Tuesday, October 28, 2008


For your Halloween viewing pleasure, may I suggest Let the Right One In, a Swedish vampire movie with pre-teens, now playing at the Angelika? While I have a rule that foreign films with children in them are to be avoided like the plague (American films starring children should be avoided like the clap) for their manipulative sentimentality (has there been a good one since The Bicycle Thief?), this is quite another thing entirely. The arrival in a snowy apartment complex of a girl and her father stir things up for the twelve-year-old boy who lives next door, but I’ll tell no more. I saw it Saturday afternoon, and I haven’t gotten over it yet. Cue stomach-turning… but I mean this in a good way, c.f. the Greeks and their katharsis. The title comes from a piece of vampire lore I wasn’t aware of (others insist it wasn’t just made up for the movie): vampires, being formal types, need to be invited into the house before they will cross the threshold…

Or perhaps, if you like words like threshold, something to read, from M.R. James, the Victorian/Edwardian ghost story writer, courtesy of the good people at New York Review Books. It’s not that scary, but it is delicious.

Now, back to scariness. Isn’t it elemental morality that those who cheat, lie, and consort with the worst are the worst? You’ll know the man by the company he keeps, and his politics by how he got to power. Exhibit A: a no-brainer, Bush II. I am not sure why anybody was surprised he turned out to be such a disaster. It was all plainly visible from the git-go: the petulant spoiled brat, a former alcoholic turned on to another popular drug, fundamentalist Christianity, and carried through a succession of failures by his father’s ghastly cronies. There was a fellow who made a virtue of his ignorance and stunning lack of introspection. Exhibit B: John McCain. One look at his campaign and all the filth it is has stirred; its incompetence and desperation; the nutty anointing of Palin; above all its fundamental basis in nothing more than a blizzard of lies, tells us more than enough about what kind of horror his Presidency would spawn.

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