Please explain what just happened.

You tell me. I obviously missed something.

 

What is your earliest memory?

Stuck outside on my dark front porch, huddled in a scratchy patchwork blanket after stealing pennies and sneaking out to (closed) corner store in the middle of the night. My mom still doesn’t believe me on that one.

 

If you weren’t an actor, what other profession would you choose?

World traveling photo-journalist-writer-translator-spy.

While I’d taken it upon myself to pick some horrific non-horror films a few Halloweens ago (Guillermo del Toro’s eyes-in-the-hands guy, you’re always on my mind), this year I was interested to know what my fellow TNB contributors might say were the most terrifying movie scenes they’ve endured to date. Below, if you dare to read on, you’ll find those iconic dead-eyed twins, bad hell-spawn hair, an unfathomable choice, and more, but first I’ll get this party started with Willy Wonka’s boat ride from the 1971 Mel Stuart film.  Most of my phobias can be traced back to these two manic minutes in the tunnel:

It would seem Alfred Hitchcock is silhouetting himself into the public consciousness once again. He’s everywhere these days. For one thing, Vertigo recently (finally!) rose above Citizen Kane to top Sight and Sound Magazine’s best movies of all time. All time. The end. For another, there are Hitchcock biopics aplenty on the horizon. On October 20, HBO premieres The Girl, based on Tippi Hedren’s account of working with Hitch on The Birds, and the feature film Hitchcock — starring Scarlett Johansson, Helen Mirren, and Anthony Hopkins as the man himself — hits the big screen November 23. Behold, the trailer:

 

When I first started working in China, my students laughed at my name. A day or two later, as I talked with my manager, I was told that my name had been a bit of a problem in the hiring process. “Our last teacher was called David,” he told me. “The Chinese didn’t want us to hire another one.”

I thought this more than a little strange. If my name had been “David Hitler” or “Kim Jong-David”, then it might have been a little more understandable… But even so, I couldn’t imagine why my name – surely one of the least imaginative a parent could bestow upon a child – had been jinxed by whoever came before me.

Then the stories came out, albeit slowly. My co-workers – a friendly and talkative bunch with whom I can discuss just about anything – were very reluctant to acknowledge the existence of “Crazy David”, as he was known.

I learned a few things about him that began to explain why he was so intensely disliked: