Bleh with Barry

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Posts Tagged ‘vampire chronicles

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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If I Formed My League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

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So, a friend just posted on my facebook wall asking me if I made my own League of Extraordinary Gentlemen using only characters from books (not the comics or movies). Immediately, I asked the question “Can I use villains and they play well with others?” because this is important in forming my group. This simple face can change the usefulness of some characters drastically. So, I suppose I will try to make my group considering that the villains have to work with the heroes for some reason or other…so with that in mind, here I go.

* Sherlock Holmes– With his powerful deductive mind, Holmes would make a good addition to any group’s intelligence

By Sidney Paget(1860-1908) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

factor. He would be able to break down analytical problems and move through them with a speed that others might not have.  He would also be good in a pinch when in a situation where he was fighting because he can break down the most effective route for dealing with people (no, I’m not thinking about the movie here…even though, he does it to an almost preternatural degree).

* Frankenstein’s Monster– I would be making this choice for two reasons. First, the monster would begin to round out the muscle of the group. He is preternaturally strong, agile, and durable, which would make him a good asset. Second, he has a knack for learning and appears to be pretty intelligent himself. So, he could serve a two-fold  position as both the brawn and, potentially, the brains.

* Merlin– Scary powerful sorcerer…need I say more. He can do a lot and help in a tight situation in many ways. Brains and power…

* Muldumarec– A shape-shifting knight from the medieval lai of “Yonec.” His ability to morph into other things would make him the perfect person to infiltration and espionage. He would probably be okay in a fight because of his abilities and his skills as a knight…I’m also talking about him without being killed by his lover’s jealous husband…

By Edward Reginald Frampton (1872-1923) (Démons et Merveilles (E.Brasey)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

* Titania– Another magic user and fae to boot, she would round out the group. Her femininity would help balance out the group of men and would allow her to seduce the opposing forces. Her magical abilities would also be handy in tight situations because she is the queen of the fae. Moreover, she can be quite frightening depending upon the folk tales / literature that she appears in. Her near immortality and invulnerability would also be handy in a lot of situations…

* Pandora– No, I’m not talking about the figure from Greek myth that unleashed pestilence upon the world. Rather, I am referring to the 2000 year old vampire from Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles (this is my guilty pleasure add). Pandora is sexy, provocative, intelligent, and powerful (she waxes philosophical but also rips out a man’s heart to drain it). With her telepathy, she could be the communicator of the group talking to the others mentally. Her pyrokinesis and telekinesis would also make her deadly from afar, and her other vampiric abilities such as immortality, super strength and speed, and near invulnerability would make her quite a force to be reckoned with… she would also play well with the other members of the group (unlike some of Anne Rice’s other characters).

So, there you go…I think that this would be a fairly balanced team of hard-core literary characters. I’ve tried to balance brains and brawn; moreover, I’ve also tried to create a middle ground of characters that can go either way. Overall, I think they would make an interesting group with a diverse array of powers.

Interview with the Vampire: The Movie

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As you can probably tell from my blog, Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors, and her vampire chronicles are some of my favorite books (due to the vampire connection…also great characters and good plots…but yeah…). Anyway, recently I rewatched the movie from 1994. . .I have to say that it is a well done vampire film that deserves to rank among the top vampire films of all time. Why you may ask? Well, give me some time, and I’ll explain it to you.

1) Anne Rice wrote the screenplay. Whereas most book to film adaptations suck, Anne Rice effectively transfers the heart, soul, and life-blood of her narrative into the movie. It is one of the few adaptations that I have watched and felt pleased after the fact. I think this is due to the active participation of the author in creating the written dialogue.

2) The actors are amazing. I don’t know that any vampire movie that I have ever watched has the all-star cast of this one. With Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as Louis, and Kirsten Dunst as Claudia, the main characters are acted superbly. Brad Pitt captures the innocence and conflict of Louis. Cruise plays the charismatic and manipulative Lestat with wonderful effect. Finally, Dunst as Claudia is the cherry on top of the creepy sundae. With Stephen Rea (Santiago), Christen Slater (the Interviewer), and Antonio Banderas (Armand) rounding out the cast, the story comes alive in a way that only Neil Jordan (the director) and Anne Rice could have dreamed.

 

3) The human qualities of Anne Rice’s vampires have always intrigued me. Her vampires are not really supernatural creatures. Rather, they are just flawed human beings that end up being cursed (or blessed) to live for a long time. This longevity amplifies their human characteristics and makes them more vulnerable and more apt to fall. They exemplify our worst fears of what we might become…or what we might be…they are the mirror of ourselves…

While this movie may never be regarded as high brow, I will continue to love it. It is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and fins something new each time I watch. Will I see Lestat in the “Theatre des Vampires?” Will Claudia be less of a little demon child?…I search for such questions each time knowing what will happen…but maybe I will watch the film a little differently each time…If you’re looking for a good vampire movie (and for God sakes nothing like Twilight or any of those movies), I would suggest that you go out and find this one.

For more info on the movie check out this IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110148/

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”.

To All the Vampires I’ve Loved Before

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With the increase of vampire related media in an already saturated world, one begins to wonder if the idea of the vampire has been overused. Has the vampire been overdone? This is a question that I constantly ask myself with each new vampire book and movie that appears in the mainstream. Why is this saturation of vampire paraphernalia so astronomical?

I believe that it deals with the appeal of being a vampire. In most modern vampire stories, the characters of the vampires are romanticised to a point that makes them seem like less of what they are. I mean come on people they drink the blood of living, breathing creatures to survive (whether they be animal or human). If you look at the Twilight series, I feel that you get a good representation of this. In the books/movies, you have a vampire “family” trying to be normal. They live in a place with cloud cover (Washington State) to prevent their “sparkling” in the sun (pretty dumb if you ask me) and feed off animals to survive…The Cullen family is seen as a group of “good” vampires because they don’t feed on humans…However, this idea of a “good” vampire is problematic. Stephanie Meyer who wrote the books seems to want to purely humanize the creatures and fails as a result because vampires are as much humans as a chair is a refrigerator. I believe she sacrificed the ideas behind the vampire folklore/mythos to try to create a Romeo and Juliet story between species….and doing so, her story becomes weird. It seems to lose sight of the creatures that vampires are which really irks me.

I like the stance that Anne Rice takes with writing her vampire chronicles. She seems to take the stance that she is writing about a supernatural creature in a real world. She also portrays her characters very well-roundedly by making each of them sympathetic in their own right but keeping us aware all the time that these are creatures that are monsters…they are not human and thereby are not bound by the rules that humanity sets. Anne wonderfully develops her characters and sets them into actual places…she also seems to have a great deal of respect for the folkloric creature the vampire is (instead of flippantly using them).

Charlaine Harris also does this same thing (to a lesser degree but still intriguingly so) in her Sookie Stackhouse novels. Harris creates a world where vampires and other supernatural creatures exist side by side. She develops nuances and continually keeps up with her mythology that she creates which keeps the coherent flow of her novels (given that in later books things do get a little crazy when fairies, werewolves, witches and other supernaturals come into play).

I think my main point that I have been rambling on about is this: vampires (while they may be visually appealing creatures) are not beautiful creatures to be admired or admonished. Meyer and others have set them up to almost be angels in their own right. In my opinion, this glazing over of their true nature isn’t being true to the original concept of vampirism. I like the models of Rice and Harris better because they allow us to see these vampires as beautiful creatures, but through scenes of violence and heartlessness, they allow us to see the true creature at heart. Afterall, who says that you can’t have sympathy for the devil?