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Archive for the ‘Folklore’ Category

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.

True Blood Predictions for Season 3: Spoiler Alert

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So, I have several thoughts about True Blood which may be shared by others; however, we shall see. There will be some discussion that will be about season 3, so if you haven’t watched it, I would stop reading now because I don’t want to be the guy who reveals too much (I hate people like this…stupid person ruining the 6th Harry Potter book…I’m not bitter).

1) The Magister must die. Honestly, I don’t see how the season can function unless the cause of a major point of contention for all of them is eliminated. He doesn’t approve of the sale of vampire blood which also means that he would frown upon Russell Edginton giving the blood to werewolves. I believe that the discussion between my friends and I is right that Russell will be the on give him the “final death”. This is sad on one hand because I like the actor who plays the Magister…however, I want Pam to be free from his clutches (she’s my favorite character…and if they kill her [which I don’t think they will] I will quit watching True Blood).

2) Russell Edgington must die. Due to the flash back that Eric had concerning his family and their untimely demise, Eric will kill Russell. Why? To seek the vengeance that he was unable to afford his family. This will probably be very difficult because Russell said that he is 3000 years old. I’m interested to see if they do this this season or if it becomes something that bridges the seasons.

3) Poor Talbot…He’s going to die…I feel it, and he isn’t doing anything but being a vampire…

4) Sophie-Anne–I think there’s more to the whole Sophie-Anne thing than has been explored as of yet…I believe that she may be a pivotal plot point in this season…I just don’t know what as of yet.

These are my thoughts as of now…Please feel free to share if you have ideas as well…

Sookie’s Milkshake Brings All the Supes to the Yard

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So, I’ve recently been reading a lot of the Sookie Stackhouse books and watching the new season of True Blood and a question popped into my mind. What is it about Sookie Stackhouse that make all sorts of supernatural creatures fall in line to die for her. I mean seriously, it’s a veritable who’s who of creatures that begin to interact with Sookie as the books go on (and the series if they decide to keep making it).

*SPOILER ALERT*

If any of you have read the books or watched the show, you know that everyone asks what is “different” about Sookie or “What are you?” They seem to be popular questions that are haphazardly answered within the framework of the narrative. First, Sookie is attractive by mortal standards. She’s blonde, has a tan, and has enough bosom to go around. She is the ideal American woman (kinda coming across as a bit of a “Barbie” in some ways).  These looks keep getting continually enhanced by the vampire blood that she consumes throughout the course of the books. All this would make her attractive in some sense. However, it does not explain the corpses, dust, and muck of the creatures that seem to keep laying down their lives for her.

Two, if you’ve read the books, you know that Sookie is at least partially fairy. In the books, the fairies are a race that humans find intoxicatingly beautiful and are drawn to. The vampires and some other supes find their scent irresistible. The would love nothing better than to snack on a fairy. Yet, even with this factoring in, does Sookie have enough fairy in her to tip the scales to her favor? The reason I say this it the fact that not all the supernatural creatures seem to notice her in the same way that others do. The vampires seem to have an attraction to her. However, this may all be a pissing contest as to who can nail the human and have her telepathic powers to themselves. The weres have an attraction to her because she seems fresh and otherworldly. The fairies know that she is part fairy…it’s just an increasing conundrum of what might cause this loyalty to a mere mortal.

While everyone agrees that Sookie is something more than human, I am not inclined to believe that she is simply attractive because she is partially fairy. This ideal does not seem to connect all the dots for me. It seems like to quick and reasonable of an answer to deal with the larger idea that is floating about that Charlaine and HBO have not touched yet. Is she going to be something that is exceptionally rare in the world? Or will she turn out to be just a sheer victim of circumstance? I don’t know. However, I am interested to see what happens as the show and the books continue to be produced.

Supernatural Deals with the Devil *Spoiler Alert*

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So, all of you Supernatural fans out there, tonight is the season finale (as it is scheduled to be). I am on the edge of my seat to see what happens with Sam and Dean. As some of you may know from my earlier posts, I got involved with the show at the end of last year and watched up to the end of season 4 over Christmas break. I was very much enthralled.

Now, they are at the end of the road and must face down the devil. If you’ve been keeping up, over the past season, they have fought the four horsemen of the apocalypse, tangled with the Croatoan virus, met a bevy of gods (little g because they pagans), and have fought with each other to come to this. Tonight, they will face Satan. What will happen as they try to throw him back in the cage that Sam sprung him from. Will they truly be able to do it or will they leave us waiting anxiously for the next season? Silly me, I have already ruined a part of the episode for myself because I read the imdb.com page (don’t read the episode summary unless you want to have something ruined for yourself as well).

As the final minutes and hour up till the “end” count down, I will continue to ponder what is going to happen with this series. Originally, it was slated for only 5 seasons, but with season 6 already promised, it makes me wonder what they might do next. Is Sam really going to be able to trap the devil or is Dean going to have to hunt him in the next season to finish the devil off? Who knows? All I can expect is that this season finale will leave me going “Oh Shit!” just like all the others (hopefully anyway). So, enjoy the show. I know that I will.

Immortality

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A culling of ice and fire

Searing away the infidel.

The most fearsome only leaving,

Leaving.

A might battle for the reign

Filling the halls with the clang

Of sword and steel ringing,

Ringing.

A final flash of silver,

A trickle of blood wandering

Down a blade of war and dripping,

Dripping.

Alone, a sovereignty made of bone

And flesh twisted a thousand ways

Around a solid vessel of festering,

Festering.

Solidarity has its place in the grand

Schemes of paper princes and barbarians

Fighting their battles and raging,

Raging.

I watch throughout the ages

My brethren all slain by my sin

Soaked hand….with their bleeding,

Bleeding.

So, for eternity, I sleep upon my throne

Of memories and maimed majesties

And will continue on Enduring,

Enduring.

Written by uncannynerdyguy

April 6, 2010 at 11:19 am