Archive for the Media Category

Three For Thursday: Black Characters Matter

Posted in Media on May 6, 2021 by Occult Detective

BLACK CHARACTERS MATTER

“ORIGINAL black characters remain on
the shelf because of tokenization.”

— Eric July (YoungRippa59)

The internet is ablaze with talk of Black Superman and the casting of a woman of color in the role of Red Sonja. This is nothing new. Both in comics and on the big and small screens, unique characters of diverse ethnicities are often overlooked or downright dismissed unless they get slapped into another hero’s pajamas.

I’ve got to agree with Eric July on this. Taking a traditionally “white” character and putting a POC in the suit is not progress. There are a whole host of great black characters that deserve a seat at the table. A prime example is the demotion of the Falcon from a unique character to a “tokenized” Captain America. We don’t need a black Cap, what we need is the Falcon. Period.

That said, today I thought I would share my three favorite black comic book characters. This was a hard list to make. Why? Because it’s a long list of awesome, unique heroes and villains that need to be propped up. You know what? I’m going to cheat. Were going Top 5, baby!

Let’s get to it…

NUMBER FIVE
THE FALCON

NUMBER FOUR
BLADE

NUMBER THREE
MISTY KNIGHT

NUMBER TWO
ZULA

NUMBER ONE
BROTHER VOODOO

Tarot Tuesday: This Is Not A Love Song

Posted in Media, Tarot on May 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

I’ve known Amber Petty for a few years now. She reached out after becoming enamored by my High Priestess tarot design, which she licensed for her Tarot Tea House business in Australia. Subsequently she wrote a memoir and we collaborated on the cover art over the course of many months. Below is the finished artwork for her debut —This Is Not A Love Song: A Memoir About Mental Health and Love which is available wherever books are sold.

And for kicks, here are a few of the other ideas we knocked around, all Tarot related, of course.

Magick By Trial & Error: The LVX Files

Posted in Magick, Media on May 3, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today, I direct you to The LVX Files, a new podcast from my good friend Shawn Hebert of Lailokens Awen fame. Billed as “A Podcast for Occultists about Occultists”, Shawn expands on Gordon White’s “were you a weird kid?” opener to delve into the origin stories of today’s most prominent occult voices.

In the debut, we are treated to a fascinating introduction to Frater R.C., host of the Magick Without Fears podcast. I believe you’ll find Shawn a personable and erudite host, and if his discussion with Frater RC is any indication, we’re in for a spectacular season of in-depth analysis of the evolution of occultists from a very personal level.

Be sure to like, subscribe, & ring that bell.

And if you want to know a little more about what makes Shawn tick beforehand, you can check out his Last Rites from last September.

Three for Thursday: Wyrd Edition

Posted in Media, Wyrd on April 29, 2021 by Occult Detective

No Wyrd Wednesday post yesterday. I am almost exclusively devoted, during my daylight hours, to the OSR Authentic Magick RPG I’ve been tapped to illustrate, edit, and orchestrate. So, how do I make amends? Well, we bring a little Wyrd into our Three for Thursday.

Today, let’s have my list of the three best “Viking” movies.

NUMBER THREE

THE VIKINGS

Adapted from Edison Marshall’s novel, The Vikings. If you thought the Viking’s tv show was inaccurate, hold onto your horned helm because this tale of Ragnar Lodbrok is a doozy. Oh, we’ve got Ragnar and Aella, Egbert, and the like, but we also have Eric, Ragnar’s secret bastard and Einar Ragnarsson, and let’s not forget the Welsh Princess Morgana.

For all its playing fast and loose with history, the cast more than makes up for it: Ernest Borgnine, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, and Janet Leigh are all spectacular in this epic sword and sandal production.

NUMBER TWO

VALHALLA RISING

Where do you even begin with this Mads Mikkelsen tour-de-force? Mads plays One-Eye, a mute thrall who escapes his captivity with a young boy and is taken in by cruel Norse Christians intent on sailing for the Holy Land on Crusade. Blown off course, they end up in North America, where One-Eye sacrifices himself to the natives there.

Oh, yes, I have opinions about this film and its meaning. More than happy to discuss with anyone brave enough for an earful.

NUMBER ONE

THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR

Adapted from Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead, The 13th Warrior is loosely based on Beowulf, merged with the chronicles of Ahmad ibd Fadlan. The cast is spectacular, particularly Jahn Dennis Storhøi who manages to steal every scene he is in.

“After my small role in The 13th Warrior, I said to myself, ‘Let us stop this nonsense, these meal tickets that we do because it pays well.’ I thought, ‘Unless I find a stupendous film that I love and that makes me want to leave home to do, I will stop.’ Bad pictures are very humiliating, I was really sick. It is terrifying to have to do the dialogue from bad scripts, to face a director who does not know what he is doing, in a film so bad that it is not even worth exploring.” — Omar Scharif

Well, Omar, I disagree. John McTiernan was the original direstor, and while he was responsible for films like The Hunt for Red October, Predator, and Die Hard, by all accounts he lit a lot of money on fire and delivered a wretched film. Crichton took the reins himself, reshooting the ending and delivering what I consider an exhilarating adventure film.

Three For Thursday: Paranormal TV

Posted in Media, Paranormal on April 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

Thursday are going to be fun. When I wake up, I think of a topic and I throw up a list of my Top 3. It might be anything. Whatever catches my fancy. It just might spark controversy or debate on occasion, but that’s alright. We’re (mostly) all adults here. So, what do we start off with?

Well, looking up at the top of the page, it says this is occultdetective.com, so how about we address our raison d’etre, but with a twist. At some point we’ll tackle literature, tv, movies, comics, and the like, but for our inaugural launch, we’re going to have it hit a little closer to home. Let’s keep it real and leave the fiction behind.

Top Three Paranormal Investigation Series

— Number 3 —

Haunted Highway

“I’m Jack Osbourne and I’ve been obsessed with the paranormal since I was a kid. I’ve wanted to investigate some of America’s scariest cases. But I decided it had to be done differently. I’ve put together two teams–myself and my researcher Dana and my friends Jael and Devin. We shot everything ourselves; just us. This is what we discovered and it completely blew my mind.”

I liked Haunted Highway because, for one thing, it was different. No camera crews. Just two investigators driving across America, sticking their collectives noses into places where they don’t necessarily belong. Jack, of course, is a charismatic host, and his fellow investigators were fun to ride along with.

— Number 2 —

Portals to Hell

Another Jack Osbourne show? Yes damn it. And it’s not because of him, though he is likeable. For whatever reason, you just sort of root for the guy. The premise is a bit contrived, but I enjoy the locations and the production of the series. Jack’s partner in crime, Katrina Weidman, is a familiar face, and she and Osbourne have good chemistry. I also enjoy the people they bring on board to assist, particularly Michelle Belanger. I also enjoy the interaction between the producers, the crew, and the investigators. Everyone is involved and it feels natural.

— Number 1 —

Hellier

“A small crew of paranormal researchers find themselves in a dying coal town, where a series of strange coincidences leads them to a decades-old mystery with far-reaching implications.”

Hellier follows researchers Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand, with special appearances by Allen Greenfield and John E. L. Tenney, as they embark on an enigmatic adventure fraught with cryptic emails, strange synchronicities, goblins, aliens, the Mothman, and more. People often talk about the journey being more important than the destination, and Hellier encapsulates that ethos perfectly. How else do you describe a documentary that begins with a frantic email and ends with an Invocation to Pan?

Hellier certainly came closest to capturing the feel of my own investigations, especially in the mid-1980s, around the displaced town of Somerset, Indiana. Speaking of synchronicities…

Seven ( memes ) to Understand Me

Posted in Media on February 14, 2020 by Occult Detective

We are a culture of memes, and to be perfectly frank, most border on the ridiculous, but every once in a while, a meme strikes at the heart of something, offering an interesting exercise, and sometimes a glimpse into what a person, if nothing else, thinks of themselves.

Seven Films to Understand Me: The Whole Wide World. The Razor’s Edge. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Excalibur. The Devil Rides Out. The 13th Warrior. A Dark Song.

conan-books

adeptseries

Seven Books to Understand Me: The Secret Hide-Out. The Children of Odin. The Adept series. The Illuminatus trilogy. Foucault’s Pendulum. The Lord of the Rings. The complete Conan stories.

Seven People to Understand Me: Robert E. Howard. Frank Frazetta. Jimmy Page. Hans Holzer. Aleister Crowley. Katherine Kurtz. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

My thoughts on Hellier

Posted in Media on January 8, 2020 by Occult Detective

Back when Stranger Things first dropped, one of my twitter followers commented that he imagined that it was a documentary of what my life would have been like as a child. He wasn’t too far off, to be honest.

I grew up outside of a town much smaller than the fictional Hawkins, but the late 70s-early 80s vibe, the bikes, D&D, and altogether ‘weirdness’ that permeated the area certainly was captured, thematically, by Stranger Things. Minus the weird extradimensional creatures and cute psionic teenager of course.

As much as Stranger Things felt like a stroll down memory lane for me, watching the Hellier docu-series on Amazon Prime Video was even more so. Want to have a rough idea what Bob’s life as a late-teen was? Yeah, Hellier cuts pretty close to that bone.

hellier

Of course their adventures were in the caves and small towns of Kentucky, in Hellier and Somerset, where as my cave and woodland adventures with cults and animal sacrifices and the strange and unusual took place in and around Somerset, Indiana, and a place called Hobbitland.

What was Hobbitland famous for, other than a teen hang-out for illegal drinking? Little people, as in ancient Miami legends of nature spirits that lived along the Mississinewa River.

So, yeah, Hellier struck a little close to home. Toss in the gematria, heavy doses of Crowley, and surrealistic contact with otherworldly entities, and you have my late teen years in a nutshell.

So, what did I think? First, let’s tackle the stuff that made my skin crawl (not in a good way). The worst offense were the pronunciations which drove me crazy a bit. Crowley rhymes with holy. Thelema is Tha-LEE-muh. That sort of thing. Some of the numbers were wonky. Some of the leaps in logic were sketchy…

Greg-and-Dana-banner

All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Greg and Dana Newkirk, purveyors of the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult, are charismatic, enthusiastic, and good people. I like the flavor of Dana’s magic. It felt very comparable to the witchery of my youth.

Their journey was a compelling one. And if they want to retackle Kentucky some more, or venture out into some other form of weirdness, then I’m more than willing to be a spectator of whatever adventure is next for them.

As for the production? Man, that was pretty top notch. From an investigation stand-point, they approach things differently than myself, but then most do. They were on point, however, and I never felt taken out of it. They all showed an unbridled curiosity and a fearlessness that was admirable.

If you’ve not watched Hellier, I highly recommend it.

 

Agent Dale Cooper: Occult Detective

Posted in Media, Occult Detectives on October 18, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

The owls are not what they seem…

Been thinking a lot about occult detectives today, as I’m wont to do. I mean, when your website’s moniker is “occult detective”, well, it can never truly be very far from one’s thoughts, now can it?

SHERILYN FENN, KYLE MACLAUGHLINIf I were backed into a corner and compelled to advise someone as to what tv series to watch to satisfy their occult detective itch, I would suggest Twin Peaks with little hesitation.

How to describe Twin Peaks? There is this — An idiosyncratic FBI Agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Of course, Twin Peaks shines brightest when David Lynch is at the helm. The first season is an amazingly compelling narrative and season two, despite disparate voices involved, works if you’re binge watching.

Season three, while a welcome (and brilliant) reprise is Lynch at his most strange, but it works on a guttural level, even if I would have preferred a different route that involved Agent Cooper throughout.

It is Cooper who is the heart of the series, ultimately, as the erstwhile occult detective (the Bookhouse Boys serve in this role as well) and I can’t help but think there are more stories to tell within that universe.

Lynch’s occult world building is surreal and dream-like, a perfect milieu for the strange and unusual. It can be difficult to navigate, especially once we’ve entered season three territory, when his cinematic universe collides with the chimeric Northwest of he and Mark Frost’s fertile imaginations.

I was drawn to Twin Peaks by its dark themes and its quirky and unusual storytelling, but in the end, it’s the characters the breathe life into the tale and the wonderfully acted performances by nearly everyone involved.

There are uncomfortable truths to discover in the world Lynch and Frost created and as much as I loved Season Three, a Fourth Season really needs to happen to give us a proper conclusion to Cooper’s journey.

wowbobwow

 

Horror Movies A-Z

Posted in Horror, Media on October 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

My friend Kelli Owen started this on twitter so I thought I’d play along. Off the top of my head I’m going to list my favorite horror movies from A-Z. I expect some of these will be pretty rough, especially if I’m not going to cheat. So, here it goes:

A is for Angel Heart

B is for Black Sabbath

C is for Cast a Deadly Spell

D is for The Devil Rides Out

E is for The Exorcist

F is for Friday the 13th

G is for Ghost Story

H is for Halloween

I is for In the Mouth of Madness

J is for Jacob’s Ladder

K is for King Kong

L is for Let Me In

M is for The Mephisto Waltz

N is for The Night Stalker

O is for The Omen

P is for Psycho

Q is for Quartermass and the Pit

R is for Rosemary’s Baby

S is for Spectre

T is for The Thing

U is for The Unnameable

V is for Vampire$

W is for The Wicker Man

X is for The X-Files

Y is for You’re Next

Z is for Zombieland

And just for fun, a film that starts with a number for a title? 1408

My thoughts on Peter Levenda’s Starry Wisdom, the conclusion to his Lovecraft Trilogy

Posted in Horror, Media, Occult Detectives on October 3, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

When I received a review copy of Starry Wisdom, Peter Levenda’s conclusion to his Lovecraft trilogy, I was more than a little excited. While I loved the ideas in The Lovecraft Code, it fell a little flat for me, but Dunwich showed definite signs of improvement. Being a fan of Levenda’s work, my hope was that his concluding chapter would finally see the author come into his own.

Before I get into my thoughts, here’s what the publisher had to say:

starrywisdomThis third novel in the trilogy that began with The Lovecraft Code and continued with Dunwich concludes the globe-spanning tale of Professor Gregory Angell and his attempt to keep the Necronomicon out of the clutches of a gaggle of secret societies, and his life out of the grasp of terrorists and intelligence agents.

Angell makes his way back to the Americas after trekking across Central Asia and China and sailing the South China Sea to Indonesia. In the meantime, the search for the missing professor and the all-important book consumes Dwight Monroe and his team, while a string of murders in New Orleans baffles Detective Cuneo and brings NYPD Lieutenant Wasserman out of retirement.

At the same time, Jamila, the young Yezidi woman with a strange paranormal ability and a deadly aim, finds herself on a mission in the United States to take out the man who destroyed her village. And a distraught mother whose two sons were abducted by a sinister being is now pregnant with another child and travels around the country looking for answers in gatherings of UFO contactees and the rites of a voodoo priestess where she will have to confront a mind-bending truth.

They all find themselves drawn together at a building in one of America’s iconic cities at a house with a bizarre architecture that is based on a strange but sacred geometry–a geometry that’s designed to call down something from the stars.

Peter-LevendaBased on themes from the works of H. P. Lovecraft, especially “The Haunter of the Dark” where the mysterious Shining Trapezohedron makes its appearance, Starry Wisdom ties together the various strands of occult knowledge, political intrigue, and pop culture that are woven through the first two books.

Hailed by author Christopher Farnsworth (Red, White and Blood, and The President’s Vampire) as a “more intelligent Da Vinci Code” and by Whitley Strieber (Communion, The Wolfen, and The Hunger) as “a riveting work of fiction,” this book will thrill ancient aliens’ fans and Lovecraft aficionados and is supported by the genuine scholarship of occultists, terrorists, military leaders, and intelligence agents.

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First off, this is certainly the superior of the three books. The prose is tighter, the themes more coherent, and there more of a flow to the narrative than in the previous volumes. Levenda shines as a researcher and non-fiction writer of conspiracy and fringe postulations and those skills highlight the best parts of Starry Wisdom (and of the whole trilogy).

I note that the Lovecraft trilogy is less a successor to the Illuminatus! books of Robert Anton Wilson and Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, and more akin to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels.

I ultimately enjoyed Levenda more than Brown. There’s nothing ‘cookie cutter’ about the Lovecraft trilogy. It’s a gigantic story in which the entirety of pop cultural para-entertainment is meticulously layered.

That Levenda was able to stick the landing is a feat worthy of the highest praise. Whatever shortcomings one might find in the nuts and bolts of the writing itself, the story is a bold undertaking that almost any writer short of Nick Mamatas would be hard pressed to manage.

But manage Levenda does. He delivers a taut occult thriller worthy of the genre and one I recommend to hardcore enthusiasts.

Of course, the highlight for me came in the afterword penned by “Simon”. The exploration of Thelema as a world religion, its origins and connections to Afro-Caribbean practices, was an interesting rabbit hole, and one I can certainly see as relevant to society in its current and expanding guise.

I have my own Thelemic theories that diverge somewhat from Levenda’s narrative, but I certainly acknowledge the scholarship behind his academic speculation.

In the end, Starry Wisdom brings a startling and satisfying conclusion to the Lovecraft trilogy, and the ideas presented are not only worthy food for thought, but a thrilling exploration of the whole of alternative faiths and sciences.

Starry Wisdom is a beautiful book, as all editions produced by Ibis Press tend to be. It, along with the proceeding shapters, make for a handsome collection of one’s shelf.

Peter Levenda’s Starry Wisdom is available wherever books are sold. For more information, visit Red Wheel/Weiser.

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Shameless Self-Promotion: Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Samhain, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via amazon.com.

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