Peter Cushing - THE MUMMY

Peter Cushing gets ready to face Kharis, the Mummy, in THE MUMMY (1959)



Welcome to another edition of THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, the column where we look at Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies.

Today we check out some of Peter Cushing’s lines from the Hammer Film THE MUMMY (1959) in which Cushing played archeologist John Banning, and Christopher Lee played Kharis, the Mummy.

THE MUMMY was Hammer’s third film in its Universal monster movie remake triumvirate, following upon the heels of the wildly successful THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) and HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), the two films that put Hammer on the map, along with its two stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.  THE MUMMY is the least effective of the three movies.  Yet it’s still an enjoyable film, and Peter Cushing, as always gets to deliver some memorable lines of dialogue.

Here’s a look at a few of those lines spoken by Cushing in THE MUMMY, screenplay by Jimmy Sangster.

The movie opens in Egypt, where John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer), and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) discover the tomb of the Princess Ananka, a discovery that drives Stephen Banning mad.  Well, that’s what John and Uncle Joe believe anyway.  The truth is old Stephen loses his marbles because he comes face to face with Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee).

Anyway, shortly after making their discovery, John Banning and his uncle Joe prepare to seal off the tomb once again, and at this moment, John shares his uneasy feelings with his uncle.

JOHN BANNING:  Want to see the inside of the tomb for the last time?

UNCLE JOE:  The sooner you seal it up again, the happier I shall be.

JOHN BANNING: Yes, I feel the same way.  I’ve worked in dozen of tombs.  It seems the best part of my life has been spent amongst the dead.  But I’ve never worked in a place that had such an aura of— menace.  There’s something evil in there, Uncle Joe.  I felt it.

Later, John discovers his wife Isobel is the splitting image of the Princess Ananka, and he teases her about this.

JOHN BANNING:  It’s extraordinary.  I never noticed it before, but with your hair like that, you’re the image of Ananka.


JOHN BANNING:  She was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

ISOBEL:  Oh, I am flattered.

JOHN BANNING:  Mind you, the world wasn’t so big then.

After the Mummy murdered both Stephen Banning and Uncle Joe, Inspector Mulrooney (Eddie Byrne) interviews John Banning, and John tells the Inspector of his suspicions that the murders were committed by a Mummy.

JOHN BANNING:  All right, Inspector.  I believe the intruder was a Mummy, a living mummy.

MULROONEY:  A mummy?  One of those Egyptian things?

JOHN BANNING:  That’s right

MULROONEY:  I thought they were always dead people.

JOHN BANNING:  They usually are.  By rights this one should be dead, too.

And a bit later in the conversation:

MULROONEY:  Mr. Banning, are you trying to tell me that these two murders were committed by— by a dead man?

JOHN BANNING:  I knew you wouldn’t believe me.

MULROONEY:  You’re right, I don’t.  I find it incredible that you should even imagine such a story.  I deal in facts, Mr. Banning.  Cold hard facts.  And the facts tell me that someone broke in here, committed a murder, and then got away.  There is no doubt whoever did it killed your father, too.  This I consider a fact also.  But that’s where the facts run out.  It’s my job to dig around until I unearth some more facts.  But facts, Mr. Banning, not fantasies straight out of Edgar Allan Poe.  If you have any more ideas please let me hear them.  They make fascinating listening if nothing else!

JOHN:  There is one more.  I think I’m the next to be killed.

And in one of the movie’s best scenes, John Banning pays a surprise visit to Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), the man who is controlling the Mummy.  Banning goes out of his way to agitate Bey, to try to get him to slip up and give away his true reason for being in town.

JOHN BANNING:  The history of your country is steeped in violence.

BEY:  Indeed, it is.

JOHN BANNING:  I remember the opening of Princess Ananka’s tomb.  She was high priestess to a pagan god, Karnak.  We have reason to believe that over 100 people were put to death during her funeral rights.

BEY:  That’s probably.

JOHN BANNING:   And Karnak wasn’t a particularly important deity.  A third rate god.

BEY:  Not to those who believed in him.

JOHN BANNING:  Perhaps not.  But their standard of intelligence must have been remarkably low.

BEY:  Why do you say that?

JOHN BANNING:  He was insignificant.  He had nothing to commend him to anyone with the slightest degree of intelligence.

BEY:  But surely you’re assuming a great deal.

JOHN BANNIGN:  I don’t think so.  I made an extensive study of this so-called religion.  It’s based upon artificial creeds and beliefs, some of them ludicrous in the extreme.

BEY:  Did it ever occur to you that beneath the superficial you’ve learned about, there could be a great and passionate devotion to this god?

JOHN BANNING:  It occurred to me, but I dismissed it.

BEY:  You’re intolerant, Mr. Banning.

JOHN BANNING:  Not intolerant.  Just practical.

There you have it.  Some memorable Peter Cushing lines from THE MUMMY.

Until next time, thanks for reading!


FRANCONA- THE RED SOX YEARS Fun Unfiltered Read By Former Red Sox Manager


Francona The Red Sox YearsWhat I’m Reading – Francona:  The Red Sox Years By Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy




As a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, who endured years of misery watching the team lose big games on the national stage in the most excruciating of fashions (“Bucky bleepin Dent,” Aaron “who?” Boone) I was among the ecstatic members of Red Sox Nation in 2004 and 2007 when they finally did the unthinkable and discovered the Holy Grail of Baseball, winning the World Series, not once, but twice.

Heck, not only did the Sox win two World Series, they didn’t even lose a game!  They swept both Series!  They went 8-0!

It’s never been lost on me that the guy who guided both these teams, manager Terry Francona, was a pretty special manager.  In his years guiding the Red Sox, he became my favorite manager, not because he regularly displayed a Bill Belichick-like genius, but because he always got the most out of his players, constantly put them in the position to win, and in two trips to the World Series, never lost a game.  His Championship record is 8-0!  Not even Mr. Belichick can claim that record!

And yet, after the 2011 season, Francona was fired.

How do you fire a manager who owns an 8-0 record in the World Series, the very same Series that the Sox hadn’t won since 1918?  It made no sense to me.  Sure, the team had just endured a historic collapse in September 2011 and missed the playoffs, losing to the Baltimore Orioles on the last day of the season.  And sure the Sox under Francona hadn’t won a playoff game since 2008.  Still, if you’re the owner of this team, it seems to me you want the guy with the perfect World Series record leading your team.

Anyway, I was excited to read Francona’s memoir of his Red Sox years from 2004-2011, Francona:  The Red Sox Years ,written by Terry Francona himself and BOSTON GLOBE columnist Dan Shaughnessy.  For a Red Sox fan, it’s a fascinating read.

I wish video footage existed of some of the more lively situations depicted in the book, as Francona’s use of “colorful” language provides readers with an earful and had me laughing out loud frequently.  Such gems as the Red Sox trip to Japan, Francona’s growing frustrations over having to deal with Manny Ramirez, and the manager’s frequent run-ins with Red Sox ownership, especially Larry Lucchino.  I was struck by how rude Lucchino treated Francona during his tenure as Red Sox manager.

By far this was my favorite part of the book, getting a behind the scenes look at what went on during those years, years in which I watched most of the Red Sox games recounted here.    Things would happen with the team during the course of the season, and Francona would say something positive in his press conference, and I’d be at home wondering, “what’s really going on?”  Well, this book makes it clear what was really going on.

In doing so, it provides a lot of insight as to what it takes to be a big league manager these days.  You have to have thick skin, and you have to get the best out of players who really possess more power with ownership than you do.  Francona is a master at this, as he makes his players feel good about themselves, and they go out and play hard for him.

It was painful to read about the 2011 collapse, and it’s interesting to note that at the same time the team was falling apart, Francona was dealing with painful personal issues, a divorce and his own physical pain from his knee surgeries from his years as a player. It makes you wonder if he would have been able to handle things better if he hadn’t been dogged by personal demons.

I also enjoyed the description of Francona’s meeting with ownership after the historic collapse, a meeting in which it was clear to Francona that the owners didn’t want him back, yet no one in the room wanted to be the one responsible for firing the two-time World Series winning (and still very popular) manager.  And so he wasn’t officially fired.

Ownership said they didn’t want to fire Francona at that point, that they wanted him to take some time and think about his future with the team.  This certainly makes sense, since after any traumatic event, it usually is a good idea to take some time away to think and reflect on things before making a decision.  But Francona counters by saying no one in that room voiced any enthusiasm or support for him, and it was clear by what they said and their body language, that they no longer supported their manager.

Francona:  The Red Sox Years is an easy read, well suited for a summer day at the beach.  Dan Shaughnessy’s style is as accessible as it is comprehensive, and the writing is topnotch.  Francona remains as likeable behind the scenes as he was in front, before cameras and in the dugout, perhaps even more so, as here in the book he’s unfiltered, and his use of raw language— there are F-bombs flying everywhere— is both hilarious and refreshing.

It’s more than just the story of one of the Red Sox’ most successful managers ever.  It’s the story of what goes on behind closed doors when you’re manager of a major league ball club, how a manager is treated by his players and by ownership, and how it can be a very thankless job.

I’ve always liked Terry Francona, and after reading this book, I like and respect what he did with the Boston Red Sox even more.

Just be prepared for an earful.  Who knew baseball without a filter could be so much fun?


TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE – Perfect for Lazy Summer Afternoon


Trouble With The CurveBlu-Ray Review:  TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012)


Michael Arruda

What do baseball and Clint Eastwood have in common?

They’re both slow.


Even so, at 83, Eastwood can still carry a movie, although in TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012), now available on Blu-ray, he doesn’t have to, as he receives fine support from co-star Amy Adams who delivers a sensational performance.

In TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012), Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) is an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves.  While his immediate supervisor Pete (John Goodman) has his back, fellow scout Philip (Matthew Lillard) has the ear of the Braves’ general manager, Vince (Robert Patrick).  Philip seems to believe that Gus is too old to do his job well anymore, and he’s pushing for Vince not to renew the octogenarian’s contract.  But Pete goes to bat for his buddy and arranges for Gus to scout the Braves’ top prospect, a slugger named Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill).

However, when Pete discovers that Gus is losing his eyesight, he asks Gus’ adult daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to check in on him.  Spending time with her father is the last thing Mickey wants to do.  She has spent her life trying to get to know him without success.  Plus, she’s a successful lawyer about to become partner at her firm, so she really can’t take the time off, but Pete tells her that Gus is in danger of losing his job.

Against her better judgment, and against her dad’s wishes, Mickey decides to put her life on hold and join her father as he scouts the Braves’ top hitting prospect.  While there, she meets Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a former pitcher who Gus had scouted years before.  Johnny now works for the Red Sox and is there scouting Bo Gentry as well.

While Mickey and Johnny develop feelings for each other, Gus advises the Braves to pass on slugger Bo because he can’t hit a curve ball, but Philip feels otherwise and tells his general manager that he shouldn’t listen to an aging scout like Gus, and that if he passes on Bo, he’ll be passing on the future of the team.

And when Gus’ failing eyesight comes to light, it looks as if his career as a scout is done, but Mickey goes to bat for her father and comes up with a plan to save the day.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is a very satisfying baseball movie, driven along by two excellent performances, by Clint Eastwood and by Amy Adams, and by an affable story that is perfect for a lazy summer day.

Clint Eastwood is perfect as Gus Lobel, a man who has spent his life around the game of baseball.  He’s a crusty old-timer who’s losing his eyesight.  He grumbles and swears when he trips over things, but when he burns his food he jokes about it.  When he misjudges traffic and gets himself injured in a car accident, he shrugs it off.  His life and his passion is baseball, and as long as he’s around the game, he’s content.

As good as Eastwood is, it’s Amy Adams who delivers the best performance in the movie as Mickey, Gus’ daughter.  When we first see her, she’s a powerhouse attorney, but when she joins her dad at the ball park, the truth about her character surfaces.  Like her father, she lives and breathes baseball.  She loves the sport, and she’s more knowledgeable about it than Gus.  A running gag in the movie has Johnny constantly trying to stump her with baseball trivia, but she always knows the answers.

I liked Adams here even better than in her Oscar nominated role in THE FIGHTER (2010).  She’s actually been nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role four times, but she has yet to win.  She had me hooked in TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE.  As Mickey she’s feisty, knowledgeable, passionate, and ultimately very likeable.  I found her love of baseball infectious.

Justin Timberlake is likeable as Johnny, the young scout who has hopes of getting a job in the broadcast booth for the Boston Red Sox.  He’s the kind of guy Gus easily sees as a good match for his daughter.

And in a more subtle performance than his recent over the top roles in ARGO (2012), FLIGHT (2012) and THE HANGOVER PART III (2013), John Goodman plays it straight here as Gus’ friend and supervisor Pete.  Goodman’s Pete is a loyal buddy, a guy you’d definitely want watching your back.

The screenplay by Randy Brown tells a likeable story, and you’ll be pulling for Gus to be right about his instincts and keep his job.  There is a dark revelation towards the end, explaining why Gus felt the need to send Mickey away when she was a child, and why he felt he was failing her as a parent, but this melancholy plot point is overshadowed by a happy ending which was far too syrupy sweet for my tastes.  I didn’t find Mickey’s discovery at the end of the movie all that believable.

Director Robert Lorenz gives TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE a nice baseball feel, and he matches the deliberate pace of the movie with the sluggish pace of a baseball game.  It’s not going to win any awards for the fastest paced movie of the year.  Lorenz also captures what it feels like to be a baseball scout.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is not the most exciting movie going, and its happy finale where all the loose ends come together gift wrapped in the final act is right out of a Frank Capra movie, and as such is a little too old-fashioned for my tastes.

Yet, like a baseball game in the middle of summer, it provides enough diversion to pass a sultry afternoon.

Pass the peanuts, please.


Books by Michael Arruda:

TIME FRAME,  science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.  

Ebook version:  $2.99. Available at Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.


 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at  Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.  

For The Love Of Horror cover

Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at  

LIFE RAGE by L.L. Soares wins Stoker Award!


life-rage-cover-210x300News flash!

My buddy and Cinema Knife Fight partner L.L. Soares just won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel this past Saturday in New Orleans for his novel Life Rage, which I reviewed on this blog several months back.

Way to go L.L.!

So, what’s a Stoker Award?  Each year the Horror Writers Association honors horror writers around the globe with the Bram Stoker Awards, recognizing the best horror writing of the year.  Winning a Stoker is a huge accomplishment, as gaining the recognition of one’s peers is a very high honor.  It’s also not easy to do.  Not at all.


Life Rage is a neat horror novel, hard hitting, well-written, and satisfying from start to finish.  In honor of it winning the Stoker, here’s another look at my review below:

What I’m Reading – Life Rage By L.L. Soares


I recently finished the novel Life Rage by my Cinema Knife Fight partner L.L. Soares.  It’s his first novel, and I have to say here, that— and this has nothing to do with the fact that we’re friends and that we co-write a movie column together — I was really impressed.

L.L. is known for his in-your-face hardcore fiction, and with Life Rage, he doesn’t disappoint.  But what I found more impressive is how human and caring his characters are, and he achieves this effect without sacrificing the extreme horror elements.

Sure, the language is rough and raw, as are the sexual and violent situations, but there’s also an honest tenderness among the characters in this story that comes off as authentic and refreshing.  In short, his characters really do care for each other.  As good as L.L. is at writing about horrific situations, he’s just as good at writing about realistic relationships.

The plot is about a Jekyll & Hyde type character, a man who treats people with anger issues, yet he’s an uncontrollable monster at times and doesn’t know it.  He turns into a sort of demonic Incredible Hulk.  The book’s lead character, a woman named Colleen, somehow survives her first encounter with the monster, signifying right away that there’s something special about her.  She sees her best friend torn to pieces by the creature, and she vows revenge.

She is aided by another woman who also happens to have supernatural powers.  Viv is a sort of vampire who sucks the life force out of people while giving them the best sex of their lives- in short, they go out happy.  Viv is attracted to people who are overwhelmingly sad, and she in effect is mercy killing them, saving them from their pain.

Colleen and Viv team up to stop the raging monster before it infects the entire world with its life rage.

I liked Life Rage because of its compelling characters— they are fleshed out (no pun intended) and three dimensional— and because of its original plot.  The writing is also topnotch.

If you’re looking to read a refreshing horror novel, and you don’t mind a lot of sex and violence, check Life Rage by L.L. Soares.

It’s all the rage.






THE PURGE – Ugly Movie Doesn’t Convince


The-Purge-Movie-2013-PosterMovie Review:  THE PURGE (2013)


Michael Arruda


THE PURGE (2013) is an ugly movie about an uglier subject.

The year is 2022, and in an attempt to reduce crime and poverty, the government of the United States sanctions a yearly holiday known as “the purge,” in which crime is legal for twelve hours.  During this twelve hour period, people can commit any crime they want, including murder, without fear of punishment.  The philosophy is that this brief free for all purges people of their aggressive feelings while controlling the homeless population, who are vulnerable and make easy targets.

James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) makes home security systems for a living, and as you might expect in the age of the purge, the home security business is booming.  Sandin is doing quite well, and he and his family, which includes his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and two kids, teen daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and son Charlie (Max Burkholder) hole themselves inside their posh home on purge night, protected by dad’s state of the art security system.

But when young Charlie sees a man (Edwin Hodge) on the street pleading for help, the boy panics and lets him inside their home.  A group of nasty youths wearing masks led by a preppy lunatic (Rhys Wakefield) is hunting this stranger.  They surround the house and tell the Sandins to release the man to them, or they will kill everyone inside.

Things are further complicated because Zoey’s boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller) is also in the house under the pretense of earning the approval of her father, but his true motives involve a gun.  And when the electricity is cut and the masked lunatics invade their home, the Sandins realize they have no choice but to fight for their survival.

The biggest problem I had with THE PURGE is its ridiculous premise.  What a dumb idea!

I didn’t believe that a one night free-for-all of unprosecuted crime was a good idea before I saw the movie, and I certainly didn’t think so after seeing it.

Unlike the convincing THE HUNGER GAMES (2012), another movie with an outlandish premise— a culture that accepts as entertainment a sporting event in which children fight to the death— THE PURGE never made me believe that these events were actually happening. 


The only characters we get to know are the members of the Sandin family, and they’re a rather strange lot.  Everyone else in the movie either acts like robots or in the case of the wild gang outside the Sandin’s home, like they’re on drugs.

I never had a feel for how real people felt about the purge, nor did I get a sense as to what kind of government was in charge.  A Nazi-like regime?  Religious-Right gone mad?  Extreme Obamacare?  Tea Partiers on steroids? No idea.

The story takes place in 2022, which is not even ten years from now.  It seems unlikely that an extreme event like the purge would take root in so brief a time.

Ethan Hawke, so intense in last year’s SINISTER (2012), is cold, clueless, and annoying here as James Sandin.  As the head of the household, he does a terrible job of protecting his family.  Nearly every decision he makes is the wrong one.

His wife, Mary, played by Lena Headey, has a better head on her shoulders, but she’s constantly reacting to her husband’s mistakes rather than taking the lead in the situation.  Headey’s not bad here, but she was much more memorable and more enjoyable as the villain Ma-Ma in last year’s DREDD (2012).

I enjoyed Adelaide Kane as teen daughter Zoey, as she seemed like a real person, but she spends most of the movie being a victim.  Max Burkholder’s Charlie is an odd sort, and I have to admit I found him incredibly annoying.  Plus, he lets the stranger inside their house, which seems like a huge no-no, and it’s difficult to believe his parents didn’t beat him over the head with the directions “never let anyone inside the house on purge night!” They don’t even tell him as much after the fact.  I didn’t buy this plot point, which is the trouble I had with most of the movie.  I didn’t buy it.  It didn’t convince me.

The stranger (Edwin Hodge) spends most of the movie bound and gagged, so what little sympathy he evokes is minimized.  Rhys Wakefield makes a decent psycho, but we ultimately learn so little about him, he’s hardly a factor.

The premise of THE PURGE, as unpleasant as it is, is full of promise.  It’s simply not executed to its full potential by writer/director James DeMonaco.  We’re supposed to witness a conflict of conscience, between husband and wife, over what they should do about the man inside their home.  Should they become like the freaks outside and participate in the purge or should they hold onto their ideals and remain above the fray?  But this debate never takes place to any degree of satisfaction.

Early on, there’s a brief discussion between young Charlie and his parents, as he asks them why they don’t participate in the purge.  His dad tells him it’s because they don’t have any problems with other people, and then Charlie presses the point and asks if his father did have a problem with someone else, would he then participate in the purge and kill someone?  His dad admits that yes, he would.  I guess the more civil method of settling differences through conversation and legal channels is passé.

When James wrestles with the stranger to subdue him, he insists that his wife Mary stab the man.  In the film’s ugliest moment, she gives in and jams a letter opener into the man’s wound.  What are these people thinking?  They’re not thinking, and that’s clearly the problem.

THE PURGE would have benefitted from some stylish direction— some unusual camera angles, strange dissolves, or intense choreographed action— in order to give it a futuristic feel or at least something to indicate that we’re dealing with another world here, the world of the purge.  Heck, even the inside of the house isn’t clearly defined, as the bulk of the action takes place in the dark.

There’s also something a bit “off” about this movie.  Parts of it seem disjointed.  When Charlie first lets the man inside the house, it occurs at the same time that Zoey’s boyfriend confronts James, yet the expected chaos following these simultaneous events ends abruptly.  Later, a key moment when the stranger captures Zoey occurs off-camera.  The intensity is also lacking.  When the masked mob finally breaks into the house, the scenes that follow are nowhere near as extreme as they need to be.

The main villain in the movie, Mr. Preppy Psycho (he doesn’t have a name in the movie) is a complete lunatic, but he never becomes someone truly frightening, which raises another problem.  THE PURGE may be dark and disturbing, but it’s not scary.

It also doesn’t help that very few of the characters in the movie act like real people.

THE PURGE could have been a hard hitting thriller had it not purged itself of its humanity.


FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR Now Available In Print Edition


For The Love Of Horror coverI’m happy to announce that my short story collection, FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, previously available as an EBook, is now available for sale as a print edition at

So, if you don’t have an e-reader yet, or if you just prefer the printed page and like the feel of an old-fashioned book in your hands, now you too can own a copy of FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR contains 15 short stories, 7 reprints and 8 original stories, plus a wraparound story that ties everything together. I wrote this with the old Amicus anthology horror movies in mind, films like DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) and THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971).

Here’s a look at the book’s table of contents with a brief line on each story:

The Stories

1. LITTLE BOYS WITH FROGS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

A young couple is terrorized by a giant.

A date goes awry.
3. BLACK HEART OF THE WOLF © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
There’s a bloodthirsty wolf on the loose.
4. THE HORROR CURSE © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE STEEL CAVES)
Strange murders at a school haunt a former horror movie actor turned teacher.

5. GOOD TO THE LAST DROP © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in E-THOUGHT)
Coffee addict has one cup too many.

6. KISSES © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
How deadly can one kiss be?

7. THE PAINTING © 2000 Michael J. Arruda (First prize winner in the Horror Fiction category of THE SALIVAN SHORT STORY CONTEST and originally published on THE SALIVAN WEB SITE in 2000).
There’s evil in that painting.

8. FRIENDS FOREVER © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in MORBID MUSINGS.)
Sometimes it’s not what you do, but what you don’t do.
9. ON THE ROCKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
Rick is so fed up with his girlfriend he thinks about killing her, but he wouldn’t really do that— would he?
10. RECONCILIATION © 1998 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DARKEST THIRST.)
A vampire seeks religious redemption.

11. CURSE OF THE KRAGONAKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
A demonic race asserts itself.
12. THE MONSTER WHO LOVED WOMEN © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
He lives through the centuries, loving and killing.
13. THE HOUSE OF MR. MORBIDIKUS © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DEAD INN.)

You don’t want to stay at Morbidikus’ house.

14. HE CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE ETERNAL NIGHT CHRONICLE.)
It’s Christmas Eve, and there’s a menace in the house.
15. FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
What do you love most? Would it be horror?

If you’re in the mood for some old school horror tales, feel free to check out my short story collection FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR.







Michael Arruda


Since I’ve had so much fun writing THE QUOTABLE CUSHING, the column where we look at some of Peter Cushing’s best lines in the movies, I’ve decided to branch out, to look at memorable quotes from other movies as well.  So, on that note, welcome to MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES.


First up today we’ll check out some quotes from the horror classic HALLOWEEN (1978), John Carpenter’s groundbreaking horror flick which pretty much single-handedly launched the slasher movie subgenre.  The strength of HALLOWEEN has always been the stylish direction by John Carpenter, and his memorable music score.  The screenplay by Carpenter and Debra Hill isn’t as strong, as it tells a rather silly story when you think about it.  That being said, there are lots of memorable lines in HALLOWEEN, and so truth be told you can’t really knock the script that much.

Here are some examples:

Early in the movie, insane killer Michael Myers escapes from the sanitarium, attacking a nurse and stealing her car, as Myers’ doctor, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) watches helplessly.  The next day, Loomis is arguing with another doctor over Myers’ escape.

DOCTOR: I’m not responsible, Sam.

LOOMIS: Oh, no.

DOCTOR: I told them how dangerous he was.

LOOMIS: You couldn’t have, two roadblocks and an all-points bulletin wouldn’t stop a five year old.

DOCTOR: Well, he’s your patient, if you knew that the precautions weren’t strong enough, you should have told somebody.

LOOMIS: I told everybody! Nobody listened.

DOCTOR: There’s nothing else I can do.

LOOMIS: You can get back in there and get back on that telephone and tell them exactly who walked out of here last night and tell them exactly where he’s going.

DOCTOR: Where he’s probably going.

LOOMIS: I’ve wasted my time.

DOCTOR: Sam, Haddonfield is 150 miles away from here, for God’s sake, he can’t even drive a car!

LOOMIS: He was doing very well last night! Maybe someone around here gave him lessons.

Later, in Haddonfield, Dr. Loomis goes to the cemetery in search of Michael Myers’ sister’s grave.  He’s accompanied by the Graveyard Keeper.  On their walk towards the grave, the Keeper has a rather morbid story to tell, in one of the movie’s more memorable scenes of dialogue.

GRAVEYARD KEEPER:   Yeah, you know every town has something like this happen… I remember over in Russellville, old Charlie Bowles, about fifteen years ago… One night, he finished dinner, and he excused himself from the table. He went out to the garage, and got himself a hacksaw. Then he went back into the house, kissed his wife and his two children goodbye, and then he proceeded to…

LOOMIS:  Where are we?

GRAVEYARD KEEPER: Eh? Oh, it’s, uh, right over here…

And of course, they discover the headstone for Judith Myers’ grave has been stolen, and the Graveyard Keeper never gets to finish his story.

And who can forget the scene where Loomis is camped outside the Myers’ house, waiting for Michael Myers’ return, when a group of kids show up and dare their friend Lonnie to go inside the house.  As Lonnie takes the bait, Loomis steps from the shadow, cups his hands in front of his mouth, and says,

LOOMIS:  Hey!  Hey, Lonnie!  Get your ass away from there!

It was probably because the theater audience was scared out of their wits and wound so tight they couldn’t swallow their popcorn, but I remember the theater erupting in laughter over this line.  I mean, it’s funny, but it’s not that funny.


It seems that no one will listen to Dr. Loomis, as he tries to warn everyone around him that Michael Myers is unbelievably dangerous.  Perhaps one of the reasons no one listens to him is the lines he delivers in this movie makes him sound like a crackpot.

LOOMIS:  I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.

Still, Donald Pleasence is such a strong presence as Dr. Loomis that to the movie audience, anyway, he comes off as credible, heroic, and even humorous.

This exchange between Loomis and Sheriff Brackett, where Loomis again tries to warn the sheriff about Michael Myers, shows a little of each.

SHERIFF:  I have a feeling that you’re way off on this.

LOOMIS: You have the wrong feeling.

SHERIFF: You’re not doing very much to prove me wrong!

LOOMIS: What more do you need?

SHERIFF: Well, it’s going to take a lot more than fancy talk to keep me up all night crawling around these bushes.

LOOMIS: I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.

SHERIFF: More fancy talk.

And to finish up, one of the more memorable lines from the movie comes at the end, when Loomis rushes into the house to save Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from Michael Myers.  After seemingly killing Myers (of course we know now that you can’t keep a good masked killer down!) Loomis turns to Laurie, and she says to him,

LAURIE:  Was it the boogeyman?

LOOMIS:  As a matter of fact, it was.

Great lines, great movie, great fun.

Thanks for joining me today on MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES. See you next time with quotes from another fun movie.


Books by Michael Arruda:

TIME FRAME,  science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.  

Ebook version:  $2.99. Available at Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.


 Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at  Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.  

For The Love Of Horror cover

Ebook version:  $4.99.  Available at Print version:  $18.00.  Email your order request to Also available at  

LIFE OF PI Visually Impressive But Spiritually Lacking


Life of Pi posterBlu-Ray Review:  LIFE OF PI (2012)


Michael Arruda

This story will make you believe in God.

That’s what they say in the movie LIFE OF PI (2012), anyway.  I say it will make you believe in good CGI effects, but that’s about it.

The first half of LIFE OF PI, winner of four Academy Awards and now available on Blu-Ray, really does play like a spiritual experience.  The set-up is there for a big payoff, a religious/transcendent experience where young Pi and his ferocious tiger Richard Parker will ultimately bond and join forces in order to survive, stranded on the open ocean.  Trouble is that payoff doesn’t satisfy.

A writer (Rafe Spall) visits a man named Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) because he’s been told that Pi has a story to tell that will make the writer (and ultimately his readers) believe in God.  Pi agrees to tell the writer his story, and it begins with interesting anecdotes about his life, how he was interested in religions at a young age, and how he grew up at a zoo.

When Pi’s father decides it’s time to move, the entire family and their zoo animals take a trip on a ship which ultimately sinks in a storm.  Young Pi (Suraj Sharma) finds himself the sole human survivor.  He manages to make it to a lifeboat, along with some of the zoo animals, including the tiger, nicknamed Richard Parker.  Needless to say, the other zoo animals do not survive for very long.

It’s this story that makes up the magical adventure of LIFE OF PI, the survival tale of Pi and the tiger, lost in the middle of the ocean.

Visually speaking, LIFE OF PI is a rich and rewarding experience, and the Blu-Ray print was vibrant and colorful.  But in terms of story, I was left somewhat disappointed.  The story of Pi and Richard Parker is a realistic one, but for me, it was too realistic.  I was promised a spiritual experience.  What I got was a very human one.  I wanted more spiritualism, but ultimately, the only thing magical about Richard Parker is the CGI effects which created him.

The bond they share is steeped in realism, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the movie never ventures into childish Disney territory.  Pi and the tiger don’t become best buddies, and they never reach the level where Pi isn’t afraid that the animal will kill and eat him.   But since this is a tale which supposedly will cause those who hear it to believe in God, I expected something more profound.

The tiger is more a symbol of Pi’s drive to survive than just a fellow creature that bonds with the boy.  LIFE OF PI is about survival, and if that’s the story of God, then that’s only part of it.  God is about more than just survival.

I found LIFE OF PI full of spiritual questions but limited in the answers it gives.  Ultimately, it only answers part of the great question of life.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the first half, the build-up, more than the second half, the pay-off.  The screenplay by David Magee, based on the novel by Yann Martel, does a nice job bringing the character of Pi to life.  The retelling of Pi’s early childhood, his schoolhouse misadventures, for example, and his forays into multiple religions, is light and humorous, and sets the stage for what’s to come.

But what follows, the main part of the film, the shipwreck adventure of Pi and the tiger, Richard Parker, while compelling, never quite reaches the spiritual level promised at the beginning of the film.  It presents a limited story of bonding between man and beast, and it doesn’t provide satisfactory answers to its spiritual questions.

The most compelling reason to see LIFE OF PI is for its visuals.  Its Academy Award win for Best Visual Effects was well deserved, as was the Oscar for Best Directing which went to director Ang Lee.  The tender and sincere story no doubt benefitted from Lee’s strong guiding hand.

The cast is decent enough, but again, the real stars here are the CGI effects.

The story touched me on an emotional level, and I bought into Pi’s plight, his struggle for survival, his uncomfortable camaraderie with the tiger Richard Parker, and I was excited to take the spiritual journey with him.  However, it’s on the spiritual level that the film lost me.  It seemed incomplete, as if it didn’t want to go the extra mile and hammer home its points on life, religion, and God.  It took on these issues peripherally, did a nice job steeping them in symbols, but when push came to shove, it just didn’t get to the heart of the matter, which is, who we are and what our place is in the universe.  While we are small and insignificant, we are part of a bigger universe, but just what that part is, is less important in LIFE OF PI than the idea that we are part of something.  That concept seems to be enough for this story, but after such a promising build up, I expected more.

LIFE OF PI will stimulate your senses, move your emotions, and even fuel your curiosity, but when it comes to mystical matters, it’ll leave you stranded.


Print edition of IN THE SPOOKLIGHT now available!


InTheSpooklight_NewTextI’m happy to announce that my horror movie review collection IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, previously available only as an EBook, is now available in a print edition at

So, for those of you who don’t do EBooks and prefer the printed page, or if you simply haven’t purchased an e-reader yet, now you too can own a copy of IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, a good old-fashioned book you can hold in your hands (not that there’s anything wrong with electronic books, mind you.)

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT is a collection of 115 “In The Spooklight” columns, all originally published within the pages of the HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER.  It’s been a staple of the HWA NEWSLETTER since 2000, where it’s still published each month.

In this book, you’ll read about horror movies from the silent era up until today.  You’ll find articles on Lon Chaney’s silent classics, the Universal monster movies, Hammer Films (of course!), the horror films of the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and into the 21st century.  You’ll read about the greats, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Lon Chaney Sr., Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price.  You’ll read about the supporting players, people like Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye, and Lionel Atwill from the Universal movies, and from the Hammer years, Michael Ripper, Thorley Walters, Francis Matthews, and Andrew Keir.

You’ll read about the leading ladies, Fay Wray, Helen Chandler, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Shelley, Ingrid Pitt, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Sigourney Weaver.

You’ll read about the directors, James Whale, Tod Browning, Terence Fisher, John Carpenter, John Landis, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, and even Ingmar Bergman.

You’ll read about Ray Harryhausen, Rick Baker, George Pal, Willis O’Brien, Roddy McDowall, Claude Rains, John Carradine, Peter Lorre, Fredric March, Robert Armstrong, Steve McQueen, Harrison Ford, Gregory Peck, Simon Pegg, and Donald Pleasence.

You’ll meet your favorite monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Mummy, Mr. Hyde, the Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Phibes, King Kong, Godzilla, the Ymir, the Blob, Michael Myers, the Alien, and Baron Frankenstein.

In addition to these columns, you’ll also be treated to introductions by both Judi Rohrig and the Gila Queen herself, Kathy Ptacek.

IN THE SPOOKLIGHT puts your favorite horror movies in the spotlight and treats them the way they’re supposed to be treated, with reverence and respect.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t share a laugh or two, because we certainly do.

I think you’ll enjoy IN THE SPOOKLIGHT.  Thirteen years of satisfied HWA readers says you will.