Do you enjoy films by Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks? Would you like to turn your children into gibbering madmen, tearing their hair out in search of antediluvian glyphs in the cyclopean ruins of long lost R'lyth? If so may I recommend "Howard Lovecraft and The Frozen Kingdom" a 2016 animated feature film that may have been made by a lunatic. A few of Lovecraft's creepy creatures are here in cute animated form making "Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom" maybe an attempt to cash in on Disney's Frozen. This is a winter adventure with a big eyed Cthulhu and his star spawn playing with the young Howard P. Lovecraft himself deep in an animated uncanny valley.
If you aren't acquainted with the work of H.P. Lovecraft here is a little bit of background. Lovecraft is probably one of the most influential writers of horror and weird fiction that the 20th century produced. Stephen King, Guillermo Del Toro, Laird Barron, Clive Barker and John Carpenter all owe a debt to this strange man from Providence, Rhode Island. Lovecraft's fiction sits between the Gothic, supernatural horror of Edgar Allen Poe or Robert W. Chambers and later science fiction and horror that many of us would find familiar. This a move from ghosts to gross slimy squid monsters from beyond Pluto. Ghostbusters has a Lovecraftian enemy which can be summoned by a cult through a building, a portal not much different than his Yog-Sothoth which threatens to destroy the world. John Carpenter's Thing is an enemy of cosmic horror that humans can barely understand. Guerllmo Del Toro's Kaiju from Pacific Rim are the exact kind of space freaks that Lovecraft dreamed would hopefully someday consume our planet.
Lovecraft's contribution to literature is the idea of Cosmic Horror, that the universe is far too weird, strange, unknowable and horrific for humans to really wrap their heads around. While humans may currently be masters of the earth, not very long ago strange incomprehensible beings roamed places strange and deep and humans are at best a future hors d'oeuvre for Cthulhu, the Blind Azathoth, Nyarlathotep and army of Shoggoths. The names for these creatures may have been created when Lovecraft spilled a set of Scrabble tiles. What defines Lovecraft's creatures are as follows- they have bad attitudes and you could never understand them ever even if you wanted to, much like rapper Cardi B. They are immortal, or unable to die and come from stars long dead and black. Nothing is cuddly, nothing is cute. None of his characters are sympathetic, they mostly are going mad, about to go mad, or are already mad. Another characteristic of Lovecraft's prose is that he often writes in a strange present tense where his narrators are in the middle of putting words down to paper when they are ACK! attacked by a ghoul or gibbering chthonic glop or transmogrify into a fish person in the very middle of a sentence.
Lovecraft himself was a pretty odd person. Besides dreaming of deities which ooze cosmic ichor he was also afraid of pretty much everything else in the world. Lovecraft was a racist. Flat out terrified of people that didn’t look and sound exactly like himself. This horror is best expressed in his short story "the Horror from Red Hook" where the narrator blunders around a typical Brooklyn neighborhood imagining that everyone around him is aninhuman monster. Today that same neighborhood has an artisanal mayonnaise store. Lovecraft was terrified of women and intimacy. His stories hardly ever mention women at all, none of his protagonists are women and his own personal life was almost completely devoid of female companionship, save his mother and a short marriage. Lovecraft was also a logophile , using arcane and obtuse verbiage pulled from what seems like Middle English
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom takes a peek into the childhood of Lovecraft, his strange parents and his very close and personal friendship with that which not dead eternal lie, the great Cthulhu himself. None of Lovecraft's major works are tackled, and certainly aren't explained to children in any coherent manner. The animated feature is too sparse, without much music, and looks like a PBS kids feature like Dino Train but creepy and terrible. There are no bright colors or even moments of wonder like in Inside Out or Up, just drab quiet dialogue with Ron Perlman.
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom is a strange entry into the world of children's animated feature films, but won’t really give your children a good introduction to the genre of cosmic horror. Why not start with a real Lovecraft classic like Stewart Gordon's Re-animator or From Beyond, films that don’t hesitate to really mess your children up with stretching alien glop monsters and headless zombie professors. How else could you introduce a school age child to the idea that the universe is a swirling maelstrom of chaos, where humans can never truly grasp their own insignificance in the face of ancient alien horror that is out to consume us all? I guess you could let them watch the news.
Does your business or organization employ High School Students during the summer?
Basalt Regional Library will be hosting a Summer Job Fair to connect local businesses with local Roaring Fork Valley High Schools students, and is currently taking registrations from local businesses interested in participating.
BENEFITS TO YOU:
Event: High School Summer Job Fair
Date: Saturday, April 28
Time: 11 a.m. -1 p.m.
HOW TO REGISTER
Businesses interested in participating should register by March 21
Online: registration form
Unlike other dystopian novelists, Zumas plots no dramatic martial law. Her characters simply wake to a president they didn’t vote for and then later to the legislation that decides how their bodies are used. In an Oregon fishing town, four characters swallow what it now means to be a woman. One wishes she could escape her children, one surrenders a child for adoption, one seeks abortion and one desperately wants to be a mother.
The story centers on Ro, “The Biographer,” a depressed, single, high school history teacher, whose father lives in a Florida retirement home, whose brother died of a heroin overdose, and whose last chance to have a child is through artificial insemination. Ro visits a fertility specialist’s office, described as “a room for women whose bodies are broken,” where she tries to rationalize her urgent impulse to motherhood.
Susan, “The Wife,” lives in the house she grew up in with an aloof husband who teaches at the same school as “The Biographer.” Susan begs him to attend couples therapy while trying not to resent their two toddlers who annoy and fatigue her stay-at-home life. Susan envies Ro’s childlessness but offers only condescension, both women burdened by societal expectations.
Adopted Mattie, “The Daughter,” loses her virginity to her careless boyfriend. The promising but pregnant 15-year-old in the Biographer’s class, she pursues abortion in a world that now views her as criminal.
Gin, “The Mender,” a defiant healer, shares forest herbs to help end pregnancies for women without money or insurance. Arrested in a modern-day witch hunt, her narrative unites the other women, who work to get Gin acquitted.
And Eivør, a 19th-century, Faroese polar explorer and the compelling subject of Ro’s biography, disrupts each chapter with fragments of her brutal determined life, serving as a compass for women who persist.
Zumas fluently speaks their truths, from the Daughter’s fear and earnestness, to the Mother’s conflicted emotions and the Mender’s earthy intuition. Her prose will suddenly quicken in a flood of anxiety, sarcasm and rationality.
“She doesn't want to skip the Math Academy.
(She kicks Nouri’s gothsickle ass at calculus.)
Or to push it out.
She doesn't want to wonder; and she would.
The kid too—Why wasn’t I kept?
Was his mother too young? Too old? Too hot? Too cold?
She doesn’t want him wondering, or herself wondering.
Are you mine?
And she doesn’t want to worry she’ll be found.
But she has a self. Why not use it?”
Thrilled by her mercurial style, I bookmarked a dozen pages in Zumas’ "Red Clocks," a story that cleverly reveals the underpinnings of a current socio-political wrangle yet maintains hope for personal transformation. Leni Zumas is one to watch.
This review originally appeared in the Aspen Daily News on March 1, 2018
There are many important and essential items which populate the shelves of the library. Some are so necessary to the operation of this institution that we could hardly open without them. Webster’s Dictionary, War and Peace, Tom Sawyer or The Bell Jar are irreplaceable parts of our collection. The 1974 film Zardoz is not one of these essential items. Zardoz was due back a full three weeks ago and almost every time I wander by the Z section of our DVDs I wonder, will it ever return? There are only 6 other films in that section, Zoolander, Zoolander 2, Zombieland, Zulu, Zelarny and Zorba the Greek, its not like I wouldn't notice that someone had absconded with Zardoz.
Please bring our copy of Zardoz back.
There are a few things about Zardoz which immediately stick out. Its a movie about Sean Connery where he isn't James Bond, someone like James Bond, or an immortal Scottish warrior. Whoever did the set and costume design for this film is either a genius or recovering from a concussion. Academy Award nominated director John Boorman doesn't do himself any favors either. Though he had only the year before directed the Citizen Kane of hillbilly boat rides, Deliverance, Zardoz is a 180 degree departure his previous work. Deliverance left an indelible mark on American culture. Tens of thousands of river rafting trips have been ruined by John Boorman.
Zardoz lacks rednecks that want you to squeal for them (like a piggy) but it makes up for that in the first ten minutes by first introducing the film with a floating head, following that floating head up with a larger floating head that vomits firearms, and introducing Sean Connery with a pony tail in a red diaper. The story is something about bored immortals who lust for death and SPOILER ALERT have taught Sean to read the Wizard of Oz to maybe kill them? Your guess is as good as mine and I have seen this film like 3 times.
My real point here is that there is NO reason that you shouldnt have already returned Zardoz. Please bring Zardoz back. You watch this movie two times in a week, tops. If you did check Zardoz out I hope it was to study its set and costume design and ultimately turn these elements into a theme restaurant. Zardoz the restaurant would be amazing, wait staff dressed in diaphanous robes and red diapers, mirrors on everything and a huge stone head which vomits out your appetizer. Watch out Casa Bonita.
By far Lego Batman is the best entry in both the DC comics and Lego universes, bringing humor, sly commentary and bright flashy visuals to the character's franchise. Though you might think this is just a movie for kids, it is not. Lego Batman throws in enough Batman and DC comics jokes, subtle Easter eggs and little nods to the 80 years of Batman history that many of us have grown up with to be an incredibly entertaining and funny film. Lego Batman, a self-described ‘heavy metal rapping machine’ who ‘stays out all night wearing black and listening to angry music’ is someone that I personally identify with. This is the best Batman movie probably since Tim Burton’s entries in the series, completely blowing away Batman v. Superman (which would have been better as a terse courtroom drama like Kramer v Kramer) and slam dunking on the neon monstrosity of a nightmare that is the Suicide Squad.
Adult News & reviews
Library news, info about upcoming events, reviews of books and films, and a look at the topics that affect us as a library.