CRRRRS 451 The Black Phone

By Roy Mathur, on 2022-07-23, at 23:02:30--23:36:40 BST, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Woe, Woe, and Thrice Woe

Stress caused my Tourette became worse recently, not helped my Mac going belly-up, when Windows 7 did it's usual twice yearly fatal crash.

That hilariously added to the stress because, though I got the Mac working again---using it's factory settings and Mountain Lion, rather than Catalina, due to lower RAM requirements---it still performed like a honey drunk bear on a hot day. Linux? Oh yes, I did try the latest Ubuntu, which now no longer recognises the WiFi card. Excellent stuff Canononical (sic) (typical Royism). So I'm back to doing this whole carnival on a decade plus Intel Atom netbook, which strangely is still a little bit faster and smoother running Windows 7 than an Intel 2.5GHz Dual Core i5 Mac Mini. How?

Other tech problems? The two family smartphones are on the blink too, the car is making funny noises, the energy bill's doubled, and I had a stupid air conditioner to return to stupid Amazon because stupid UK windows stupidly don't open inwards and stupid me didn't think about that before stupidly ordering, then hauling the stupid 30Kg+ appliance up the stupid stairs, and then back down the stupid stairs. Stress.

The Black Phone

The Black Phone is Joe Hill's 2004 short story adapted into 2022 Blumhouse film playing at cinemas in the UK now.

In it, a teenager tries to evade school bullies, his physically abusive drunk of a father, and a child snatcher responsible for the disappearance of several neighbourhood kids, until he too is snatched. Luckily, the ghosts of the kids murdered before him are there to help him out of his predicament.

This clever premise is a trip back in time to the late 70s. It is well executed, well written, the scene transitions cleverly edited, and the acting is good, especially that of the psychic sister of the protagonist.

Even if Joe Hill was not Stephen King's son, I would still say there's a commonality between the two. A magician instead of It's clown, but both are monsters who hurt children. There is also that element of psychic power, reminiscent the Shining too. However, differentiating himself from dad, Hill's Prose is more complex and intricately woven than that of his father. His cameos are also less offensive than that of King.

The film, however, is badly marred by the depressing subject matter. I also did not like the camp performance of Ethan Hawke. Why would a serial murderer of teenage boys be gay, and why would a gay man be particularly effeminate? The portrayal strikes me as obvious and homophobic.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

In 450, I talked about the end of season one and forgot to mention the return of my favourite space captain of all time, Jim Kirk. How could I forget? Well, Anson Mount's Pike is even more charismatic than Kirk, though that isn't a criticism of the new Kirk.

Episode 10 was all about Pike and his attempts to escape his horrendous future, but also introduced Paul Wesley as James Tiberius Kirk. I liked the portrayal. It's closer to the William Shatner version than Chris Pine's, though Pine's is more fun. I think Wesley's is a nuanced, measured, truer Kirk, especially the Kirk of James Blish's original series episode novelisations. I love how his assumed recklessness by everyone, including his brother, is shown as brilliant non-conventional thinking, that is, of course, no surprise to us fans of Kirk.

Ms. Marvel

That's it for the excellent assortment of Royal Sweets that is Ms. Marvel.

Spoiler... look out for the Carol Danvers' Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) scene at the end!


I'm not watching as much as before. I'm catching up on reading.

I'm looking forward to reading the Legend of Luther Arkwright graphic novel, and trying to extract some value from the second hand copy of The Handbook: The Unofficial Guide to the Production of Doctor Who.

The Classic Doctor Who Rewatch Continues

Expect a new episode of our rewatch next.


I'm still using the SM58, despite the SM7B being better because the SM58 is better at rejecting background noise.