Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Sinking of the RMS Titanic

The sinking of the Titanic: Credit Bridgeman Art Library
Among the finds at a book sale last fall, my husband discovered a 1955 paperback on the sinking of the RMS Titanic by Walter Lord entitled A Night to Remember. It remains one of the most authoritative accounts of the tragedy and inspired a movie in 1958 by the same name, which you can view online.  It's worth the watch.

Today marks the 106th anniversary of the ship's sinking, but its story never seems to grow old. If you've never read Thomas Hardy's "The Convergence of the Twain," you might want to check it out. The poem's imagery of the iceberg forming in the ocean while shipbuilders are constructing what they believe to be an unsinkable ship is striking. The sinking of the Titanic was the perfect subject for the fatalistic Hardy.

What struck me the most about Walter Lord's account of the sinking is how the ship was a perfect microcosm of the class system that existed at that time. More than 1500 passengers died while there were only 710 survivors. The class of the passenger in fact determined their survival: the death rate of steerage passengers was much higher than those in first class quarters. It  was women and children first in the lifeboats, but many of those in third class--locked below in the ship--never had the option of boarding one. Seventeen per cent of first class children were lost as opposed to 66 per cent of third class children. Three per cent of first class passenger women were lost as opposed to 54 per cent in third class quarters. Many of the lifeboats departed the vessel only half full.

 The class distinction persisted even in death. When Canadian rescue ships started on their mission to recover bodies, they discovered they didn't have sufficient embalming supplies. (Under regulation, bodies were required to be embalmed before being returned to port.) They preserved the bodies of the obviously well-to-do passengers for burial in Halifax, while abandoning the others to their watery grave.

The scope of the tragedy was compounded by many factors: there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers onboard; the myth of the unsinkability of the ship led many to believe that they were in no real danger;  numerous ice warnings were not given enough credence by the radio operator, who was busy sending out  messages from the millionaires aboard to families and friends, crowing about their presence on the Titanic's maiden voyage; and the practice of the time to have radio operators available only on a part-time basis meant that the SS Californian, only a few miles away, did not receive the Titanic's distress messages. (The ship's crew also watched, but ignored rockets from the Titanic because they weren't the usual colour of flares denoting distress.)

In retrospect, there seemed to be an inevitability about the ship's tragic end. In fact, there was a novella published by Morgan Robertson in 1898 in which many of the details of the later sinking of the Titanic were foreshadowed.

Is there truly such a thing as fate?






Monday, 9 April 2018

A Quiet Place

Released on April 6, 2018, in the United States and Canada, this film has already garnered an almost perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes with excellent reviews from critics and movie-goers alike.

The film is directed by John Krasinski, who also stars in the movie along with his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. It has an intriguing premise: in a dystopian world, a family must flee to the woods, where creatures hunt their targets by sound. If they hear you, they hurt you.

In addition to considering his film a metaphor for parenthood, Krasinski compared the premise to US politics in 2018, "I think in our political situation, that's what's going on now: You can close your eyes and stick your head in the sand, or you can try to participate in whatever's going on." (Source: Wikipedia)

To view the trailer, please click here.

Monday, 2 April 2018

The Portal & The Experiment







My apologies for the length between posts. I hope to start blogging regularly again.

I'm pleased to announce that my fourth book, The Portal & The Experiment: Two Novellas of Suspense, is now available in e-book format and will shortly be published in paperback.

This is my first venture into the use of first-person narrative, and I hope you will like the book. As in my previous novels, I've used elements of the supernatural, as well as extra-sensory perceptions. I added the element of a "chase" to the second novella, "The Experiment," something I always enjoy in a suspense novel.

Here's a synopsis of the two stories:

THE PORTAL - As a young girl, Emily Montfort invented a mythology of her own, but as an adult caring for her mother, who is dying of Alzheimer's disease, she knows that flights of fancy are a luxury she can no longer afford. Still grieving after her mother's death, Emily hires Carrie, an exuberant young woman, to help her run the antique shop she's inherited from her mother. Emily prides herself on her practicality, living in an apartment above the shop in a closely circumscribed world. But one day she discovers that the mirror on an antique dresser reflects more than her pale, sad face and that there may be a world beyond the practical and sensible inviting her to enter its portal.


THE EXPERIMENT - Jack Booth is an empath who's been made to feel like an outcast by his own mother. But now he's bonded with five other university students who possess extra-sensory powers in an experiment that's supposed to map the potential of the human brain. Under the direction of the self-professed transhumanist Dr. Derek Avery, the sky seems to be the limit until Jack and his fellow subjects find themselves trapped in an abandoned asylum with no potential for escape, and the purpose of the experiment no longer seems quite so noble.


The book is available online at https://www.amazon.com/Portal-Experim....

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Snowman Film

When I first saw a movie poster for The Snowman, I thought it was a Christmas slasher movie. I've done more reading and now realize that it's a movie adaptation of Jo Nesbø's eponymous book. Nesbø is a Norwegian best-selling author known for his Harry Hole detective. The Snowman is the seventh novel in the Harry Hole series.

Unfortunately, the movie is receiving very poor reviews despite its director Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), executive producer Martin Scorsese, and stellar cast, including Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole.

The main problem, according to the various reviews I've read, is that it does not capture the essence of the original novel and is largely incoherent in terms of its editing and screenplay. The Chicago Tribune also notes that

Among all of this [the incoherencies of the movie] is some truly gruesome imagery, and unimaginable violence, deployed cavalierly, and committed primarily against female victims. Our antihero Hole is himself a bit of a boor, roughing up his female partner to make a point, because he's got to save the day, his way. What a guy. With a perplexing tale and some very odd creative choices, it's so easy to laugh at The Snowman, but this kind of tale shouldn't inspire laughter.

If you've read the original novel, you may still be interested in seeing the movie adaptation with the caveat that it will not live up to its source, according to most of its critics.

Here's the movie trailer.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Just in Time for Halloween: The Serpent

The Serpent, which is to be released on DVD on October 31st, is described as a romantic escape into nature that turns into the ultimate moment of reckoning when a husband and wife are trapped in a tent with a deadly snake. Unable to escape and with certain death looming, the couple find themselves spiraling into a dark and dangerous space of which only one can survive as the tent becomes a heated confessional to a cataclysmic truth.

Judging from the synopsis and the trailer, The Serpent has all the earmarks of a good fright movie: isolation, betrayal, the fight for survival, and, in this case, an evil villain that is literally a snake.

Check out the trailer below to see if you might be interested:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-adk-adk_sbnt&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&hspart=adk&p=movie+trailer+for+The+Serpent#id=4&vid=4df8ad811450b959f42e340e3d932833&action=click


Monday, 2 October 2017

October Horror DVD/VOD Releases

Based on the trailers I viewed and the film descriptions, these October releases look promising.



GHOST STORYIn this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife. (Available October 3rd on DVD)

https://youtu.be/c_3NMtxeyfk




THE CRUCIFIXION  - Based on a true story, when a priest is jailed for the murder of a nun on whom he was performing an exorcism, an investigative journalist strives to determine whether he, in fact, murdered a mentally ill person, or if he lost the battle with a demonic presence. (Available October 6th on VOD)

https://youtu.be/9J33S2HC8xA



NIGHTWORLD - When Former LAPD Office, Brett Anderson takes a job as head of security at an old apartment building in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, he soon begins to experience a series of bizarre and terrifying events. Once he begins to delve deep into the building’s sinister history, and investigate its shadowy owners and past employees, Brett soon uncovers a malevolent force nestled deep in the bowels of the building in the basement that will do anything to be set free into our world. . .  (Available October 20th on VOD)

https://youtu.be/0T7jHCQX-Xs



For other titles, please see http://horrorfreaknews.com/october-2017-horror-movie-release.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

New September Horror Film Releases

In the lead-up to Halloween, there are many new horror films being released in September. Here are two you might like to check out:


It

There's something truly terrifying about sinister clowns, and Stephen King's Pennywise is among the
scariest. This film has been touted as the most-awaited horror movie of 2017. It's getting excellent reviews and has an 85% rating in Rotten Tomatoes, which states that the film is "well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core. It amplifies the horror in Stephen King's classic story without losing touch with its heart."

For the trailer, please click here.



mother!   

From the director of  Black Swan, this film has an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle
Pfeiffer, and Kristen Wiig. A young woman renovates a Victorian mansion in the countryside where she lives with her husband. A stranger knocks at the door one night and becomes an unexpected guest, and soon his family joins him. Suddenly, her husband becomes friendly and accommodating with everyone but her.

For the trailer, please click here.


Stay tuned for more next week!