Thursday, January 30, 2020

Prolific Creative Bunnies (January 2020 in Hindsight)

A taste of Spring fills the Nebraska air as January draws to a close.  Perhaps the abnormally nice Winter weather is appropriate as I glance back at the first month of the new year.  My productivity level was almost the equivalent of bunnies boffing in the springtime bushes. 

Out with the old must have been my motto as I scrapped the nine chapters I completed of A STUDY IN ORANGE.  There was something wrong with the story, but I may have solved the problem.  In with the revised new must be my motto as I start over with Chapter One.  We shall see how this version goes.

In other news, I was about ready to close The FreakOptic Files when current events in Nebraska changed my mind.  One morning I was filming random scenes with an extremely vague idea in mind, figuring I would ultimately delete it all.  Then, upon reviewing the raw footage, the vague idea was forgotten and a new one solidified before my half-blind eyes.  DRONES OVER NEBRASKA! was born!  My love letter to communist paranoia flicks from the 1950's, with a nod to Ed Wood & David Lynch, garnered more views and responses than most of my FreakOptics videos.  I needed a win to keep me motivated and that goofy little video provided me with one.  (Watch it below, if you dare! 😉 ⤵️) 

Keeping up with the bunnies, I've blogged more than usual this month.  I'm pretty satisfied with the end results and hope to blog more about films, television, books and music in the months to come.  DON'T PANIC, I hopefully won't forget to blog about other random nonsense, such as the post you are currently  experiencing. 

On a personal note, I visited the local eye doc and my pools the color of dung continue to remain stable.  No change is a good thing. 

In conclusion, I need to keep these prolific creative bunnies in mind the next time I descend the emotional spiral staircase.  Yes, January 2020 has taught me that, even three years after the fact, I can still experience a meltdown in regard to my chunk of vision loss.  Can one ever fully recover from a traumatic event when one can see the results every single day?  A question for another time and post, perhaps. 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words. 

Freak Out, 

P.S. An old post concerning a different type of bunnies...
The Collective Eye for January was a short list...
...and this trend will continue in February.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

freakboy on film: CHAINED FOR LIFE

(Side Note: IMDb lists this as a 2018 film, but also notes its release date as December 10, 2019)

A young blind woman finds herself in a hospital specializing in experimental surgery.  She falls in love with a disfigured man.  Is her love truly blind or will she reject him once her vision is restored?  Will such a rejection send him and the other patients on a murderous rampage right out of Tod Browning's Freaks? 


A young woman finds herself acting in an avant-garde horror film opposite a disfigured man.  Will they move past initial awkwardness to give the best performances they can?  Will they see beyond society's notions of beauty to forma common bond?

Writer-Director Aaron Schimberg brilliantly weaves these two juxtaposing plots together, leaving this viewer mesmerized.  A film within a film is nothing new, but Schimberg makes it feel fresh with compelling characters. 

(Side Note: I was transfixed by the look and style of the film within the film.  The scenes we are shown capture a late-1960's/early-1970's European cinematic vibe.)

Jess Weixler brings an effervescent sweetness mixed with a dash of Hollywood cynicism to Mabel.  Adam Pearson brings an innate gentleness mixed with a dash of charming wit to Rosenthal.  These two actors are the heart and soul of this funny, trippy and thought-provoking film.  

CHAINED FOR LIFE never preaches or talks down to the viewer.  Instead, this film subtly challenges the viewer to find humor in uncomfortable situations and to look at ourselves through different eyes. 

(Side Note: A scene where Mabel is being interviewed about portraying a blind woman gave this visually-impaired viewer a sly grin.  Her apparent unease discussing a disability she doesn't have was amusingly familiar territory to me.)

I stumbled upon CHAINED FOR LIFE in my library's DVD collection.  I had never heard of it, but the deceptively simple cover caught my half-blind eyes and drew me in.  I immediately knew I needed to experience this film.  As I checked out the DVD, the head librarian mentioned that she thought of me when she initially placed the film on the shelf.  I knew I crossed her mind because she knows I enjoy films with an indie sensibility and stories about outsiders.  However, there was a brief millisecond where my vanity wondered if she connected me to the film based on my physical appearance.  I quickly came to my senses, but this momentary superficial thought stuck with me as I watched the multi-layered characters and plot unfold, making the film resonate even more with me.

In conclusion, if you are in the mood for something wildly entertaining to take you outside of your comfort zone, look no further than CHAINED FOR LIFE. 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. A different film about outsiders...

Monday, January 20, 2020

Dance Your Cares Away (An Ode to Pansy Faye)

Oh Pansy 
Dear Pansy 
Here you are 
A shining star 
Making my world gay 

Oh Pansy 
Sweet Pansy 
Tell my fortune 
Sing a tune 
Dancing my cares away 

Oh Pansy 
Dead Pansy 
Time has gone 
Songs carry on 
Echoing through my day 

(This poem was inspired by the tragically short-lived character of Pansy Faye from DARK SHADOWS) 

Thank you for reading  or listening to my half-blind words. 

Freak Out, 

P.S. A different poem about a different TV series...

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

booking freakboy: KEEPING GLORIA SWANSON by Mark Albro

It is a strange time in Justin's life.  He is suffering from PTSD after witnessing two friends murdered in a terrorist attack.  His mother is dead, having seen her accidental decapitation.  His husband appears to be losing passion for their marriage.  A shifting in relationships seems to be seeping into his group of quirky, witty friends.  To top it all off, Justin is on the verge of turning 30. 

KEEPING GLORIA SWANSON strikes me as a stream of consciousness novel.  The story unfolds with various detours and tangents that ultimately give insight into Justin and those within his orbit.  Author Mark Albro fills the story with wit, style and pathos as we experience Justin careening towards his destiny in the scary, romantic, and sometimes superficial world around him.

In conclusion, if you are in the mood for a mixture of tragedy and humor, then KEEPING GLORIA SWANSON by Mark Albro may be the book for you!  

Available from...

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind review. 

Freak Out, 

P.S. A different book from a different author...
January's Collective 👁 is still open...

Friday, January 3, 2020

channel freakboy: DARK SHADOWS ("Door to the Infinite" Edition)

My sister and I have been watching DARK SHADOWS, the classic gothic daytime soap opera which ran on ABC from 1966-1971.  She had seen all of it before and I had seen most of it.  We are a little over halfway done with the approximately 1,245 episodes and have been seriously enjoying the atmospheric visit to Collinsport, Maine.  It all started with a young woman arriving to be a governess to a disturbed boy at  Collinwood mansion, but it wasn't long before supernatural elements began to manifest.  The most notable of these, of course, is the vampire Barnabas Collins.

For the record, we are not watching for the series' allegedly camp qualities.  My sister and I are so emotionally absorbed in the characters and storylines, that we don't see the so-called cheap special effects.  It also helps that we keep in mind that TV studios didn't allocate a huge budget to daytime dramas, and still don't.  From Josette's first spectral appearance to Laura Collins' flammable Phoenix exit to Barnabas standing at the door to the Infinite, DARK SHADOWS has managed to create effective, edge of your seat moments within its limited budget.  The latter is why I'm writing this. 

It's early 1969 and the Collins clan has abandoned Collinwood due to the extremely malevolent spirit of Quentin Collins, who has possessed young David.  The family takes refuge at the Old House, which was their original ancestral home and is also where Barnabas is residing.  Barnabas, who is currently not a vampire (long story), decides to confront the spirit of Quentin and save David by using the ancient Chinese divination practice of I Ching.  In a trance, Barnabas' spirit must pass through the Door to the Infinite to face Quentin on an equal astral plane.  Fate has other plans for Barnabas because the door leads him to 1897, where he essentially Quantum Leaps into his vampire body.  This is where an extended time travel storyline begins and so far the events are thrilling! 

However, it is that moment when Barnabas is standing before the Door to the Infinite which impressed and fascinated me.  It's such a simple scene that would probably be CGI nowadays. Back in 1969, the incredible manual  lighting trick gives the moment a beautiful and unearthly quality.  The screenshot I took appears even more beautiful and haunting because it looks like an artist's rendering of the scene.  It challenges the viewer to imagine what might wait for them beyond the Door to the Infinite.  An eye exam chair would probably be there to ensnare me.  For Barnabas Collins, a chained up coffin awaited him because, human or not, he will never fully escape the vampiric curse.  Also because that's where his vampire body could be found in 1897.  To find out how Barnabas escapes the confines of his coffin, you can watch on Amazon Prime!  

Perhaps I'll blog more about Dark Shadows when my sister and I have finished the series, which might be in March or April.  Until then...

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words and have a productive 2020. 

Freak Out, 

P.S.  My television posts were once called The TV Freak and here is one of those...
DARK EXCURSIONS is a post-modern gothic romance.

With its intriguing twists and turns, this novel is sure to entertain the soap opera fan in your life...