logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Michael-McDowell
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2019-03-23 23:10
Found at last!!!!!
Clue - Michael McDowell

Movie novelizations are amongst the lowest genre in terms of literary merit, and yet it's common to see them go for high prices on eBay. This “Clue” novelization by Michael McDowell is particularly pricy, rarely going for anything less than $150. Possibly because the movie remains a cult masterpiece, or maybe because Michael McDowell was a noteworthy horror writer on his own, I understand why fans are constantly seeking it out. I certainly was.

When I at last got my hands on a copy, I decided to not just read it but literally transcribe every word. The archivist in me felt it was important to save a digital copy should it ever disappear completely to the dusty shelves of rare book collectors. This transcription process was one of my most cherished reading experiences. There are few ways to be more intimate with a book than to retype every word. It requires a slower reading and allows the discovery of technique you would normally never notice, such as stylized word repetition, clever usage of punctuation, and white space.

I'm also happy to report that this novelization has literary merit. Content-wise, it never strays from the movie and yet it is still delightful to essentially re-watch the film through McDowell's superb narration. Consider, for example, this delicious description of Yvette:

Yvette was the nec plus ultra of downstairs maids. She was young. She was astonishingly beautiful. She had better curves than a major league pitcher. She was dusting the books in the library with a feather duster that wasn’t half as soft as the waves of her lustrous hair. Yvette was not only a French maid; she was a fetishist’s dream of a French maid, and she had an outfit to match: a glossy black dress, cut high on the thigh and low in the bosom, so tight it whined when she walked. A starched white cap was perched absurdly atop her head, and a starched white apron was slung low across her waist, like a remembrance of chastity. Her stockings were at once black and sheer, and the seam that ran along the back of her calf was a draftman’s ecstasy of curve. Her shoes were high in the heel and tight in the toe, completing a figure that was—all in all—at once startling, grotesque, and divine.

So often as I was reading/transcribing my way through, I would crack up at McDowell's hilarious use of language to depict scenes that I knew by heart. Other times I simply marveled at the quality of his tight, efficient prose.

There is one other big attraction this book has to offer—an extra ending not included in the film. It's an outlandish, preposterous ending and I'm not surprised it was scrapped from the movie, but it's also one of the most fun. Probably not $150+ fun, but if you are obsessed with the movie as much as I am, you might very well consider this money well spent.

Overall, while this book is a line-for-line replica of the iconic film, McDowell's talented way with words adds next-level charm that isn't possible even if you've watched the movie a hundred times. McDowell notices little quirks and clues in the characters that I never picked up on, and he even offers subtle jabs at some of the more absurd moments of the movie. It's a shame this novelization will likely never be re-printed, because it's truly a fabulous read that works on so many levels.
(less)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-11-15 17:58
"The Elementals" by Michael McDowell
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

If you're looking for a deeply atmospheric, well-written and perfectly narrated novel to fill you with an inexorable dread, "The Elementals" is the book for you.

 

"The Elementals" has a remarkably powerful, cliché-free start, that embeds your imagination in the South like a throwing knife splitting a rotting log. What better way to start than with a funeral that goes from dire and depressing to deeply disturbing in a few pages.

 

I'd never read Michael McDowell before but I wasn't surprised to learn later that he was an excellent screenwriter.  The style of"The Elementals" is cinematic in a lots-of-close-ups, see-the-motes-in-the-sunlit-air lighting and strange but intimate camera angles kind of way.

 

The characters, especially Luker and his preciously independent daughter India are engaging and believable. Despite being unconventional people (Luker came from around hear but he raised his daughter in New York City so you can't exactly expect them to be normal, can you?) become the anchor points for sanity in a world that is sliding towards the lethally strange with the slow grace of an unmoored house sliding of a cliff into the sea.

 

The heat becomes almost a character in the story in its own right. India discovers for the first time the heat and humidity induced languor of the South that bends time and alter perceptions. Luker explains to her that this hot humid coastal resort of Beldame is:

"...a low energy place. The kind of place where you can only get one or two things done in a day and one of those is getting out of bed."

 

Not surprisingly, the horror in this book is of the slow but deeply disturbing kind. It seemed to me that the dread in this book had a pulse: slow and strong, like an ambush predator waiting on a branch.

 

Having this atmospheric tale delivered to my ear in R.C. Bray's gravelly but insistent voice was a remarkable reading experience.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-25 17:03
Audible Halloween $6.95 Sale!
Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons
The Collector - John Fowles
Joplin's Ghost - Tananarive Due
Secondhand Spirits - Juliet Blackwell
Thornwood House - Anna Romer
The Lottery and Other Stories - Shirley Jackson
FantasticLand - Mike Bockoven
Hell House - Richard Matheson
They Thirst - Robert R. McCammon
Cold Moon Over Babylon - Michael McDowell

Oh boy, I took in a huge book haul. Just when I'm fed up on horror and mystery and ready for nothing but non-fantastical fiction for a while. But oh, well, these will keep until I'm ready for chills and thrills again. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-11 23:16
Reading progress update: I've read 37%.
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

This quote resonates with how I've felt on a number of days recently. Luker describes the punishingly hot coastal resort by saying something like:

 

"This is a low energy place. The kind of place where you can only get one or two things done in a day and one of those is getting out of bed."

 

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-11 11:56
Reading progress update: I've read 17%. I was told this would be good...
The Elementals - Michael Rowe,Michael McDowell

...but I didn't think it would be so original.

 

"The Elementals" has a remarkably powerful, cliché-free start. It embeds your imagination in the South like a throwing knife splitting a rotting log.

 

The style is cinematic in a lots-of-close-ups, see-the-motes-in-the-sunlit-air lighting and strange but intimate camera angles kind of way.

 

The characters, especially Luker and India are engaging and all of it delivered to my ear in R.C. Bray's gravelly but insistent voice.

 

This is going to be good.

 

I'm reading it for the Southern Gothic square for Halloween Bingo.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?