Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving and Chainsaw Massacre

Did some great cooking yesterday (only marginally related to the undead, but I did remember some cartoons or claymation in which the turkey rose from the platter and grabbed a knife and started chasing people). My wife had put in a request for cranberry relish (uncooked, as opposed to the cooked sauce) and for pecan pie, and my son had asked for cheesecake, so we ended up without pumpkin pie (fine with me, as it's my least favorite pie, though I'm told I make a good one). Poor Sophia hadn't requested anything, and she even helped in the kitchen, as usual. I'd never made a cheesecake before, and was terrified when the top expanded way beyond the top of the pan, then slowly sank as it cooled (I also don't make souffles, but I've heard that's the problem - they collapse completely). But it stopped sinking about a half inch below the top of the pan, so it made a perfect little pool for holding mashed raspberries. And that was a good cheesecake (and similar to pumpkin pie, I don't really like cheesecake, so if I like it, that's a good sign). The turkey was moist and with a good, crispy skin (who doesn't like charred skin?) but not much flavor. I warmed up a tiny hunk of ham, since Sophia and I like the combo, and it was pretty good. Stuffing was exceptionally celerylicious (what you get when the supermarket does BOGO for celery bunches), and the brussel sprouts were nice and tangy. And, finally, the sometimes bane of my cooking - the GRAVY - was perfect. Maybe that's where al the flavor from the turkey went, because it was so intense. And not a single lump, perfect consistency.

Anyway, at midnight I was getting ready to go to bed, and channel surfing, and there was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And, as embarrassing as it is to admit to horror fans, I'd never seen it. Well, I managed to stay up for 80 minutes of it. (I'd read a spoiler of the end, so I didn't think it was imperative I make it all the way to 2am.) I could definitely see why it's a classic. The failure to follow what would later be cliches - no one dies during sex, there's no monster-cam view, the most annoying and vulnerable character is not the first to go - was in itself amazing. And the composition of many shots - the clouds above the van, characters framed in the middle of the screen and backlit - was haunting and beautiful. Finally, the ability to build utterly creepy scenes without showing anything was amazing - when they're in the van with the hitchhiker I was just out of my mind, when nothing much really happens. But you'd have to say the attacks themselves (at least in this showing, I don't know how much they've edited, but at midnight on cable, I don't think it'd be too much) are pretty tame, and perfunctory, pretty much just EEK! WHACK!


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