August 21st, 2018

cataloging

Reviews: "Hell House"; The Foundling

SPN 1.17, "Hell House" is one of those episodes I revisit if I just need something fun. It's a great little example of Kripke's original "a new mini horror movie each week" vision, though in this case it's nearly a spoof of the genre, thanks to the presence of the proto-Ghost Facers. Amazon (alas) strips out the original Blue Oyster Cult music cues, but there are many other enjoyable details that survive the move to the on-demand format: The early intercutting interview scene with the three teens at the diner remains a favorite for me, just because of how note-perfect the editing and acting is. Dean commenting about how useless EMF readings are because of the nearby power lines, followed three minutes later by Sam acting all ignorant about EMF just to get Ed and Harry to ramble on about it and make themselves look like the pretentious idiots that they are, barely concealing his smirk the whole time--makes me giggle every time. Their bicker over the laughing fisherman plaque, which they then steal and use to distract the cops during their second visit to the hell house. (The lawn flamingos surrounding Ed and Harry's camper.) Dean moving straight to "burn the building down" as a solution to the unstoppable tulpa: extreme but effective. The difference in how they screw with Ed and Harry--Sam playing to their ambition, Dean going with the simple yet effective dead fish--and that they both do, without consulting each other, in a more abstract winsync moment than the usual examples.

The Librivox recording of The Worm Ouroboros is another favorite of mine, though of a rather different sort. This is a book to be listened to. It's an enjoyable enough read, but a trifle slow in places as Eddington indulges in detailed descriptions of clothing and furnishings, and I found myself skimming through extended passages. However, when listening instead of reading, those details are somehow transformed from near-tedium into something majestic. There's a different weight and sense of scope to them; Shakespeare's phrase "something rich and strange" seems fitting.

That's perhaps an apt pairing--Shakespeare, after all, was meant to be performed, not merely read silently to one's self--in the same way, whether Eddington intended this or not, The Worm Ouroboros is meant to be read aloud; it has that sort of cadence to it, the reader an observer of the scene rather than being immersed in the perspective of a particular character--rather like a fairytale on a grander scale. Like the story of Sam and Dean, it's about brothers doing extreme things for the love of each other, but in a rather different scope and tone. (Also, it's excellent for if you're trying to take a nap but can't get your brain to settle down so you can sleep. Jason Mills, the reader, has a very steady, calming voice, and the cadence of Eddison's prose is rather soothing.)