Married Geek Couple

Barb Approves of Stuff!

My husband Park and I spend a lot of time reading, listening to music, and watching movies, old TV shows, etc.

We’re also pretty picky about what we like.

So, I thought I’d make a list of some stuff I (and he) do approve of!

–“The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall” (read by Jonathan Frid)

I’m putting this up at the top of this list front for my fellow Dark Shadows fans! My husband and I are huge fans of the old supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows, and the lead vampire actor, Jonathan Frid, had such a compelling voice! So listening to him read this funny ghost story about how to outwit a ghost that makes rooms and people wet with water, is a minor treasure and a major pleasure for me.

–“The Erl King” by John Connolly

“The Erl King” is a scary poem about a father and son riding on a horse at night. The son starts hearing the voice of the “Erl King,” who is the king of the fairies. The Erl King wants to drag the son away to his fairy kingdom…

I thought that no one really knew that poem except me, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found this short story. Someone else knows that the Erl King is one bad mamajama. The story is atmospheric, scary, and quite gloomy.

Here is the YouTube link:

Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic

I have an interest in British history, so I’m a sucker for old BBC mini-series about the subject. So, when Amazon Prime recommended a BBC mini-series about one of Britain’s most famous Prime Ministers, I decided to give it a shot.

Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic is an interesting artifact from 1978, complete with great costumes and even greater performances. Disraeli goes from being a directionless young fop to a real player in Victorian politics, ending up being Prime Minister for a time. What makes the show so much fun to watch is that it is a love story between Disraeli, who entered into a marriage of convenience with a high-class British woman… who seems to be shallow and weak. Yet as time goes on, this man grows to love his wife, and to treasure her humor, kindness, and devotion not just to him, but to the causes that he has embraced. It’s a sweet little mini-series, as both Disraeli and his wife are quite likeable characters.

–The Gants: “Stormy Weather”

I know nothing about the Gants. They’re a British-invasion sounding group from the mid-‘60s, although I believe they are from Mississippi. Here they are doing a rocking version of the old Lena Horne song, “Stormy Weather.” 

–The Folk Tellers: Chillers

Sometimes YouTube can recommend the strangest things to a person. Occasionally, amongst all of the junk, you can find a hidden gem.

The Folk Tellers’ “Chiller” LP is good, spooky fun to listen to.

Two tellers of spooky folk tales were recorded live in front of an audience. The stories are well-told and pretty obscure.

The album is like being a kid, going to the library for Halloween, having a party, then having the lights turned down, and while you’re sitting on the floor cross-legged eating a cupcake with orange frosting on it, two seemingly nice ladies start telling you Halloween stories that leave you a little scared, because you’re just a kid, but which also leave you wanting more.

–H. R. Wakefield: “Ghost Hunt”

Once, a long time ago, my husband and I heard an episode of the old-time-radio show Suspense called “Ghost Hunt,” where a sort of shock jock who didn’t believe in ghosts spends a night in a haunted house. It does not go well for the shock jock, let me tell you. We were delighted, because the show was done like a found-footage film, except done as a radio show. “Ghost Hunt” may be my favorite episode of Suspense ever.

So, I was delighted that HorrorBabble, a YouTube channel that never lets me down, did a dramatization of the H. R. Wakefield story that Suspense adapted.

It’s one of HorrorBabble’s better productions.

Here’s the link:

–The Making of The African Queen

One of the most likeable old Hollywood movies was The African Queen, the story of a spinster and the reprobate owner of a small boat called The African Queen, who are forced to brave the many, many dangers of the African terrain, only to find that they have fallen in love.

The movie was filmed in Africa, under harsh conditions. In fact, the making of the film would make a good film in itself. So, here’s some stuff about the making of the movie:

–August Derleth: “The Lonesome Place”

I freaking love this story. It’s horror told from a child’s point of view, playing with childhood fears of what’s in the dark.

Another one of my favorite YouTube channels, Classic Ghost Stories with Tony Walker, does this story proud:

–Grant Allen: “Pallinghurst Barrow”

One of my favorite horror sub-genres is called “folk horror,” which is horror combined with folktales. I collect good folk horror, so when “Pallinghurst Barrow” by Grant Allen showed up, I was terribly excited. This story is considered to be one of the most influential folk horror stories ever. A man starts getting a little too interested in the barrow visible from outside of his bedroom window. He’s drawn to it, and what he finds there… is far from pleasant, to say the least.

Violent Saturday, 1955 film

Violent Saturday is weird. Ostensibly a film noir (although in bright technicolor), it’s instead really a pseudo-Douglas-Sirk soap opera of a film for 2/3rds of the proceedings, then violence breaks out and suddenly, we’re in Sam Peckinpah territory with bullets flying and moral quandaries abounding. I was bored silly for most of it, and then, boom, it became absolutely compelling watching.

PARK SAYS: Okay, tune in here next time for MORE of stuff Barb approves of (and me, too)!