Hal Bennett LORD OF DARK PLACES and Apocalypse Now

I’m reading Hal Bennett’s LORD OF DARK PLACES.

I’ve had the kind of week, where reading Hal Bennett seems a logical end to such a week.

I’ve never read anyone quite like him.

His writings are horrible tales of lives horrendously lived, but there’s a manic humor, the humor of the absurd and tragic, that he plays up that will have you amused at the same time you are horrified. I laughed out loud in places that I felt conflicted laughing at. These are bad places and bad things Bennett is discussing.

I mean some of it is so out of the blue and outrageous, he’ll have you inflamed with rage, then in the next sentence make your jaw drop, and a sound not unlike laughter escape you. I’m uncertain how comfortable I am with that, but I know only a Satirist of consummate skill can pull off such a confluence of emotions.

Reading him, following up reading Pearl Cleage’s DEALS WITH THE DEVIL:AND OTHER REASONS TO RIOT (filled with diatribe’s and rants to make even me seem calm in comparison) is not exactly a feel good prescription. But he can write.

You may not particularly care for the twisted and twisting Jim Crow world he writes about, but the beauty of his language, in an age of dumbed-down Black ‘literature’ and ‘music’ is like manna from heaven.

Here is a word-smith, worthy of every tree sacrificed, and every bit of ink used.

‘Her Large cow eyes were still open and gazed somehow to the left, as though death had surprised her from that side.”


“There were about a hundred of them in all, but the women in the congregation outnumbered the men two to one, because a woman is always alert for news of any religion in which she might become the Virgin Mother and enjoy the ineffable mystery of having her tail played in by the Holy Ghost. These women were no different. They wore clean drawers in case tonight was the night, or in case they got too happy and fainted and their dresses came up.”

My final verdict is still out on LORD OF DARK PLACES, being only a quarter of the way in. I know so far it is best in small doses, but I also know… I’ll keep coming back to it.

There is this line in Apocalypse Now, where the General says to Martin Sheen’s character of an especially unappetizing looking local dish, ‘If you eat it, you will never have to prove your courage any other way”, the same can be said of Hal Bennett’s LORD OF DARK PLACES.

If you read it, you will never have to prove your courage any other way.

And that right there… is a recommendation.

These are
times that kill ya
these are
times that spill ya
these are
times that kneed you into ground

[repeat 2 times]

Lord of Dark Places

I heard something profound today
About those who ride the lightning
That invariably they fear the thunder
Because it proclaims their day is done

Books on my to purchase/read pile:

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos (Paperback) by Michio Kaku
Airing Dirty Laundry by Ishmael Reed
Violent Spring by Gary Phillips
Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Some

African Rhapsody by Nadezda Obradovic
Joyce Ann Brown:Justice Denied by Joyce Ann Brown
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
Flat Broke in the Free Market: How Globalization Fleeced Working People by Jon Jeter
Deals With the Devil: And Other Reasons to Riot by Pearl Cleage
The Lord of Dark Things – Hal Bennett
Insanity Runs in the Family – Hal Bennett
Brother: Black Soldiers in the Nam

FBI War on Tupac Shakur & Black Leaders by John Potash

Sites of the day:

When the law itself is lawless, what do you do?

DVDs of the Day:

DRAGON INN (1992- Donnie Yen)
LEGEND OF THE WOLF (1997- Donnie Yen)
BALLISTIC KISS (1998- Donnie Yen)

Directors of the Day:

Henri-Georges Clouzot 1907-1977 his masterpieces are WAGES OF FEAR and DIABOLIQUE
Jean Pierre Melville 1917-1973 his masterpieces are LE SAMOURAI, LE DOULOS, BOB LE FLAMBEUR

“There is no greater solitude than the samurai’s
unless it be that of the tiger in the jungle”– Le Samourai’s preface

tell me about summer
tell me about fall
i can’t make it
make any reason at all

Korean word of the day (spelt phonetically so you can pronounce them)-

Ahn young hah say oh: hello-peace-do peacefully
Kahm sah hahm nidah: Thank You
Chae Song Hahn Nidah: Pardon Me
Toe Wah Jew Say Oh: Please Help Me
Ahn Young Hee Gae Say Oh: Goodbye
Cheon Man Ne Yo: You are welcome

Quick Book Reviews:

GHOUL by Michael Slade: Excellent

WASP FACTORY by Ian Banks: Disturbing

CABAL by Clive Barker: So-So

INHUMAN CONDITION by Clive Barker: Not as great as the first three BOOKS OF BLOOD, but still recommended

HARVEST OF HORRORS by Eric Potter: Average

DARK VISIONS by Harlan Ellison: Very Good

MISERY by Stephen King: Very Disturbing

WHISPERS I by Stuart Schiff: Good

Edgar Allen Poe

James Baldwin

Today’s recommended audo drama/listen:

CHATTERBOX AUDIO THEATER HALLOWEEN SHOW 2009 PT 1 & 2- Finally listened to this today. Short review? It’s just great. A compilation of seven tales of terror. I mentioned this group previously, and they continue to just get more impressive. It’s really nice to see Audio Drama not only still being produced in the US, but productions of such an incredibly high quality. This is work to make the greats of radio’s heyday proud. Also I appreciate them using the American spelling of theater rather than the British spelling, like some American productions (perhaps to seem more “artsy”) are wont to do.You can listen to THE HALLOWEEN shows here.

Also while there check out the shows SURFACING and THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. Both are highly recommended.

Okay well that’s all my rambling today. Enjoy!