13 O’Clock Episode 35 – Mad Science!

It’s alive! ALIVE!!! Sure, science is certainly the best method humans have so far devised for discovering the truth of the world around us (and inventing super-cool shit to boot), but sometimes it’s a rocky road, and occasionally the most brilliant scientific minds can come up with some wacky and disturbing ideas that can lead to some pretty strange experiments and ethical conundrums.

On this episode of 13 O’Clock, Tom and Jenny discuss four cases of weird science, including Harry Harlow’s monkey love-deprivation experiments, the Hofling Hospital doctor-authority studies, Freud’s nasal-sexual weirdness with patient Emma Eckstein, and the case of Dr. John Money, David Reimer, and sex reassignment gone tragically wrong.

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

I’ll Be On End of Days: The Michael Decon Program Tonight at 11pm!

Yes, paranormal people, you will be able to listen to me live on the End of Days radio show with host Michael Decon, tonight (April 15th) at 11pm EST. I will be discussing my newest book, The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration of Poltergeist Phenomena, among many other things, so be sure to tune in!

eodr001

UnseenHandCover_Ebook

13 O’Clock Episode 34 – An Appreciation of the Giallo

A masked, black-gloved killer stalks the streets of Rome, hacking away at underdressed ladies with a flashing, phallic blade. A hapless tourist witnesses one of these murders, but is brushed off by the police, and is forced to try to reveal the killer on her own, before she becomes the next victim.

If this plot sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the most common story arc of the classic Italian thriller/horror genre, the giallo. This distinctive film style has many fascinating aesthetic and narrative flourishes, and is largely responsible for kicking off the American slasher film boom of the 1970s and 1980s. On this episode, Tom and Jenny discuss one of Jenny’s very favorite film styles, giving a history of the genre, a breakdown of the most commonly seen tropes, and opinions about the best giallo films. Sharpen your straight razor and shrug into your black trenchcoat as we take a deep red journey into the lurid, murderous world of the giallo. Bring in the perverts!

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

My New Book “The Unseen Hand” is Now Out in ALL Formats!

Heads up, poltergeist pals! My latest tome, The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration of Poltergeist Phenomena, is now available from Amazon in print, ebook, AND audio book formats! It’s an exhaustive compendium of over one hundred recorded poltergeist cases throughout history and across the globe, summarized and analyzed for your spooky reading pleasure. Please obtain a copy tout suite, and if you’d be so kind as to write a review if you like it, I would be most appreciative. If you’re still not convinced, read the blurb below the cover art and then just tell me you don’t want to read it. YOU WANT TO READ IT.

Do it.

Goddess out.

UnseenHandCover_Ebook

Rapping on the walls. Mysterious rains of stones. Furniture moving around by itself. Phantom voices. Unexplained fires. Invisible assaults. The symptoms of poltergeist activity are well known, but what is a poltergeist, really? Is it some type of demon, or an angry spirit whose only mission is to cause mischief and destruction? Is it the unconscious energy of a troubled living person, somehow affecting the environment from a distance? Or could it all be simply fraud or misidentification? In this comprehensive book, well over one hundred cases of poltergeist activity, from the first century to the present day, are summarized and examined. All the best-known cases are presented, from Borley Rectory to the Bell Witch, from the Great Amherst Mystery to Gef the Talking Mongoose, from Rosenheim to Tina Resch, from Enfield to the Entity. A large selection of fascinating and lesser-known accounts from all over the world are also included, and all contain testimony of the most eerie and extraordinary events. In addition, the book contains in-depth discussions of distinct patterns, stages, and theorized causes of poltergeist phenomena, drawing from some of the best research in parapsychology, neuroscience, and quantum mechanics, as well as a skeptical perspective to provide a grounded overview. The Unseen Hand is the ultimate, one-stop shop for readers interested in poltergeist disturbances throughout history and the theories behind what causes them.

13 O’Clock Episode 33 – Creepy Cults: Children of God, Order of the Solar Temple, and More!

Dissatisfied with your life? Seeking some form of spiritual enlightenment and purpose? Feel like giving up all your earthly possessions and living in a compound with a bunch of brainwashed weirdos? Boy, have we got an episode for you! Just kidding, you don’t really want to join a cult (uh…right?), and you REALLY don’t want to join the four disturbing, doomsday cults we’re discussing on 13 O’Clock today. The Order of the Solar Temple, the Children of God, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, and the intertwined Korean cults known as Paradise and the Salvation Sect…these groups had it all, including skeevy, exploitative leaders, wackjob beliefs, criminal activity, and mass murder and suicide. Pour yourself a nice tall glass of Kool-Aid and believe unquestioningly every word that your hosts utter on this revelatory episode of 13 O’Clock. Join us…join us…

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Once We Used to Eat Our Enemies: An Appreciation of “The Bloodstained Shadow” and “The Perfume of the Lady In Black”

Holy shit, you guys, I just realized that the last time I posted one of my long-form horror movie breakdowns was back in goddamn NOVEMBER (it was an appreciation of the British made-for-TV classic Ghostwatch, if you’re interested), so I felt the need to remedy that situation with a quickness. The reason I haven’t posted as many is because I’ve been working on the weekly 13 O’Clock podcast as well as finishing up my new book, The Unseen Hand, which I’m happy to announce is now available in print and ebook formats, with the audio version coming very soon!

UnseenHand

Anyway, I’ve got a double dose of giallo goodness for you today, since I’ve been researching an upcoming podcast episode on giallo films and have been spending some time revisiting some old favorites as well as watching some lesser-known examples of the genre. First in the lineup is The Bloodstained Shadow from 1978, known in Italy as Solamente nero and also released under the title Only Blackness. Directed by Antonio Bido and featuring Stefania Casini (of Suspiria fame) in a prominent role, this one didn’t knock me out with awesomeness, but it was still an enjoyable, if fairly derivative, slice of bloody giallo fun.

grab4

In many ways, The Bloodstained Shadow, with its focus on the church, its use of a strange painting as one of the key plot points, and the appearance of Lino Capolicchio playing a protagonist named Stefano recalls Pupi Avati’s fantastic House with the Laughing Windows (which I wrote about here). Its Venetian locations and the featuring of a creepy psychic also give it a passing whiff of Nicolas Roeg’s classic Don’t Look Now (which I wrote about here).

In brief, Stefano travels to the Venetian island of Murano to visit his brother, a Catholic priest named Don Paolo. Almost as soon as he arrives, he discovers that something odd is afoot; the aforementioned psychic seems to creep his brother out for some reason, a wealthy pedophile is molesting children left and right, and Stefano starts having flashbacks of a screaming little boy that seems to be somehow tied in with the murder of a schoolgirl that took place on the island years before.

the-bloodstained-shadow-3

There is also the matter of a murder in the town square that Don Paolo witnesses; the victim turns out to be the psychic, whose séances were notorious for attracting all of the town’s most reviled residents and who Don Paolo had actively campaigned against. Don Paolo begins receiving threatening, typewritten messages, presumably from the killer, and Stefano teams up with his brother and his new lady-friend to try to get to the bottom of the mystery.

blood-1

As I said, this one wasn’t super memorable, but it was a satisfying, workmanlike giallo that hit all the correct beats. There were lots of plot twists, some gory murders, and several red herrings to lead viewers in the wrong direction (though I have to admit I figured out who the killer was before the end). Recommended for fans of the genre who haven‘t seen it, but for neophytes I’d suggest House with the Laughing Windows before this one.

Next up is the 1974 Francesco Barilli film, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, starring Mimsy Farmer. I hesitate to even call this movie a giallo; a couple of the elements are there, and it’s usually listed as one, but to be honest it’s more a straight-up psychological horror film, obviously very heavily influenced by Roman Polanski, particularly Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby. The movie as a whole is intensely dreamlike, and even after watching it, you’re really not sure how much of what you saw unfolding on screen actually took place and how much was the fantasy of the main character.

perfumelady4big

In fact, if you come into Perfume expecting the requisite steady murder count of the standard giallo, then you’re going to be disappointed; there are almost no deaths and no gore until the end, and even the bizarre final scenes leave more questions than answers. This film is much more like the creepy slow burn of a good ghost story, or like the unsettling, atmospheric weirdness of Polanski’s The Tenant: nothing is as it seems, everyone seems shifty and sinister and out to get the protagonist for some reason, and the movie goes on quite a long time without really revealing what the hell is going on and why all these strange things are happening.

Mimsy Farmer plays Silvia, a chemist whose dedication to her work causes tension with her jackwad boyfriend Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia), who doesn’t understand why Silvia can’t just blow off her job to go play tennis with him and who wiggles his ass in the most disturbing way when he has sex with her. After an argument, Silvia seeks to make amends by bringing Roberto a present of a mounted butterfly (which he collects), but when she gets to his house, it looks like he isn’t there, and she sees what seems to be the ghost of a woman in a black and white dress in a mirror in Roberto’s bedroom.

animals

From here on out, the viewer is taken on a strange ride, as weird shit starts happening all around Silvia: people on the street eye her suspiciously, she sleeps through an entire day without knowing why, a tennis racket she grabs has a nail in the handle that slices her palm and her tennis partner drinks the blood from it with a bit too much enjoyment, a treasured photo she takes to have reframed mysteriously gets stolen, a bratty little girl in a white dress turns up in her apartment and refuses to leave.

As the movie goes on, the strange events escalate, and we’re led to believe that Silvia has become the target of a vast, black magic conspiracy that seemingly includes everyone she knows, including her boyfriend, her best friend Francesca, and everyone in her building, and appears to be engineered by a mysterious African professor who is friends with Roberto. Are all these people trying to drive Silvia mad? If so, why? Or is she simply losing her mind of her own accord? Flashbacks of her possible past may provide the solution, but it’s still far from straightforward how much of the plot takes place in Silvia’s imagination; in this aspect, the many references in the film to Alice In Wonderland make total sense.

The Perfume of the Lady in Black 7

I actually really dug this one, though as I said, don’t go into it expecting a textbook giallo, because it really doesn’t have many giallo elements at all, other than the mystery angle. It’s also pretty slow-moving, which I quite liked, but I can see how the pace might be too leisurely for some. I think it did a great job of building tension slowly, of unraveling Silvia’s sanity at a measured, surreal pace, and it had some really great, eerie moments and unsettling shots that were pleasingly disorienting. Recommended less for giallo fans and more for Polanski aficionados and those who like their horror with a sense of subtle unease.

Until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.

13 O’Clock Episode 32 – Horror in Room 1046: The Unsolved Murder of Roland T. Owen

In January of 1935, a young man checked into a hotel in Kansas City under the pseudonym Roland T. Owen, with only a hairbrush, a comb, and a tube of toothpaste to his name. A couple of days later, he was found naked, bound and obviously tortured in his blood-splashed room. Who was this murdered man with the fake name? Why was he constantly sitting in the dark? Who was the mysterious “Don” he talked to on the phone? Why was he running down the street clad only in pants and an undershirt? Who anonymously paid for his funeral and a bouquet of roses? Who sent cryptic typed letters to his mother months after his death?

Everyone loves an unsolved murder, and the mystery of room 1046 is one of the eeriest unsolved crimes in American history. On this episode, Tom and Jenny give a timeline of the bizarre events leading up to the man’s death, and speculate as to what might have befallen the doomed occupant of the Hotel President.

Download the audio file from Project Entertainment Network here, or watch the YouTube version here. Also, don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.