PODCAST:

S4E12P – Preview Episode (Hogfather)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Hogfather (1996)” by Terry Pratchett

“Who would want to harm Discworld’s most beloved icon? Very few things are held sacred in this twisted, corrupt, heartless—and oddly familiar—universe, but the Hogfather is one of them. Yet here it is, Hogswatchnight, that most joyous and acquisitive of times, and the jolly, old, red-suited gift-giver has vanished without a trace. And there’s something shady going on involving an uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassins’ Guild and certain representatives of Ankh-Morpork’s rather extensive criminal element. Suddenly Discworld’s entire myth system is unraveling at an alarming rate. Drastic measures must be taken, which is why Death himself is taking up the reins of the fat man’s vacated sleigh . . . which, in turn, has Death’s level-headed granddaughter, Susan, racing to unravel the nasty, humbuggian mess before the holiday season goes straight to hell and takes everyone along with it. (from Goodreads.com)

*** * ***

“Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather (2006)” by Vadim Jean (Michelle Dockery)

“From the mind of Terry Pratchett comes “Hogfather,” a fantastic miniseries set in a parallel universe. It’s the night before Hogswatch on Discworld, and the Hogfather has gone missing, in a plot by the evil Auditors to destroy human belief and make the planet their own. Death takes Hogfather’s place to deliver presents to all the children at the mid-winter festival.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E11M – 2001: A Space Odyssey (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we ride this cosmic starship past the moon and head straight for the rings of Saturn—rather, Jupiter. Once more round the sun I am accompanied by musician John Doyle a/k/a Dole (I Decline, Theurgy) and sci-fi fan Richard Bacon. We three arrive, at last, to stare in perplexed amazement and wonder at this speculative fiction masterpiece.

It was no surprise that this film received universal praise from all three of us. While Ryan tended to cite examples of contributions by others including the co-creator of the story and the recruitment of clever forerunners in the special effects field, the guests were more focused on the director’s vision. Dole greatly appreciated that in the film everything was not explained for him and much was left to the viewer’s interpretation—though, he admitted the book provided a new perspective. Rich agreed and recounted a screening of the work he attended while in university that was introduced by actor James Earl Jones who provided some historical context.

Like, as before, we closed out this episode with another teaser track from Dole’s “Theurgy” band project (Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Theurgy-233634134183768/) called “Dreamcatcher”. Check out this preview of dark wave music at the end of the episode!

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)” by Stanley Kubrick (movie)

Ryan: 5 Stars “…an ode to space travel and mankind’s cosmic destiny that takes painstaking attention to scientific detail with deft poetic breath and all around general sense of contemplative bewilderment and awe…

Dole: 5 Stars “…mind-blowing…I mean it’s so influential on any sci-fi film ever since created…

Rich: 5 Stars “…a cinematic masterpiece—a must see, for anyone who wants to appreciate serious films…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

On this episode Ryan mentioned a collection of audio interviews of the director which included a collage of still photos. You can watch “Stanley Kubrick: The Lost Tapes” on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/QsSV6yZZIVk.

Some other podcasts about our subject work mentioned (maybe not by name) on our episode were the
Now Playing Podcast (http://www.nowplayingpodcast.com/episode.htm?id=1222) and a June 2018 interview of Michael Benson author of “Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece” by Martin Bandyke for Under Covers and the Ann Arbor District Library (https://aadl.org/node/377257).

There were two short documentaries which inspired the special effects for this movie and where the director curated some of his crew. One was “To the Moon and Beyond” which was part of the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair Exhibit and narrated by Rod Serling (Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_the_Moon_and_Beyond). The other film was titled “Universe” and put out by the National Film Board of Canada (Wiki: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe_(1960_film)), and that one can be seen on the film board’s website or YouTube here: https://youtu.be/48gIN4hGOdI.

As noted on the show the author and director sought the help of other noted science fiction writers during the evolution of this unique project. Here is an article by Michael Moorcock for the New Statesman America titled “Close to tears, he left at the intermission: how Stanley Kubrick upset Arthur C. Clarke.” – https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2017/01/close-tears-he-left-intermission-how-stanley-kubrick-upset-arthur-c-clarke. Another article about Carl Sagan by Stefan Andrews for The Vintage News concerns how “Carl Sagan advised Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick on extra-terrestrial life for their masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey”” – https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/03/10/carl-sagan-advised-arthur-c-clarke-and-stanley-kubrick-on-extra-terrestrial-life-for-their-masterpiece-2001-a-space-odyssey/.

Ryan talked about noted special effects guru Douglas Trumbull who was recruited to work on the film. Although Trumbull couldn’t get effects together to make the rings of Saturn to the satisfaction of this director, he did it later for his own directorial effort in the science fiction film “Silent Running,” which starred actor Bruce Dern. Here is a forum discussion related to this topic: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/177/why-is-the-destination-of-the-discovery-in-2001-a-space-odyssey-saturn-in-the-b.

With regard to the final stargate sequence of the movie Rich couldn’t help, but cite the line “They went plaid!” spoken by comedy actor John Candy as Barf the Mog (half man/half dog) from the ultimate science fiction Star Wars parody movie “Space Balls.” Watch that full scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk7VWcuVOf0.

It should also be stated that “Douglas Rain,” who provided the voice for the computer Hal 9000 died after the recording of our podcast episode, but before it’s release so it was not mentioned during the show: https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/douglas-rain-voice-of-hal-in-2001-a-space-odyssey-di-1830379580.

Lastly, Dole mentioned his new band project “Theurgy,” which is a post-punk dark wave band. You can check out rough cuts of their music on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/theurgyband/sets/exit-strategies-rough-mixes?fbclid=IwAR13ja8J6euwpSHXAS05aIFnFuKcbd4z18TGWrMu0JK3c_-4vVW8VDBJlxw. At the end of the podcast episode their is a fully mastered teaser from their forthcoming song “Dreamcatcher.” They hope to have their music available on bandcamp soon: https://theurgytransmissions.bandcamp.com/. Until then follow them on facebook and instagram.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E11B – 2001: A Space Odyssey (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein I am joined by NDIOS theme composer John Doyle a/k/a Dole (I Decline, Theurgy) as well as previous guest Richard Bacon (speculative fiction fan). This month the three of us dissect the concurrently developed piece of literature from speculative fiction’s, perhaps, most  famous and influential film.  

Ryan felt that the economic prose had an almost poetic quality to it in the way it was organized and written. Rich found the writing clear and technically proficient, but read this novel chiefly as a way to better understand the movie. While Dole highly recommended this book for any science fiction fans he didn’t think he would ever read it again himself. In counterpoint and assent Rich expressed that he would not necessarily recommend the book to others, but it did inspire him to check out more of this author’s stuff. Our discussion went pretty long, but that seemed appropriately timed for a uniquely written collaborative work that will be forever associated with (and overshadowed by) such a significant visual expression. 

Additionally, Dole generously allowed us to include a teaser track called “Walk Away,” from one of the songs off his “Theurgy” band project (Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Theurgy-233634134183768/). Preview this song of dark wave music at the end of the episode!

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)” by Arthur C. Clarke (book)

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “…A future-perfect scientific adventure through the solar system which bears all the hazards of an early and epic exploration toward evolutionary destiny…

Dole: 4 Stars “…a space drama that explores humanity and how we evolve and how we are pushed…in interstellar overdrive into the outer reaches of imagination…

Rich: 3 Stars “…this book was written by a man that was concerned with telling us how we were going to achieve wonders through the different ways that we would use technologies…but it was good technical writing, it combined good practicality with some aspirational evolution…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Another podcast about this subject book mentioned by Ryan was “Nachos and Books” and their June 02, 2014 episode can be found here: http://www.booksandnachos.com/episode.htm?id=133.

During our talk we stated that the idea for this novel was based on two previously published short stories by the author. If you want to check out these stories go here:

Ryan mentioned how the author was a popularizer of the concept of geostationary satellites due to his circulation of a private paper and an article he wrote on the subject titled “EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL RELAYS: Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” published in Wireless World in October of 1945. Find it in HTML here: https://lakdiva.org/clarke/1945ww/1945ww_oct_305-308.html or PDF here: http://clarkeinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ClarkeWirelessWorldArticle.pdf.

Underwater ocean diving was a passion of Arthur C. Clarke. He wrote a few books on the subject including one regarding the discovery of an ancient temple “The Reefs of Taprobane (Blue Planet Trilogy)” which he was involved with: https://www.amazon.com/Reefs-Taprobane-Blue-Planet-Trilogy/dp/0743445023/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Reefs+of+Taprobane&qid=1573478788&s=books&sr=1-1The author also had his own diving school and though we could not verify its continued existence we did find articles about it here: https://www.lightmillennium.org/3rd_april_03/bu_hekanayake.html and here: https://www.timeout.com/sri-lanka/things-to-do/underwater-safaris.

Arthur C. Clarke was no stranger to television. Among other appearances we mentioned that he hosted at least three of his own programs and even commented on the moon landings. His TV programs included: “Mysterious World,” “World of Strange Powers,” and “Mysterious Universe.” Previous NDIOS subject Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke were both interviewed by Walter Cronkite for CBS News to comment on the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PLTkYJ7C40.

There is an award given under the author’s name: Arthur C. Clarke Award. “The annual Arthur C. Clarke Award is given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year.” (from https://clarkeaward.com/).

In a humorous moment during the show Ryan and Dole a cited movie character “Large Marge” (he actually mistakenly said “Big Bertha”) from 1985’s “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pee-wee%27s_Big_Adventure. In the scene, Pee Wee hitches a ride from a truck driver named Large Marge who recounts the worst accident she ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPMSGTfK4Aw. Ryan also brought up the short-lived grammar correcting robot “Linguo” who appeared first on the episode “Trilogy of Errors.” Neither of the other guests knew what Ryan was talking about, however, the character was real and his main story arc can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmMaEUl-6DU.

While Dole bemoaned the length of the recording process of our episodes, Rich delightfully mentioned that he got to catch up on some shows. One was Berwyn, Illinois’ very own Svengoolie who hosts a local horror television program and can be found here: https://svengoolie.com/. Rich’s also wanted to plug his efforts making a customized Christmas train. However, his efforts to keep his children from attacking it failed. Even still he did provide us the brief video below of what he was referring to:

 

Music played a big role in this movie and has in other works of literature. On the episode we mentioned Pink Floyd‘s album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” which was taken from a chapter of Kenneth Grahame‘s “The Wind in the Willowsand the song “Childhood’s End” which was taken from Arthur C. Clarke’s eponymous book title “Childhood’s End“.  We also mentioned David Bowie‘s song “Space Oddity” which was inspired by the film adaptation.

Lastly, Dole mentioned his new band project “Theurgy,” which is a post-punk dark wave band. You can check out rough cuts of their music on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/theurgyband/sets/exit-strategies-rough-mixes?fbclid=IwAR13ja8J6euwpSHXAS05aIFnFuKcbd4z18TGWrMu0JK3c_-4vVW8VDBJlxw. At the end of the podcast episode their is a fully mastered teaser from their forthcoming song “Walk Away.” They hope to have their music available on bandcamp soon: https://theurgytransmissions.bandcamp.com/. Until then follow them on facebook and instagram.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E11P – Preview Episode (2001: A Space Odyssey)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)” by Arthur C. Clarke (book)

The classic science fiction novel that captures and expands on the vision of Stanley Kubrick’s immortal film—and changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves.

From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man ventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.

Grappling with space exploration, the perils of technology, and the limits of human power, 2001: A Space Odyssey continues to be an enduring classic of cinematic scope. (from Amazon.com)

*** * ***

“2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)” by Stanley Kubrick (movie)

“The sci-fi masterpiece from acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick about a space voyage to Jupiter that turns chaotic when a computer enhanced with artificial intelligence takes over.” (from Amazon.com)

 

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E10X – The Haunting of Hill House (series)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we slink through the many rooms and scurry past the plethora of ghosts in this ten episode arc, which ambitiously devours and expands upon the underlying source material forever circling the shadow of the director’s authorial inspiration. Thrice, now, we charm a tale of haunted houses and the psychological toll they reap upon their entrants. This rare late return bonus episode is abided again by Amanda Andros (playwright: https://www.instagram.com/scribblergrll/) and Laura Valle (Major Horror community fansite: https://www.facebook.com/welovescary/).

Everyone ranked this series above the 1999 remake, but below the 1963 classic. Ryan appreciated the chances the director took and the way he was able to weave in clever easter eggs, nods, and callouts to the novel. For Amanda, the character development was superb and cleverly done. Laura agreed on this point and lauded the director for excelling in this trait, but also questioned if the spirit of the book was maintained. Many comparisons were made to Stephen King. The ending proved a more difficult pill to swallow and the change in tone was perplexing if not frustrating and we digressed long on that subject.

All in all, the show was enjoyed and the general consensus was that watching the characters develop over the series (especially the middle episodes) provided an enjoyable, though sometimes uneven, experience. Laura was quick to point out that despite her reservations on how things wrapped up, she would be curious to check out other efforts by this director whose previous work she enjoyed.

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN SERIES REVIEWS:

“The Haunting (1963)” by Robert Wise (Julie Harris) (movie)

Ryan: 4 Stars “…they were ambitious and I think for the most part they succeeded in doing something that, in general, kept with most of the spirit of the book and also…survived on its own and I like sometimes when director’s do take a chance and just do their own thing…and he didn’t completely ignore the source material…

Amanda: 3.75 Stars “…the character development is amazing…especially the female characters…and the relationships between the children both in their adult lives and as small children and the parents as well…the ending killed it for me I was just like this is so corny I can’t even see straight…

Laura:  3 Stars “….if I could rate each episode individually there are some that I would give…a five…so many like really truly creepy moments…I wanted to see more of that…I wish he’d been braver with making that ending actually a haunting disturbing ending…

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Ryan mentioned listening to two podcast interviews with the director in preparing for this episode: Post Mortem with Mick Garris – https://audioboom.com/posts/7194291-mike-flanagan and Blumhouse: Shock Waves – http://podcast.blumhouse.com/shock-waves-episode-4-the-horrors-of-mike-flanagan.

During one of the interviews Mike Flanagan recalled watching Jim Henson‘s Fraggle Rock and in particular the Terrible Tunnel. You can watch this snippet of the Fraggle Storyteller muppet singing the song of the tale of the Terrible Tunnel here on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9iQMJTVsTs. To learn more about the Terrible Tunnel go to this muppet fandom wiki: https://muppet.fandom.com/wiki/Episode_108:_The_Terrible_Tunnel.

Laura talked about two articles that reflected on the ending of this series. One article, “Let’s Talk About The Ending OF The Haunting of Hill House,” written by Alissa Fikse for Syfy Wire contains an interview with the director where he talks about how he decided to change the ending: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/lets-talk-about-the-ending-of-the-haunting-of-hill-house. The other article, “‘Haunting of Hill House’: Oliver Jackson-Cohen Points to Red Room Clue That Hints Crains Never Made It Out,” written by Jenifer Maas for The Wrap contains an interview with one of the actors who has an interesting take on some of the hidden or not so hidden symbology woven into the episodes: https://www.thewrap.com/haunting-of-hill-house-red-room-ending-luke-oliver-jackson-cohen/. For more fun hidden images check out this article, “The Haunting of Hill House: All the Hidden Ghosts You Missed,” written by Brian Tallerico for Vulture which talks about the hidden ghosts in the show : https://www.vulture.com/2018/10/the-haunting-of-hill-house-hidden-ghosts.html. Ryan brought up another podcast (Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy) that reviewed the series and mentioned actor Russ Tamblyn (who played “Luke” in the 1963 film) made a cameo appearance as the psychologist for Nell: https://geeksguideshow.com/2018/10/26/ggg333-the-haunting-of-hill-house-season-1/.

Lastly, the three of us all took a guess (when recorded this episode) on whether or not there would be a second season of this show due to its perceived success. We were only kinda right. Check out this article, “‘Haunting of Hill House’ Renewed as Anthology, Creators Ink Overall TV Deal at Netflix,” written by Joe Otterson for Variety that explains what’s next: https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/haunting-of-hill-house-renewed-netflix-1203144815/.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E10M – The Haunting (movie)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we weigh the two filmic adaptations of this supernatural horror story by two journeymen directors with somewhat similar tutelage, both of whom were supported by talented and capable casts, but with diverging results: one held close to the book’s psychological leanings while the other, bolstered by advancements in special effects, reached for a more thrilling terror experience. Amanda Andros (playwright: https://www.instagram.com/scribblergrll/) and Laura Valle (Major Horror community fansite: https://www.facebook.com/welovescary/) join me again as we return twice more to this not sane haunted house (with yet another review to follow later). 

Our discussions were lengthy and centered mostly around the production aspects for both movies. Amanda brought up the auteur style of directing, and while we contrasted these movies with that directorial form, we also saw a great deal of effort put into these visual expressions of the story. Laura had seen the first movie before and felt it was just as enjoyable to re-watch, but she was sorely disappointed in the later version which she had hoped would simply be a fun ride if nothing else. Ryan agreed with the overall consensus of his guests that the earlier black and white film captured all too well the psychological horror present in the book, yet the later director’s background in action films seemed to lead this work too far away from what made the original story great: i.e. the delicate balance between the psychological and supernatural.

We had loads of fun delving deeply into the backgrounds of these two talented directors and the various thoughtful elements they incorporated into their films. Contrasting the results led to interesting talk about various competing theories which directors must choose or blend when they undertake to make a visual representation of a work of literature. In many ways, this episode exemplifies the core of what the podcast is about. 

So, ignore creaky doors, incorporeal mutterings, those strange wall scrawlings, and odd spots of temperature shift–lean in, listen, stream and thrall with podcast musings and scary delight!

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN MOVIE REVIEWS:

“The Haunting (1963)” by Robert Wise (Julie Harris) (movie)

Ryan: 5 Stars “…The 1963 Film is a cleverly undertook film that perfectly captures the essence of Jackson’s book while empathizing the more psychological aspects in just the right way so that something slightly different and sinisterly Beautiful is realized…

Amanda: 4 1/2 Stars “…The 63’ version was very Hitchcockian and Orson Wells with the camera angles, it was visually striking…it was a very close adaptation and visually enthralling as well as with the sounds and dialog…lot of internal monologuing in the 63’ version…

Laura:  5 Stars “…The 63’ version is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book that really…used a lot of fantastic camera work and sound…was really scary and effective…

*** * ***

“The Haunting (1999)” by Jan de Bont (Liam Neeson) (movie)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…while the 1999 remake attempts to pay tribute to the older cult classic but from a new angle by interjected thriller elements and choosing to focus on the supernatural elements which the previous film tended to avoid in a more grandiose way so that it tends to overshadow itself despite the heaps of talent involved…

Amanda: 1/2 Star “…which was also very captivating. The 99’ version is just a grotesque funhouse and distortion of the novel…it was not faithful to the vision of the novel…

Laura: 1 Star “…the 99’ version veered quite a bit from the original source material and was kind of a big mess of special effects and over the top…”  

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

On this episode we mentioned the real life hotel in England where some of the cast stayed and which served as the outside of Hill House for the 1963 movie. To learn more about the Eddington Park Hotel visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettington_Park_Hotel, or book a stay there: https://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/ettingtonpark/#. Some of the strange experiences of the crew for that film reminded Amanda of the infamous curse alleged to afflict the cast and crew of the Poltergeist film series. Snopes did an article on this topic, “Is the ‘Poltergeist’ Curse Real?” which is found here:  https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/poltergeist-curse/.

The film school interview of director Jon de Bont mentioned by Ryan on the show took place at the New York Film Academy for the director’s release of his hit film “Twister,” and you can watch this here: https://youtu.be/CBuj1N-jVa0. Ryan also compared some of the over-the-top special effects in the 1999 movie to a typical concert by outrageous heavy metal rockers GWAR. You can watch the official music video from one of their original hit singles “Sick Of You” on the Metal Blade Records music channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbnm-0r3suM.

Last, but certainly not least, we made much ado about the cameo appearance of incomparable actor Bruce Dern in the 1999 movie, which reminded Laura of his role in cult classic film “The Burbs” directed by former NDIOS subject director Joe Dante. Enjoy this short compilation clip of the actor in the aforementioned film aptly titled “The Burbs: Bruce Dern, Master of Physical Comedy” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbQbflIH8E8.

 

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

PODCAST:

S4E10B – The Haunting of Hill House (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein we dance through the gray miasma blurring the boundary between psychological and supernatural horror. I am pleased to be accompanied by two previous guests who bring with them an enthusiasm befitting this eye-opening peer into the gothic terror of one of literature’s paramount tales on the classic haunted house archetype. Joining me this trip are Amanda Andros (playwright: https://www.instagram.com/scribblergrrrl/) and Laura Valle (Major Horror community fansite: https://www.facebook.com/welovescary/).

Our trio was equally fascinated by the storied background of the author, which entailed a deservedly lengthy biographical overview. She was someone we were all vaguely familiar with due to her epic success in the short story world due to a piece permanently burned into the American literary canon: The Lottery. In preparing for the podcast, Laura and Amanda were both inspired to earmark other works by this author as well as a fairly recent biography of her life. Her personal tale was found to be just as up and down as that of the protagonist in her book.

All three of us felt the sparse style of writing was able to capture the mood and compliment the plot quite well. Laura noted the isolation of the protagonist who was desperately trying to fit in and compared the detailed insight akin to the style utilized by Stephen King (though she found this author’s ability to wrap things up a much tidier affair). Amanda compared the writing to Flannery O’Connor in that the dark parts came sudden, sharp, and abrupt. Ryan appreciated the false climax that led up to a much more original and powerful ending. 

Please enjoy this exuberant review of a well-respected, but sometimes overlooked important author and one of her crowning achievements.

-Ryan

 

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“The Haunting of Hill House (1959)” by Shirley Jackson (book)

Ryan: 5 Stars “…A place of nuanced genius where psychological suspense meets the supernatural, highlighting the lulls of reality in which we deceive ourselves while we all slowly tilt toward an inevitable yet unpredictable whizz-bang ending!…

Amanda: 5 Stars “…The embodiment of psychological darkness…a manifestation of horror in a physical sense…

Laura: 5 Stars “…What’s so haunting…is the sort of like devastating character study of the protagonist, and just sort of watching this…ascent into hopefulness, and then like crashing descent to hopelessness…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on Goodreads.com)

 

FUN FACTOIDS:

Although not read by us prior to the recording of the podcast, we checked out an interview of Ruth Franklin who wrote a biography on the author that was published in 2016: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. The interview of the biographer for “BBC Books and Authors” was on the episode “A look back at the year and the work of Shirley Jackson”(https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0856lt1). We also listened to the fourth season review “Shirley Jackson: Her Life & Her Stories” on the podcast “Good Mourning, Nancy” (https://goodmourningnancy.com/season-four/), which was very enjoyable and informative. You can learn more about Shirley Jackson by visiting this website http://shirleyjackson.org/. To check out the award established in her name “for outstanding achievement in the literature of horror, the dark fantastic, and psychological suspense” visit: https://www.shirleyjacksonawards.org/.

Shirley is probably most famous for her short story “The Lottery,” which was first published in 1948 by the New Yorker magazine (read it on their website here: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1948/06/26/the-lottery). The first visual adaptation of this story was made for Encyclopædia Britannica’s ‘Short Story Showcase’ series and featured the film debut of a young Ed Begley, Jr.. You can watch this 1969 short film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQQoMCaUz5Y. Ryan talked about the rumors that Jackson wrote this work in a fit of passion, which reminded him of a similar tale about the subject-fitting song “Paranoid” by metal legends and originators Black Sabbath. Check out their eerie and trippy original music video for this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkXHsK4AQPs.

Like a lot of authors, Shirley Jackson, was inspired by the real world when she created her stories. We mentioned the disappearance of Paula Jean Welden, which resulted in her book Hangsaman. Ryan also brought up two places that directly inspired elements of this book. For more on the Borley Rectory of England check out episode 87 of the “13 O’Clock” podcast (https://goddessofhellfire.com/2018/04/17/13-oclock-episode-87-borley-rectory-plus-keith-linder-haunting/) and an article in “The Observer” by Amelia Hill called: Hoaxer’s confession lays the famed ghosts of Borley (https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/dec/31/books.booksnews). For more about Glamis Castle of Scotland check out episode 103 on the “History Goes Bump” podcast (http://historygoesbump.libsyn.com/ep-103-glamis-castle). 

During our show we talked about the author inserting a humorous scene with the Doctor’s boorish wife and her sycophant helper, the former who unsuccessfully used automatic writing via a planchette (this website has some good depictions of the device: https://museumoftalkingboards.com/planchet.html) to summon the spirits of Hill House. These characters reminded us the character “Otho” played by Glenn Shadix in the cult classic film: Beetlejuice. You can enjoy YouTube snippets of the actor’s performance in the movie here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0Lgti4p3-k, as well as his work in the famous ghostly inspired dinner dance sequence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzSP-J90tqA.

Lastly, here is the Instagram post mentioned by Ryan depicting acorns, which he felt indicative of the moods in the novel:

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.