Showing posts with label Christopher Robinson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christopher Robinson. Show all posts

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October Surprise!

A séance has been held. That was the only way I could begin to describe the events of a recent trip to Atlantic City where I just may have participated in one of the greatest of all paranormal happenings.
A festive

Strolling by the boardwalk vendors, my friends, Tim, Vinnie, Vinnie’s wife, Bonnie and myself were somehow prophetically drawn to a neon sign-GREATEST PSYCHIC IN WORLD-MADAME OUSPENSKAYA $10 PER PERSON. My cynicism was firmly in check but Tim and Bonnie thought it was an experience we had to share before leaving the following morning. So, reluctantly I went along with it and the four of us entered the small shop adorned with peeling wallpaper and ubiquitous incense.

Atlantic City
An elderly woman in black garb with a simple string of beads greeted us in a seemingly Russian accent, collecting forty dollars from us with instructions to follow her to a small round table with three lit candles near a wall where she was apparently brewing some potent tea. We all sat down as we took a quick glance at our surroundings.

“Please to put away your cigarette. Then we begin.” She directed Vinnie.

“Come on, you’d do it for Ravi Shankar.” I quipped, realizing I probably should keep quiet.

He put his cigarette out in a nearby saucer and Madame Ouspenskaya seemed content to continue. My friends exchanged some glances and then waited to see what was next. No one spoke for almost a minute until Madame Ouspenskaya closed her eyes and asked that we join hands. As we did so she quietly uttered some words that we took to be invocations for the beginning of the ceremony.

“What are we here to do today?” No one answered. Our eyes were closed but we knew none of us had properly figured out any purpose for what we had come for, if this was, in fact, a séance. So, to avoid embarrassing our medium or my cohorts, I spoke up. I didn’t want to insult this nice woman but at the same time, I was trying not to say or do anything to get us tossed out. We should get something for forty dollars, right? I didn’t know what to say but began talking (I do that from time to time). On this occasion, it proved beneficial to my curiosities regarding the unexplained. I opened my mouth, from which the words came.

“Can we talk to someone’s spirit?” An uncomfortable moment passed as I thought we would all be shown the door amidst a string of Russian profanities. She quietly responded.

“Madame Ouspenskaya will try. That is what she does.” I wondered if that meant that she does it, or tries to do it. “Whose spirit?” she asked. More silence.

“I guess…” What does one say? Where do you go with something like this? My friends must have been rolling their eyes at each other. I had to get this going so we could finish up and get out.

“I guess I want to talk to someone that I could write about. I write sometimes for… well, it’s an online publication called Western Magazine Digest.” She interrupted me right there, her voice now more pronounced as though she had received something.

“I think… that someone wants to talk to you.” Really? Wow! I thought I’d have to tell her a name of someone I was thinking of. Maybe she had her own ideas.

“He rides a horse, yes?” Hey, Is she talking about who I’m thinking? “Near… a red… river?”

Woah! It seemed Madame Ouspenskaya knew who it was, or better yet, had him ready to talk with us, right there. Could it be?

“Yeah.” I responded, trying not to show obvious signs of excitement about this.

“He has grit… he has true grit, yes?” Do you believe this? She’s doing it. She’s contacting the man himself, I thought.

“Yes, Madame Ouspenskaya. Yes, indeed!” By now I couldn’t hide my exuberance.

“And he rides… tall in the saddle, yes?”

“Yeah. He does! He does!” I replied.

"His initials, they are J-W?” she asked.

“Yes, that’s right!" I exclaimed. 

She paused and proceeded with the portentous revelation. “He has something to say to everyone… all over the land.” We were in awe. What was he going to tell us?

She continued. “He says we need to remember … that even when so much is happening, that this land, America, it is strong. It is a beacon of hope and aspiration for all. Must remember our laws are good and they prevent tyranny. Also, dissent and free speech, they are good things because we make our decisions in elections. And… that we will always have freedom of religions and choices and it is a just land and those are things to be proud of and defend. We also must honor the people who defended them.”

Jackpot! We hit the jackpot… and we never even went into the casinos!

“What else? What else?”

“Nothing else.” She whispered. “But yes, he says one more thing.”


“He says when the road looks rough ahead, remember the ‘Man upstairs’ and the word ‘hope’. Hang on to both and tough it out, pilgrim.”


JW's horse

“Thank you, JW! Thank you for everything! Thank you, also, Madame Ouspenskaya. You really are the greatest in the world!” She simply blew out the candles and gestured us all to the exit. What was thrilling for us must have been mentally draining for her.

We walked out onto the boardwalk, speechless. We were still partly in shock from what had occurred in that place as our vacation resumed. Who would have guessed that I did the unimaginable? Did what others have tried in vain to do for so many years, actually communicate with the spirit of the one, the only… JACK WEBB! What he was doing on that horse, though, I’ll never know.

Jack Webb

Happy Halloween!

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Christopher Robinson, Writer Extraordinaire (image)
Christopher Robinson, Writer Extraordinaire 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Sun Sets on a Solid Site

Some of the material on my weblog is linked to another one called Western Magazine Digest which I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to for a couple of years. WMD, as we call it, is an informative and entertaining online publication covering Western history, fiction, biographies, cinema and trivia— though it unfortunately will no longer be actively published.

The western weblog has been run by publisher Allan Colombo since 2018 and as Al is perpetually working on a dizzying number of projects, he decided it was time to unhitch his wagon and water his horses.

Over the years, Al and an impressive team of contributors have posted articles on just about every kind of western subject and story, fictional or true, under the sun. I myself enjoyed sharpening my writing skills and sharing knowledge learned about that most quintessential of American topics, the Wild West.

One of my favorite projects was a piece where I had the honor of interviewing James Drury of TV’s The Virginian. It became quite popular and incidentally turned out to be one of the actor’s final interviews. Below is a short video in which I discussed that experience.

Fortunately, Al will keep WMD online so we can continue to enjoy it and learn from its countless articles and stories. A matrix on the site helps visitors find topics alphabetically and access those corresponding articles easily. Links to some of my early pieces, such as the Virginian interview, can likewise be found on the ‘articles’ page of my own weblog’s menu.

I may even occasionally continue to post new reviews on the WMD weblog under my WMD Movie Reviews page, much like a prospector checks into an old ghost town now and again.

So be sure to keep visiting Western Magazine Digest and continue to post any comments you may have. You never know what you might come across or may have missed the first time around.

I can attest to WMD’s high quality and well-researched content and I think it capably served its purpose in helping to inform and remind us of those old cowboys and gunslingers and the crucial values that go along with their wild western mystique. Thanks for ridin’ along, folks. Happy trails.

Western Magazine Digest (image)
Click for the 'Western Magazine Digest'

Love to hear from you. 
Use the contact form on the right!

Christopher Robinson, Writer Extraordinaire (image)
Christopher Robinson, Writer Extraordinaire 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bad Kids Aplenty

Hear ye! All horror enthusiasts and movie aficionados should immediately seek out a new book called Evil Seeds: The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children. An exhaustingly comprehensive movie reference guide on horror films featuring evil kids, it features reviews from over 40 international writers of which I was very honored to be included.

Agglomerating this extraordinary collection of invaluable essays is author Vanessa Morgan who also contributed many such reviews to the book herself. Vanessa is the author of the books- Avalon, Drowned Sorrow, The Strangers Outside, A Good Man and Clowders. In addition, she is a screenwriter and blogger as well as host and programmer for several European film festivals.

Recently, Vanessa answered some questions for me that should help shed light on her unique and enlightening new publication.

What is it about evil kids that frightens us so much?

I believe it has a lot to do with children being just like us, yet being different enough to stand apart, especially when there is something "off" about them (like the blonde wigs they used on the dark-haired children of Village of the Damned). The same goes for elderly people. Give them subtle macabre makeup or make them move strangely, and they can be absolutely frightening (the old-lady scene from It Follows springs to mind here). And when we are menaced by those over whom we thought to have absolute control – those who are smaller, weaker, and intellectually less developed – then is there anything left besides feeling utterly powerless?

Is this one of the first reference books on this particular topic to ever be published?

I have found one academic book in English, focusing on only a handful of classics (The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned), and one in French, equally serious in tone and aimed at literature. However, Evil Seeds is the only reference book that covers nearly all of the evil-child movies ever made (nearly 250 feature films from 40 different countries, and even more minor evil-child appearances in other movies). I wanted to create a book that not only gives readers insight into the stories they love, but also gives them plenty of new ones to discover.

How is Evil Seeds different from your previous reference guides?

When Animals Attack and Strange Blood very much started with the contributors and their unique vision on, and experience with the film. They were odes of love to particular films within the subgenres of animal-attack movies and offbeat vampire movies. Evil Seeds, on the other hand, is encyclopedic in nature as it covers nearly all the titles that exist within this particular subgenre.

Vanessa Morgan, author
What is your favorite ‘evil kid’ flick and why?

I'm completely in love with The Children of Ravensback (1980). I realize it's not the most intelligent or classy evil-kid movie out there – on the contrary – but it contains all of the elements that make a movie like this fun: creepy children, lots of murder scenes, subtle humor, and a great atmosphere. At the beginning of September, I screened and introduced this film at the BUT Film Festival in Breda, the Netherlands, to people who had never even heard of The Children before, and they were all in stitches. And what a delight to see my favorite on the big screen.

Do you have a particular recollection of seeing any of these films for the first time? How did it affect you as a young writer?

The first evil children that come to mind that scared me were the Grady twins from The Shining and the brothers from Salem's Lot. I watched Children of the Corn countless times on television when I was in my teens, but I don't think it holds up that well. I remember showing Bloody Birthday to my younger siblings, who weren't into horror at all but thought the film was amazing (especially the nudity) and wanted to watch it over and over again. I was also lucky enough to see The Good Son (1993) in cinemas as well. All these films started a passion that resulted in this book.

Do you find that there are characteristics of this sub genre that are unique to the different countries that produced them?

I love this question because I think this is the more interesting aspect of a book like this one. As with other film genres, these tropes often mirror the culture in which they are produced. In India, horror movies about evil children often involve the fear of black magic, whereas Ireland loves tackling fairytales about elves and changelings. In the Philippines, the evil baby Tiyanak is part of the cultural heritage. As the country grew its religious belief systems, the Tiyanak's characteristics evolved accordingly. Once the Spanish colonized the Philippines, the inhabitants were Christianized. The population copied the Christian values that abortion and non-baptizing are sins, so the myth transformed into Tiyanaks being souls of babies who died before baptism and later evolved into vengeful spirits from aborted fetuses.

On the other hand, the appeal of movies such as The Exorcist and The Omen was so huge internationally, that their cinematic influence was felt in countries where Christianity and the Devil weren't part of the main religious belief system (such as Egypt, India, Turkey, Japan, or Hong Kong), and this resulted in unofficial remakes and copycats.

What can your readers expect from you next?

I have MANY ideas for upcoming movie reference guides, and I probably won't wait too long to start a new one because I love the process of creating a book like this and introducing readers to obscure movies. But I have other projects I need to finish first – organizing the Offscreen Film Festival in Brussels, renovating my new apartment, writing the screenplay and short story that I already said yes to, and in between all that, promoting this book and cuddling my cat Romero.

Evil Seeds: The Ultimate Movie Guide to Villainous Children is now available from Amazon (click to buy). Check it out!

Love to hear from you. 
Use the contact form on the right!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A Few Helpful Hints

Understandably, we can all use a tip or two to make life easier, now and then. Perhaps even I can share a few modicums of advice learned from some previous experiences. You might find them useful or conversely view them as laughably trite, but when all is said and done, they can’t hurt.

Why should anyone listen to me? Well, I suppose nobody should tell you what to do, and that being the case, I’m definitely just as qualified as nobody. So why not try this out anyway as I now admit to having run out of wax museums to write about.

Watch That Ten-spot!

This is for anyone who works with cash registers. Occasionally a paying customer will hand an employee a ten-dollar bill and insist that it was a twenty after getting their change. This is often done mistakenly but it can similarly be played as a scam.

When I worked in retail I had a simple method to prevent this. Various store workers sometimes tell me they also practice it yet I’ve witnessed unpleasant arguments over this very situation inside stores or businesses. Similarly, none of my co-workers did it which again goes to show that it’s not practiced universally.

After identifying a bill as a ten, simply place it aside from the other tens, away from the cash drawer but preferably close by. When your customer disputes it, the actual bill can be presented as it hasn’t yet been put away. That will satisfy both parties and hopefully put the matter to rest.

Mind That Stove

If you’re watching something in the oven or on a burner and it’s not being timed, keep an oven mit on your hand until it’s ready. This will insure that you remember even if a distraction takes you far away from the kitchen. Plus- incidentally it’s the latest fad.

This *%#@ Bag Won’t Open!

How many times do I have to assist fellow shoppers who can’t open the plastic bags in the produce section? Some of those bags are nearly impossible to separate, especially as your fingertips become dry. Reach for something wet or moist before rubbing the openings of the bag. You wouldn’t believe how much time and embarrassment it can save you.

Don’t Get Locked Out

Ever lock yourself out of your car? Usually this occurs when you manually lock the inside door and then shut the door with your keys inside. I’ve been there. Stay in the habit of locking the door only after closing it, using a clicker (fob) or the key itself.

You Snooze, You Lose

Do you sometimes wake up to your alarm clock and shut it off to get some extra rest only to find you overslept? When you need to avoid this, place the clock far enough away that you’ll have to get out of bed to turn it off (I never claimed these were brilliant).

I know- some of these seem obvious but that’s why it’s easy to forget how much they can come in handy. I’ll try to feature more in subsequent posts but until then feel free to share your thoughts.

Contact Chris:




Christopher Robinson

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rebels on Wheels

Recently I watched some old Hong Kong Kung Fu flicks and biker movies (Why has no one created a mash-up genre combining the two?). The biker flicks I just viewed were as follows: The Cycle Savages; Hell’s Belles; Run, Angel, Run!(all 1969) and Chrome and Hot Leather(1971).

The biker films of the Sixties were largely exploitative action dramas made on slim budgets and drawing on ‘straight’ America’s post-war fears and anxieties regarding the marginalized and outcast. They never sought to portray these subcultures accurately but rather as caricatures of their urban nightmares.

Usually the films pitted rival gangs against each other or saw them clash with townspeople, minorities, hippies or authority figures. Often protagonist and villain were interchangeable, the symbols of the hated and the vanquished emblazoned on leather vests and German helmets. During many of the other youth market-oriented features of the era, bikers were played as clowns or even buffoons. Ultimately the biker image became inextricably linked with that of Marlon Brando’s ‘Wild One’, an edgy and prickly but misunderstood rebel.

Rebellion is a frequent cinematic theme as well as a persistent cultural one. In reality, the ‘outlaws’ in most biker gangs express defiance in their rejection of motorcycle associations as opposed to governments and laws.

Today the concept of the rebel is also increasingly subjective and image-based.

Are you a rebel in some way? Do you think it might even be pretentious to think of yourself as such?

“Get your motor runnin’.”

Friday, May 1, 2020

Incidents or Occurrences of the Unexplained

I don’t read as much as I should, but one particular topic of interest for me has always been 'Incidents or Occurrences of the Unexplained.'

Perhaps much of what is happening right now will remain unexplained.

  • What are you reading?
  • What sources do you read?
  • Have you experienced anything you can’t explain?
I'd love to hear from you. Please comment the bottom of the page, click on the Postage Stamp in the right hand column, or send me an email: Click Here!