Out with 2015! In with 2016!

horsehead cover1) Horsehead was the movie that most surprised me this year. I’d heard nobody talking about it, and when I sat down to watch it on the recommendation of my highly cinema-aware friend, Gregory, I took it on faith that it was going to be interesting. It was unexpectedly my favorite movie watched in 2015, vying for sheer delight with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

If you like horror, sumptuous visuals, surrealism, and shades of giallo, I recommend Horsehead wholeheartedly. Don’t waste time reading a summary; just watch it. This movie struck me as much more than the sum of its parts, and none of the writeups I saw really seem to capture the bits that I thought were magical. In future I’ll be on the lookout for more from Artsploitation Films.

cover of jeff long's the descent2) Twice this year I heard friends mention in passing The Descent, an unusual book that I read not long after it was published in 1998. Prior to 2015, I’d met virtually no one who had read it, and I hope the book finds new readers in 2016.

This book is a thriller, with airplane-reading pacing and the occasional plot hole, but it features an unusual depth of horror and worldbuilding that has to be read to be believed. No relation to the movie of the same name, but a fair bit of it does take place underground.

3) My friend Paul’s year-end reading summation is deep and rich, and an inspiration. Every time I see that sort of documentation, I itch to pick up a book, as well as to try things on the author’s list. I’d like to have a reading year more like that next year, so I’m starting a spreadsheet to track my consumption across various media (books, comics, movies, art, etc.), and to remind & inspire me when I’m in a lull. I assume there are apps or programs for this, but I wanted it done quickly, so I used Excel.

screenshot of spreadsheetI started by jotting down what I remembered from the last several weeks, but I didn’t get everything. As always for me, these sorts of efforts don’t tend to square well with things academical, which wind up being a combination of scanning, skimming, selective reading, and intense re-reading. This go-round I think I’m just going to set that aside as a concern. If it’s a book I read in toto, I’ll put it on the list starting in January, and if not… not. Likewise, I expect not to count most  individual stories, essays, posts, etc. read online, just as I’m ignoring random bits of TV—if it’s part of the Great Stew of Content, it probably doesn’t need to be counted.

Happy 2016!

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