I gave up on reading as a pleasure activity a while ago; I spend too much time working with words to truly enjoy reading them. I’m told this isn’t uncommon for PhD candidates in their endgame, and I’m eagerly looking forward ((I feel “eagerly looking forward” sounds like a cliché. Perhaps I should read some Edward Bulwer-Lytton.)) to getting back into fiction by the end of the year.

Oddly enough, although I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at screens, the PhD hasn’t robbed me of my love of cinematic trash and excellent TV. I suppose it’s the lack of subtitles…

I’ve rediscovered, over the last few weeks, my love of horror. As a movie genre, it’s inconsistent and often poorly written.

But, crucially, it keeps me entertained.

“Vamp:” Grace Jones as a vampire. It’s the Eighties writ large; all bright colours and big hair. I remember it being much more tense and well-plotted, but the gods above and below what state I was in when I first watched it.

“Pandorum:” German SF Horror, with Dennis Quaid acting his socks off on two sets whilst the rest of the cast wander about the place, passing time between the initial mystery and the unsurprising resolution.

“End of the Line:” Evil Christians start killing peole on a subway. Except maybe they have a point. Not a bad flick, if only because the plot kind of works.

“Boogeyman:” Terrible. It’s always going to be a difficult sell to have an adult character be afraid of monsters in the closet; this film doesn’t even try.

“Half Light:” Lighthouse horror needs to be its own genre. This film need not be in it. On the plus side it has Desmond from “LOST.” On the minus side it has Demi Moore.

“The Amityville Horror:” The original films were dire; the remakes stays true to them.

“The Skeleton Key:” The first question I asked, after the rather predictable resolution, was “So, why are they doing that?” It seems the evil the protagonists commit has no real purpose, other than, well, banality.

“The Colour From the Dark:” Essentially an Italian version of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space,” it’s a film which is far too long and needs to be completely redubbed. Half the cast are Italian and half the cast are Irish; they all play Italians in their native accents, which gets truly bizarre when the main Italian character’s missing brother comes home and he sounds like he comes from County Cork. Add to this a pointless plotline about a Jew being killed by a Nazi and you have a mess of a feature that could have been a fairly good half-hour adaptation of a classic mythos tale.

“Legion:” Poor Paul Bettany and poor Dennis Quaid. That’s all I’ve got to say.

When I look over this list, it does look as if the return from watching these films isn’t minimal but actually quite negative; I suspect it’s just one of those “You have to be there” situations; such films, in the right company or mood, can be fun. This is why MST2K was so successful and why the “24 Hour Movie Marathon works” so well.

Back to work for me. Pointless filler post complete.