You may remember Cliff Doerksen for his acerbic letters to our editor. Or his formidably researched cover stories in the Reader. Or his contributions, past and present, to the movie section.

Now Doerksen has launched his own blog, which, in marked contrast to most blogs by freelance movie critics, is actually interesting. At The Hope Chest: Bad News From the Past, Doerksen compiles and comments on bizarre news stories he’s stumbled upon while doing archival research for another project.

Fans of German Expressionist cinema will want to look over his tidbit about Peter Kurten, the “Vampire of Dusseldorf” who inspired the Peter Lorre character in M. Fans of Some Crazy Fuckin’ Shit will want to check out his 1933 Chicago Tribune item about a private screening of smut films that culminated in a mysterious acid attack.

If you fear that humanity is on a downward spiral, as I do, then you may find The Hope Chest oddly uplifting, because it suggests we’re merely circling at a very low level.