Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 9: Aaron Donald Takes Down Cam Newton and “The Ghost Ship”

Written by :
Published on : November 9, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, blood drips from the walls, and my hideous assistant has turned in for the night.

 

Week 9: Aaron Donald Gobbles Up Cam Newton For Big Time Sack

 

Week 9 proved to be a pretty glorious one in terms of highlights with a miraculous Lions victory, a great game for the Ravens in Baltimore, and Melvin Gordon starting to look downright freakish in San Diego. The Haunted Dungeon is always looking for a good sack, and while there have been a few good ‘uns in the 2016 season (I’m looking at you Khalil Mack) we finally got that monster QB hit we’ve been waiting for.

 

Aaron Donald’s second sack of the game came in the fourth quarter of a supremely ineffectual offensive effort for both teams. The big boy in 99 looks almost Suh-like as he pushes forward, pulls a little move, and then leaps out to smother Cam Newton and take him down. It’s a textbook power play that brings the oft-used word “explosive” to mind.

 

I’m not gonna forget this hit anytime soon. I don’t think Cam is going to either.

 

Week 9: The Ghost Ship

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Director: Mark Robson
Released: 1943

 

In week 1 of the Haunted Dungeon I made a little jab at Val Lewton for making movies in which you never really “see the monster.” In a way it wasn’t a fair thing to say because Lewton’s real genius efforts were sort of in a league of their own that had nothing to do with jump scares or rubber monster suits.

 

Lewton is primarily known as a producer for RKO, a studio that wasn’t Poverty Row, but wasn’t one of the big players either. He’d take wonderfully lurid titles thought up by company brass and then generally work those pulpy monikers into highly cerebral and atmospheric thrillers and horror films. Today he’s best known for Cat People (1942), but my very favorite Lewton films are the ones without any hint of the supernatural at all.

 

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The Ghost Ship is one of those films. The title evokes all sorts of eerie happenings and ghoulish goings-on, but in reality the film deals with something far more terrifying than ghosts or goblins: human psychosis.

 

Lewton was the king of atmosphere, and here he builds unbelievable amounts of suspense, dread, and foreboding with noir-ish cinematography and a ship captain (Richard Dix) who is mentally unstable and incompetent to such a degree that the lives of his entire crew are in jeopardy.

 

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The salty world of sailors is a fun one to dabble in and the depths of psychology involved really cut to the quick with a frightening combination of megalomania and cowardice interwoven into the nut-job captain. It’s a level of insight that goes far beyond the film’s b-picture trappings to make it worthy of Hitchcock’s brainier forays like Rebecca (1940) or Marnie (1964).

 

There’s also a nice device in one of the more visually interesting seamen, Finn the Mute (Skelton Knaggs), narrating the story through interior monologue. The effect comes off as cheesy initially, but grows more powerful and poignant as the picture progresses.

 

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If this is your kind of thing I also highly recommend the Lewton films Isle of the Dead (1945) and especially The Seventh Victim (1943).

 

I couldn’t find a trailer online but you can cop the whole flick here:

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Review ‘N Brew: Week 14

Written by :
Published on : December 18, 2015

 

 

In this little corner Roger Pretzel will review his favorite play of the week along with a thoughtful review of what beverage he was imbibing at the time.

 

 

Week 14: Mario Williams Smothers Sam Bradford for Big Loss

 Nobody wants to see this guy running towards them.

 

VIDEO: HERE

 

Sam Bradford gives up a huge chunk of yardage under pressure as he scampers backwards only to be tackled by the four-time Pro Bowler, who looks a lot like a heat-seeking missile on the play. Bradford completely fails to get rid of the ball, rolling out right at the first signs of trouble, but the big fella’s gotta eat, and Williams takes the Philly QB to the turf with a flying open-armed tackle.

 

The play happens on 3rd and 6, murdering that drive for the Eagles in what turned out to be a great game full of other highlights. But you know me; I always want to see that big sack. No innuendo intended, thank you.

 

Week 14: The Best Cocktail Ever

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This Sunday I thought I’d treat myself to the best cocktail ever. It exists. It’s a thing. It’s not a subjective concept but an objective truth. Written in stone, hallowed in the deepest archives, and sung about by the oldest bards: when one reaches for the Platonic ideal of a perfect cocktail that can mean only one thing… a well-made gin martini with a twist of lemon. In this week’s brew portion of the column, I share my recipe for the ultimate mixed drink.

 

This is how I get down with the galaxy’s greatest combination of spirited beverages:

2.25 Ounces Plymouth Gin (eyeballed)
0.75 Ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth (eyeballed)
One dash orange bitters (optional)
Stirred with ice. Strained into champagne coupe. Peel of lemon squeezed over top.

 

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I like Plymouth gin because it’s a little softer than a London dry style. If you want a sharper, more robust flavor, by all means go for the London dry. I like Tanqueray because I’m gross like that. There are also a lot of fun new American gins out there to experiment with too. These tend to be more in line with the Plymouth flavor profile, with a non-juniper aromatic, usually some sort of citrus, taking precedence over the old familiar Christmas tree taste.

 

So you know how everyone always wants a “dry” martini? That means it doesn’t have much (or any) vermouth in it. Part of the reason why that became so de rigueur is that for decades there wasn’t really any good vermouth being imported. Given the chance, vermouth and gin can be best friends, and they really should be. Trust me on this one. I like Dolin Dry. It’s cheap and delicious. Hell, you can drink it on the rocks and it’s great on it’s lonesome.

 

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You’ll notice in the recipe I say “eyeballed” in terms of the gin and vermouth. When I make a cocktail I always use a jigger to make sure the proportions are correct. It’s just easier, and you know your spec will turn out correctly if you do so. That rule goes straight out the window when I make a martini. It reminds me of this Ray Bradbury short story where some little old auntie has terrible vision and a horribly unorganized kitchen even though she’s the best cook everybody in her family knows. The family tries to be nice, and they buy her a new pair of glasses and organize her spices and ingredients. Big surprise: her food tastes like shit until she goes back to her old haphazard ways. When it comes to making a martini, I feel like you’ve just got to use the force and free pour that bad boy. It keeps a little bit of the mystery involved in the process too, and ultimately you’re going to consciously or subconsciously make a drink more in line with your current mood/mindset.

 

There you have it, and if you’re reading this and your spouse, parent, stepparent, grandparent, dominatrix, landlord, best friend, worst enemy, first cousin, town alderman or local cobbler yells at you for wasting your time reading the sports pages, you can make them the greatest cocktail under the heavens and tell ‘em that you actually learned something!

 

Until next week, gang.

 

 


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