Monday, December 6, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
I'm continuing my Halloween celebrations with two more readings.
On October 21, I'll be reading several pieces by Edgar Allan Poe, culminating in The Tell-Tale Heart for those who missed it the other night. This is a live reading. It's not prerecorded. Feel free to talk to each other in the chat room. The pieces are short so that you can come taste some bite-sized horror.
On October 27, I'll be reading some of my own work, TBA. This will also be a live reading with the chat activated so you can post either to me or to each other.
These readings are on my Twitch.TV channel under my name Sephera666. Be sure to follow me right now so that you are always notified when I go live which is a few times a month.
These readings are fun gifts to you so I hope you enjoy them!
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Last night I read a version of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe online as a reading for the first night of Halloween celebrations. The video of just the reading is here but you can see the complete video of the live stream on YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch.
Last night was really just a test as well as Twitch and Restream have changed a few things so I wanted to make sure that everything was working properly before I did a really long stream.
The next Halloween reading event is on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7 pm EST at http://twitch.tv/sephera666
It will be a much longer stream.
It will be more Poe, as I love Poe plus it's public domain so I should be safe from copyright strikes.
So far, I'm planning on Poe-etry and the proper long version of The Tell-Tale Heart.
Here is the tentative list of what I'll read on October 21 in a tentative order
The Conqueror Worm
The Haunted Palace
A Dream Within a Dream
The Black Cat
The Tell-Tale Heart (long, original version)
These Halloween events are free so come on by for the whole thing or pop in and out.
Watch live on Twitch Tv! Don't count on the auxiliary feeds working because sometimes they don't!
Friday, October 8, 2021
Sèphera's Halloween Happenings
Twitch Live Readings of Horror Classics
October 21, 2021 7 p.m. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe plus other classics
October 27, 2021 7 p.m. Horror Stories T.B.A.
I'll be guest blogging at a couple of blogs. I'm not sure about one of them but I'll be blogging at the Horror Writers Association on October 28, 2021.
If you comment on my blog post that day, you will be entered into a draw for free SCREAM: Chills and Thrills app tokens! There will be three winners so be sure to comment when my blog appears! You don't have to be a member of HWA to win the contest. You also don't have to read my books when you win, you can spend your tokens on whatever author you please.
Live on Planet Lizzdom!
Also on October 28, I'll be on Planet Lizzdom at 8 p.m. EST for a live interview with Lizz herself. Be sure to tune in on YouTube or Facebook. Click the picture to check out Planet Lizzdom's Patreon.
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
I’ve been watching American Crime Story: Impeachment with bated breath. After all, I’m nine years older than Monica Lewinsky so I remember every minute of that sordid mess as it splashed across the news headlines in the nineties.
In watching the show, it jerks me back once again to how things “were” and how things are “trying to change” for women, men, power, politics, me too…
For people who weren’t alive in the nineties or before, this show might seem strange. Some of the things the ladies discuss might seem odd to the modern woman. Oh, we thought we were mighty modern back in the nineties I must say.
Last night’s episode especially hit home in so many ways for me.
I love this show and as always, when it comes to American Crime Story, Ryan Murphy does an excellent job with the material. Yes, in every show there is truth-stretching to improve the drama and trauma but from OJ to Versace to now Impeachment, these shows have a lot to say about the times these events took place in even if some of the facts are false or bent or misremembered.
What is especially fascinating about ACS: Impeachment is that Monica Lewinsky herself is a producer of the show and therefore likely provided inside information that may not have been shared before or at least she can exercise her right to veto things or improve things. So far so good, Ms. Lewinsky.
It seems she’s not afraid to show herself as weak, manipulated, confused, and tenacious, going crazy from gaslighting as many targets of narcissists do. The Monica we see in Impeachment is much more obsessed than I ever dreamed she was in real life. However, as an obsessive person myself, I can totally relate to Impeachment Monica. |And letting us see her youthful vulnerability as she clings to every phone call, every gift, every encounter really makes the show fantastic.
Although I must make a quick aside that Linda Tripp called Monica a narcissist last night. Perhaps Monica is, but Clinton is the Big Narcissist in this equation, the villain, the head game player. Tripp herself likely had some narcissism as well. Doesn’t everyone who goes into politics have a degree of narcissism, they can change the world?
I’m sure people not familiar with the culture of the time would wonder why don’t these women fight back, why don’t they go to the higher-ups, why do they let themselves be bullied and demoted for other people’s whims?
That’s how it was; there was no where to go. No HR for sexual harassment and so on. Women were lucky to have jobs at all, so they had to suck it up or off, as it were.
For those who don’t know, Monica Lewinski was an intern at the White House when she was 21. At that time, President Bill Clinton took an interest in her and thus began an affair that lasted a couple of years. I had no idea he gave her gifts and that they had so many phone calls nor that the affair lasted as long as it did and was as intense as it was until I began watching this show. In fact, my jaw dropped when she received her first present. I was really pissed off that he manipulated her in that way.
How much did Hillary know? Who knows? The show hasn’t addressed Hillary at all so far. Although, the way the show ended last night, I’m sure there’s going to be lots of Hillary going forward.
Last night, the show ended when President Bill Clinton learned that Monica was called to testify in the Paula Jones case. That floored him, after all, he thought he had Monica under control, under his wandering thumb. As he sat on his bedroom couch wondering about it all, Hillary was sleeping. Before he made it to the couch, we saw the paintings of past presidents, and the camera lingered on JFK, likely because he was a cheating asshole as well. Just because JFK slept with Marilyn Monroe and god knows who else, doesn’t make him a good boy. He’s part of the problem of powerful people cheating on their spouses.
And back in the day, most forgave JFK and Clinton and many other major cheating scumbags. After all, they were powerful men, so “it was expected they would stray.” I suppose it was like the attitude towards rock stars as well. We all knew they all cheated on the road (or most did) but hey, if you’re crazy enough to marry a rock star, enjoy the money and look the other way when the groupies are around…that was the social attitude for decades.
Last night, a few things reflected the times.
Such as when Vernon Jordan patted Monica’s ass after saying he’ll find her a job at Revlon, as per The President’s suggestions. Monica barely blinked at the ass pat, but she noticed it. However, in those days, all of us women were used to men patting our asses, touching our boobs, and more. Yes, bosses, customers, it didn’t matter, men constantly touched women, especially powerful men. I can’t tell you how many bosses I’ve had that groped me and nothing I could do about it. I actually quit one job when a manager touched my breasts, even though I was married. No one believed me, or if they did, thought I should suck it up. I was told, “it’s your word against his...and he's the manager and you've only been here a couple of weeks.” So back then, in the eighties, I just never went back, not even for my last paycheck. And they wondered why they had to hire new waitresses every couple of weeks...
So I totally understand the culture that played out for Tripp and Lewinsky.
Sarah Paulson is doing an amazing job as Linda Tripp. She reportedly gained thirty pounds and she has wigs and I think prosthetics. As with all shows I watch, I try not to research them while I'm watching them so I'm surprised but I did happen to read that somewhere. She doesn’t look like Sarah Paulson at all except for the odd angle where you can “see” Sarah underneath. She has the walk, the voice, she’s playing Linda really well. We are sympathetic to Linda which I don’t think I really was when it all went down back in the day. But of course, hindsight is 20/20 and we’ve had nearly thirty years to reflect on all of this stuff.
Beanie Feldstein is amazing as Monica. I truly believe her as Monica.
This episode showed Monica losing her mind to Clinton’s gaslighting ways. We’re not sure (and even those of us who lived through it STILL aren’t sure) what Clinton’s endgame for her was. Did he have a special place in his heart for her despite having affairs with who knows how many women? Was Monica special or did she only think she was? I’m not sure we’ll ever know unless Bill writes a tell-all but that will never happen.
I felt sorry then and still do for Hillary. What hell it must be to be married to such a cheater. A public cheater. In my mind over the years, I told myself they must have had an “arrangement” or maybe, as rumours suggested, she was really a lesbian, and this was a marriage of power and convenience. Hillary is STILL married to Bill as we know, and only they know the truth of their own relationship. Certainly there are many political secrets they likely keep together, and they have figured out a way to not lose their financial empire nor their family empire.
But I digress.
Monica shares with Linda some of her past experiences. Linda might be sheltered and seemed rather shocked but as someone closer to Monica’s age, I wasn’t shocked at all. There were those who were allegedly screwing their high school teachers while students. I suspected a few teachers, both scholastic and recreational, of seducing students. Did seduction mean sex? I have no idea if it did in each case. But whatever it was, it's an imbalance of power. After I was out of high school, I learned of other alleged affairs that had happened under my nose. Married teachers, pregnant teachers, counsellors, mentors, men, women seducing their own students or other people’s students. This was in the seventies and early eighties, and it was “just the way it was.” No one ever told on these teachers but most didn't truly know what went on behind closed doors as well. I’m sure no one knows to this day about the truth of most of these alleged affairs. And considering how old I am, I’m sure most of these teachers are dead by now.
Monica talks about teachers and counsellors, married, who used her. So the seduction from Bill was really just more of the same. A man abusing his power for young, sweet flesh. How would she know any different or that it might even be wrong when that’s just how it was back then? Back then, these types of affairs were games. I guess, they still are. Dangerous games.
Last night, Linda finally began to tape Monica. The episode The Telephone Hour is a homage to the musical, Bye Bye Birdie right down to montages of phone calls.
You can see Linda really wrestling with herself, her hatred for the Clintons, her urge to blow this power-hungry cheating man out of the water, yet her fear of hurting Monica, but wanting Monica to get away from him. She's disgusted by the Paula Jones case and knows of many other women who were seduced by Clinton.
The famous blue dress was in last night’s episode. Linda notices it crumpled up on the floor during their pajama party and Monica finally shares what it is.
Every woman character in the show is reaching for power, from the publisher, to the administrators, to Linda’s deskmate. Every woman is demeaned for daring to reach and sometimes punished, as Linda was, by demotion.
This show is really keeping me glued to my seat and I’m really enjoying it, well, in the way that you watch events that are horrible but are well executed.
Every episode makes us look at our own morality. What would we do if we were Linda? Linda who was eaten up and chewed out by the system and by her own marriage. A smart woman who can never be her full potential because of the glass ceiling and perhaps because she’s not beautiful.
I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next, especially with how they’ll portray Hillary.
What do you think about Impeachment so far?
Friday, September 24, 2021
SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY RED TIDE AND
THE 1975 movie LISZTOMANIA DIRECTED BY KEN RUSSELL
SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY RED TIDE AND
THE 1975 movie LISZTOMANIA DIRECTED BY KEN RUSSELL
SPOILERS FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY RED TIDE AND
THE 1975 movie LISZTOMANIA DIRECTED BY KEN RUSSELL
In the 1975 movie Lisztomania starring Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt and Veronica Quilligan as his daughter Cosima, Franz has a similar issue that Harry (Finn Wittrock) in Red Tide does. He has a daughter who is an amazing violinist but who hates him and wants to kill him.
In fact, a lot of the themes in these two shows are quite similar.
Cosima has a voodoo doll of daddy and is running off with bad boy Wagner who in this twisted fever dream is a Nazi. In fact, a Super Man named Thor is created as a superweapon for the Nazis but that's only one tiny bit of weirdness that permeates Lisztomania.
Wagner steals Liszt's "talent" through a bizarre vampire scene.
The movie talks a lot about selling your soul to the devil for fame and fortune. Another Faustian story.
At the time, this crazy movie had a star-studded cast including Ringo Starr and Rick Wakeman among many others, many who also appeared in Tommy such as Paul Nicholas who played Cousin Kevin.
I've actually not watched Lisztomania in many years but anyone who loves 70s rock operas such as Phantom of the Paradise, Ken Russell, Roger Daltrey, weird movies, horror, and giant cocks, you'll love this madness.
The seventies were weird, very weird.
After I saw Tommy, I proceeded to have a lifelong crush on Roger Daltrey, so of course, I went to see his next opus, Lisztomania. No mean feat as it was rated R and I was way below the age limit but luckily I was able to slap on makeup and a lowcut shirt and snuck into the movie. Both movies were directed by Ken Russell, whom I actually got to shake hands with a few weeks before he died about ten years ago.
You need to see this whole movie, it's so weird.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Last night, the story of Red Tide was pretty much summed up. This story is the tightest, most coherent entry into the American Horror Story franchise. I really loved it, especially as it combined two of my favourite movies: The Shining and Rosemary's Baby!
I’ve been saying either in blogs or videos that over the past few years, Murphy has been making his AHS less convoluted and more focused. I actually feel like he tied up all the loose threads with this one, and, of course, we don't know if the second story hooks into the first or not, so we'll see next week!
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Red Tide was one story with several characters, and we followed Harry (Finn Wittrock) through the main plot and linked to the subplots involving the locals, the most compelling storyline being Mickey (Macaulay Culkin) and Karen (Sarah Paulson) but the most fun storyline belongs to Evan Peters and Francis Conroy as the egotistical writers controlling the town, somewhat...
The opening to this week’s episode was fun as it took place at the birth of the baby boy with Harry (Finn Wittrock) eyeing all the bloody rags and towels during the delivery. He manages to steal the garbage can and squeezes out his wife's delicious birthing blood into tiny cups so he can feast. It was pretty hilarious. Finn often gets these demented roles with truly comedic moments. One of my all-time fave moments in any horror franchise is when he’s sawing off Matt Bomer’s arm in Freakshow and saying, “How can you still be alive? You’re making me feel bad!” It’s horrific and hilarious at the same time. You don’t know whether to throw up or chuckle.
The Harry storyline goes full Rosemary’s Baby in this final installment with several moments paying homage to the iconic film and famous scenes. Doris (Lily Rabe) hearing voices and walking into a room of conspirators. The blue nightgown butcher knife homage right from Mia Farrow’s trembling hands. The paranoia that something isn’t right, that everyone around Doris is different somehow and she’s trapped in a nightmare where she can’t escape.
We suspected that Doris would eventually take the pill, but we never knew which way she would go. Throughout the series, Harry more or less says that Doris has no talent but he loves her and she’s the mother of his children, so he wants to keep her around. They even have Denis O'Hare mocking her designs just so that we truly understand how shitty she is.
Alma, the daughter, hates her mom and wants her dead and knows that she's a crappy designer so it was zero surprise that she bullied, actually seduced in a truly evil manner, mom to take the pill. We knew that Alma wanted mom to take The Muse so that Doris would turn into the untalented vampire and go away as Alma wanted daddy to herself. It was classic Greek tragedy and what makes a story compelling. A child hating a parent so much they would lie to destroy them.
Doris takes the pill, oh yes. And we wonder how she will turn. For a moment, it looks like she will have talent and join her family. But then, we see that no, Harry and everyone else was right, she has no talent.
And so, much to Alma’s delight, Doris is released into the wild with the other vampires, while the true vampire, the agent, continues to scheme about marketing The Muse. I’m not sure how long she’ll last among the vampires as the elite writers had discussed killing her but we’ll never know. Or will we?
At any rate, after Doris turns, she joins the other untalented vampires. We met the original untalented vampire last week and learned his sad genesis story and also why they all dress the way they do. Billy Lourd is the local Jill of All Trades; she sells vintage clothes, does tattoos and is the dentist who makes dentures for the talented ones.
Last week we also had directly in our face the question we’ve all been dancing around for a few weeks. Is being a talented vampire superior to being an untalented vampire?
All the creatures kill and drink blood.
One does it to fuel their art, the other does it because they took the pill and realized they are hacks and so become “angry” and kill people…yet they too have the thirst for blood.
So, most people would say that both are evil.
The already narcissistic artists who took the pill are beyond insufferable and have no redeeming qualities left.
Harry spewed a bunch of really cruel stuff to his transformed wife, which he admitted he thought all along but never said. We're used to Finn's characters being assholes but this husband character seemed particularly cruel, likely because he was the most realistic or grounded of the AHS characters he's played.
Dandy Mott (my favourite character of his) was a psychopath from the word go, he was never redeemable. But Harry began as a normal, struggling writer with a little ego and much love for his wife, child, and unborn baby. As he transforms, we don't even think he loves his kid anymore, just keeps her around so she doesn't kill him, and he definitely hates his wife. And though he tries to protect the baby, there's no real reason for him to do so. He will likely feed the baby to Alma now that mom is gone. A baby would interfere with their genius work.
Harry wasn't too hard to convince to take the muse. His drive to succeed was huge, spurred on by having to support his family, so even though he was a little bit reluctant, he was pretty quick to take it. After all, he'd already committed murder.
But Mickey and Karen have watched the town transform over the years. Even though they were junkies, they didn't want to be murderers. They were both offered the drug for their talents many times but they didn't want to pay the ultimate price of murdering innocent people no matter which way they could turn from The Muse. They didn't want to be evil.
Which is why it took Mickey and Karen so long to be seduced by The Muse.
Last week we learned that Mickey was the first person to meet the pharmacist and refused The Muse but he brought in all the customers. He resisted for years, not wanting the side effects that came with ingesting The Muse until the agent came to town and then he took the gamble and won. He became rich and famous and came back for Karen.
Karen has never been seduced by The Muse yet she’s addicted to heroin or whatever and uses all the other drugs but she refuses to take The Muse because she doesn’t want to kill people. Even though she’ll bring babies now and again for the lead bitch.
Karen refuses Mickey’s offers of taking The Muse and going to Hollywood. He’s furious, he loves her.
Karen’s luck has run out and there is no one to protect her. Mickey appears with the pill and leaves.
Karen either has to take the pill or be eaten by vampire monster things; both sides hunger for her.
She takes the pill.
We see her hair is less greasy, her teeth are less coated and so on as effects take place. Mickey wants to take her to feed. They go to the beach. She feeds on Mickey, kills him. It was shocking and unexpected. I was very sad that Mickey died like that.
She paints furiously and then wanders out to sea where she slits her wrists, thus creating a Red Tide and is washed away.
We actually never know which way she turned; if she had talent or was a hack.
A bleak depressing ending but hey, it’s a Ryan Murphy horror show!
Next week will be the second part of the double feature. Maybe Karen gets washed up and discovered by aliens or the Black Lagoon dude or someone?
I’ve done my best to avoid seeing spoilers, so I hope to be surprised.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
No, I didn’t miss writing about American Horror Story Double Feature Red Tide this week because Finn Wittrock wasn’t in it.
I've been slammed with work like old times over the past couple of months. I love it but it leaves no time for blogging, Twitch, gaming, videos or anything else. Bring it on! I'm glad things are creaking back to normal.
Don't worry, I'm always working on a book or screenplay. That exhilarating hamster wheel never stops!
No deep dive this week for Red Tide but here are a couple of other shows as well.
But still likely spoilers for some people.
American Horror Story Double Feature Red Tide
This week on Red Tide, we learned the backstory of the local residents. We learned when they learned of The Muse and what drove them to try it.
It was very good, and it was a few days ago so I don’t remember many details as I was still on the hamster wheel.
Evan Peters in drag though! Wowie!
I'm loving Macaulay Culkin in this. I hope he gets an Emmy.
Ryan Murphy never fails to cast or highlight an unexpected actor for us to fall in love with or root for no matter what their actual character does. For this story, Macaulay is the new hidden gem. That's not to take away from the others like Finn Wittrock and Evan Peters. Hopefully Macaulay becomes a regular in the Murphy multiverses like the other two. He may have been in
American Crime Story Impeachment
I caught the first episode of this on Tuesday. I’m glued, of course, since I lived through it, and it was such a huge scandal at the time. When I first saw the commercials for it, I looked at the actress playing Monica and went, “That’s the virgin nerd from What We Do in the Shadows!” I googled it and I was correct, Alex!
I will say for both of these shows, Sarah Paulson is doing her damned best to not look or act like the Sarah we all know so well. Much like she did with the OJ ACS, she has transformed herself greatly. I read she put on thirty pounds to play Linda Tripp. She has captured Linda Tripp very well so far. OMG, I just checked IMBD and they say she’s playing Marcia Clark in this. NO, she played Marica Clark in OJ. In Impeachment, she’s Linda Tripp. UGH. Since in real life, I was glued to the TV for both scandals, I know my notorious bitches! Anyway, Sarah Paulson really captures her awkwardness and we have sympathy for her even though we probably shouldn't. Those of us who were adult women in those times know how hard that glass ceiling was and how little women were valued in all manners.
Since Monica Lewinsky herself is involved in this production, I don't doubt we'll get more nuances about how women were treated and discarded by even the most beloved. The entire scandal in real life speaks for itself, no need to dress it up.
Beanie Feldstein is filling pretty big shoes as Monica Lewinsky. She is way too young to have even been alive when this scandal broke. I’m loving the job she’s doing! You go, girl!
What We Do in the Shadows
So now we have a sweet week of ten o’clock shows. OCS on Tuesday, AHS on Wednesday and WWD ITS on Thursdays!
Shadows was fun as always. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for it as I got to be in the Manhattan club scene in the first season and Mark Hamill was in the second season (and hopefully will reprise his role this season!)
And there can never be too much Colin Robinson or nudity or kinky sex or cages...
And now, tonight, ANOTHER new show to watch weekly!
This show begins tonight at 9 pm in Canada although it already played in the States in the summer. If you miss the 9 pm, it's on again at 2:30 am this week. I managed to watch parts of the first five episodes a couple of weeks ago. It’s excellent.
It’s a dramatic retelling of the real-life evil Dr. Duntsch (Joshua Jackson) who brutally destroyed and even killed people with horrible surgeries. I saw some other shows about Dr. Duntsch, likely Dateline or 20/20 or American Greed; I watch all of them on a regular basis so they blur in my mind although they usually all eventually cover the same stories. I can't remember but when I first saw commercials on TV for Dr. Death, last June or whenever it was, I was waiting for this show with bated breath. I also was super pissed off that none of my streaming services could get it at the time! But life finds a way. And now it's on in Canada.
Dr. Death is a look at the narcissistic asshole doctor and his cases as well as the American healthcare system that took so long to stop him. Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater also star as concerned doctors trying to stop him. What I’ve managed to see shows the horror of incompetent surgeries (ooo the sounds of bone-cracking! Yikes!) but also has some comedic moments and not only from Christian Slater. There is fun and creativity with the titles and how they shoot the scenes. I’m going to check Showcase tonight and hopefully, they’ve uploaded all the episodes, but I have a feeling they are only going to dole them out one at a time.
Oh, while I’m on a roll, one more show that I’ve been watching but it didn’t start this week but it's not over yet!
This is filling my obsession with cults. Loving this show. Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy are really winning me over with their acting. The entire cast is stellar and I love this show as well. I hope they don’t fuck it up. So far, it’s very intriguing and mysterious and like Midsommer, uses mushrooms/hallucinogenics to facilitate the best cult experience possible!
So, horror people, lots there for you to watch so carve out one hour a day for your fix! Our time is NOW!
Friday, September 3, 2021
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Evan Peters is amazing and fun and insane as always. He's always a joy to watch and his many characters in the franchise have all been very different from each other. So much talent.