DVDs, by Andre Stackhouse
“Sweeney Todd,” dir. Tim Burton
It would be easy to look at Sweeney Todd as the usual quirky Burton-Depp film. While Burton’s almost-canned style is present in this film, it doesn’t have the same “weird-for-the-sake-of-weirdness” feeling. Following the obsessive quest of a barber to get revenge on a judge who wronged him, “Sweeney Todd” is a powerful package of dark humor, love, and music. Those who get turned off when they hear the word “musical” should know that unlike more Broadway-style musical films, the songs are more seamlessly integrated into the dialogue and plot, making the transitions far less jarring.
Media Browsing / DVD DW 034
“American Psycho,” dir. Mary Harron
It is incredibly hard to classify “American Psycho.” On one hand, it is an intense psychological thriller about Wall Street Yuppie Patrick Bateman, who spends his evening satisfying his bloodlust by serial killing. On the other, it is a black-as-night satirical comedy and harsh critique of Wall Street investment bankers. Be warned, Christian Bale’s performance is so good it is uncomfortable at times, and the film features graphic sex and violence. However, it’s a unique film, and will give you something to think about for days after you’ve watched it.
Media Browsing / DVD WHV 731 v.7
CDs, by Ian Cameron
“Ventures in Space,” The Ventures
Digging through the extensive Ventures catalog is similar to taking a trip through the greatest hits of the ’60s and ’70s. The Tacoma group, one of the most popular instrumental outfits of all time with more than 35 charting records, usually made their money strumming out snappy covers of contemporary hit songs, replacing the vocal melodies with lead guitar. But on “Ventures in Space,” arguably the tightest Ventures concept album, there’s a different mandate in mind: creepy, spacey, “Twilight Zone”-era guitar theatrics and evil ambience. The trick is that everything stays groovy, and on the whole the result is the perfect Halloween rock album — danceable, classic without being cliched, and no vocals to distract from spooky partying.
Suzzallo Media Center / Cd DOLTON 001
“Blackbox — Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years” by various artists
Wax Trax!, a Chicago-based label, began pumping domestic record stores full of industrial music in the ’80s. Bands on the label included My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Laibach (in the United States), KMFDM, and Front Line Assembly, among many other notable groups. This box set compiles some of the most essential cuts from the label’s first 13 years, serving as a primer for the golden age of industrial rock. The very first track on the compilation, “Supernaut,” by Ministry side project 1000 Homo DJs, features vocals by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, making it clear Wax Trax! decided to build a seminal compilation instead of a compromise. It is an excellent introduction to this huge, fascinating genre.
Suzzallo Media Center / Cd WAXT 001
Books, by Samantha Leeds
“Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery,” by Deborah and James Howe
The traditional scary story may not be narrated from the perspective of the family pet, let alone a dog named Harold, but “Bunnicula” — titled for the family’s rabbit found in a movie theater showing the film “Dracula” — is goose-bump-inducing nonetheless. When the family cat, Chester, discovers that vegetables in the house have been drained of their juice, he becomes convinced the bunny is the perpetrator. Chester and a not-quite-convinced Harold must then find a way to save their family. Though the vampire in question may not sparkle or abuse hair gel, “Bunnicula” still meets the traditional criteria: fangs, red eyes, and nocturnal activity. Sometimes it’s nice to return to childhood classics that may not leave you jumping every time the floorboards creak but still deliver a spooky good time.
Suzzallo/Allen Stacks / PZ7.H836 Bu 1996
“In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences,” by Truman Capote
Considered a pioneering work of the true-crime genre and a gold standard for the nonfiction novel, “In Cold Blood” tells the story of the gruesome murder of the Clutter family and its aftermath. Capote artfully paints the complex physiological impact the murders had on both the Holcomb, Kan., community and the killers themselves. Unlike many horror stories, which lead up to the gruesome events, the power of this book lies not in what happened — Capote gives this to the reader from the get-go — but the examination of how it happened. The novel gracefully bridges the gap between nonfiction and more descriptive narrative-style writing. What is truly terrifying about Capote’s only nonfiction work, however, is the humanity: the nearly relatable way he portrays the two killers.
Suzzallo/Allen Stacks / HV6533.K3 C3
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