Came home yesterday from an unsuccessful attempt to see HOSTILES in one of the local theaters. Sold out. It’s a small theater in a multiplex of 12 theaters. Trouble is they just don’t have that many seats. They’ve got recliner chairs and built in trays that take up so much space with lots of room between seat rows. It’s comfortable but sometimes on a busy weekend if you don’t get tickets in advance or get there early you won’t get a seat. I should have reserved seats.

Anyway, when we got back home (I was with my son and my buddy Fred.) we came up the stone walkway to my front door and Fred says: “What’s that?”

I looked and saw a squirrel lying spread eagle on the walkway leading up to the front door. He looked dead. His tail was all wet and flattened on the stones he was laying on. Then I saw him move a little. He was still alive but barely. Couldn’t tell what happened to him. My daughter in law said she saw the mangy-looking fox that’s prowled our neighborhood for several years close by. Couldn’t tell if the squirrel had been attacked or run over by a car and had crawled to the house, or had fallen out of a tree or had some kind of disease. He was weird-looking. Like he could have had rabies.

We called animal control. While we waited I saw the poor thing try to crawl on his belly. He made one or two painful inches and stopped. Then suddenly he raised his head up and I swear he reached up his arms to the grey sky overhead, flapping his tail furiously, as though it were either fighting for its life or had decided to give up the ghost. That was the last movement he made. A few minutes later animal control showed up, surprisingly quick. He took a look and guessed it must have fallen from one of the tall trees on our property. “It happens,” he said. He looked closely and discovered he was still breathing. He picked him up and put him in a cage and took him to the animal shelter. “Doesn’t look good,” he said.

So all in all it was a lousy day. No movie and a dead squirrel at my door. I went in the house and grabbed a beer. I can still see his head rising up from the stone walkway, his tail beating furiously, and those furry arms reaching to the grey sky.

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i’VE GOT ANOTHER NEW MOVIE REVIEW UP TODAY ON CINEMA RETRO. THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE, STARRING ROD CAMERON AND VERA RALSTON. A MISSING STASH OF HEROIN HAS COPS AND GANGSTERS TAKING SHOTS AT EACH OTHER, WHILE A “DEAD MAN’S” BROTHER TRIES TO FIGURE OUT WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON. REPUBLIC STUDIOS FILMED THIS ONE IN NATURAMA, IT’S VERSION OF CINEMASCOPE. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REVIEW.

 

Read my review of Walter Hill’s “Wild Bill” (1995) and learn why it’s not a good idea to touch another man’s hat. Today on Cinema Retro. 

 

 
Hard to believe, but Stirling Silliphant, Oscar winning writer, creator of the greatest TV series ever, “Route 66,” is having a birthday today. His 100th birthday. He passed away in Thailand in 1996, but his memory and his great writing live on, still inspiring paltry beggars like me.
Some quotes from his writing:

“It’s the curse of the writing man to wonder if his fingers are as true when they touch paper, as they are when they touch his daughter’s tears.” Route 66, “a lonely bunch of pagliaccis.”

“Around here they think I’m one-third Apache. In Korea, believe it or not, they thought I was one third Korean. I’m one third of wherever I am. Not because I want to be. I blend in like one of those lizards.. . .With you, Diane I could be three-thirds of myself.”– Route 66, “…he shall forfeit his dog and 10 shillings to the king.”

“I was arrested in New York for having a pet unicorn.”
“Everyone knows unicorns are just creatures of somebody’s imagination.”
“Aren’t we all?” –Route 66, ‘how much a pound is albatross?”

Am I  smelling the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration? Steve Bannon’s book has rocked the White House. It’s release came just after the Supermoon on January 2. The Supermoon occurred in Trump’s 11th house of friends. Full Moons are about endings. And so ends a beautiful friendship. Trump used to say Bannon was a great guy. Now he’s nothing and “he’s lost his mind.”

Wait until the Super Blue Blood Moon lunar eclipse coming January 31 in Trump’s House of Secret Enemies and Self-undoing. The administration will be hit by a tsunami of scandal, as Saturn squares Neptune in Trump’s chart during the first two weeks of February. There will be chaos and it will very difficult to tell exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.

But Steve Bannon claims it’s all about money laundering. I predicted such would be the case last year. The question is what damage will all this do to our country?

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Mordecai Slate, Jack Brand, Frank Carson, and me wish all our friends out there a Happy New Year. Thanks for your support. We couldn’t do it without you. Look for more exciting adventures in 2018. You haven’t seen anything yet.

 

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Today over on  Cinema Retro I review “Lust in the Dust,” er, rather “Duel in the Sun” with Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck and Joseph Cotton. It’s a western that thinks it’s “Gone with the Wind.” Something between a Eugene O’Neill tragedy and a Carol Burnett sketch.

 

In honor of the season, here is a re-post of an excerpt from “Hunting Monsters Is My Business.”  Happy Holidays.

* * * * *

Mordecai Slate, Doc Washburn, and the Reverend Powell rode on through the snow, the memory of what had occurred in Rio Muerto still blazing in their minds. The thick New Mexican snowflakes stung Slate’s cheek as he kept Dutch, his buckskin horse, set on course due north on the Camino Real. The doctor and the reverend followed in the wagon.

An hour later — the snow heavier, visibility almost zero — a dark shape loomed up ahead. As they approached, Slate saw it was a small lean-to built on the side of the road–a dilapidated relay station. There was someone inside. Two small figures huddled together, hidden in the dark interior of the lean to. They were behind a feed trough filled with straw. Two homeless Mexicans caught in the storm. Slate saw a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in the straw.

He dismounted and the other two men climbed down from the wagon. Slate saw that the Mexicans, a man and a woman, were very young, and the baby was newborn.

Slate and his companions stared down at them in silence. As poor and desperate as they were, there was something about them. Some kind of peaceful feeling seemed to surround the lean-to. After all that they, Slate and the others, had experienced in Rio Muerto, it was like a soothing balm that healed.

Slate took some of the gold coins Don Pedro had given him for hunting down Kord Manion and dropped them in the woman’s lap. Doc Washburn opened his bag and examined the child. He gave the woman some medicine for colic.

Reverend Powell stood over them, making a sign of the cross. The wind and snow howled mercilessly outside all around them.

What was wrong with people in England in the 1600s? I watched GUNPOWDER on HBO about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the English Parliament and King James and the Queen. Catholics were being persecuted by James big time.

I mean they didn’t just burn Catholics at the stake or hang them. They’d tie them down on the scaffold and draw and quarter them. Cut off their genitals while they watched and then cut out their eyes, and then chop off their heads and arms and legs. All while a crowd of men women and children cheered it all on.

This was supposedly a civilized country?? Shakespeare was alive and writing then. Humanity is a sorry mess by and large. It was an interesting 3-part minisieries but like all the stuff about merry olde England it ens up being pretty depressing.

Wouldn’t be surprised if public executions made a comeback as a reality TV show.

Hunting Monsters final frontOther than Star Wars there’s a lot of buzz about Guillermo Del Toro’s latest THE SHAPE OF WATER. It’s an odd coincidence perhaps that in 2012 I wrote a story featuring Mordecai Slate called THE SHAPE OF A CAGE. In that tale Slate gets the tables turned on him when he’s bitten by a werewolf and becomes the hunted instead of the hunter.

He gets stuck mid-transformation and is rendered something grotesque. He gets captured by some hunters who sell him to a traveling circus where he’s kept in a cage and treated like a freak by a cruel circus owner. Also in the circus was a mermaid named Elois who did her show in a tank of water. She could also walk on land, however and she feels pity for Slate and helps him escape. The story was nominated for a Pushcart when it was published by Emby Press in the USE ENOUGH GUN collection.

The inspiration for the story came partly from an old episode of Route 66, “the cruelest sea of all,” in which one of the guys in the Corvette falls in love with a real live mermaid doing shows at Weeki Wachee Springs, Fla. Her name was Elisa. Now we have THE SHAPE OF WATER in which a merman in a tank of water has a weird relationship with a deaf and dumb girl. Guess what her name is? Elisa. Did Tel Toro just happen to draw his inspiration from Route 66 just as I did (as well as The Creature from the Black Lagoon)? Who knows?
If you’d like to read my tale you can find it in HUNTING MONSTERS IS MY BUSINESS, the Mordecai Slate stories.