The Fabulist Reviews

Reviews, essays, interviews, and other nonfiction “related works.”

Waterworld (1995)

This movie starts with pee-drinking. Scene 1: hero drinks his own pee! Granted it is filtered through a makeshift pee filtering device, but still! Gross, right? Kevin Costner is terrible as a hero in any ...

The Fog (1980)

Have you heard of this guy John Carpenter? He is really good at movies. This tale is silly and ultimately unsatisfying (there's just not enough hook impalings!) but it also works well because of fun ...

52 Pick-Up (1986)

I've reviewed this before but I'm reviewing it again because it's so great. "52 Pick-Up" is a pillar of sleaze, a paragon of crime, and chock full of banana hammock style. Based on an Elmore ...

I’m No Angel (1933)

Mae West is still pretty funny 87 years later. Almost all of her jokes are of the “hey, let’s have sex!” variety (“it’s not the men in your life, it’s the life in your men!” ...

Shivers (1975)

A stylish apartment building is overrun by a parasitic sex leech.This is David “What Can I Put My Penis In?” Cronenberg’s first movie and I love it: A creepy doctor creates a sexually transmitted parasite ...

The Day-Glo Apocalypse of ‘Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts’

They had me at the Mod Frogs. Attired in tailored suits, with skinny ties, pointy shoes, pencil moustaches, and all as green as Kermit — these stylish, savvy, human-sized “mute” mafiosi are just the tip ...

Crazy Mama (1975)

Jonathan "Silence of the Lambs" Demme directed this ultra-low-budget road romp starring Cloris "I won an Academy Award and four years later I'm in this weird movie?" Leachman, Donny "Ralph Malph" Most, and Ann "My ...

Event Horizon (1997)

"Alien" meets "Hellraiser" starring Sam "Possession" Neill? Yes please! Larry "You Probably Know Him As Laurence" Fishburne plays Captain Kirk and everybody has to strip to their underpants for cryogenia. Sam Neill plays Paul Reiser, ...

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

This movie takes place in January of the year 2021, and it’s disturbing how much this movie got right: an economy controlled by mega-corporations, giant homeless encampments, and a global pandemic — this sci-fi movie ...

“Red Scorpion” (1988)

After the white-hot airboat driving and suburbia-destroying intensity of "Invasion U.S.A." I just had to see what else could possibly come from the addled mind of director Joseph Zito. Unfortunately, the answer is "not much." ...

‘The Owl House’: Disney Does Hieronymus Bosch

Children’s literature, which this reporter maintains must include visual as well as text media, has always had a weird streak.  It’s tempting to cite “Adventure Time” as a recent trendsetter — the bizarro Cartoon Network ...

‘WandaVision’: A superhero mystery wrapped in a sitcom

The Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut has arrived on Disney+, and in our living rooms, with "WandaVision." The nine-episode TV serial finds two thus far underused MCU superheroes happily trapped with no memory inside what seems ...

Revisiting Bradbury’s ‘skin illustrations’

I've had a really hard time reading in the last month. I was tearing through books all spring and then I absolutely hit a wall. I don't think I read anything for 3 or 4 ...

How ‘Horta-nomics’ can save Star Trek’s socialist utopia from the horrors of the dilithium mines

This moment — Spock’s mind-meld with the Horta in “Devil in the Dark” -- is the instant when the socialist Federation of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" with all its hope becomes possible.Throughout the original ...

Ellen Klages on the ‘fantastic constructs’ of her magical San Francisco

[Ellen Klages has won her share of literary awards, but the biggest prize of all goes to the reader, who gets to explore the familiar, but distinct, worlds she creates. A San Francisco Bay Area ...

What Poe can teach us about the pandemic

But Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, ...

‘Read me a story’: Libro.fm and the rise of the indie audiobook (review)

I love books, I love stories, and I love being read to. Growing up my parents read to us almost every night, and it's always felt like such a loving, nurturing thing when a partner ...

Excited about the new ‘Picard’ series? Here’s what to watch to get caught up.

“Picard,” a new “Star Trek” series featuring an older Captain Jean-Luc Picard dragging himself out of retirement for one last hurrah, premieres on January 23. In interviews about the forthcoming series, the producers (Alex Kurtzman, ...

Herzog in a Star Wars western? Meet ‘The Mandalorian’ (Review)

“The Mandalorian,” the first live action Star Wars TV series, is the Star Wars fan’s wet dream. It is a gritty take on Star Wars, so obsessed with the scum and villainy side of the ...

David Tennant reads vampire stories, Michael Moorcock’s rock ‘n’ roll chaos

(Above: Edvard Munch, "Vampyr") David Tennant reads vampire stories: Hallowe'en has come for you a little early with this special treat — great vampire fiction by Fritz Leiber, Richard Matheson, Edith Wharton and other great ...

Here’s a li’l dish of Disney’s latest Star Wars and Marvel trailers …

(Above, the new WandaVision TV series appears to be pegged to a 2015 Marvel comic.) There's a dope new trailer-ish thing for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, mashing up previous episodes and ...

Strange transits through “The Daylight Gate” (review)

The Daylight GateBy Jeanette WintersonGrove Press (2012) Buy this book via IndieBound Unfailingly dire, unflinchingly bloody, full of love and license, and brimming over with real devotion and all-too-human devilry, Jeanette Winterson’s “The Daylight Gate“ ...

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: Gene Wolfe’s ‘The Fifth Head of Cerberus’ (Review)

Support indie booksellers and buy this book via IndieBound • Amazon users can buy this book as a trade paperback (Gollancz SF Masterworks edition) or a Kindle ebook. The Fifth Head of Cerberus: Three NovellasBy ...

On Octavia E. Butler’s Birthday, Why Not Read Some of Her Game-Changing Classics?

[All links to books are via IndieBound.] Octavia E. Butler's birthday is today, June 22, and her death in 2006 at age 58 — attributed variously to a stroke and also a head injury — ...