by Bill Kearney
I read the short POV article about how sounds contribute to the scariness of horror movies with interest (“Things That Go Bump in the Night,” October). The sounds of movies of this genre have always freaked me out more than the images; I can’t stand to be within earshot of such sounds even if I am not engaged in the movie. On my eastbound transatlantic flight, I decided to see if, protected by this intellectual knowledge about sounds gained from reading the article, I could watch a scary flick. I got through the first sounds of creaky hinges and blowing winds in The Conjuring 2 OK, but when it got to the deep rumbling sound and dissonant music, I had to give up. The new information did not rescue me from the eerie effectiveness of the soundtrack. I switched to something more cheery on the movie menu.
I read your August article “Parks and Recreation” on my way from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco for our daughter’s wedding. I was delighted that the article mentioned John Muir and actor/historian Lee Stetson, who portrays Muir today through his performances and recordings. My husband and I enjoyed listening to one of Lee’s CDs, on which he portrayed Muir, as we drove through Yosemite National Park a few years ago.
Muir’s Alaskan journals enriched a trip exploring that majestic state. On this most recent trip, our daughter married in a grove of towering redwoods in the Muir Woods. Thanks to Muir and those he inspired, our national parks and forests continue to be a treasure for all. In my wedding reading, I drew on Muir’s spirit with this quote of his: “Everybody needs beauty … places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
As a lifelong fan of the Rocky series (I was 3 years old when the first one came out), I was enormously pleased to see Sly Stallone grace the cover of your November issue. It was great to see a bio piece treated with the depth and richness you brought to it. Your inclusion of the “old man Rocky” painting and the observation that Stallone is just one year younger than Burgess Meredith was when the original film came out makes the franchise seem somehow more complete and satisfying. Creed was a fitting chapter in the saga and Stallone’s best performance to date. Well done, to them and to you.
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