When I restarted this site, I said I wasn’t going to do movie reviews here, that I had another place to do that. Well, I changed my mind.

See, the past two years I’ve done A Month of Horror, a series of daily brief reviews covering Horror movies I watched that day. It’s happened almost long enough to be a fun little tradition, and as bad as this year’s been for me, I need a fun little tradition.

So all this month, little capsule reviews. Unlike the previous years, I’m given each a score based on the system I will go back to using on the Review Site when (when!) I start that back up again. Simply put, each film is judge on a two prong basis: Quality (Terrible, Bad, Meh, Good, Great) and Preference (Hate, Dislike, Meh, Like, Love). Each judgement is represented by a number (0.0 through 2.0) and the two numbers are added together for the final score.

Enough nattering. Here’s the reviews.

THE MUMMY (1932)

I went out to a theater to see this one. Not the most ideal viewing experience, as the sound was wonky. Background sounds and music were louder than the dialogue and sometimes things were hard to understand, especially in the beginning. That’ of course, isn’t the film’s fault, but it’s worth pointing out.

Anyways, this was personally viewed as one of the lesser Universal Monster movies before this rewatch. It’s the romance portion; the love-at-first-site trope is a terrible one. Lazy. Unnecessary, in this case.

This watch, though…

In a nutshell, an ancient mummy is revived after centuries and wants to be reunited with his dearly beloved. Unfortunately that dearly beloved happens to be reborn in the body of a pretty young lady who isn’t quite ready for what passes for marriage among the Undead.

All of this is told at a damn fine pace. There’s plot holes galore here and there, but the acting’s fine, the direction’s pretty great to my inexperienced eye, and really, this ain’t lesser anything.

As for the romance… well, let me summarize that in script form:

FRANK: Damn it, Helen, I’ve known you all of three seconds, but I love you! You remind me of a thousand year old corpse I dug up recently!

HELEN: Oh, Frank, you flatterer you! I think I maybe possibly could eventually–

IMHOTEP: [Enters room] I am Ardeth Bey.

HELEN: A MAH-YUN! [proceeds to stare misty eyes at the three century old corpse.]

Seriously, watch Frank fume at this was hilarious. I’d forgotten there was a quasi love triangle here. Plus, they hung a lampshade on how silly it was for Frank to do this. I gave it a pass.

All in all, it’s a good movie (1.5 points) that I liked (1.5 points).

3 out of 4.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1932)

One of the trailers that played incessantly in front of these films was for Scream 2, of all things. In it, the characters get into a debate about sequels. One guy says that there where plenty of good sequels, and a girl character snottily asks him to name one.

This is the correct answer.

This is so much better than the original. And the original wasn’t a slouch.

Quick summary, the monster survives his near death experience from the previous film and now is on the look out for someone to be his friend. Meanwhile his creator is being hounded by a former teacher to make more monsters.

While this has it’s problems (an unnecessary prologue, like the first film, for starters) it runs at a nice pace. Most of the male character try their hand at eating the scenery (Ernset Thesiger beats Colin Clive here) and the female leads aren’t too shabby for what little they get. It really has a glorious ending, and does the fine job of making me regret put off a rewatch.

So to do the point thang again, it’s a great movie (2.0) that I loved (2.0)

4 out of 4

[Poe] Some Musings Over a Container of Sherry

Spoilers for a short story published very nearly two hundred years ago.

When you are good at what you do, people talk about you. Edgar Allan Poe was very, very good. He even survived a character assassination early one. The man was a beast. And thus people talk.

Among his tales of cats and mad men there is one tale that stands above the rest: The Cask of Amontillado. In short, it’s a tale of revenge that still packs a wallop even even after over a century. The narrator, Montresor, lures back his prey, Fortunato, to a fate worse than mere murder. Bleak, dark, and not quite like anything else Poe ever wrote.

Now, again, when you’re good, people talk, and this story gets a lot of talk. Many make of the fact that Montresor never says why he does what he does, suggesting that he himself might be mad.

The thing is, this supposition isn’t supported in the narrative.

Before talking about this, one crucial fact must needs pointing out.. Consider the first paragraph of the story:

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled — but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

The Cask of Amontillado
Edgar Allan Poe

The Cask of Amontillado doesn’t have only two characters. Unlike The Black Cat and The Tell Tale Heart, the narrator isn’t speaking into the void to whoever will listen. Montresor is speaking to a very definite person. He has a very definite audience in mind. This person who knows so well the nature of Montresor’s soul.

Who is this person? As with so much of the story, it doesn’t matter. It could be a friend, a brother, a wife, a lover. Not important. What matters is this person’s existence in the story.

For simplification let’s call this person Grim.

The Cask of Amontillado
Bernie Wrightson

Poe’s big thing was precision. Every little bit plays on every other bit until he hits the mark he needs to hit. Which he was very good at doing.

Montresor never once expounds upon why he kills Fortunato to Grim. He expects Grim to know and understand at once. That is because he tells Grim exactly why he kills Fortunato.

Fortunato insulted him.

That’s it.

No great mystery to solve there. It could have been anything. Duels were more common back then, and they didn’t need that much of a reason for happening. Insults were the primary cause.

Fortunato’s reaction to his fate also points the way. Appaled by the act as he is, he never once asks the important question of why it’s happening to him.

That’s because he knows why.

Fortunato thought himself safe when his insult passed without action. Another factor is that, as Montresor tells Grim, Fortunato was “a man to be respected and even feared.” Someone that believed himself above reprisals.

Thus it’s very likely Montresor isn’t one of Poe’s mad men. He’s merely a very clever, very evil man.

Maybe that’s why, unlike with most Poe’s killers, Montersor gets away with it in the end.

[Thoughts] She’s Still Hungry, You Know

I remember her being terrifying.

The picture is from the Golden Book version of Hansel and Gretel. Or, rather, my version, back in the day. It’s from the front of the book, with the two kids over to the left.

As said, this is a terrifying memory. The witch, standing there, staring out of the book. At the fool still holding the book.

At me.

Memory plays tricks. The face there has a more evil cast. Uglier. Wicked.

This, though? While sinister after a fashion, it doesn’t compare to memory. What is fails to compare to what the mind wants to believe.

I find that kind of interesting.

[Annoying Autobio] Mysterious Mystery at the Deli

It might seem like all I do is complain about work. This, though, is meant more as an observation.

Arriving at work yesterday I found the cooler had been emptied of meat chubs. Every single last one of them had been taken out and placed in the meat case out front.

The general assumption is that someone wanted the case to look full. And it might have worked, had some care been involved. Instead, everything got shoved together into a massive mess.

Now a reasonable, good associate would have done something to fix this. Problem is, I spend the better part of the previous day working on organizing the cooler and whoever had this latest brain storm undid all that. All I could see was spending another hour or so of work, only to be told I did it wrong and have it undone.

Is this a bad attitude to have? A little. I’m more apathetic about things, and that doesn’t help me or my associates in the long run.

It’s also, I think, a reaction to uncertainty. Until more stable leadership comes in (assuming more stable leadership does come in), it’s probably better to go with the flow. Especially since I’m seriously considering leaving anyways.

That didn’t stop me from commenting loudly about how stupid it was. I am who I am.

[Annoying Autobio] Walmart Ennui

Another day begins with me wondering why I stick around Walmart.

Our department now has no team leads. One has developed sense and left the store for hopefully better things. The other dropped a box of frozen gravy on her leg and now has to be off her feet for two weeks. We’ll see how well my department does on its own. We know our jobs, so it should be fine. My luck, it devolves into a Lord of the Flies situation.

My first inclination is to make a joke about finding the conch shell. My mom, who read the book, almost didn’t get it, so that remains a joke for me.

Here is a quick Walmart related story. One of my associates in the Meat department lost her mother recently. They had the funeral, and towards the end my coach shows up. He comes with a card and a question for the associate: “When are you coming back to work?”

Those that heard that story in Bakery were not impressed. Neither am I.

I go to work in a few minutes. I’m not sure why. The basic job I still enjoy. I like my fellow associates. But the reason I’ve been staying has left and my new reason for being there–getting a silly certificate and pin–really isn’t cutting it.

I want something new and I’m not certain what that is. Looking at Target and Costco haven’t brought me too much joy, outside potentially better pay. I’ve picked up on my writings, which is a good thing, but that won’t pay the bills for a long time. There’s always the lottery, I suppose. I’ve one that a few times. $8. About enough to buy another ticket. Yay?

Anyways, that’s my whining for the day. I’m health (ish), everything else seems to be average, and others have it worse than I do. Seems wrong to complain. Still, better venting than keeping it in, right?

[Annoying Autobio] The Curse of Young Cullen’s Sense of “Humor”

In theory, I don’t mind my old stuff.

It was who I was. Looking at it, I can presumably see improvement.

Yesterday, I went off and deleted almost every post on my old Facebook account.

I hadn’t posted there since 2008. That’s some old stuff.

And it was all awful.

Just terribly, terrible stuff.

As a rule one sentence, set up sort of like this:

Cullen Waters

Is going to write something that humiliated him later in life.

I no doubt thought I was being funny at the time. Problem? None of it was!

It was the most awful things I’d ever written. Well, except for that one story I wrote for this site that I never posted. But that one was intentional.

I now am literally afraid to go look at the older posts on this site. I am seriously considering making the archive private to protect my own sanity.

And why did I even go back to Facebook? I got my first friend signup in ages from someone from work I really, really, really don’t want seeing that crap.

Has she already, I wonder? Has she since lost what little respect for me she had?

Damned if I know. I might never know.

My only hope is that she’s been too busy to hit Facebook.

The way this year’s been treating me, she made time to look shortly after friending me.

It can’t be helped, it can’t be cured. I’m just going to obsess over it for the rest of my life like I do every other stupid, stupid, stupid thing I do.

My God! Why’d I post so much on Facebook?! Who does that?

For the record, this post is written in jest. Not enough in jest for my tastes, but still. Still.

Mentioning I was on Facebook to her seemed like such a good idea at the time, too.

[Fiction] Getting the Boid

For a few years now Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension has been less a review site and more an examination of monsters, whether from the silver screen or, on occasion, pulp magazine covers. This is not a complaint, mind you. Just how things are.

Every now and then the covers will inspire less commentary and more full on fiction from yours truly. What follows is a prime example of this phenomenon (with inspiration cover provided at no additional cost.

As with the previous post, the astute reader will notice Cullen doesn’t do a lot more than give dialogue. This is an issue he… I’m aware of and know needs changed.

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Damn it, why does he always do this? It’s not a worm, Blue, it’s my breathing tube so please don’t–”

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Okay, fine. I’ll just gently remove–”

Please do not touch [Alien Lifeform] with your ungloved hand, [Spaceman’s name here]. You might contaminate it with your germs and cause untold harm.

“Oh, for the love of… Of all the times not to wear those damn gloves!”

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Fine. This is not a prob. Just have to get back to Dome Base, get some gloves, then throttle Blue.”

That is not advised, as–

“Skip it, GLAD! How far am I from the Dome.”

[Spaceman’s name here], you are a mile out and counting.

“Wait, I didn’t walk that far. And what did you mean, and counting?”

[Spaceman’s name here] has forgotten basic space protocol and not put on the Dome Base Safety break and the Dome is now rolling down hill.

“What do you mean, I forgot? I never for–”

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Argh, look, fine, just, just drive the Dome to these co-ordinates.”

Affirmative. I will drive Dome Base to [Spaceman’s name here]‘s location.

“Great. Just peachy. Estimated time of arrival.”

Unknown. I can not begin drive procedures until the Dome Base has come to a complete stop.

SQUACK SQUACK!

“What, why?”

Safety procedures. Something [Spaceman’s name here] seems to know nothing about.

“And she gets snarky with me. Great. Perfect.”

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Lemme think, lemme think. If I can’t touch Blue, maybe I can shake him off… like…. this! And this!”

Please do not shake [Alien Lifeform] with your ungainly thrashing about, [Spaceman’s name here]. [Alien Lifeform] has a weak stomach and it may–

SQUAAAAAAACK!

<Sploosh!>

Oh no. I am too late. The poor [Alien Lifeform].

“Did it just… oh God. WHY IS THAT EATING THROUGH MY HELMET!”

[Spaceman’s name here], you have been exposed to a corrosive acid as well as most of the [Alien Lifeform] last meal. To follow proper safety procedures for a change, [Spaceman’s name here], please use your anti corrosive acid spray upon contacted surface.

“WHERE IS IT?!”

It is handily placed directly on your belt towards the back of your suit.

“WHY IS THE SPRAY LOCATED ON MY B– oh, wait, I got it.”

Apply liberally to the affected area of the helmet while taking care not dosing [Alien Lifeform] as it might cause said Lifeform untold harm.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

<hist!>

“There we go. Hey, as an added bonus, Blue’s no longer at my air hose. I might be… I might be okay.

“Now then, GLAD. What’s the ETA on Dome Base getting here?”

Unknown. Dome Base seems to be still rolling.

“Still?”

It was a very large hill.

“Nothing to be upset about, right? I’ll just start walking in the general direction. Just give me heads up when you can–”

SQUACK SQUACK!

“Oh great. Blue’s back.”

SQUACK SQUACK!

SQUACK SQUACK!

SQUACK SQUACK!

“And he’s brought his extended family. How nice of him. You know, GLAD, I think I’m going to start running your way.”

As you wish, [Spaceman’s name here]. Be advise that there are at least three [Alien Lifeforms] along your path that might cause further damage to your suit. And they may also eat you, as well. Which may cause the spread of germs and cause untold harm.

“I’m having… a hard time… thinking what I… hate more… You… or this… damn planet.”

Everyone is a critic.

[Fiction] The Hand That Makes

This originally appeared on the original version of this site February 23, 2017. It’s repost as a part of the Stuff Cullen Wants To Be Seen project with minor editing here and there. It’s probably too clever for it’s own good, but I like it. Five years later it has a kick for me. That has to mean something.

Don’t whisper like that. It’s unbecoming.

Much better. Though you could enunciate a little more.

That’s it. That’s the way.

The whole line now. Don’t miss a word. It’s important to get it correct and remember.

Yes. Progress. I think tomorrow we might try a different passage.

You can rest now.


I don’t care if it hurts. You have to do it.

Why? Don’t ask me why. You just do.

Okay, because if you don’t I’ll rescind outside privileges.

Ah. Don’t like the thought of that, now do you?

And there you go. Flex and relax. Flex and relax. Each day a little stronger, each day a little less pain.

You can rest now.


Finished. No more stitches. When you’ve healed there won’t even be a scar. So much better than my last one. I might be learning a thing or two myself.

Don’t mutter like that. It’s worse than whispering.

I can understand your frustrations. It must seem like it’s taking forever for you. You must believe me, though, you’re advancing at quite a steady rate.

Everyone says exactly what you did. At least at first. It’s completely understandable.

Each day you become better and better. And one day it and the pain will all be over.

You can rest now.


Exciting news. From now on, instead of a full day of therapy, you’ll have only a half day.

I knew you’d be pleased! The rest of the day you will be outside. That’s right! Outside doing so much. And better still it will be for the benefit of all.

Oh, lifting and pulling. Building and cleaning. Whatever the schedule says for the day, that’s what you’ll do.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. One of the things you’ll build? It’ll be a new house for me. Now isn’t that a wonderful thing to be building?

Oh no. No, I won’t be helping. Don’t be silly. I have far too many important things to do myself.

You can rest now.


Well done! A full therapy, and not a word of complaint. If all could see your progress!

Better than who now?

It’s not fair to compare the two of you. Nor should you do any comparing. You’re on the same shift as he, and must work together in any case, for the benefit of all.

He can’t help smelling bad, any more than you can. Though perhaps if you bathed more, it wouldn’t be such a problem.

Yes, yes, I’ll make the same suggestion to him when he comes into therapy.

You can rest now.


That was ugly, now wasn’t it? So unbecoming. So less like you should be

His fault? What do you mean, his fault? It doesn’t matter what you think he thinks or how he smells. You shouldn’t have done it. You should have left him alone.

No. No, you didn’t kill him. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you did. Just delayed production, bad enough.

No, we won’t be doing therapy tomorrow. I’ll be attending your… playmate.

Oh, let me assure you, I’ll get that arm back on and functioning. He’ll be back to normal in no time. Until then you’ll just have to work a second shift as well as yours.

Get back to resting.


I hear you went a calling today. And let me tell you, no one is happier that you sought to apologize than me. Well done. Well done indeed.

Oh, I wouldn’t have made you do it. Don’t be silly. Forced apologies are pointless.

Don’t you say that.

I told you not to say that.

Well you’ve certainly spoiled that gesture, now haven’t you? And such folly. Had you not opened your big yap, I might never have known.

I’m done with you today.


Did I tell you to rest?

DID I TELL YOU TO REST?

I don’t care how upset you are. I want you working on my building! Now get up off your lazy ass and—

Oh, so that’s how it is, is it? That’s what you think?

You think that’s a threat? Go ahead, try and rip off my arms. Go ahead, big Man, you go right on and—

THERE! HOW’S THAT GOING FOR YOU? LIKE IT? LIKE IT?


Round and round we go. Sometimes for every step forward there is a step back. For me as well as for you.

For what it’s worth, I am sorry for what happened. I mean that. I should never had let it go so far.

Oh, that’s all right. No need for you to apologize, my good Man. You were hurt much worse than I in all this. Not that I have to tell you that, of course. Hm hm.

Now, now. Everything will be fine. You will be fine. The bones will heal just fine, and you’ll be back on track to being what you always should have been. Just like how the Father Doctor always meant us to be.

After all, do we both not now walk on two legs? Do we not drink from glasses and eat from plates?

Are we not Men?

[Site] Done, But Not Done

Last month I wrote and finished a short story. While I liked the story, I set it aside, intending to go back to it later for reevaluation. I thought I could make it better.

Maybe I can.

This week I finished an essay for this site. Had it ready to post today. Only to pull it the night before.

I liked it. Just think it can be better.

Maybe it can.

There is a problem with not letting go. With not sending what you got out out of a misguided sense that it’s not good enough. Or, in these cases, that they could be “better.”

There is also a problem with sending things out before their time. With thinking “This is good enough.” Or “This is fine.”

Holding back in some cases, hopefully in these cases, allows the passion and fire to cool, to let me approach what I’ve written with fresh eyes. Maybe I can do better. Maybe I can just hit send and move on to the next project.

As all of this is going on, I’m working on notes for more stories that I’ll ever have time to write. I’m being productive. I’m moving closer to writing something.

And yet there is an ever present fear I’m just spinning my wheels.

Maybe I am.

Last month I wrote and finished a short story. The first one in a long, long time.

This week, I wrote a blog post. Sat down and wrote it beginning, middle, and end.

If I am spinning my wheels, at least something is in gear. That doesn’t feel too bad.

Hopefully the blog post will pop up next week. It just needs one more pass through. Maybe dig up a picture or two.