April 8th, 2006

The Stokers...yawn...

The final Stoker ballot was released yesterday, and it's sadly business as usual for the HWA - a preponderance of male names, three nominations for the organization's president, and the token Stephen King nomination.

On the other hand...I figure I can now officially go on message boards and answer the perennial question about why works with huge numbers of recommendations don't make the final ballot!

The Demon Dog returns to L.A.!

I'm a big fan of James Ellroy (if Steve Jones ever does another HORROR 100 BEST BOOKS installment, I'm going to lobby like crazy to do Ellroy's The Big Nowhere, which I think works very well as a horror novel), but somehow I've always missed his personal appearances in the past. Last night he (and noir expert Eddie Muller) spoke at the American Cinematheque for opening night of their annual Film Noir festival, and I'm happy to see that Ellroy is still as delightfully politically-incorrect and foul-mouthed as ever. The Demon Dog told us that the essence of noir was the realization that "you're FUCKED", that Russell Crowe was a pansyass prettyboy in L.A. Confidential and that his part should have been played by Sterling Hayden (amen!), and that he and Eddie Muller have recently recorded several audio commentaries for upcoming DVD releases (including one of the films screened last night, Crime Wave).

Ellroy - who, with his shaved, bobbing head seems to be filling in the gap left by Hunter S. Thompson now - also made my day by telling us he's returning to L.A., after living on the east coast for some time now.

Synchronicity was in play bigtime last night, as we arrived late, picked out two seats near the front...and realized we were sitting next to my pals Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson, screenwriters extraordinaire who've only recently returned from Italy, where they worked with Dario Argento. Also in attendance were the wonderful Courtney Joyner (with whom I share both agent and frustration), and faustfatale, looking appropriately noirish and fabulous.

The two films were the sensational Crime Wave, which featured lots of amazing shots of L.A. and Glendale circa 1950 (who knew Chinatown was ever that close to City Hall?), and a kickass Sterling Hayden as the cop you love to hate. The second film, Between Midnight and Dawn, was pretty much a snoozer save for its bizarre resemblance to one of my favorite Hong Kong films Beast Cops, which gets right everything that Midnight got wrong. Wonder if Ellroy and Muller have seen Beast Cops...?