Like countless people, I was shocked this morning to learn of the passing of actor Alan Rickman. Cancer claims another one, at the age of just 69.
I suppose there’s a lot of great things I could say about Mr. Rickman, but I’ll be brief. I never got to meet him, of course, but I think he’s like one of those old family friends I would’ve been happy to have over for Christmas dinner and such.
I recall seeing him in his screen debut, 1988’s “Die Hard”, and thinking, Boy, that guy is good! I haven’t seen even half his work (more stage than anything) but he always, consistently delivered a believable character. Even when he played a villain (headlines link him predominantly with Professor Severus Snape of the “Harry Potter” films) you wanted to root for him because his part was so convincing and charming. Everything felt comfortable with Mr. Rickman in it.
So, while my kids would recognize him as Potter’s nemesis Snape or Alexander Dane in “Galaxy Quest” I’ll go check out his other works.
It kind of feels like I’ve lost a friend today.
Perfect for Halloween, this novel is simply one of the best books out there, for older kids and grownups. Bradbury’s carnival of evil/ode to youth (and wisdom) is a descriptive tour de force. His evocative settings and lyrical dialogue are perfect. And if that balloon scene with the Dust Witch doesn’t creep you out, you need to be checked for a pulse!
I applaud any efforts to bring Cooger and Dark’s maddening show back to the screen. At times, the book is unsettling. “By the pricking of my thumbs…”
Since it’s October now, I thought I’d share some amazing tunes that fit the build-up to Halloween (and the day itself). Dark, evocative, passionate musical treats that, to me, fit this month of change just as well as a walk in foggy woods or watching “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
- Dave Matthews Band: “Halloween” – The version I have is from ‘Warehouse 5, volume 3’ recorded live in 2002 at Madison Square Garden. Sounds fantastic, though I understand the lyrics vary from one recording to the next (I often picture a lonely goblin up in a twisted tree). (Warning: Foul language.)
- Dream Theater: “A Nightmare to Remember” – I love listening to the instrumental version of this 16-minute tour-de-force (sorry, Mr. LaBrie). For storytellers, this is one of those pieces that can set your mind going in about seven different directions.
- Wojciech Kilar: “Vampire Hunters” from “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” – Among the best cinema themes out there. Here’s one place to buy the disc.
- Trevor Jones: “The Kiss” from “The Last of the Mohicans” – Another cinema great, sad and epic. The soundtrack version seems particularly sad and old-school.