Making a bed and wrestling Newt at the same time is a tricky proposition, at best. Once the bottom sheet’s down, however, it’s a good deal simpler. It’s rare that he lets me totally cover him with the comforter, but sheets seem to work ok.

He followed me into the shower again… at least until the water was turned on. He’s mastered how to hide behind the liner and mer at me as I wash. Very odd behavior.

I downloaded a screener of The Ring (pg-13, by the way…) and watched it last night after NOTLD and I was fairly impressed.

It may’ve been because it was late at night, and I was in the mood, but I feel that sound was used effectively (some of the most nerve-wracking static I’ve heard) and the usual manipulative use of sudden loud noises to get a shock response were choreographed exceptionally well. It’s a common trick, but when overused it loses all effect.

One thing that was handled subtly was using the frame to keep you uneasy and continually expecting something to come into the frame. Your eye gets unconsciously trained by previous films. When someone’s face is in close-up, but there is an empty area to the left or right, experience tells you that something is going to pop into the frame and go booga booga. If a character opens a door and covers the background, but does nothing of any consequence, you know that when they close the door a threat will be revealed. The film kept you bracing for a shock but never delivered them on cue. Consequently the shocks were shocking when they did show up off the beat, or without the usual build-up or lead-in.

I don’t want to reveal anything about the plot or blow any of the surprises, so I’m not going to discuss them…. But, I’ve read some reviews that don’t seem to get it. I think they got caught up in the technology in the MacGuffin, and mistook the MacGuffin for the story. Questions such as: “So, who made the phone call?” or “Where did the tape come from?” are not revealing logical flaws in the film.

I’ll answer both questions right now. If you haven’t seen it, the answers won’t mean anything to you.

a) [the ghost] made the call.
b) It started as a blank tape in the cabin. Then [the ghost] wrote on it.

Think back to the opening conversation between the two girls at the beginning of the film. What were the guys planning to do with the VCR at the cabin? They were going to record a game, but the reception was lousy.

How did this become an urban legend? It happened before. This time it happened to someone with a reporter for a relative.

I can understand how the MacGuffin gets mistaken for the plot.

Nice seed for a story… Website (I’ll have to see how feardotcom did.), videotape, malevolent MP3, whatever — it doesn’t make any difference. It’s a ghost story. The ghosts do it all. These technological details are not the motive force, they are the manifestations of a gothic-style haunting in a technological world. The ghosts are in the machine. (*snort*) The ghost can hang around in a website just as easily as it could in a decaying abbey. Why can’t it travel over wires or microwaves? A ghost can reside on a videotape, and then make the phone ring and talk to you — and all without ever stirring from that icky place where their remains are moldering.

I think it’s time to look back into ghosts as story seeds, because there are some great possibilities, and ’tis the season, after all. I believe I am going to re-read Peter Straub’s “Ghost Story,” because I am now convinced that it is a better book than I thought it was when I read it. That novel had a framing device that I didn’t really get the first time around, but something in “The Ring” reminded me of it.

In “Ghost Story” most of the story is a flashback. In the present time a protagonist is stalking a little girl for some reason. He notices that she seems absolutely normal at the playground, but none of the other children play with her. (Not a direct quote)

“What’s the name of that girl?” He asked, pointing.
The boy shuffled his feet, blinked and said “Angie.”
“Angie what?”
“Don’t know.”
“Why doesn’t anybody ever play with her?”
The boy squinted at him, cocking his head; then, deciding he could be trusted, leaned forward charmingly, cupped his hands beside his mouth tell a dark secret. “Because she’s *awful*.”

Well, that came back to me as I was watching ‘The Ring.” Everyone assumed that [the ghost] was adopted. If [the ghost] was *awful* (and some dialogue indicates that the other islanders might think so), that puts the behavior of some other characters in a new light.

And remember, she never sleeps — so how can she dream? No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

Yep, there’s some good stuff to be found in this ghost business.

I wonder how good the Original Ring is?

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