Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘dracula

Horror and Halloween Movies that I Will Be Enjoying at Some Point This Season

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Long title aside…sometimes, I can be a little verbose when I’m writing a title… or maybe it comes from the fact that all my professors say that the title of a piece should tell us what’s in the paper itself…while I know this isn’t a paper, this is a possible reason. Anyway, Halloween is a season that brings out the scary and seasonal movies to my DVD player. However, there are always a few that seem to make their way to be watched at least once during the season. Also, most of these movies may contain images, language, nudity, etc. that may not be for the faint of heart…

1) The Exorcist– A movie that may have helped launch Max von Sydow’s career which deals with the demonic possession of a little girl (played by Linda Blair…which may have dampened her career) by Captain Howdy. Moreover, two priests come in to exorcise the demon with scary and deadly consequences…(I’m going to give shortened reviews because I have quite a few). Contains disturbing images and language.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/

2) Hocus Pocus– A film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as three witches executed at Salem that claimed on day they would return. A young boy lights their black flame candle and releases them. So, he, his sister, his crush, and a bewitched cat that used to be a boy must keep them from fulfilling their evil plot to suck the life from the children to Salem so that they may live forever. Overall, I enjoy this movie simply because it’s a throw back to my childhood and it’s just all around Halloween fun. Safe for children.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107120/

3) An American Werewolf in London– A werewolf movie that reenvisions the werewolf story to a large degree. David, an American guy touring the moors of England, is out with his friend, and they are attacked by a werewolf. His friend dies, but he suffers a fate that is worse than death because he becomes a werewolf and stalks the streets of London. A great movie which invokes the horror and the mystery of the werewolf legend while playing up some elements that other movies do not (such as the lack of a cure and the lack of humanity within the beast itself).  Contains disturbing images and nudity (including male full frontal because some people are more bothered by this…you’re going to see peen from a distance).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082010/

4) Nosferatu– The silent era’s Dracula because F. W. Murnau could not gain the rights to the novel from Stoker’s family. This movie is creepy as shit because of it being silent and Max Shreck being the rat-toothed Count Orlock. I find the deliberateness of movement and the overall lack of dialogue (and yes, I know that it’s a silent movie) to be very disturbing…Creepy…not too much else going on.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/

5) The Walking Dead– Alright, I know that it’s not a movie… however, this show is probably one of the best zombie projects that I’ve seen in a while; moreover, it’s based on a graphic novel. Mainly following Rick Grimes  a police officer as he tries to keep a group of made of friends and people met on the road, the human drama of this is the stuff that makes you wonder if you could survive something serious like a zombie apocalypse. Along with effects that rival that of any zombie movie (given zombie movies are usually low budget…but that’s beside the point), it just holds ones attention and keeps the air of creepy and unsettledness throughout. Graphic violence and some sexuality.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1520211/

So, there you have it. A list of movies that I recommend to those out there looking for movies to watch this Halloween season. Some fun, some spooky, some disturbing, but all fun for one reason or another. I hope that you might like them as much as I do and that maybe they’ll enter your Halloween rotation as well.

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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 barryr22

December 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Vampires that I Like And I’m not Talking Twilight

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I am an ardent fan of vampire folklore and interesting tales of vampires that spring up now and again. I don’t know why, but since my younger years, I have been fascinated by the sentient undead. I mean sure you have other creatures that some consider undead that are sentient too, but overall, the vampire is the only “undead” creature that has potential for something other than mindless carnage (yes, I’m talking about zombies…they are just mindless killing machines…).

Vampires interest me because they have potential beyond the need to feed on humans for sustenance. They are capable of much more evil or good in some cases. They also don’t have the whole rotting factor that most other undead have (which causes them to have a finite shelf life). Vampires to me have potential within the realm of film and literature that no zombie ever could. However, I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of vampires and zombies. Like I have said many times, I enjoy reading about vampires and watching movies that contain them. Over the course of many books and movies, I have developed many favorites…some for obvious reasons and others for less.

Dracula–As the quintessential  vampire novel of the 19th century, the character of Count Dracula springs to the pages of the book and into our minds as a fully realized, fully evil creature. He is vicious and stands tall in the face of his enemies. Based on the actual historical figure of Vlad Dracul, Dracula’s heartless attitude and demeanour are mirrored by actual fact. Dracul was cruel and heartless. He committed many atrocities and was (and is) revered by his people of Transylvania as a hero. This character can transform into other creatures of the night, has power over people, possesses super strength and heightened abilities, and can go out in the daytime (see Edward wasn’t the first). Dracula is a first-rate vampire who has lived for centuries and continues to thrive until he meets one who is knowledgeable of him. Dracula was the first vampire character that I was introduced to and therefore holds a special place in my heart.

Pandora and Marius– A couple who were born and turned to serve greater purposes: Marius to be a God of the Grove and later protector of the vampire king and queen and Pandora because Marius loved her. Anne Rice in all her glory created these two eccentric characters (well, maybe not eccentric but a little peculiar). Marius is a renaissance man, term man being loosely used, and floats through the Millenia (2 to be exact) protecting the king and queen and by his constant examination of life, art and the people around him. He is intriguing to me because as much as he stays the same throughout the course of his existence he changes to fit in with the time (save his red velvet which never leaves him).

Pandora is also an interesting character. Also a Child of the Millenia (a name given to the vampires in Anne Rice’s universe that are of age one thousand or greater), she is extremely powerful and independent. This is why after 200 years of living together she and Marius part because of a fight. She then goes out to seek what she will of the world, trying to find companionship and love. She never seems to find either and remains eternally lonely as a result. She is quite a vampire as shown in Queen of the Damned. For the most part, she is a proper lady. She looks and acts like a normal person should. However, this is what sets others at ease. At one point, during an orgy of followers of Azim, an Indian vampire and her child, she tears out the throat of a victim draining him and then rips out his heart to gain the last bit of blood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vampire_Chronicles

Anne Rice’s vampires all have interesting personalities and are very different. They are all believable which is why I appreciate and love the characters she creates.

Eric and Pam–In the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries by Charlaine Harris, I also have a male and female vampiric duo that I enjoy. Pam and Eric have got to be the most interesting of the main vampire characters that she creates. Eric is a 1000-year old viking, and Pam is his Victorian English Fledgling. They develop nicely over the course of the books (Eric more so than Pam because he closer to the central character of Sookie). They both have that desire and intrigue that make vampire characters interesting. While the seem to fit in with the time, they both are out of place in their own right. Each is exceedingly beautiful which leads to them being so much more dangerous than some of the other vampires. Along with their banter back and forth and the comedy that comes out of their mouths (especially Pam’s. She has such a dry sense of humor), they seem to be what you would want your “out” vampires to be.

Honorable mentions:

Bill from the Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Compton_(The_Southern_Vampire_Mysteries)

Sophie-Anne Leclerq–Louisiana’s Vampire Queen in Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie-Anne_Leclerq

Armand from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_(The_Vampire_Chronicles)

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lestat_de_Lioncourt

Louis from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Pointe_du_Lac

Summer Reading

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With school finally drawing to a close, I begin to look to days of less things to do which means that I’ll have time to read. I love reading…it comes with the territory of being an English Professor I suppose. However, I have so many books on my “to read” list that I’m having a hard time fathoming what to read first.

1) I have thought of rereading all my treasure Anne Rice books. I love all the vampire books (some a little more than others but that’s splitting hairs), and every time I read them, I learn something new or become more aware of certain characters. These novels are also something that I’m contemplating writing my Master’s thesis over…so, I feel like it might be viable to go back and reread now instead of waiting.

2)The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by Tolkien. As a fan of fantasy fiction, many people are shocked to find out that I haven’t read all three of the books all the way through. This fact does not mean that I haven’t read a great deal of them; I just haven’t read all of them. I am greatly in love with the movies (as I have watched them to have something to grade papers with this semester). I want to see where they came from, and I know that the books will be better than the movies. It’s pretty much an unwritten fact that the book will be better than the movie hands down.

3) A plethora of other books that I have around that have been collecting dust.
Atonement by Ian McEwan (again loved the movie)
Paradise Lost by Milton (interested in the mythology of the fall of Satan that he presents)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (being a large proponent of mythology, I have only read pieces of this book…however, since it may play a great part in the creation of my Master’s thesis, I feel like it is worth the read…also, I know that I will enjoy it)

And these are just a few of the books that I have to decide from…I also usually read Bram Stoker’s Dracula about every other summer…so, this book is back in the cycle of things too…Really, I just need to be able to absorb information by osmosis…that would be wonderful…but until then, I am going to have to think about it. Any suggestions people out there. I’m even open to others that might not necessarily be on my “list”.

The Near Future

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So, with the closeness of senior thesis defense looming at the school I work for, I begin thinking about the endeavour I’m about to undertake and the culmination of another thesis which is kinda scary but at the same time it gives me an opportunity to stretch my writing muscles again.

My biggest issue with the whole thing is this, I have no clue what I want to write over. For those of you out there that don’t know, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on the symbolism of the monsters in Dracula and Frankenstein which I found interesting because gothic literature dealing with creatures is kind of a passion on mine. I have quite a base of research when it comes to this topic and also have this thesis to use as a jumping off point. However, I don’t necessarily know that this is what I want to do at the end of the next two years. While I don’t feel my views on the literary body of work have changed (gothic literature with a focus on creatures/monsters) still interest me, I don’t know that I want to something that has necessarily been done. I like originality and know that anything I am likely to do on either of these subjects is going to be a compiling of others’ data and works. My thoughts may be in the document itself…however, it is not new contribution to the study of literature.

Yet, I have been pitching some ideas around in my head that intrigue me, but I don’t know how easy it would be to break the new ground…or if it’s new ground at all.

1) Comparative study of contemporary vampire/horror fiction with emphasis on the creatures of myth and folklore contained within. My focus would mainly be on vampires since they’ve made a resurgence in popular literature. Hopefully, I would follow the vampire from folk lore to the short stories “The Vampyre” by John Polidori and “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu to the quintessential vampire novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. What I would mainly focus on would be newer works of “good” vampire fiction which would include the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. I think that it would be interesting to see how the myths have evolved over the years to become the “vampires” that people read about today. I would also discuss the conceptual myths/communal ideas that spurred the rise of the vampire in folklore and how the conception and meaning have changed.

2) Analyze a musical with in the framework of literary relevance. I think this would be an interesting spin on the idea of contemporary analysis. We analyze television shows and movies as “contemporary literature.” Why should musicals be taken under this heading? Now, I know that someone out there is saying that the whole play analysis thing has been done, and while that is true, I believe that this idea would be a little different than that simply because in the musical you cannot simply divorce the music from the text of the piece. The music is as much part of the literature as the written words are…I think this would be an interesting concept to write about and would bridge two of my greatest loves: music and literature. My main drawback with this idea is that most people do not see musical theater as a “academic” theater medium. Why? Because most people think of musicals and think of fluff like Wicked, The Producers, anything Rodgers and Hammerstein, etc. The evidence of fluff musicals shouldn’t eliminate all of them from being studied. I mean my God some of them have won Pulitzer Prizes and other very prestigious awards. So, I know they should not be ruled out simply because they’re a different form of artistic expression.

3) My third idea is probably the one that has been on my mental back burner for a while: Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. However, while most people would deal with Lestat, the “main” character, I believe I would focus on the auxiliary characters because they interest me more than the “brat prince” does. I think if I followed this idea I would discuss the characters in terms of the time periods in which they were “born” into the life of vampirism. I would also discuss the historical accuracy with which Rice portrayed these characters and the reasons she may have chosen to be more accurate or less accurate with some. I have always been enthralled by Rice’s writing, and at some point, I know that I will write over her in academic circles. I just wonder if now would be the right time to start trying to build more of an academic base to formally criticize her work.

So, as most people’s minds turn to the ideas of finals at my school. My mind begins to ponder the future and what it may hold for me in terms of my “contribution” to the world at large. Maybe, I will find my nicht to throw myself into mind, body, and spirit.