Bleh with Barry

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Archive for the ‘Folklore’ Category

Dracula: My Hypothetical Movie Casting

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Today in the Gothic Literature class I’m in, we started our discussion of Dracula by Bram Stoker. While we did the usual discussion of Jonathan Harker’s uselessness, Mina Murray’s man brain, Dracula’s foreignness, and the many ways in which one can read the text, we additionally talked about the four prominent movie adaptations of the book:  Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), Horror of Dracula (1958),and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). However, after listing these movies, we discovered that an adaptation of the novel hasn’t come out in the past 20 years that even tries to be faithful to the original story (there was the ill-fated Dracula 2000 with Gerard Butler… but yeah…). So we were tasked with casting a movie if we got the opportunity to pick anyone to be in our version of said hypothetical movie. Therefore, my list that I am posting below was born. I think that each of the actors that I’ve placed in certain roles would be able to bring a certain truthfulness to the movie that would resound well with the novel itself. Moreover, I know that some of my choices are a little odd, but I feel that each of the people that I picked would something to the characters that would make them memorable in some way. I hope you enjoy thinking about this as much as I did. 🙂

Dracula Cast List

Dracula— Michael Fassbender

Jonathan Harker— James McAvoy

Dr. Seward— David Tennant

Lord Arthur Holmwood— Matthew MacFadyen

Quincy Morris— Robert Downey Jr.

Abraham Van Helsing— Ian McKellen

Lucy Westenra— Rachel McAdams

Mina Harker— Gemma Arterton

Renfield— Andy Serkis

Bride #1— Kiera Knightly

Bride #2— Natalie Portman

Bride #3— Claire Danes

I have my reasons for placing certain people in certain roles. Moreover, I know that some of them could occupy many different roles in the grand scheme of things.

Pondering Gothic / Vampire Songs for my Class

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I am in a pretty cool graduate class if I do say so myself. It’s called “Spectral and Sublime: The Gothic Tradition,” which is offering me the chance to read fun things like Dracula, Jane Eyre, Carmilla, and many more stories (a lot of them dealing with vampires that are my favorite). While the books themselves are pretty awesome, the professor also asked us to think of some songs that are related to the Gothic or to vampires. So I have been on the interwebs looking for songs that I feel represent these two aspects; however, the few songs that I have here are only a smattering of what I’ve found… and what may be locked away in the deep recesses of my mind.

The first is “Moon Over Bourbon Street” performed by Sting. This song is about the vampires that appear in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles with an emphasis on Lestat. In the song, it is imagined Lestat is going down Bourbon St. in New Orleans with the moon high overhead and existing much as vampires do: stalking their prey and enjoying the immortal life.

The second song was played during the credits of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992). Performed by Annie Lennox, “Love Song for a Vampire” is beautiful and chilling and embodies the emotions of love and loss that seem to be common themes throughout the whole of the film. Moreover, it’s easy to hear how Annie Lennox continues to get work singing for films as she is a sultry siren.

Finally, “I Would Do Anything for Love” performed by Meatloaf and written by Jim Steinman is not a song that is particularly Gothic or vampire-y in a lyrical or musical sense. However, the video itself is quite Gothic with the large architectural feature of the gloomy mansion and the fact that the he is a monster that is in love with a beautiful young damsel. Additionally, he is transformed in the end by the power of their relationship (mayhaps… this is really unclear to me). The fact that he will not do something for love also makes it interesting to a large degree.

Vampires, the Gothic, and music mixing makes me a happy camper because they are all things that excite and interest me. However, I do not think that this is even the tip of the iceberg for these kinds of songs. And to any readers out there, I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have to help me compile songs for my professor’s list.

A Thought of Leaving

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Day after day,

I wait, but

You never come.

*

While I can and do

Breathe underwater,

My lungs get tired.

*

I am your lady,

But I have begun to

Question your authority.

*

Why should I wait?

You never waited on

Me, anytime.

*

I carry your burden,

A martyr never named,

Never thanked, just a chest.

*

I hold your treasure and

Rot as I think you will

Open me and feel me.

*

Alas, you never come,

And I wilt while

Your glory and pride shine.

*

I will not wait much

Longer, for I am getting

Bored and tired.

*

I caress a sword,

But it’s never you

And never will be.

*

Perhaps, I will leave

My Lake, leaving behind

All my sorrow.

*

If I do not wait,

You will not control

Me, never again.

*

However, maybe I am

Too rash. Maybe your

Horse died and slowed you.

*

Maybe, you caught

A Cold at

Christmastide.

*

Maybe I am

Hopeless and need to

Move on….No matter how hard I try.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

September 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

The Lady of the Lake: A Series of Poems

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So, I’ve been writing a lot of poetry of late that has been dealing with the Lady of the Lake. Honestly, part of this is because I am in a Medieval literature class dealing with monsters or whether part of me relates to her on some level…anyway, I am fascinated by the character and what happens with her after the whole Arthur thing takes place. As you’ll notice from many of my poems, I kind of want to give her back the sword after the events that lead to Arthur  being placed on the island of Avalon (I’m using bits and pieces of folklore and literary tales to create my own world). For me, she holds the sword and waits for Arthur or someone to return to her, but is this the only way that she can be? So, I hope you enjoy my ramblings of the lake as I will hopefully continue to have fun writing them.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

September 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

True Blood Season 4: The Season Thus Far, *Spoilers*, and My Thoughts

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So, I betting by now all the “Truebies” (their term not mine) out there are thoroughly invested in what is happening within the framework of the supposed “Season of the Witch.” Some of you may be perplexed as to why the season isn’t following the fourth book nearly as well as some of the last seasons, while others may be taking the show on its own merit. Whatever your opinion of the show may be, I think we can all safely say that this may the best season to date as far as not spreading the limelight as it were between several of the peripheral characters and bringing the focus back on the ones that truly matter (i.e. Sookie, Eric, and Bill…and believe me I think that this has been a couple of seasons in the making too because I found myself last season upon my first watch through feeling that the show was becoming disconnected. Yet, now I feel that they are doing a better job of focusing again.) But all my bantering aside, I feel that some things in season 4 are wonderful while others I could just put to the true death and leave it at that.

1) Sookie as a fairy–While I’m glad to some degree that they did make Sookie a little less helpless in the show (sparks from the hands), I do not like the fairy story arc much at all. Why one might ask? Well, I have read the books and the fairies aren’t monsters trying to take Sookie away to their land for all eternity…this in the show is problematic to me (Also, killing Claudine, while it did make for a cute scene with the childlike Eric, bothered me on some level too). Honestly, I am okay if they do nothing more with this storyline because I find it a little ridiculous at times…

2) Tara the Vampire Slayer…of the Scoobie Gang?–I have to admit that I haven’t liked Tara in a while. I know that she’s been through some shit. However, by that same token, I miss the smart ass, sassy Tara from the first season before she gets involved with the vampires and werewolves and maenads (oh my!).  She is someone that I like as a side-kick to Sookie and nothing more…

3) Jason as Ghost Daddy–Again, another storyline that I’m not sure I care about…partially because Hot Shot isn’t the Hot Shot of the book and partially because the character of Crystal Norris annoys the hell out of me (I know that she should; however, I wish I could see a little more depth from the actress playing…). Still, I am liking the conflict caused by the Jessica / Hoyt / Jason triangle that has been formed and expect something pretty spectacular to come of it.

  4) Eric and Sookie– Wanted it to happen from the beginning because Bill has always seemed like a fishy character to me before I found out that he was sent to procure Sookie…Now, I feel that she is with someone who is a little more upfront with her…even though he is a thousand-year old bad ass  with the potential to break her heart in the future.

5) The Witches–I think that this storyline is shaping up to be one of the more interesting antagonistically in the series of seasons. Marney /  Antonia is a pretty hefty villain (except for the incompetent Marney who also happens to be competent…don’t understand this characterization). The fact that they have the power to toast the vampires at will and control them makes them a bit scarier than the Fellowship of the Sun, Mary Anne, Russell Edgington, or any of the other main or sub-villains. I’m hoping that the end of the season is as good as what’s happened thus far.

6) Rotting Pam–As I’ve said before, if Pam dies, I will quit watching the show. However, I don’t think that this is going to happen. I believe that Lafeyette is going to be able to heal all the vampires and others that Marney has affected. But Pam holds a special place in my heart. I hope that she continues to get more screen time throughout the remaining four episodes.

So, there you have it…my thoughts and some of the goings on of season 4. You may have notices that I left off some people like Lafeyette and Sam…I think they are best served as side characters like Tara and should fill that role again…Overall, I hope that True Blood keeps it up because I can’t wait to see where they go with season 5, due to all the changes they have made and will probably keep making…

Written by uncannynerdyguy

August 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

True Blood Quandaries: Season 4 The Season of the Witch

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So, as some of you may know, I like the True Blood series because I enjoy the books and because I’ve been a long time fan of vampires in general. Moreover, the vampires of True Blood are the closest things I’ve seen to what I believe to be a good representation of vampires that has been in the media of late. Yes, I do not like Twilight, Vampire Diaries, Being Human (the American version…I like the BBC; and while it does follow the storyline fairly well, I think that advertising it as a new series is entirely ludicrous) because they all represent the vampires as broody teenagery things that long for the love of girls who are nowhere close to their age…it’s a thing because they want to treat the humans as others and worship their beauty or something of that sort. However, the True Blood vampires are grittier and treat humans like you would expect them to be treated…as cattle. Yet, this talking about other vampires is not what this blog is intended to accomplish…yeah…I’m planning on a little conjecture about what is going to happen in Season 4 from where we left off at the end of Season 3 and what I know from the books and from the clips that are available online. From this point on, I issue the *SPOILER ALERT* warning.

1) I see from the clips available online (see below) and from the introduction of the witches (Holly, Jesus, Lafayette) that they are going to do the Eric has amnesia plot line. Eric has a spell cast on him and Sookie and Pam must help him get himself back. Moreover, Sookie and Eric will get it on.

2) Hopefully, Sam’s family troubles are dealt with. I don’t know about everyone else, but his issues with Tommy and the others is getting quite annoying. And he has a girlfriend who is or did date a werewolf…does anyone see where this might be going? Honestly, I hope that they get back to the Sam that is present in the books and do away with the angsty Sam. So, yeah…

3) Jason is going to get turned into a werepanther…however, it will be through Crystal’s choice somehow instead of the jealous other Were in the books. Really, I hate this storyline. I didn’t like it in the book and the way that they are producing it on screen is working even less for me. I also know that Jason is my least favorite character…strike that….Crystal is my least favorite and the girl playing her really isn’t Crystal Norris. Plus, they manipulated the character of Calving Norris (Crystal’s uncle) and killed him…(he’s a nice guy in the books…not on the show). Read the books to get a better interpretation of this story line.

4) Bill is not going to die from his fight with Sophie Anne (even though if we were talking about the books he would…Sophie Anne is over a thousand years old in the book…not the weakling that she is now…). However, while he doesn’t play a huge role in the fourth book, it looks like he is going to be filling in for a higher up in the show. I think that maybe it will be for the newly deposed Russell Edgington or Sophie Anne, whom he has killed…again, I hope that he hasn’t killed her, but what he did at the end of Season 3 amounts to sedition and treason…yeah…

http://www.inside-true-blood-blog.com/blog/2011/3/26/waiting-sucks-bill-and-eric.html

5) Tara…after last season, I don’t know that anyone really wants her to be around this season…she’s massively damaged goods, and I feel that the time away from Bon Temps would do some good for her. Let’s face it boyfriend being killed, kidnapped and held by crazy vampire, and best friend almost dying will lead anyone to going over the edge. So, yeah….

6) Sookie…She’s going to help Eric. However, I don’t know how or when she will get back from Faery…but she’ll play a major role in the Witch War that will take place this coming season…however, that’s about all I can see happening with her, other than the Eric relationship and the sex with him…yeah…anyway….

7) Pam, Jessica and Hoyt–Jessica and Hoyt are together for now…and Pam is going to have a huge roll in the new season, and I’m excited because she’s my favorite character…it’s the dry wit and smart-ass attitude…

My biggest hope for Season 4 is that they move back to the more streamlined storyline (more streamlined anyway). Because as they branch out and make the storyline more convoluted in an attempt to interest more people, they cause a chaos of the story arcs that both detract from the main storyline and cause unnecessary weirdness. So, here’s looking forward to the Fourth Season of True Blood. I hope that you all enjoy watching as I know that I will…I leave you with the song they have been using to hype the new season: “Season of the Witch” performed by Courtney Love. Enjoy!

Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Afterthoughts *Spoiler Alerts*

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So, I finished the game just hours ago, and I think that I’m going to stick by my previous statements about the game. It’s overall good control-wise and the look of the game is exquisite. Some things were annoying, but I’ll just direct you to my previous blog to deal with these issues. This blog post will be dealing mainly with the story of the game and the possible ramifications of said story. For anyone reading this who might be interested in playing *SPOILER ALERT* from this point on.

So, the end of the game you find out that the main person who’s been helping you the whole game is actually using you as a puppet to assemble his own powerful mask…however, he is being played by none other than Satan himself.  Well, Gabriel, our hero, gets brought back from beyond the grave to stop Satan…epic battle ensues…Gabriel wins (of course) and finds out that the God mask does not truly bring the dead back and that he will never be able to be with his Marie again (tear jerking ending)…*sigh*…however, that’s not the complete ending. If you watch after the credits, you find out that Gabriel has become…*dum, dum, dum*…Dracula, and Zobek (the helper from earlier) is seeking you out to fight against Satan again…also, did I mention this is taking place almost a millenia after the original story?

So, basically, what does all of this mean for the game in general? Well, like I said, it’s a pretty good game. But what does Gabriel becoming Dracula mean? For me, it means one of two things. One, this game is supposed to be a game explaining the birth of Dracula into the Castlevania universe. However, there is a big flaw with this in my mind. The Dracula he is seems nothing like the one from the other games…so, yeah. The second option and possibly the more logical is that Castlevania Lords of Shadow is a reboot of the franchise, and it’s about to get really interesting…

So, I would say to the die-hard fans out there it’s worth a play but expect to scratch your head a little…I just wonder if the next game will continue with this story or if it will go in a completely different direction…

Written by uncannynerdyguy

December 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Scary Movies

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I have always been a fan of scary movies from the time that I was a small child. I don’t know what it is about them that make me want to continue to watch. Do I want to be scared? Do I like the feeling of my heart beating hard in my chest? Honestly, I enjoy a little of both because there is nothing like a good scary movie to get the blood pumping and make you feel antsy while lying in your bed at night. So, for the blogosphere’s pleasure, I am going to give you a ranking of some of my favorite horror movies.

1) Misery. I recently watched this Stephen King adaptation about a superfan who acquires her favorite author and has him write for her. The role of the demented superfan won actress Kathy Bates an academy award (she is wonderfully crazy in the movie). It is the worst nightmare of anyone who has any aspirations in the artistic world. The believability of the movie makes it even more eerie as you think…what if this thing could happen…or has happened before?

2) Scream. The first of the 90’s slasher flicks, this series is fun because of the plausibility. They bring up pop culture with the “movies made me do it” defense and the teenagers killing their classmates. It is creepy and cool. With Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and cameos by many actresses and actors, these movies came along at the right time. Also, with the fourth movie coming out in 2011, I am going to have to rewatch and enjoy them again.

3) Interview with the Vampire. Based on the novels by Anne Rice, this movie was one of the first to humanize vampires….it’s oddly unnerving when one sees the nuclear family onscreen with two vampire men and a vampire girl. It took the vampire genre to a new level and asked others to bring their product up to the same level (which none really have done)…The characters of Louie, Lestat and Claudia are all very believable from a human perspective and make us question our own humanity as we watch. It leaves us wondering about ourselves and the world that we live in.

4)Orphan. While I saw the ending of this movie from about the middle, I was creeped out when the finally reveile the big secret.  It is the story of a little girl with a trouble past who is adopted by a new family. It just seems that trouble follows her around…What is the deal with her?

5) Nosferatu (1922). Possibly the scariest version of the Dracula story that has ever been brought to film. It is a silent movie that relies on the actors to produce the creepy and scary factors. They do a great job of this considering the technology that they had to work with. Max Schreck makes the skin crawl as Count Orlock. He is inhuman and makes us wonder what might truly be out there in this weird world that we exist in.

I would recommend watching any of these movies if you want to be creeped out, be scared, or be entertained. All of them hold a special place in my Halloween heart, and I hope that you will find yourself crawling into your bed at night with fears of things that go bump in the night. Enjoy!

The Vampires of True Blood *Spoilery Things*

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I am interested in vampires in literature and the media. Anyone I know can tell you this about me…It’s one of the quirks that makes me who I am. So, I think that it’s only appropriate that I discuss the vampires of True Blood a little. What makes them tick and what differentiates them from the other “vampires” that exist in fiction today.

1) They exist on synthetic blood that was produced by the Japanese. It wasn’t until I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse Series or watching True Blood on HBO that I had remotely heard of this idea. I honestly think that it’s kind of brilliant. Why? The overarching idea that now vampires can exist without feeding on other living beings is actually a fun issue to tackle within the framework of any narrative.

They can potentially live off of the stuff. However, for the ones that are thousands of years old, will they actually make the change or continue to be the thief in the night? It also brings up a new level of discrimination amongst species (I don’t particularly see the vampire in fiction or folklore as “human” anymore while they still do have human likeness and tendencies). Even though they are more powerful physically and evolutionarily, the people in the books and the show have an immense hatred of the undead.

I think this is interesting because it brings up these political and social issues that still exist in the world today. However, it makes it easier to deal with the ideas and emotions because we are dealing with something that has never lived…er…been dead….or whatever.

2) The structure of the vampire political system is quite interesting. While in the television show they have dumbed it down significantly to make things less confusing for the masses, the vampire hierarchy is fairly well thought out. In the books, it is made clear that there are vampires who are more and less politically powerful. A sheriff is the lowest form of the ruling body, and they rule over sectors of the fiefs that they live in. There are kings and queens who rule over vampire populated areas. Now, in the show, they have shown all this but what they have not discussed is the fact that the kings/queens may rule over something as small as a city or sections of a state depending on vampire saturation. For example, the city of New York would have its own king/queen whereas New York state would still have a ruler.

I also like that the kings/queens while they rule over the sheriffs have to go through them before they conduct business in the sheriffs’ areas. This is why in the books Sophie-Anne is actually Queen of Louisiana and is the sheriff of the area in which she resides. This way she doesn’t have ask anyone before she does anything in her area. While the show doesn’t make this sort of thing clear, I believe that they have done a fairly decent job thus far of showing the powers of the kings and queens as with them requiring other vampires to stay (Eric the end of season 2) or kidnapping another vampire (Russell with Bill at the end of Season 2/Beginning of Season 3).

3) The detachment of the vampires from the natural world. Even the shape shifters and weres are still considered human in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because they aren’t “walking dead people” as Arlene so eloquently puts it in the series. They are able to blend in and completely be assimilated (other than the fact that they have higher temps than humans and heal faster).

The vampires now cannot fully appear human. Why? People are looking for them. When they were only superstition (Stevie Wonder songs pops into my head immediately…for no real reason…just because of the word mention), humanity laughed at the shadows and feared what they saw in horror films. With the “Great Revelation” of the vampires, it opened them up to the world. In the books and show, they constantly use the term “coming out of the coffin.” This event has complicated their existence of the shadows. Now, the light of some flickering fluorescent lamp has exposed them. Still, vampires like Bill (although he is trying to appear more human and less vampire like) have tried to matriculate into mainstream society and make humans less afraid.

In the series, characters like Nan Flanagan try to show the world that the vampires are not wicked or corrupt that they can peacefully coexist with mortals. However, even Nan has her own scary face that she shows to only the vampire world. This face that she puts up proves that vampires can’t truly be themselves around the human populous but must maintain that distance of looking better and more friendly than they are in reality.

Weird Reasons that I Like Vampires in Fiction

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So, there are a lot of reasons out there why people like vampires. They’re sexy, powerful, etc. However, I would like to say that I liked vampires before the whole True Blood/Twilight/Vampire Diaries phenomena entered into the picture. Why? Because I like a creature that can span the millenia, blend in, and tell tales about it. It’s interesting for me to read about a character who cannot die by normal body degradation. But here are some of the reasons that I like them that are weird.

1) They practically like superheroes–They bridge two of my loves superheroes/comics and folk lore. I find it fun when a vampire uses their powers for good or evil and becomes a hero or villain of sorts. It also intrigues me  because although superheroes and villains are bound by natural laws vampires are not due to being something other than human.

2) Just like in the first season of True Blood, I would like to be able to have an actual “living” being to ask questions about the past. I am somewhat of a history buff when it comes to certain eras. This would allow me to actually hear and catalog actual events from a survivor of the event which is pretty amazing because some events happened lifetimes ago.  In theory, it would be pretty cool.

3) The idea of something that is not human that exemplifies certain human needs and desires. Any vampire in fiction in the past 150 years has feed off blood and been the monster. However, since Anne Rice, there has been a movement to humanize the creatures. We are allowed to see into their world which is something that Bram Stoker or Sheridan le Fanu didn’t do. We see that they need companionship and feel to sometimes higher degrees the feelings of loneliness because it stretches out before them for all eternity.

4) The fact of how their deaths make me feel. If I’m watching a television show or movie or reading a book, I always feel a little sad when an immortal character dies. Why? They will never be able to make more history or influence anything else. They have been found by the “true death” as True Blood calls it. I guess in some ways it makes me wonder about my own mortality and what I might get accomplished in the brief span of life that I have…whereas that creature may have done nothing but maim and cause carnage for its existence.