Five Favorite Things – Horror Movies from ne...

1. The Exorcist The Exorcist has the best setup of any horror film. It uses the decency of the characters and the stark realism of the dialogue and the cinematography to suck you in. Father Karras’s goodness, guarded as it is, is something you feel just by looking at his face. He’s suffering over the death of his mother, and he’s questioning his faith in God. He represents most of us, I think, in that he sees how the existence of God gives life meaning, and yet he simply can’t get himself to believe. He has a depth I always wished to see in a priest when I was a kid—but never did. It is against this backdrop—of a man searching for and...

Five Things I learned writing THE HUNTING GROUND

  The fact that usable DNA can survive for hundreds, if not thousands of years after the death of an organism. It all depends on how securely the body has been protected from light, heat, water, and oxygen. Recently archaeologists found the bones of England’s King Richard the Third buried under a parking lot in Leicester. He was killed in battle in 1485, about 530 years ago. He was positively identified when surviving mitochondrial DNA was compared with a descendant of his sister.   The city of Chicago was once buried under the Ice Age glacier that scoured out the Lake Michigan basin. Most of Chicago is pancake flat. But there is an area on...

TOP 5 MOVIES by Gerald Elias

There are two general things I appreciate about a piece of music. One is craftsmanship. The other is integrity: how true it is to what it is. For example, I enjoy listening to a Strauss waltz as much as I do a Mahler symphony. The former exists to entertain and delight, the latter to make a profound statement about life and death. Each accomplishes its goal with consummate skill and conviction. If a composition lacks craftsmanship or has pretentions of being something it isn’t I much prefer the honesty of silence. I’ve try to hone my skills as a writer, and make no apology for trying to write mysteries intended simply to entertain the...

5 Books That Changed or Impacted My Life – T...

I didn’t realize how difficult this task would be until I started mulling it over. I’ve read thousands of books over my lifetime and each had some type of impact on me, some subtle while others were more profound. I think we all retain bits of stories that dwell in the recesses of our minds for a lifetime and only come to the forefront when triggered by certain events. Think of old songs that spark a memory when you hear it years later. The same applies to the written word, at least for me. Here is my list in no particular order: THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck. I grew up in a one-stoplight town in the middle of Oklahoma. How could I...

Five Movies That Changed My Writing

  Silence of the Lambs This was probably the first serial killer movie I watched and it set the bar for all the others. The beautiful monster, Hannibal Lecter, stayed with me throughout my life. I devoured all the movies, the wonderful TV show, but have yet to read any of the books. I tried, but just couldn’t get into them. Silence of the Lambs is one of my all-time favorite films. Usually, there is one bad guy to face in movies but in SotL, there are two, plus the sexist FBI with Clarice to guide us through. Hannibal and Clarice have such a complex relationship, is it love? Hate? Attraction? Disgust? I don’t know, but it’s magnetic,...

Five Things: Poison Soup for the Noirish Soul

If you’re like me (Sam the Eagle voice: “And you MUST be”) you have a noirish soul. Like any kind of a soul, this occasionally needs tending to, looking after, I mean. Feeding, like a racehorse from Hell or a bonsai tree somebody gave you once but nobody really wants anymore and you’d get rid of it but, like, you can’t just throw away a dang tree, right?, especially a bonsai tree. Why, it might have a spirit in it. Maybe even a long lost relative. Hell, I forgot what I was talking about (see Item 5 below). Oh, yeah, noir things. Nourishment for the noirish soul. Five things, in fact. Here they are: 1. Movie: Out of the Past (1947): Even...