I admit, I’ve been bad about actually posting reviews for things related to this month’s theme of romantic and sexual horror. Frankly, it’s because I haven’t felt in the mood. Not only am I bored by the entire romance and erotic genres, it seems that in this post-PC era of “grab ’em by the pussy” dark-ages style sexual conquest, romance is dead.
So after watching several 1970’s lesbian vampire movies in the hopes of finding something, anything, worthy of discussion and deconstruction, I remembered my vast home library of horror fiction. In the process, I rediscovered a now out-of-print short story collection, Vampires, Wine, and Roses, featuring stories by classic and contemporary authors. Fortunately, copies are plentiful on the secondary market, in both a trade paperback format and a handsome hardcover edition (pictured above).
Although a couple comedic shorts by Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce are a bit out of place, the collection as a whole is great reading for anyone with a hunger for classy and romantic vampire stories. Here, we have stories by Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Edith Wharton, Anne Rice, Rod Serling, Baudelaire, Alexander Dumas, Ray Bradbury, and others. Despite the inclusion of contemporary authors, the effect as a whole is that the reader is transported to a more genteel time. This isn’t an ideal collection for those who are looking for explicit erotica, but nonetheless conveys a great deal of passion and genuine creepiness.
I confess…I haven’t been in much of a holiday spirit. And with a proliferation of reviews for popular Christmas movies such as Krampus, I didn’t feel compelled to add my own reviews to the mix. That said, I’m a sucker for Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and for the many film adaptations of that story. Perversely, the Ghost of Christmas Future segment was always my favorite by virtue of being so grim.
Imagine my delight at discovering A Carol for Another Christmas on Turner Classic Movies earlier this month. This was a made-for-TV movie scripted by Rod Serling and released in 1964. This anti-war political modernization of the Dickens classic is grim in its entirety, with a message that is, unfortunately, still appropriate and timely.
In this version, an powerful industrialist Daniel Grudge coldly dismisses his nephew’s request to sponsor a cultural exchange program, instead adopting an isolationist political view. Like Scrooge, Grudge is visited by three spirits. In the past segment, he meets the ghosts of every soldier killed in every war in human history before meeting the disfigured survivors or Hiroshima. In the present segment, he is invited to a lavish feast but is forced to watch starving refugees in interment camps. When angered that he has to watch the suffering of the poor from other nations, the Ghost of Christmas Present reminds Grudge of his previous stance that providing aid to the poor prevents them from becoming self-reliant.
While the entire film is quite depressing, the future segment is, as usual, the “best” part. Grudge is shown the aftermath of a nuclear World War III, in which Peter Sellers portrays a demagogue known as the “Imperial ME,” dressed in a pilgrim costume and a cowboy hat cut to look like a crown. Sellers’ insane rants at the ruins of the town hall resemble Grudge’s own isolationist views taken to an extreme.
A Carol for another Christmas can be watched in it entirety at the Youtube link below, or purchased on DVD.