Tag Archives: Mystery

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is a book I read a lot when I was a teen. I was thrilled to find a copy in HMV the other day when I also bought Rosemary’s Baby in a delicious 2 for £5 offer. I re-read it over last weekend and found it just as sinister and creepy as ever. I think I had forgotten just how sexually active our Laura was and now I’m older I must say it makes me feel uncomfortable to be privy to the way she’s exploited.

Female sexuality aside and her right to autonomy over her own actions and body, she’s such a vulnerable character let down by so many people around her.

The diary is a companion piece to the series’ and film, and fills in some of the blanks around the mystery of Laura’s murder. Sort of.

I never really picked up on any clues back in the day but they are there. The diary itself doesn’t appear until episode 4 in Season 2 of the show. I read it with sadness and despair, the latter of which is an emotion that escalates in Laura from an incredibly young age.

From 12 to 17 she’s tormented by visits from BOB, a presence that takes great pleasure in humiliating and torturing her. At night he takes her to woods and does unspeakable things to her, leaving her frightened to sleep at night.

As she reaches puberty and discovers sex and drugs, she is able to numb herself against some of the trauma but at a price. Her antics further alienate her from her best friend Donna, her parents, her peers – and as she gets in with some deeply unsavoury characters – namely Leo Johnson and Jacques Renault – and gains employment at One-Eyed Jack’s – she begins to spiral out of control.

Sadly we know what happens to Laura (her fate is revealed in the first episode of Twin Peaks) and it’s heartbreaking to witness the demise of such a young woman with so much to offer the world. She is such a greatly complex character and as mesmerising to read as she is watch onscreen.

This is a book that could be triggering to some. At times it is extremely explicit and does allude heavily to the abuse Laura is routinely subjected to. When I read it as a teen I thought I was so edgy reading about sex but as an adult, I am far more aware of the darkness inside this character and of the injustice of it all. It’s really upsetting.

I’m on a massive Twin Peak revival tip at the moment and I’m currently plowing through the TV show at a rapid pace. I’ll be revisiting it on this very blog in the coming weeks. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Laura, once of my favourite fictional characters of all time.

Book details:

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (8 Dec. 2011)
ISBN-10: 9781849838627
ISBN-13: 978-1849838627
Bought paperback (new)

What are you currently reading?

Suspiria

Suspiria (2018)

While I half fucking loved this and half hated it, I do believe this is one of the most interesting films of the year and therefore a success in my eyes. The remake of Dario Argento‘s 1977 original is completely different to its counterpart, in style and in conclusion but it’s still beautiful and grating.

I can safely say that Suspiria (1977) is one of the most unpleasant viewing experiences I’ve ever had and yet it will stick in my mind forever. Much like a lot of Argento’s imagery – but this version is not by Argento so let’s park him here.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino (most recently of Call Me by Your Name), Suspiria Reloaded is also an acquired taste. The film follows ambitious dancer Susie (Dakota Johnson) to a world-renowned (and freaky deaky) dance company and as she settles into the flow of the place, under the stern eye of Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton), shit starts to get weird. Like seriously weird and at times incoherent and psychedelic. It’s really better if you just watch it and draw your own conclusions.

There are moments of sheer horror that have stuck with me (looking at you bendy woman in the mirrored dance studio) but there are also parts that feel really flabby. I’m referring to the story arc belonging to Dr. Josef Klemperer (also played by Swinton), a grieving psychotherapist with a missing wife.

I guess the novelty of Swinton playing multiple characters (she also appears as Helena Markos) is interesting but it also jars on me. I wondered why I couldn’t connect to Klemperer before I knew it was Tilda in prosthetics and now I understand it. Dakota Johnson does a decent job as Susie Bannion but there are a couple of scenes I think don’t work for her. Mia Goth meanwhile is lovely, commanding attention whenever she’s onscreen.

Again, it’s definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of horror, even if you’re not because there’s a lot to love here. It’s odd and abstract and compelling for the most part – and I most definitely need another viewing.

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you seen Guadagnino’s Suspiria? What are your thoughts?

Searching

Searching (2018)

This morning I learnt that there’s a name for films using this all-on-the-screen format and it’s “Screen life”. So not only is this an interesting film, it’s also been highly educational. Kinda.

Anywho, Searching is a very tense thriller in which David Kim (the gorgeous John Cho) fights tooth and nail to find his daughter Margot (Michelle La), who has mysteriously disappeared. As he picks at the threads of her life, he realises he barely knows her at all – which doesn’t help when he’s expected to unravel the truth about what happened to her.

With the help of determined Detective Vick (Debra Messing), David delves deeper into Margot’s social media account, messages and emails to paint a picture of where his daughter might be – and who she really is.

I really enjoyed this though I will admit to getting an inkling of the truth half way through. That said it makes you doubt every character you come into contact with, even David himself. And while it centers around Margot’s disappearance it also sets up their relationship really well. The beginning is genuinely touching and gave me the feels not ten minutes in.

I’m trying very hard not to hone in on any of the details for a reason but this was impressive and the screen life format kept my interest throughout, much as it does in Unfriended. I think it might get tired quicker than found footage but here it successfully builds up suspense – and makes you want to upgrade your five-year-old acer laptop for something quicker and shinier (just me?).

My Rating

4/5.

Flavia Flav: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Review

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

My, my, my. What a book. Flavia de Luce might be my new favourite literary heroine of all time.

The Alan Bradley books were recommended to me by my brother some months ago and it seems my entire family had already deeply ensconced themselves in Flavia’s World before even bothering to mention it to me. (The cads!)

I’m sort of glad though because its always nice to stand at the doorway of something wonderful and know that you have a lot to dig into. All those books are there for the taking! I will have to pace myself of course, it wouldn’t do to gorge myself too soon.

The Sweetness is just lovely, conjuring up gorgeous imagery with its language. Set in 1950, it tells the tale of tenacious 11-year-old Chemistry obsessive, Flavia Sabina de Luce, the youngest of three girls and daughter of gruff Colonel de Luce.

Flavia’s main interests are pottering about her inner sanctum (her beloved laboratory), paying special attention to poisons and their effect; and plotting revenge on her sometimes cruel (but always hilarious) older sisters.

I love the to and fro between sisters and in some ways I want more from the domestic set up than I do the mystery since their family history is so rich. Colonel de Luce is a cold fish with minimal input in the girls’ lives other than to teach them to fear ‘the instrument’ (telephone) and to stare them down at meal times.

The girls’ mother has passed on, gone missing during a mountaineering trip in Tibet ten years previously. Despite this she, Harriet, is everywhere and mentioned often, at least she permeates Flavia’s inner monologue.

But to the mystery. One afternoon, the de Luces’ cook finds a dead bird on the door step, it’s beak piercing a postage stamp. Colonel de Luce damn near loses his shiz and withdraws completely, leaving Flavia to ponder why.

She doesn’t have long to mull it over though as the next thing we know she has discovered a body in the garden and all Hell breaks loose. Who was the dying man, as he had been when she found him, and what was he doing in their garden?

Well, this is where I shuffle off and you find out for yourself. All I can say is that Flavia is a fiesty girl with an eye for detail and I’m pretty confident you’ll be falling for her as hard as I did.

One of the reasons I like her so much is because she’s so fiercely feminist. When one of the Police Officers called to the scene dares to suggest she pop off to the kitchen to make tea and leave them to their investigation, she is outraged. Damn right!

Can’t wait for the next in the series, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. Did I mention the epic titles? The stuff of book lover’s dreams!

Book details:

*Please note: Photo is not mine

 

Sovereign, Deadly, Perfect: Night Film Review

DSC_0363_312

I love this book and devoured it like a jumbo bag of sweet/salty popcorn. True story.

Compared by Good Reads to the works of Stieg Larsson, I knew it would be a read I would enjoy, although I hate those lazy taglines: “If you liked Gone Girl, you will LOVE this!”. Shut up, I will decide for myself!

The fact that the story is based around the life and times of an infamous, and reclusive, horror director and his family, made it even more intriguing for me.

Horror is my very favourite genre and growing up I would go out of my way to be frightened so although this isn’t as gory as I expected, the descriptions of the films of Stanislas Cordova have been right up my alley.

On this subject, I have to say, without giving anything away, the best bits in Night Film are those talking about Cordova’s films, and if not describing the various synopses, any anecdote about being on set with Maestro. A sinister mix of Hitchcock, Coppola and Argento, Cordova uses fear and pain as a means to total freedom; of the mind, body and soul.Thumbscrew

Were he real, I have no doubt I would be an avid Cordovite, spending my down time tip tapping away on the secret fan boards.

The story is this: 24 year old Ashley Cordova is found dead one night, having apparently committed suicide in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in the underbelly of NYC. She is the beautiful yet mysterious daughter of the (aforementioned) film maker, Stanislas Cordova.

Her death is senseless of course, but veteran Investigative Journalist Scott McGrath has his doubts about what really happened that night, and with his own personal interest in the Director, and a curiosity about Ashley he can’t quite explain, he starts to piece together the last few days of her life. But what is the truth?

And why won’t anybody talk about Cordova?

Woven into this really quite decent thriller are web pages, medical and police reports, articles, interviews about Cordova and postings from the dark corner of the internet, otherwise know as the Onion. These are most fun of all, as all manner of Super Fans share their Cordova theories and if they are ‘lucky’ enough, personal brushes with the man himself. Sure these segments are gimmicky, but who doesn’t like a little bit of that?

tumblr_mrxklqAQAy1sfwakko1_500I hadn’t read any reviews on Night Film before I picked it up, apart from that of my friend, Hannah (of Hannah Reads Stuff). I actually jumped straight on the back of her bandwagon as soon as I read the synopsis, because that’s just the kind of girl I am. Her review is better than mine for sure, but I thought it would be cool to review it from the point of view of a Hard-core Horror lover.

As for the whole Larsson comparison, I get it. In the sense that Scott McGrath is a disgraced journalist, found guilty of libel like my Beloved Blomvist. As a famous Journalist, he has gone slightly off the boil and he does enlist the help of some less than traditional ‘research assistants’, neither of whom, however likeable, would be fit to lick Salander’s motorcycle boots.

But that’s about it for me. The Millennium Series is perfect and addictive, everything you need from a nail biting ride and to compare anything else to it is a little unfair. Though personally, I think Night Film can proudly hold it’s head up.

I feel like I need a holiday now though.

Book details:

  • Title: Night Film
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (30 Jan 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0099559242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099559245
  • Bought paperback (secondhand)

I am desperate for more books of a similar nature, so if anybody has any decent recommendations, please let me know!