Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Frankenstein” (VIII)

No horror movie series would be complete without at least one film clip from the grand Universal Monster Tradition! The seventh installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the 1931 James Whale-directed classic, “Frankenstein,” with Boris Karloff as the Monster. This wasn’t the first cinematic representation of the 1818 Mary Shelley novel; that distinction belongs to Edison Studio’s 1910 silent one-reeler. However, this scene, when Henry Frankenstein (“Victor” in the novel) brings life to a being made from the reassembled remains of corpses, is a true gem. “It’s Alive!

Still Hilarious Geiko Halloween Commercial …

Cracks me up every time!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Night of the Living Dead” (VII)

One more for today: The seventh installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the low-budget George Romero 1968 black-and-white classic that gave new life to the zombie genre: “Night of the Living Dead.” From the opening scene, where Johnny tries to scare his sister in a cemetery with the line, “They’re coming to get you Barbara”, the die—no pun intended—has been cast. Check out the scene where the dead rise, and we’re not talkin’ Lazarus!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Poltergeist” (VI)

The sixth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, comes from the original 1982 supernatural horror film, “Poltergeist.” The film has its share of very spine-tingling, shocking moments. But let me make one thing perfectly clear. I. Do. Not. Like. Clowns. Everything from Pennywise to Bozo Creeps Me the Freak Out! Would you buy a cereal with this face on the box? It’s traumatizing! I don’t like creepy puppets or dolls either. So animated puppet-like clown dolls are enough to send me to the lobby! (Okay, I don’t like Spiders either, but that’s another story!) Check out this scene from one of the best ghost movies ever made!

*Ed: Wow! How mysterious! The film is on TCM Right Now (started at 8 pm ET)

NYC Mayoral Race (II): You Call This “Heating Up”?

The headline in the New York Daily News this week was: “Mayor Race is Heating Up”! Considering that I just recently expressed astonishment over the civility of the campaign thus far, I have been waiting for the heated attacks to begin!

Tim Balk writes: “Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa are getting ready to do battle ahead of their first debate before the general election for mayor.”

Sliwa, the long-shot Republican nominee, issued a barrage of broadsides against his well-funded Democratic rival on Tuesday, suggesting Adams is beholden to special interests and is reckless for saying he’d carry a gun as mayor. …

“If he wants to participate in a circus, that’s fine,” Adams told reporters after surveying a newly planted urban farm in Brownsville, Brooklyn. “I’m just not buying the tickets.”

In a Tuesday morning stump speech in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, Sliwa leaned into his favorite criticisms of Adams, saying that real estate developers and “hedge-fund monsters” are lining up behind his opponent. The Republican, who founded the Guardian Angels patrol group and has long spurned firearms, thundered, “Eric Adams, shame on you, for always talking about how you’re going to carry a gun.” Adams, in turn, said Sliwa should focus on “people who are carrying guns illegally.” …

Adams also said Sliwa has been a “leading voice of being a racist.” Sliwa, who is white, bristled at the remark from Adams, who is Black and campaigned against police brutality in the NYPD. “Curtis may be many things,” said Sliwa, whose public safety groups are largely comprised of people of color. “But no one accuses him of being racist.” …

“The 1st NYC mayoral debate is October 20th,” Sliwa tweeted Monday. “So mark your calendar, stock up on popcorn, and call in sick to your niece’s dance recital because you’re not gonna wanna miss it.”

Well, gee, I hope so! I mean if this is what folks call “heating up”, we got a long way to go before the boiling point!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “House on Haunted Hill” (V)

The fifth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the original 1959 Vincent Price classic: “House on Haunted Hill.” The man whose devilish laugh has echoed through the ages, on film and on theatrical pop hits—and even live with Joan Rivers [YouTube links] pulls all the strings in this scene! Take an Acid Bath and call me in the morning!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “Black Sunday” (IV)

It’s Sunday, and it’s a Black One! The fourth installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the 1960 Mario Bava masterpiece of Italian gothic horror: “Black Sunday” (aka “La Maschera del demonio”). This film is unsettling from the very first scene, which I feature today. It is listed among Bravo’s 100 Scariest Films of All Time [YouTube link]. So you don’t like wearing masks, eh? You might have a point! Har! Har! Check it out!

Honoring John Hospers

This Sunday, October 10, 2021, Jameson Books is publishing a wonderful collection in honor of philosopher John Hospers entitled Libertarianism: John Hospers, The Libertarian Party’s 50th Anniversary, and Beyond, edited by C. Ronald Kimberling and Stan Oliver. As Tom Palmer writes in his Foreword to the book:

John Hospers was a memorable man, with an influence far greater than his current renown. It’s thus an honor to advance this collection, as well as to contribute to it. His ideas, his encouragement of his students, his friendship, and his scholarship are explored by the numerous articles and essays in this volume, which also provides primary documents for those interested in the growth of the libertarian political movement in the United States. It’s a valuable resource for historians of ideas, for political junkies, and for anyone interested in the revival of libertarian thought in the United States—a revival in which John Hospers played an important role. That preference for liberty, for escaping the cages of “left” and “right” that have so warped and degraded American political practice, is now a part of the American political scene.

The 400-page book includes more than 30 essays by a wide variety of writers, including yours truly. In my own essay, “John Hospers: A Remembrance,” I reflect on my discovery of John’s work and my friendship with this gentle man with a remarkable intellect and wonderful sense of life. As I state in the essay:

I had heard of John Hospers years earlier, when I was twelve years old. He was, after all, the first presidential candidate of the newly formed Libertarian Party. In 1972, he received, along with Tonie Nathan, his vice presidential running mate, one electoral vote, which was one less for Richard M. Nixon. Nathan became the first woman and the first Jewish candidate to receive an electoral vote in any US presidential election.

But it wasn’t until years later, when I read “Libertarianism“, that I came to appreciate the true significance of John Hospers, philosopher. This work revealed the remarkable breadth of the libertarian vision. Within it, I found a logically arranged, eminently readable introduction to all of the core issues with regard to economic and political liberty, both at home and abroad, the dangers of the interventionist state, and even a discussion of the debate between the advocates of minimal government and the anarcho-capitalists. Hospers’s 1971 opus preceded Robert Nozick’s seminal “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” by three years and introduced a young generation to a genuine “philosophy for tomorrow.” It was, in fact, one of the founding “manifestos” of an
intellectual revolution in twentieth-century thought, deeply rooted in the ideals of classical liberalism adopted for a new age.

As the years passed, I made that new libertarian vision my guiding intellectual pursuit, and as I learned more, it seemed as if John Hospers was always a presence somewhere in that learning process. I discovered other works of his, and then, eventually, I had the courage to send him a copy of the working manuscript for my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, seeking his feedback. With grace, he accepted the task of a critical reading of the manuscript and provided me with meticulous, insightful, and thought-provoking comments; whenever critical, they were constructively so, whether they were conveyed on the phone or in correspondence. There is no doubt that his input immeasurably improved the final product, for which I remain eternally grateful. In the end, his support of my work on Rand led him to provide a generous blurb that appeared in the first printing of its first edition.

I finally met John at a Liberty conference in 1996, where I appeared on a panel with him and Barbara Branden to discuss the contributions of Ayn Rand. Three years later, he became one of the original founding advisory board members to The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. When he passed away on June 12, 2011, the world lost a marvelous thinker; I lost a dear friend. This book includes essays coming from a variety of perspectives—including some with which I disagree. But it remains an inspiring memorial to John’s humanity and legacy.

Celebrating John Hospers

Postscript – On Facebook, some folks, who disagreed with John Hospers on many issues, found it odd that anyone would contribute to a book that would deify him. I replied:

Let me make one thing clear: I contributed to this anthology not as a means of deifying the man, but as a means of recognizing his larger legacy, which has been underappreciated. I approach all learning the same way: I have drawn lessons from thinkers all over the intellectual map—from Aristotle to Hegel, from Ayn Rand to Karl Marx. I do not believe in the deification of any of these figures, but I give credit where credit is due, criticize that with which I disagree, and move on.

The Marxist scholar Bertell Ollman, my doctoral dissertation advisor and mentor, remains one of the most important influences on my intellectual development; I would contribute to any anthology recognizing his contributions in the same way I have done for John Hospers. Both men had an immense impact on my growth, in addition to being remarkably generous, kind souls.

By no means did I agree with John on issues like abortion or the Iraq war, but heck, I have had major disagreements with thinkers inside and outside of libertarianism my whole life on issues across the board. Still. I have learned from so many, and I think it is important to recognize this. We never stop learning—well, at least we never should stop learning—and it’s a good thing to be able to acknowledge those who have taught us. And I’d like to think that I pass this legacy onto those who have learned from me.

Another exchange on Facebook raised the issue of whether John Hospers would have supported civil disobedience, given his focus on the “rule of law”. I replied:

The problem you raise is one that all folks—who believe in any radical shift away from the status quo—must face. As Rand once said, it’s the problem of how to live a ‘rational’ life in an ‘irrational’ society. It is the problem of trying to change a society given the conditions that exist. In Libertarianism, the book published 50 years ago (in 1971), Hospers suggests that armed revolution against unjust laws would most likely lead to enormous loss of life and property and would not change things fundamentally. He also argued that the refusal to obey unjust laws could have a monumental effect—but only if “very large numbers of dissenters” joined in the civil disobedience, say “fifty million people” refusing to pay their taxes or to be subject to military conscription.

Hospers cites Albert Jay Nock, who wrote: “Inaction is better than wrong action or premature right action and effective right action can only follow right thinking” (quoted by Hospers on p. 462 of Libertarianism). So for Hospers, the surest way to affect a change in laws was by a cultural shift in ideas through an educational process.

Given some of the conversations I had with him, I suspect he would have still left it to individuals to engage in resistance to unjust laws; respecting the rule of law is not the same thing as respecting the rule of laws that by their very nature coerce and oppress.

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “The Shining” (III)

The third installment in my “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments”, is from the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1980 film, “The Shining,” an adaptation of the Stephen King novel that the author reportedly despised, even though he acknowledged that it was a valuable contribution to the horror genre. Lots of creepy and hilarious moments in this film, but the one that stands out is Jack Nicholson’s Bathroom Entrance Via Axe! “Here’s Johnny”—ranked as one of the 100 Most Quotable Quotes in Film History by AFI—may have broken the tension in the theater, but only through the audience screams! The night that my mother and sister saw this film, some jokester in the theater broke the balcony glass to gain access to an acutal axe—and proceeded to use it against the exit door to match the action on screen. Folks were as jarred by the events in the theater as they were by Jack’s Ax-tual Adventures! Check it out!

Vic DiBitetto: Yankee Rant!

For Yankee fans, this rant is gold!