Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road: Buckle Up

You better be ready for non-stop action, horrific warlords, crazy warriors bred for terror, and the coolest, most damaged heroes ever. I was still glued to my seat while the credits rolled in awe of the intensity of the movie and had to take a minute to collect myself before leaving the theater. The vehicles were bigger and faster and stronger and more ominous than any at the monster truck shows, the costumes and make up were designed with purpose to show status and to identify just whose "team" each player belonged. The skulls, the stitches, the black around the eyes. Metal skulls adorned everything, from clothing to steering wheels, to vehicles. Just about everything was worked in metal and destroyed with fire power.

I'm looking forward to seeing some people cosplaying the characters at the local comicons. I"m also looking forward to a sequel.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wuthering Heights: A Comparison of Corpses

Ellen describes Catherine Earnshaw Linton's corpse as peaceful:

"Her brow smooth, her lids closed, her lips wearing the expression of a smile; no angel in heaven could be more beautiful than she appeared. "

Catherine had just suffered the torment of having a baby right after the mental torment of longing for Heathcliff and her life of freedom and love before her oppressive boring marriage to Edgar. Her suffering was over and her soul could find eternal happiness haunting the wild moors of her childhood.

When Ellen finds Heathcliff dead in his bed, soaked in rain from the open window she was startled by the eeriness of his corpse:

". . .Mr. Heathcliff was there--laid on his back. His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I started, and then he seemed to smile. . .I could not think him dead: but his face and throat were washed with rain: the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still.. .I tried to close his eyes: to extinguish, if possible, that frightful, life-like gaze of exultation, before anyone else beheld it."

Did Catherine's ghost come for him finally? If he died while smiling in exultation, he must have been experiencing something that made his soul leap from his body and his heart suddenly stop.

I find it interesting and strangely comforting how people dealt with death during the 19th century when could people die at any time of life because of lack of the vaccines and medical advancements we take for granted now. People still mourned the deaths of their loved ones, but death didn't come as a complete shock like it seems to now unless the departed was extremely advanced in age. It was so sad when Heathcliff sneaked into the house to put his hair in Catherine's locket, except for the fact that he tossed Edgar's lock of hair on the floor to make room for his own. That was pretty rude.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Once Upon A Time: Welcome to the Dark Side

What a wonderfully topsy turvy Season Finale it was as Emma, the Savior, becomes the Dark One. I'm happy and relieved they're keeping the storyline within the regular characters and not bringing in a group of characters from another story like they did with Peter Pan and the Frozen story lines. I hope they're getting back to the basics that made the first two seasons so compelling.

Isaac Heller's Heroes and Villains was like reincarnation within ones present life. It was almost like the original curse in that none of the characters had any memory of their former lives except for Emma. It's similar to the original Dark Shadows program where a character would time travel or discover alternate dimensions. Isn't magic and the supernatural a wonderful thing!

Now that we know that Merlin is the sorcerer they may be traveling to Camelot or wherever the trail to Merlin leads. I hope that now that Rumpelstiltskin has lost his dark powers he doesn't fade into the background. He's such a complex and mysterious character. It's ironic how he spent the entire season scheming to separate himself and his powers from the dagger without having to give up the dark magic and then has to lose the powers in the end to cure his heart and save his life.

I can't wait to see Season 5!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Favorite Heathcliff Scenes: Deathbed
Since Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is my favorite gothic novel, I read it every couple of years or so. Each time I read it I feel differently about each character and each scene depending on my mood or stage of life at the time. This time I'm really feeling the isolation of the characters from the rest of the world and how that might effect the way they behave toward each other. Because of the sensitivity I'm having to the isolation of the characters, Heathcliff is really standing out as the most isolated of all of them, whether by circumstance or his own anger and rejection of everyone except Catherine and Nelly.

During his final days, he even refuses to sit at the table for meals with the household inhabitants or allow them in the same part of the house except for the one occasion when he invited young Catherine to sit with him and scared her into hiding behind Nelly who was too creeped out to want to be in the same room with him for very long either. No matter how creepy his behavior during the last few days before his death, the strangest was the way he died alone in his room with a crazed expression on his face.

Lockwood retells Nelly's experience:

I peeped in. Mr. Heathcliff was there--laid on his back. His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I started; and then he seemed to smile. [ ] I combed his long black hair from his forehead, I tried to close his eyes; to extinguish, if possible, that frightful, life-like gaze of exultation, before any one else beheld it. They would not shut; they seemed to sneer at my attempts; and his parted lips and sharp white teeth sneered too!

And then Hareton kissed the corpse!

This isn't my most favorite Heathcliff scene, but it's a striking one, no pun intended. I don't know if there is any description of a corpse in 19th century literature as vividly creepy as this one. What put that expression on his face at his time of dying? Did Catherine come to guide him into the afterlife or is it like annoying Joseph said, that the devil came to take his soul?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Swing that ax! I really liked the period scenery and costumes in this movie. It was almost like being there in the midst of the 19th century. The action scenes were exciting and the train on the burning bridge was even edge-of-my-seat exciting. All in all, it was a pretty fun well-done movie. I had to look up what genre this movie was categorized because I kept finding myself laughing at the idea of Abe Lincoln slaying vampires just as athletically as Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever was. I wondered if it was meant to be a comedy or was it just me?

It was pretty silly the way he swung that ax in a routine like a martial artist with a bo staff. On the other hand, it was cool the way he freed himself from the old vampire's prison where he hung from his feet ready to be the vampire's next bloody meal. I never knew stiff old Lincoln was such a gymnast! 

As I watched the movie I tried to imagine a similar movie being made about one of our more recent presidents, but it was difficult since none of our recent presidents have done anything really legendary like Lincoln has. How could another past president be depicted in a Gothic way? Maybe George Washington could be depicted as a demon hunter!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Linton Heathcliff

Heathcliff and Isabella's son, a pretty, sickly little invalid who is so obnoxious that no one cares a bit that's he's dying. Even Nelly, the pillar of morality, or so she leads us to believe as narrator, has no sorrow toward his early death. He's such a sniveling self-centered manipulating selfish brat that Catherine's insistence on being his friend proves how dreadfully isolated and desperately lonely she is.

It's  great karma and even comical how different Linton is from his father Heathcliff. What payback for how horrifically Heathcliff treated Linton's mother Isabella as to have their son inherit all the ultra blond genes from Heathcliff's enemies the Lintons. Heathcliff's dark hair and gypsy eyes are in total contrast to Linton's severe blondness and blue eyes. Not only are the physical appearances of father and son completely in contrast, but their personalities are nothing alike either. 

Linton's been dying for most of his life, which is going to affect anyone's personality, but he overplays the helpless invalid role making himself a huge annoying burden on everyone and getting the sympathy of none except Catherine who is too innocent and naive to know any better. He enjoys taunting her and pushing her away and then reeling her back in using his illness to gain her sympathy until she labors to comfort and console him. 

My favorite scene involving Linton is when Heathcliff forces him to meet Catherine on the moors to lure her back to the house and trap her into marrying him. Linton is so near death that he can barely remain upright so he's reclining and trembling from fear and weakness on the grass as Catherine arrives. Then he's sobbing and begging her not to leave so be won't suffer the wrath of his father if he fails to lure her back to Wuthering Heights. It's such a pathetic scene that if he were a decent person, it would be heartbreaking. But since it's horrible narcissistic little Linton, it's funny, especially when Heathcliff enters the scene and "Linton had sunk prostrate again in another paroxysm of helpless fear, caused by his father's glance toward him, ." It's Three Stooges funny.

The only thing the father and son have in common is that no one can stand to be in their company. They are both good at alienating themselves from everyone, especially each other.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Morticia Addams, a Goth Classic

In 1964 while Samantha Stevens was keeping her gothic identity a secret and Lily Munster was doting on her Hermie, Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones) was providing girls with a gothic role model of intelligent, confident, self-possessed womanhood. When I was a kid watching reruns of The Addams Family I remember telling my mother I wanted to be just like Morticia and wear a cool dress like hers. My mother thought I was nuts because the narrowness around the ankles made the dress difficult to walk. I don't think fantasy was my mother's strong suit. 

I loved the peacock chair she had that resembled a throne and made her look like a gothic queen. Her adoring husband Gomez (John Astin) would entertain her with his silly stunts while she knit the never-ending scarf or whatever it was. Then they would fence or tango while Gomez's fiery passion for her would be ignited anew. She was loved and respected by everyone in the house and never had to raise her voice. Only on TV!

I think she may have been the first portrayal of a witch, or witch-like woman, who was pretty and not a wart-nosed cackling hag. Of course, she wasn't evil either. She may have been strange and slightly spooky but she had a kind heart toward her extended family and was gracious to strangers as well.She was everything a young girl could hope for in a role model.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Catherine Earnshaw Linton

Catherine, the only human being that Heathcliff loved and never physically attacked, or even restrained and oppressed. She was self-centered, spoiled, outspoken and lacked empathy, but she was the only one who loved Heathcliff. They were the same except for their gender, both ready to explode with passion and violence at the smallest provocation. No wonder Catherine died so young, what with all that fiery drama wearing out her heart. 

It's ironic that Heathcliff was such a misanthrope that he wanted to kill everyone in the novel at one time or another; however, the only person that he loved died first. Mr. Earnshaw died early on in the novel but Heathcliff didn't love him the way he loved Catherine. Even Catherine rejecting him to marry Edgar Linton to improve her social status and living conditions didn't cause Heathcliff to harm her. Instead he sought vengeance on Hindley for reducing him to the status of a yard boy. Then he sought vengeance on Linton for wooing Catherine away from him.

Catherine, unlike so many young women, knew that committing to a life with a dark brooding bad boy, would be a difficult penniless future. So many women fall for the hot bad boy believing that after they get married or after they have a baby, he'll suddenly become a loving provider. But all they get is a punch in the face for being a nag.Then he'll say it was her fault that he hit her. Of course, every girl wants to think that they're the only one special enough to make the bad boy turn good with their special brand of love, but it doesn't happen in real life. 

Love can work wonders, but it isn't magic, although it can seem magical at times. Catherine died of a broken heart of her own making while blaming it on Healthcliff and Edgar. Her emotional pain was worsened by regret that both men couldn't get along so she could have the best of both of them. She expected them to accommodate her bad decision in marrying Edgar like the self-involved adolescent that she was. Fortunately, they got it all straightened out in the afterlife.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tucker and Dale vs Evil: A Pleasantly Bloody Surprise
Browsing movies on is a really fun way to procrastinate. It's also a good way to find something cool that you didn't know existed. At first I was searching for something dark and gothic, but decided it was Saturday night and felt like being jolly and wanted a comedy. Searching "horror comedy" got me a handful of movie options including Tucker and Dale vs Evil starring Tyler Labine as Dale. I've been enjoying his recent work in Deadbeat on Hulu so was curious to check out some of his other work. 

At first I thought it would be another tired horror movie about college kids going camping and being gruesomely murdered one by one when the story was set up in a ghost story around the campfire about college kids being attacked and murdered "on that very spot twenty years earlier to the day." I began to suspect that I was wasting my time with this movie, but realized the two guys also vacationing in the area (Tucker and Dale) did not fit into that mold. As Tucker and Dale settled into their new "vacation home" in the woods, the comedy ramped up in unexpected ways as the usual slasher story did a hilarious flip flop.

I won't spoil it for you but I will list the talent. In addition to Tyler Labine, Tucker is played by Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Firefly) and Christie Liang (Once Upon a Time) as Naomi. Also, the movie was directed and written by Eli Craig who directed Zombieland: The Series, a failed pilot with good intentions. Zombieland, the 2009 movie, is one of my favorite comedy horror movies that I've seen many times, so far. 

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a fresh, funny movie with some really gruesome scenes as well. The writing is sharp with some good one-liners. I will definitely want to watch this again.