In Which Paintings Scare Me

There were two films that really scared me as a kid – and both of them had one rather unusual feature in common.

‘The Witches’ and ‘Ghostbusters 2.’

Let’s look at ‘The Witches’ first. Remember the scene where the grandmother tells Luke about her first encounter with witches? If you don’t, just watch the clip below.

That clip ended a little bit sooner than it should have. After that, the grandmother told us that the girl in the painting would change positions from time to time but nobody ever saw her move. And freakiest of all, she got older and older, until one day she simply wasn’t there anymore.

Why did I choose the film over the brilliant book? Because in the film we got to see the painting. And in my parents’ house, we had a painting of a cottage in the woods just like that one, which you can imagine I was terrified of. I honestly think that the clip above is one of the most frightening scenes in cinematic history. Getting trapped for eternity in a lonely painting is such a horrifying prospect. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Which brings me to ‘Ghostbusters 2’, which also had a person trapped in a painting at its core. Except this time, the person trapped is the evil ghost Vigo the Carpathian.

I loved everything about ‘Ghostbusters’ growing up; the cartoon, the toys, the first film. So I couldn’t wait to see the sequel when it came out. I went to the cinema with my mother and brother. I took the aisle seat and waited to laugh and jump in equal measures. And this was all going so well, until Vigo stepped out of the painting.

I distinctly remember that moment. It’s stayed with me more than any other cinema-gonig experience. Sitting there, in the aisle seat, I was convinced that Vigo was going to come walking down the steps from behind to get me. I even looked over my shoulder a few times to make sure he wasn’t there.

Thankfully he wasn’t. But even to this day, if I see a painting like the one in ‘The Witches’ or a poster with Vigo’s snarling face on it, I can’t help but swallow drily, avery my gaze and hurry away.


So with that, I’ll wish you all a HAPPY HALLOWE- Wait a second! There’s a painting over my desk I never saw before…

I think I’ll just take a closer look. Be right back…


What a weird painti-ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Pixar Intro Parody

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Pixar intro where the cute little lamp (Luxo Jr I believe his name is) comes along and bounces on the ‘I’. Anyway, College Humour have made a parody of the famous intro full of dark humour. Enjoy!

Warning: you may never look at little Luxo Jr the same way again!



More Seuss – Mad Men

I’m a big fan of Mad Men. One of my favourite characters is Ken Cosgrove. He’s often overlooked but I like him because, although he’s just a boring accounts guy at work, he secretly writes short stories at home. The creator of Mad Men has said that the series will end in the modern day and we’ll get to see what all the characters are up to. I always get the feeling that Ken will have left the advertising industry to become a full-time and very successful author.

Anyway, I read this blog and it reminded me a lot of Ken. Turns out Dr Seuss worked in advertising before becoming a children’s author.

Caine’s Arcade

This is a really sweet and heart-warming little film. It’s a documentary about a young boy who built his own arcade from cardboard boxes. Take ten minutes out of your day and watch.

2011; What it meant to me

The past 365 days have been a particularly great year for me.

There are all the obvious things that most of you already know. I’ve had my first book published to critical and public acclaim. It was even shortlisted in the BGE Irish Book Awards – (that was a shocker!) Because of the book, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of new and fascinating people, including several fellow writers who have had nice and encouraging things to say. But the real joy has come from my many visits to schools and libraries. Meeting the children to have read or are reading my book is a pleasure incomparable to anything else. The enthusiasm kids today have for books is infectious and makes me want to go home and read/write even more.

I’ve spent a lot of the time in the past year learning how to be a writer. When I wrote the book in 2010, I kind of just stumbled into everything, feeling my way blindly. But at the start of 2011, I set myself some writing targets and got into a habit that I keep to today. Right now, I have the first drafts of the next two Arthur Quinn books complete and am working on a whole other story that I hope people will get to read one day.

My friends and family have been so supportive to me all year long that I can’t thank them enough. The same must be said for my publishers, Mercier Press, fellow authors and all the kids book enthusiasts I’ve met along the way.

But what else did 2011 mean to me? Well I thought I’d have a look back at some of my highlights. What were yours?


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