Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Killer With a Bum Eye

November 8th, 2016 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.


The Babadook (Film, Australia, Jennifer Kent, 2014) Frazzled mom and her uncontrollable six year old encounter a top-hatted, long-clawed monster that announces its appearance from the pages of a creepy pop-up book. Actors Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman find many levels of terrified in this fiendishly designed and paced journey to the borderlands between The Shining and Repulsion—with maybe a nod or two to House by the Cemetery.—RDL

The Hitch-Hiker (Film, US, Ida Lupino, 1953) Army buddies turned surburbanites (Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy) take a detour on their fishing trip, leading them into the clutches of a deranged highway killer. Brutally efficient noir with a career best performance by William Talman, later famed as the attorney who always loses to TV’s Perry Mason, as the psychotic baddie with a bum eye that never closes.—RDL

Love and Anarchy (Film, Italy, Lina Wertmuller, 1973) Traumatized farmer (Giancarlo Giannini) travels to Rome to rendezvous with vengeful prostitute (Mariangela Melato) to serve as triggerman in her plot to assassinate Mussolini. Yeah, the acting style, which starts big and ultimately rockets into the histrionic stratosphere, hasn’t aged so well. Nonetheless, this look at the futility of revolutionary violence even when morally justifiable has passion and particularity of vision to spare.—RDL

Sybil Exposed (Nonfiction, Debbie Nathan, 2011) Triple biography of the supposed multiple personality sufferer known as Sybil, her psychiatrist and the author who made them famous deploys investigative journalism techniques to reveal the interwoven deceptions and self-deceptions that led to the sensational diagnosis. More than a debunking, Nathan’s feminist empathy for her subjects elevates this into an account rich in pathos. More in an upcoming Eliptony Hut.—RDL


Horror: A Literary History (Nonfiction, Xavier Aldana Reyes, ed., 2016) Anthology of academic essays covers the various periods of Anglo-American horror literature from the Gothic to the post-millennial. Mostly jargon-free, but occasionally divagatory in both good and bad ways. As a survey, it’s okay, but the advantages of multiple authorship don’t outweigh the absence of a unifying vision. –KH

Mascots (Film, US, Christopher Guest, 2016) The Guest company of players (minus, sadly, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara) presents the stories of sports mascots competing for the coveted Fluffy Award in the 8th Annual World Mascot Association competition. Like Guest’s last two films, the story is not quite cruel enough for the comedy or the compassion to work at Best in Show levels, but it’s worthy of an Honorable Mention: “That’s like first place, but a weird first place.” –KH

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