Bleh with Barry

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Posts Tagged ‘lestat

Tale of the Body Thief the Movie, or “Oh God, Please Don’t Let It Be Another Queen of the Damned”

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By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today on Anne Rice’s facebook page, she announced that Imagine Studios have gotten the rights and are developing a Tale of the Body Thief (TOBT) movie based on her book first published in 1992. On her page, Rice said, “Nothing makes Lestat happier than making news! Here’s the Hollywood Reporter story on Imagine optioning Tale of the Body Thief for a motion picture, with more names and details.” While I am excited by the prospect of a new vampire movie based upon one of Anne Rice’s books because I love the intricacies of the vampire world, I am additionally apprehensive as a result of Queen of the Damned (2002) starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend, which was awful… just awful… especially when compared to the success of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. However, this movie could see a return to that of the first film with Cruise and Pitt which might be a good thing, but there are somethings that might need to be thought about / changed.

1) The scope of this film will be relatively more focused than that of the book Queen of the Damned (QOTD). While the movie of Queen of the Damned resembled nothing of the book that Anne Rice wrote other than character names… and some chosen events, the book of TOBT takes place with very few characters actually taking part in the full of the action (mainly Lestat, David Talbot and, Raglan James). Moreover, if the adaptation does not lend itself to compression of other novels… whereas in the QOTD, this book and The Vampire Lestat were condensed into one movie that didn’t even reach the two hour mark… please….

2) Whereas QOTD (the book) is filled with intricate subplots and creates a new vampire mythology that the filmmakers didn’t seem to want to deal with and used multiple characters to narrate the complexity of the story (again filmmakers didn’t deal with), TOBT is pretty straightforward in terms of its plot. SPOILERS: Lestat being bogged down with his life… undeadness…. vampiric nature… decides to off himself in the desert,

By Anne Rice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

which doesn’t work considering he gobbled up a lot of Akasha’s blood (making him as powerful as most of the old ones…). So, he gets an offer from Raglan James to switch bodies for a day… Lestat, being the brat prince that he is, cannot resist the chance of being human and agrees. Long story short, James won’t give back Lestat’s body, and Lestat and David must fight for it to get it back. Pretty easy to follow and streamlined…. one would hope that it would not be hard to plot… all I’m saying…

3) Most of the book deals with human Lestat rather than a passel of vampires. In QOTD, a crap ton of vampires appear due to many circumstances surrounding Lestat’s music, the Queen’s rising, and story time / planning session with Maharet. Thus, it would be difficult to get the characters right considering that by Rice’s third book we know a lot of the characters that are cavorting very well… Also, the additional problem of the vampires themselves and the powers they have institute themselves. In TOBT, however, Lestat is a human most of the time, and David is too. Thus, this should be a moot point… yet, I somehow still believe that it can be screwed up… possibly with a flashy action scene on a freeway in California, involving a car chase with human Lestat and Raglan James in Lestat’s body…. Ugh…

4) A new Lestat would be nice. While Tom Cruise does a serviceable job as the evil, non-complex Lestat from the first movie (i.e. Louis’s perspective of him), I don’t know that he could do the truly complex nature of Lestat as a stand alone character very well. Additionally, I hated Stuart Townsend’s portrayal of Lestat…. I feel that he did not carry the brat prince charm and the overall charisma of the character (this could be because it was a horribly written movie… “You’re a vampire?” line from the goth / punk / glam band member complete with southern twang comes to mind). Maybe we could see someone bring a little class to the role… also remember too that there have to be two Lestats in this film which complicates it… the one real body Lestat and the displaced body Lestat. This adds another level to the difficulty of casting this film… (God help me if I see Johnny Depp put into one of these roles either… I couldn’t stand to see a quirky Lestat with Goth make-up and weird hair… I just couldn’t…). I think that they should cast someone who is naturally blonde too… that’s just a pet peeve of mine…

5) Well, I haven’t really got a five… I’m not going to lie… if this purported film turns out to be anything like the QOTD movie, I might have to hurt someone… yeah… possibly Ron Howard since Imagine is his production company…

So there you have it, I look at this with much apprehension, but I am also hopeful that Lestat will once again get to live big on the theater screen… Hopefully, this reincarnation of Lestat (whenever the film may be released) will be better than the best that we have at this point. I look forward to the film and to Anne’s new book that will come out later this month.

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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.

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

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.

The Vampire Formerly Known as Lestat

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In the realm of Anne Rice, we all know about the vampire Lestat and his escapades into the supernatural world that is his realm. He has been the consort of the most powerful vampire in the world (Akasha), had an out of body experience, been to heaven and hell, and became a religious vampiric icon. But now, his story has come to a halt, and he lives on through the pages of his books.

While I am sad about Lestat because at the end of Blood Canticle he doesn’t have a lot of resolution, I am even more sad because of the “death” of the other vampire characters contained within the novels. The characters that I hoped Anne would pick up and start writing about again. Characters like Mael, Eric (vampire mentioned in Queen of the Damned), Pandora (I know that she wrote a novel about her but I want more), Gabrielle, Thorne, Louis (after the transformation), and others. I always found her peripheral characters very intriguing (more so than Lestat at times). Yet, now, Anne has said that at this point in time she does not plan to write anymore vampire chronicles…so, we’re left with dangling strings in my eyes. Now, I love and respect Anne because she is one of my all time favorite authors. I love her prose and her choice of words. She paints pictures with them.

The true reason I write this post is because part of me wonders what is going to happen with the ideas of the vampires or other supernatural creatures contained within Anne’s earlier works…will they be forgotten in the grand scheme of novelic time or will they find their rightful place in literary circles?

Personally, I believe that the books are amazing retellings of the vampire folklore that has been prevalent in cultures around the world for many centuries. While Anne does take some liberties with the overarching myth in places, she remains true to the heart of the myth itself. She also humanizes this creatures of darkness that have symbolized rape, disease, famine, and other deep, dark things for years. Her writing has opened the “monster” up and made them seem not as scary; however, by that same token, she has made them even more monstrous. If something that still has human emotions and drives acts like a feral, evil thing, they seem more monstrous. Her vampires make the choice willingly to feed on humans… they don’t lose themselves…

Another thing that interests me about her vampiric ideals is the whole mythology she created of the “red-haired twins” that she created to rationalize her vampires…it is brilliantly thought and written…it makes me almost wish that she would write her own book of myths or folklore. I believe that it would be a brilliant oddity.

While Lestat and the other vampires may never grace new pages of novels again, I still have hope that they will come to life in new forms. As recently as a few years ago, there was a musical that opened based on the books. In which the music wasn’t bad; however, the staging was lack luster at best. There is also talk of new movies coming out to portray the “brat prince” again…(Hopefully, they won’t make another Queen of the Damned movie travesty…because it sucked [no pun intended]). Here’s hoping that Anne Rice’s vampires continue to prosper in the minds of readers around the world. Because if they don’t, vampires like Edward Cullen might…and that would just be sad…

Anti-Heroes and the New World

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In the scope of the past several hundred years, we have changed from a heroic society to one that values the anti-heroes. We long to see more of them. Why one might ask? Well, the answer is very intriguing and complex yet simple.

1. They’re cooler. Sure most people’s hearts swell when the knight in shining armor gets his princess…but really, after the first 500 times you see this event occur, it gets kind of stagnant and boring. The Anti-Hero, on the other hand, is more intriguing because most of them are not out to prove their greatness by saving a damsel in distress. Usually, these characters have agendas that lie in their past. Some are attempting to atone for the terrors they were before, while others are simply trying to make it in a world where there are no bad guys in black cowboy hats and good guys in white. They are the gray area…

2. The gray area…since most of us do not fall into the “pure good” or “pure evil” sections of humanity, it stands to reason that we fall into the gray area…that is the area that is somewhere between “good” and “evil”…the majority of people fall into this category because we are innately good and evil at the same time…mind blowing idea there right…but think about it. We do some good things and some not so good things (not necessarily evil)…it stands to reason that we don’t want heroes that are the pinnacle of perfection…we want someone who is a little more flawed…think of Wolverine over Cyclops…Lestat over Louis…and many more…

3. With the tendency to have a moral compass that does not always point north, their stories have much more room for complications than those of the “good” hero. Think about it…the “good” hero (or G. H. as I will call him) is effected by outside forces: evil queens, dragons, disease, etc. A G.H. generally has no internal conflict that could make him stray from his task at hand…he generally stays within the realm of “goodness” to achieve his goals…The Anti-Hero is a little more morally ambiguous. He will go to lengths that the G. H. will not go to to see his goals come to fruition. These heroes often wander about and go onto tangents to help better themselves or discover a great truth…eventually, they will arrive at the end of their journey, yet they might not have a princess to save any more (thanks to those G. H.s out there.)…

4. Anti-Heroes generally don’t give a crap about what those around them perceive them to be. G. H.s want to be seen as good and virtuous. They sport the “shining armor” and go off  to slay dragons at risk of life and limb…Anti-Heroes usually have a whatever attitude that makes them more likable because let’s face it sometimes chivalry is not all it’s cracked up to be…the Anti-Hero is just more open about this than the G. H…

Written by barryr22

March 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Top 10 Reasons I’m Not a Fan of Twilight

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10. Vampires don’t sparkle. I don’t care how you slice it…they should either burn or lose their powers…the whole sparkling thing is kinda lame. I mean it says “HEY WORLD. LOOK AT ME. I AM SOMETHING TO BE FEARED!”…If you are a creature of the night that lives purely on the blood of another creature, do you really need to call attention to that. (I don’t care if Meyer does try to rationalize this fact by saying that this is the reason why they live in Washington State.)

9. Animal blood…I don’t care how much a vampire claims to be reformed and a “vegetarian” as they call themselves. Vampires are predators of men. Animal blood just doesn’t seem like it would satiate the desire to hunt the most elusive prey…mankind. Also, I think that after a vampire had had a taste of human blood that they would be addicted to it because the wild blood of the animals would probably taste a bit “gamey”.

8. The fact that the Cullen family is willing to stay a family for so long. This doesn’t make sense to me. I get tired of being around people in my family pretty quickly sometimes. I couldn’t fathom spending years, decades, centuries around them…now, I know that some of the Cullens are relatively young; however, people get on each others nerves. They seem happy to live together in harmony…and while this behavior of having a leader of the pack dictate the whole works for animals, I don’t know how well it would work for something that reasons like a human.

7. The fact that it’s really just a love story. While vampire literature can have the idea of love entering into it (I’m not saying that), the majority of vampire stories do not have this as the pure basis of why this story is important…on the other hand, Twilight and the subsequent books focus mainly on this with vampires and werewolves being throw in as backdrop…if you need to get your jollies off by reading something like this, I suggest the romance book aisle at Wal-Mart because quite frankly while they are literary trash some of them are better written than the Meyer books.

6. Washington…Really? Now, I have nothing against Washington (it is a beautiful state), but it seems to me that with all the power that vampirism entails  that they would live in and visit places with a little more history to them. Why not visit Italy or France or Germany or Russia…somewhere a little more exotic. I know that Meyer says they live here because of the overcast days…but really, this is the reason why the vampire is seen as a creature of the night. If these particular vampires only came out at night, they wouldn’t have this problem either.

5. Vampire literature is steeped in folklore and oral tradition dating back centuries. The only thing that Meyer really had the followed the vampire mythos at all is the fact that they drink blood and that completely tearing them apart will destroy them…I mean sure they are other thing there that other people assume are just tied to the vampire myth like super strength, super speed, etc. but these are not found in a lot of the actual base folklore of the vampire.

4. The extra powers that her vampires have are not really original. The whole mind reading thing has been done. Read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Her vampires have very similar “gifts” to Meyer’s. Anne’s vampires came first…thereby, it seems that Meyer may have borrowed the idea from Rice.

3. I despise the character of Bella. Her angsty teenager personality is terrible. She lusts after a guy that she meets randomly and pines over him using every available synonym for pretty or beautiful out there…Good God, get over it…that’s what I think…she is  a narrator that I cannot relate to…this might be because I have a penis. I don’t know…I’m just saying it.

2. The male leads of the novels/movies Edward and Jacob are not that great in my head. Edward is brooding and angsty just like Bella which is sad because he is a 100 year old teenager…Jacob is weird and off to the side and is there just for plot point to me…They’re both really static charaters…main characters to me should be fully realized “people”.

1. The whole star-crossed lovers thing has been done before and much better. Think of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare wrote a brilliant play of love and tragedy…Meyer has written a stock narrator in the form of Bella (who is written without a personality because Meyer wants the reader to “become” Bella). She falls in love with the “bad” guy. From that point, terrible things unfold for her; until, she finally becomes a vampire and has a baby…Please…it’s God awful…

Bad writing, bad plot, misusage of a mythological creature, and other terrible facets are the main reasons that I dislike this series. I know that some things are open to interpretation (i.e. the whole vampire thing), but there is nothing that can redeem the many flaws that stretch across all fields of writing.