-Gorskii, S.M. - Photographs For The Tsar

An excellent reference I consult whenever reading about pre-Revolutionary Russia.
Prokudin-Gorskii traveled Russia in a specially fitted Pullman coach, photographing the populace and wonders of the land.
Nicholas II approved this and was genuinely interested, though funding for the project ran out in 1917.
Prokudin-Gorskii was a pioneer in color photography (very expensive), and the book is full of images from 1906-1917.
That world, and the people in it, the villages, the buildings, the very landscape, vanished into the Great War, the Revolution, the Civil War, the Red Terror.
Luckily, his photos are easily found online.

Yes, you could Google around for images, but I have added a couple below:

Pinkhus Karlinskii, 1909

Greek tea gatherers, Kurdistan

Schoolboys with Rabbi, Sammarkand

Peasant women in the Ukraine

More? Larger? Go here –

What are you reading?

Oliver, Reggie - Sea Of Blood

Packed sampler containing many of Mr. Oliver’s best works, recommended primarily to North Americans* curious about him.
This is weird fiction at its best. Tales unpleasant and unexpected balanced with many that are steeped in black humor. Quite a few more circle around the theatrical sphere. Yarns of touring actors, rotten houses, hangers on.
Readers of M.R. James will be on familiar ground and will enjoy.

  • This generous, 400 page collection is readily available stateside, and more affordable that the lovely Tartarus editions. For those outside of the states, U S Postal rates are appalling.
What are you reading?

Various (Editors: Murphy, Damian and Ghetu, Dan) - Wound Of Wounds: An Ovation To Emil Cioran

A collection of riches here, whether you are a follower of Mr. Cioran or an indifferent skeptic.
Snapshots include Thompson’s account of an encounter between Cioran and God (the Almighty wearing the skin of J S Bach) which brews cheerful cynicism with laugh out loud humor.
Mr. Isis exhibits the zoo of the extinguished and the malcontents, observed by an audience of the listless and the bored.
Rhys Hughes offers a suicide. An elaborate device of giddying complexity, and not without a fistful of chance. Rube Goldberg, shooting craps with the Reaper, would chuckle at this.
Wood’s “Dead Engrained Skin” left me reeling. Perplexed, baffled, I felt as if I were trapped in a stalled elevator with an overwrought madman philosopher. Gems of insight wash past in a cascade of words. To mangle the author, a tale best read, then “eschewed,” with the bitterest coffee.
The undead philosopher, one Mr. Cioran, debates meaning and existence in “The Funeral Cry.” He also acts as ferryman between the bigoted small town and the cruel metropolitan underbelly.
“The Infinite Error” catches a grand evacuation, poised before the selfsame ‘infinite error.’ Everything - nothing. Exuberant release, infernal blockage.
Charles Schneider mocks the writer. Frustration, indecision, doubt. He omits the joy during those rare times when words array in splendor. Then again, oh, how fleeting such joy is.

What are you reading?

Keene, Day - League Of The Grateful Dead

Collection of hard-boiled short stories written for 1940s era pulps.
Sharp paced plots, smart mouthed guys, dealing in hot lead and a quick uppercut.
Most were private eye cases, back when the job was glamorous and paid real dough.
A lot of fun, including some great titles such as “Dead: As In Mackerel.”
Beach read when you don’t want to plow through 700 pages of teenagers realizing they are turning into their parents and will live another 60 years, or enduring another memoir of some fossil griping about how painful their childhood was. Oops, was that the grown up teenager?
League Of The Grateful Dead was cheap entertainment, not enlightenment.

Day Keene had been popular in the 30s, as well, but under his own, very Germanic name.
Once WWII commenced, he shifted to a pseudonym and never went back to his original.
In an interview, Jerry Garcia once said the band had gotten their name from a forgotten magazine story.

What are you reading?

Dilke, Lady - The Outcast Spirit And Others

Long ago, a lady leaned over lofty balcony and beheld a company of knights.
Their upraised lances resembled a forest of ivory, and at the center was the most beautiful prince.
Behold the world of Lady Dilke, stories set in a romanticized Medieval era.
Nothing is fair in the kingdoms, however. Curses, dire prophesy and ill fortune are the lot of all.
Lady Dilke did not favor happily ever afters.
I particularly enjoyed the two longer tales, “The Hangman’s Daughter” and “The Triumph Of The Cross.”
In the former, a young noble matures with no estate, wealth or honor. Unknowingly, he forms a relationship with the hangman’s daughter, and all the ill luck that entails.
In the latter, a sorceress unthreads a royal couple, leading a kingdom to war.
Should you be in the mood for the morose fables, then these are for you.

What are you reading?

Cave, Hugh - The Mountains Of Madness

Old school horror by the last pulp master.
Cave was 93 when this came out, his final novel, and it felt like a throwback to the past.
Dan leases a coffee plantation in Haiti and stumbles into voodoo.
A female protagonist arrives, researching an ancestor and she gets the voodoo, as well.
Much was predictable, and the writing style reflected another era.
“What was Dan doing here?” or “Again and again, how did he get from New York to St Joseph?”
Cave does a nice job of pointing clues in different directions, and keeping the reader involved.
Short at 150 pages, but about right for a pulp novel back in the 40s.
Nice finish to a long, long career.

What are you reading?

Ghahwagi, Karim - The Liminal Void

Three souls wear witness to, and record, high crimes and atrocities.
While some crimes may be against the state, and others are vendettas or rivalries, the majority seem to have been inflicted by the authority. The Regime.
The tone is Kafka and Orwell, the domain utterly totalitarian.
How is the narrator even permitted to engage in the archiving of knowledge dangerous to the state?
Therein hangs the novella, as the trio journey from one secure location to one remote.
While broken into a handful of chapters, I still found this a churn to navigate.
The prose was … no, the syntax, the word arrangement and sentence sequence was what I found murky to read and interpret.
On reflection, I decided this must be by design, as other works I have read by Ghahwagi were easier.
If deliberate, I wondered how thin is the border between stylistic flourish and mannerisms.
Sammy Hagar fans, take note: I did not count, but the word “crimson” must be used forty times or more.
Should someone suggest leitmotif, I will shrug and agree.
I was not so much disappointed as puzzled by my reactions to this.
Other Ghahwagi works I have enjoyed greatly.