Monday, August 31, 2015

The Last Circus ("Balada triste de trompeta" (original title)) - 2010

The Last Circus is an extremely well made, masterpiece of a Spanish movie that is gruesome, grotesque, disturbing and darkly funny all at the same time. It's mostly a love triangle between a trapeze artist, Natalie and Happy Clown and Sad Clown, but it's also about politics, obsession, social status and human dignity among many other things. I'm sure I would have gotten even more out of the film if I knew anything about Spanish history, especially during WWII, but it was so packed full of psychological drama, insanity and Christian symbolism that it was more than enough to make a strong impression.

Since it's a Spanish movie I had to read the English subtitles, which I don't usually like to do because I start paying more attention to the text than the scene; however, the story and acting was so gripping, I barely remember having read the subtitles. This is the darkest clown movie I've ever seen. Some of the scenes made me laugh because of the intense gruesomeness, while some were just plain funny. There were a couple of scenes that made me almost feel ashamed for laughing because the characters were at such low desperate points in their lives. 

Both clowns were obsessive revenge seekers, intent on coming out on top no matter what the cost. Natalie, the love interest and trapeze artist, was just as obsessive playing the two clowns against each other and getting off on her high-risk provocative manipulating.

A main theme of this movie is the need and desire to win, but nobody wins in this movie.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dracula: A Working Class Mourning Custom

Some Victorian mourning customs are shown in Wuthering Heights after Catherine Earnshaw Linton's death as I listed in a previous post, but I was intrigued by one mourning custom used in Dracula after Mrs. Westenra's death.

In Dr. Seward's diary post describing his consultation with Dr. Van Helsing after finding Mrs. Westenra dead and Lucy Westenra on the brink of death, he mentions the darkness of the dining room, where they closed themselves in for a private conversation:

"The shutters had been opened but the blinds were already down, with that obedience to the etiquette of death which the British woman of the lower classes always rigidly observes."(Bram Stoker)

I wondered about the significance of that custom since I leave my blinds down 24/7. It's just a privacy thing with me, but in the mid-nineteenth century it had real meaning. I looked it up and found in Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, 1970-1914, by Julie-Marie Strange, that people in the working class would draw the blinds after a death in the house to notify the neighbors or anyone passing by of the death. This way anyone coming to the house would know before visiting that the household was in mourning. Some neighbors would also draw their blinds out of respect until the funeral. During the funeral every house on the street would draw their blinds. After the funeral, all blinds went back up.

I suppose this custom came about because it didn't cost anything, since the working class was pretty poor. They certainly couldn't afford the jet jewelry and decorations with the black drapery around the house that the upper classes could. 

Drawing the blinds is a logical, useful custom that communicates an important message to everyone in the neighborhood. I was kind of hoping it would have some superstitious significance, though, like they draw the blinds to keep evil spirits from getting in and taking another life, or something like that.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff Under the Larch Trees

After Catherine's collapse when Edgar returns home from church to find her cradled in Heathcliff's arms in her bedroom, Heathcliff instructs Nelly to bring him word of Catherine's condition in the morning as he'll be in the garden under the larch trees.

Why did Bronte choose larch trees? Was there symbolic significance to larch trees? Was she just thinking of a group of larch trees she knew of and imagined it as a good shelter for waiting?

A quick Google search  for the significance of larch trees brought me to a website called woodland where I found that larch trees are significant in that both male and female flowers can be found on the same tree. Maybe Bronte did choose the larch to symbolize the inseparable souls of Heathcliff and Catherine.

Also, the larch tree was used to ward off evil spirits and enchantment. Since Heathcliff could be pretty evil, maybe that's why Nelly didn't find him under the larch trees after all, but leaning against an ash tree instead.

That same Google search also found a website called which has a page on tree lore that is pretty interesting. In ancient folklore, according to the site, trees were used as symbols of birth and death and spiritual ceremony and growth. The ash tree in particular is a Druid sacred tree associated with magic for, among other things, karmic law! 

Is it coincidence or Bronte's deliberate choice that Heathcliff sacrifices his own blood on the trunk of the ash tree by smashing his head against it, more than once, as Nelly observes by the amount of blood, fresh and dried, as he prays aloud that as long as he is alive Catherine's soul, which he claims is one and the same as his, will never rest, but stay with him always?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dracula: Lucy's Near-Death Experience

Lucy describes her sleepwalking experience to Mina a couple of days after the event. Mina was reluctant to bring it up for fear of causing Lucy anxiety and anguish by bringing up the bad memory. However, Lucy wasn't disturbed by the memory at all and gave Mina a detailed description of her experience.

Her memory of the sleepwalking part where she left her bedroom in her nightgown and walked through the streets, over the bridge and up the stairs to the bench overlooking the harbor near the churchyard had a dream-like quality, although she was consciously aware of a fish jumping as she crossed the bridge and dogs barking as she climbed the stairs. 

However, the part where she's on the bench with the black figure with red eyes (Dracula) seems like a description of a typical near-death experience:

"My soul seemed to go out from my body and float about the air. I seem to remember that once the West Lighthouse was right under me, and then there was a sort of agonising feeling, as if I were in an earthquake, and I came back and found you shaking my body. I saw you do it before I felt you."

It's really cool how, as the reader knows that this is when Dracula is drinking Lucy's blood, she's having this out-of-body near-death experience. When Dracula is scared away by Mina's approach and Mina resuscitates Lucy, Lucy's essence returns to her body.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead

I didn't start watching The Walking Dead until 4 seasons were already posted on Netflix and I was instantly hooked. I don't have cable so I can't watch it on AMC or because they make you log in with your cable/satellite provider to watch any episodes of their shows. 

Now I'm in agony as I want to see the first episode of Fear the Walking Dead, but can't. I hate to pay that exorbitant cable fee just to watch one show! The other shows I watch are on Hulu or Netflix. I guess I'll have to wait and hope that Fear the Walking Dead will also be posted on Netflix.

One more lesson in delayed gratification.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's So Scary About Dolls?

I came across this article in Smithsonian Magazine online explaining the history and possible reasons why some people have pediophobia, the fear of dolls I don't remember what I was looking for in the first place, but I found this article instead and it is a good one! 

Personally, I've always found dolls comforting in my loneliness and much easier to have around than potentially needy, judgmental humans. In fact, I have a whole group of them, several I've "rescued" from the Goodwill Store where they had been abandoned, that watch me as I sleep.

There are tons of lists online of movies about scary evil dolls. See for yourself. Some of them are well-known, like the Childs Play series and the Puppet Master movies and more recently The Conjuring/Annabelle movies. My favorites are the Demonic Toys and Puppet Master movies from Full Moon Entertainment. Full Moon even produced a movie Dollman about a live man who is the size of a doll.

I can't understand fearing something you can just pick up and toss out a window. Dolls (even possessed by demons) are so easy to defend yourself from. An example is the puppets in the movie Puppet Master. How easy would it be to simply stomp them into oblivion? This is what makes those killer doll/puppet movies so darn funny. The victims literally lay there and allow themselves to be murdered by dolls. 

On the other hand, I admire the vivid imaginations of people who fear dolls coming to life by being inhabited by evil demons such as in the Childs Play or Annabelle movies. Dolls are just pieces of plastic, or porcelain with painted on faces and hair and clothes sewn or glued on. Yes, they do resemble people, some prettier or uglier than others depending on the artists' desire and talent, but they can't come to life. Or can they?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Gift (2015)

The Gift grabs a bottle of crazy and passes it around between the three main characters, Simon (Jason Bateman), his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and Gordo (Joel Edgerton) like a hot potato. Just when you think you figured out which lead character is the psycho, one of the others makes a move that throws you off again. You can't really trust the mental stability of anyone in this movie. There were a few cheap scares toward the beginning, but once the story gets rolling the suspense is almost palpable. 

It would have been a lot creepier in a stereotypical old creaky house in the woods, but the modern house with all the reflective glass and lack of privacy was creatively used in the story. I kept wanting them to draw some drapes or hang some blinds. There were a couple visual scares that made good use of the plate glass that made everyone in the theater jump and gasp. 

In fact, except for the outdoor scenes, every scene in the movie took place in bright shiny, expensive settings. All of the darkness was hidden inside the minds of the main characters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wayward Pines: Season 1, Episode 1

I'm a little disappointed that this show, as seen on Hulu, isn't about the supernatural. Since I haven't read the books I didn't know what to expect. It seems more like The Village in reverse, in that instead of people choosing to isolate themselves from the real world by making a new society, the new society abducts people into it. Is it where the U.S. government puts used up employees out to pasture?

After showing us the security wall, after Ethan (Matt Dillon) drives around in circles in a failed attempt to leave town, I don't think there's anything supernatural about it, but the story seems like more of a conspiracy situation. The scenery is pretty cool, the cast is good and, of course, there's executive producer M. Night Shyamalan.

One example of cool scenery is the creepy rotting house that Beverly (Juliet Lewis) sends Ethan to where he finds the dead missing secret service agent. The close-up shots of him walking up the dusty, rickety steps and entering as light flows in through the holey roof with his cut-up face and blackened eyes was pretty intense. 

Another cool scene is Ethan coming out of sedation in the old neglected cemetery. It was dusty and leaf strewn and the iron gates were leaning and crooked. It made me think that's how the Collins Mausoleum would have looked if the original 1960s TV show Dark Shadows had had a bigger budget.

I'm a tree lover, so I really enjoy the woodsy scenery, even though in Wayward Pines the normally peaceful place of beauty seems to be turned into a maximum security prison. I might continue watching. What do you think?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dracula: Horror at Sea

By Artist: George A. Traver, (1864-1928) Engraver: F. A. Pettit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
USS Enterprise

The above image is the USS Enterprise (not the one from Star Trek), which is a schooner similar to the schooner Demeter, the ship which carried Dracula into England. The imagery in the book as the newspaper correspondent describes the mysterious ship outside the harbor in full sail during a violent storm, which no one on shore imagined the ship could endure, is really creepy! Then a thick foggy mist blows into the harbor only lifting after the ship miraculously makes its way to safety within the narrow treacherous harbor. Slick one, Stoker! 

After the ship runs aground, the storm abates and when the coast guard seems shocked after boarding the ship, everyone runs to find out what's so shocking. The correspondent is allowed to board the ship with a few others and describes the corpse of the ship's captain bound by his hands to the wheel, the cords cutting right to the bone, a crucifix wound around his hands.

Apparently, the captain learned that he could ward off the scary stowaway with a crucifix, or maybe he just assumed or hoped it would. After reading his notes kept in the bottle tied around his neck about the evil monster on board that killed his entire crew, the townspeople still assumed the captain had gone mad and made the whole story up, just as the captain had thought about his terrified mate.

No one suspected the large dog that bounded from the ship could be the monster in disguise. No one suspected that the dog had done the killing. They all searched the town for it in hopes of adopting it as a pet! Nice doggy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dark Shadows: Victoria Winters Grabs A Shovel

Everyone who lives in the Collins house in 1795 is curious about Victoria's mysterious introduction to the family in her strange (1960s) clothes and apparent amnesia, but when inexplicable things start to happen in the house, she figuratively grabs a shovel and starts to dig her own grave. 

In Episode 379 the countess is convinced there is evil at work in the house after Joshua Collins vanishes and who more convenient to suspect as the practicing witch than Victoria Winters? Victoria, in her attempt to put the family's needs before her own, emphatically tells Barnabus that his father will return. Unfortunately, she says this when the countess is in the room, further convincing her that Victoria is the source of evil in the house. How else could she sound so certain? 

Earlier the countess questions Miss Winters about her background and remarks at Miss Winters' nervousness. Even with Nathan Forbes' warning of the countess's suspicions, Victoria moves the countess's tarot cards into a position to warn her about Josette and Jeremiah's impending elopement. In her desperate attempt to change the family's tragic future, she ensures her own doom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dracula and A Walk in the Park

I've been rereading the Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, since it's been several years since my first reading. I've been enjoying it and its creepiness but especially Stoker's vivid detail in his describing the atmosphere and environment as the characters write their journals and letters. I'm at the part where Mina Murray awaits word on Jonathan Harker's whereabouts since she hasn't heard from him in weeks and the last letter she received didn't seem natural, so she's a little worried. She's in Whitby with her friend Lucy Westenra, and been worrying about her as well and her worsening habit of sleepwalking. I read Mina's journal entry of the pasted-in newspaper article describing the arrival of the mysterious ship the Demeter.

The arrival of the ship was preceded by hot, humid weather, with the heavy still air typical of a very humid summer day. Stoker's description of the weather and the August day before the wild, fast moving storm broke out along with the hazy mist over the harbor impressed me so much that it caused me to have a creepy feeling when I took a walk in the park the next day after work.

The park was as colorful as usual on a summer day, but the heat and humidity was oppressive and as I walked I realized it was really similar to Stoker's description of Whitby except it was still light out during my walk. I was also inland so there wasn't a harbor, but there was a small beach on a pond. I experienced that strange silence that the heavy oppressive air causes, which was helped by the absence of the usual crowds. Maybe it was too hot for some people or maybe I was there later in the day than usual and the beach was closed for the day.

Anyway, as I walked along I was noticing the strange quiet and thinking how it was like the book when a dog started barking in the distance to my east. Then it was answered by a couple of dogs from my west. A minute later all the dogs were quiet and all I heard was the insects buzzing in the brush and I got the creepiest sensation of being followed, but I had just turned a corner on the path and knew I was alone. The creepy feeling persisted and I had the strong urge to check behind me. Finally, I just had to look and all I saw following me was my shadow!

When I realized the only thing following me was my own shadow, the creepy feeling went away. It helped that a little further on up the path I ran into a few families walking which broke the silence and helped me feel less alone. Stoker strikes again!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Who Decides What is Moral?

This morning I was reading Joel Stein's column, "I'm Making the Case For Public Shaming-Unless You Publicly Shame Me For Doing So," in the August 24, 2015, edition of Time in which he points out how social media has become a platform for publicly shaming one particular individual for doing something that is socially unacceptable, specifically, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion. Before social media, public shaming wasn't as rapid or as lethal. That dentist's life is ruined. He'd have to leave the planet or move to a third world country to escape his notoriety.

What does this have to do with Wuthering Heights? People were church goers until recently. I mean everyone who was decent went to church. Not going to church was probably the first offense to be publicly shamed over. Only lowlife scumbags chose not to regularly go to church. Therefore, the church had the power to set social behaviors and decide what was moral or not. But a church with a tiny congregation like the one in Wuthering Heights can't reprimand or insult its richest members whose offerings benefit and probably support the church. The richest members would be the Earnshaws and the Lintons. 

So, in Wuthering Heights, it's Ellen (Nelly) Dean who is the moral guardian of the story as she scolds Heathcliff and Catherine for their behavior and disapproves of Hindley's violent drunken rages. She has no patience for Joseph's long winded hypocrisy either, but he ignores her as well.

Of course, no one listens to her advice because she's the help and her employers aren't going to base their life decisions on something the maid is advising. Therefore, if you were the lord of a manor, you were above the law and free from adhering to what was considered morally socially acceptable behavior as long as your offenses were carried out on your own land.

So, rich men could get away with pretty much anything without being publicly shamed unless the offense was toward another rich man. Wealth can't keep anyone from being publicly shamed in modern times, no matter how popular or wealthy the offender is and the media tells society what should be shamed and what shouldn't. In the words of Ozzy Osbourne, "the media sells it and you live the role."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cool Vendors at Connecticut Comicon

Vendors are my favorite attraction at any comicon, although celebrities and cosplayers are worth seeing as well. There weren't many celebrities at this convention which focused primarily on comic books and comic book artists. It amazes me how good the artists are and I admire them for making a living at what they love to do. I don't think many people can.

Freaky & Elegant's booth

There were a couple of vendors that I haven't seen before. The first one is a talented craft peddler called Freaky & Elegant, which is a good description of their wares. They sell jewelry, embroidered masks, etched beer mugs, and other cool stuff., ?commission? in the subject line

The second is a kind of mysterious artist as her business card doesn't contain any online info except an email address for commissioned work. Besides what's in the picture above, she's a digital artist who makes small prints, books and sketches. It was her handmade dolls and their miniature house that caught my eye. They appeal to my sudden mysterious attraction to dolls. She does some really nice work. Does anyone know this artist?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dark Shadows: Angelique Transforms Joshua into a Cat!

Ben and Angelique have a lot of fun in Episode 378 as they put their heads together to keep Jeremiah from leaving town and spoiling Angelique's scheme of having him fall in love with Josette and prevent Josette and Barnabus from marrying.

Ben hates doing Angelique's dirty work because he wants to be loyal to Barnabus and Jeremiah, but when Angelique decides to turn her black magic toward the cruel patriarch, Joshua Collins, Ben is all for it. 

It's funny when they sit in Angelique's room deciding what she will transform Joshua into that will make the family believe he is missing and cause Jeremiah to cancel his travels and stay home to fill in for Joshua at work.Ben wants Joshua to become a jackass so he can force him to clear rocks from the property and whip him to move faster. He'd love to have revenge for all the harsh working conditions Joshua has forced on him in the past. 

Ben laughs and laughs (I love his laugh!) while Angelique admires her handiwork as they look at the clay cat Angelique shaped. At the same time Jeremiah turns from the window while speaking to Joshua to find Joshua has disappeared and there's a strange cat in his place!

If Joshua Collins was my domineering and dictator older brother, I'd be glad to be rid of him myself. Does anyone in the house actually like him?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dracula: Jonathan Harker's Helplessness

Jonathan Harker knows the count is creepy and there's something about his manner that he finds repugnant, yet he's there on business and decides to be patient and polite until the count allows him to leave the castle. On May 19 when he disobeys the counts order not to fall asleep anywhere but in his own rooms, Harker experiences the three "sisters" who want to drink his blood until Dracula shows up in the nick of time and furiously pushes them away and forbids them to drink Harker's blood until he's finished with him.
The following day, Dracula has Harker write the three post-dated letters to his friends and family to assure them that he is alive and safe and, according to the final letter, on his way home to England. He realizes the date of the third letter is the date when the count will allow the three females to drink his blood and he will never be allowed to return home.

Harker's next entry is nine days after the May 28 entry to report his failure to get the Szganys, gypsies who set up camp outside the castle, to post two letters for him. Dracula intercepts the letters.

I don't understand why Harker doesn't try to escape when he knows his days are numbered and he's going to be drained of blood by the "three sisters" until he's dead. In fact, his next entry isn't until May 31, nine days later, when he realizes the count stole his suit and all of his stationery He sees Dracula scaling the castle wall to get out, so why doesn't he try this sooner. What does he have to lose? Especially when he knows the vampires sleep during the day and are helpless to pursue him until dark. The wolves don't seem to be around unless the count is awake either, so he could get through the woods.

His next diary entry isn't until June 17, more than two weeks after the last entry, when the Slovaks arrive with the empty coffins, almost a month after his experience when the three female vampires want to drink his blood. 

He does crawl to the count's window and searches the castle until he finds the count resting in his coffin, but is too afraid to search him for the key. Instead, he flees to his room. You'd think he would either crawl lower to get out of the castle or search for a lower window to escape from. There had to be some way for him to escape instead of just sitting in his room doing nothing for over a month waiting to die.

What did he do all those hours and days and weeks sitting alone in that room with nothing but books? How could he focus on reading books when he knew a violent death was getting closer and closer? He had all those daylight hours to figure out an escape plan and put it into use, but instead he sat helplessly hoping for some outside circumstance or visitor to present itself that would give him a chance to escape.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A New White Dress for Clawdeen Wolf

Howling horrors! I made Clawdeen a new white dress with a black chain accessory. 

I got the dress pattern for free at via Pinterest via Ravlry and bought Monster High student Clawdeen Wolf on clearance at Walmart to use as a model. Armed with materials, tools and motivation to create a whole Monster High wardrobe for my granddaughter, my daughter informs me that my granddaughter no longer plays with Monster High dolls.

Okaaaay, well, I had fun making it anyway!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pantera, Cemetery Gates (1990)

Listening to the Pantera album Cowboys From Hell yesterday morning as I performed my Sunday slave labor (chores that are too time and energy consuming to be done during the work week), I was reminded that this is a GREAT album and Cemetery Gates is one of the best metal songs ever produced. I hadn't listened to the album in quite some time, maybe a year or so, but wanted to hear it because the night bugs outside my window reminded me of the last minute or so of the song Domination from the same album. 

When I first got the album back in the 90s, I would play Cemetery Gates over and over. It was so good I couldn't get enough of it. Then I had babies and had to put the tunes aside for the most part. Now in modern times, I have it on my iPod so I can listen to it anywhere, like out in the yard. It helps set the pace for snow shoveling, leaf raking, etc., hours of fun and great for the abs!

It's a nicely Gothic song, taking place in the cemetery where the gates are usually that beautiful wrought iron that is so expensive. A few years ago, when a loved one died, I had a strong urge to stay with him in the cemetery forever, just jump in the grave and pull the earth in around us, but then I realized I had to move on, just like the song says, and pass the cemetery gates. It's amazing how you can just keep living with a big chunk torn out of your heart. But bodies are buried and the spirits live on.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lee Van Cleef As Dracula?

Last night I watched a film-noir movie on Hulu called Kansas City Confidential (1952). I watched it because I saw Coleen Gray's obituary the other day that described her as a popular film-noir actress, so I searched her name on Hulu and came up with two movies: Kansas City Confidential and The Phantom Planet (1961). I was hoping for The Leech Woman (1960) but it wasn't an option. I chose Kansas City Confidential because I like film-noir.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a young Lee Van Cleef as one of the main characters and wearing a suit! I'm used to seeing him in westerns, especially the spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966). Seeing him looking all bad-ass and in a suit, I wondered why he had never played Dracula. He would have made a really good Dracula with his piercing eyes and sharp features that would have been quite compatible with vampire teeth! There were so many vampire/Dracula movies made back in his day that one more wouldn't have hurt.

Why not? Coleen Gray would have made a good Mina too!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dracula: An Agony of Delightful Anticipation

I really like the detailed descriptions and the contradicting emotions of fear and ecstatic anticipation used in this scene where Jonathan Harker defies Count Dracula's instruction to never fall asleep anywhere in the castle except his own secure room and is found by the three lady vampires. The vampires are just about to feast on Harker's blood when the count comes to the rescue and Harker overhears him tell the ladies that they will get their chance once he is no longer useful to the count.

There's a paragraph where the two darker vampires encourage the blonde vampire to help herself to Jonathan Harker because, for some reason, they tell her she has the right to begin. This entire paragraph is very erotic and could be a description of the anticipation of a blow job rather than a bite on the neck. Harker describes the vampire's  breath and his tingling nerves as she drops to her knees and arches her neck. He goes on to describe her red lips and tongue as she moves lower and lower.

I wonder if this was a shocking piece of erotica back in the 19th Century when it was published. He waited in ecstasy with beating heart, but that's when the count flew in and swept the women away from Harker, enraged that they disobeyed his order to stay away from him.

Stoker had a real flare for detail as he described details like the dust on the floor and the breath of the vampire as Harker smelled it and felt it on his aroused skin. This is where the story starts to get exciting!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dark Shadows: Naomi Collins Gets a Big Surprise

Tarot cards are really cool and mysterious, but I soon gave up trying to read them after a few failed attempts. I'm sure it takes more than a few tries to get it right, but my interpretations didn't pan out at all. In Episode 376 The Countess (Grayson Hall) reads the cards for Naomi Collins, (Joan Bennett) but the cards show nothing but betrayal and disaster for the Collins family. 

Later that night as Naomi slumbers, she has a dream about the cards and the voice of The Countess lures her out of bed to learn who in the family will be betrayed. Out in the hallway she finds Jeremiah (Anthony George) in a trance-like state and follows him downstairs to find him in the arms of a mysterious woman with a pitchfork tattooed on her hand. The voice of The Countess exclaims that the woman has the mark on the devil on her hand. As Naomi confronts Jeremiah and demands to know who the woman is, Jeremiah protects his lover's identity and insists that Naomi return to her bedroom. 

When Naomi refuses and grabs the woman's arm, it comes off in her hand! Obviously, it's a manikin arm, but I think it's supposed to be real as the shoulder end is painted red as though Naomi ripped the arm from the woman's shoulder. Naomi calls out in shock as she stares at the disembodied arm in her hand. How nasty!

 I'm a big believer in the importance of dreams and spent quite some time studying my own and researching how to interpret dreams. I've had some really elaborate, intense and detailed dreams myself over the years; particularly in the years right after my father died and then my grandmother. They were very meaningful and helpful dreams that truly improved my life and my understanding of life in general. Somehow I can tell when a dream is just a rehash for my brain to reset itself for the new day ahead and when a dream is a communication from my inner self or from The Universe or perhaps someone who is no longer with me in the flesh here in the material world.

I wonder who it really was that brought that dream to Naomi. Was it a helpful spirit using the voice of The Countess or an enemy of the evil Angelique, the witch responsible for bringing disaster to the Collins family?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nightfall (2010)

Nightfall (2010) is a pretty good documentary about the history of vampire movies. It starts out with some good film clips from the silent era into the 1940s until the present. It explains the basis for the vampire as Vlad the Impaler, and Elizabeth Bathory and, of course, Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. It goes into the Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as the most original, popular portrayers of Dracula and how the vampire films changed and evolved over the years. 

I think this subject is so vast that 87 minutes isn't long enough to fully cover all of the important vampire films that were produced over the years.

I'm sure there were budget constraints and other issues, but Nightfall would have been better if it were produced as a series or at least as a two-part documentary covering fifty years each.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lizzy Borden is Orphaned on This Day in 1892

Lucky for Lizzie Borden, forensic science wasn't as advanced as it is today. Unless she was innocent. Then her name would have been cleared and we wouldn't have this gruesome, sensational story to rehash forever after. It's been 123 years since Arthur and Abby Borden were brutally murdered by an ax to the face. Whoever killed them, whether Lizzie or an intruder, had to have been pretty twisted and/or pretty pissed. 

I can't imagine being so angry or so full of hate that I'd whale away on someone's face with an ax. Well, maybe in my younger PMS years! Just kidding, obviously those were only fantasies briefly entertained to burn off some inner steam and help me remain civil and even pleasant on the outside while seething with murderous rage on the outside.

Lizzie was also pretty lucky to have been tried before an all-male jury who probably couldn't comprehend the idea that a woman could possess the will, let alone the strength, to carry out such a violent act. Women were believed to be naturally compliant and genial in nature, especially well-bred banker's daughters like Lizzie. Of course, they found her not guilty.

Lucky for us, we can book a stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, the same house where the murders occurred in Fall River, Massachusetts. Maybe her ghost will show up and keep you company!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jennifer's Body (2009)

I don't know why, but I really like Jennifer's Body. It was definitely more horror than comedy. One reason why I like it is that I'm a fan of Megan Fox. She has a very commanding stage presence and I don't think it's just because of her beauty. There's something about her that makes me pay attention to what's going on on screen. I felt the same about her movie Jonah Hex. I don't even remember what that movie was about, but I remember her. To be honest, I think Amanda Seyfried as Jennifer's best friend Needy had a much better role in Jennifer's Body and is a better actor. She mastered the suspenseful scenes so well, I almost felt compelled to cover my eyes, like when she heard a noise and searched her dark house for an intruder, opening closet doors, etc. Why didn't she flip on the lights?

Another thing I liked about his movie was it reminded me of how cruel teenage girls can be and what joy they can derive from the suffering and humiliation they're capable of. I guess every high school has some real bitches and Jennifer's Body portrayed it pretty accurately. I could see where some of them could be possessed by demons and no one would be suspicious. If it wasn't for the bloody vomit and the dead boys, Jennifer's best friend Needy wouldn't even have guessed. She just assumed Jennifer was PMSing.

Yet another thing I liked was the use of color against darkness, like the scene where Needy ran through the dark streets and through the trees in her red party dress in an attempt to rescue her boyfriend, Chip, from Jennifer. There were a few places in the movie that used this technique.

However, the best part of the movie was the end when Needy seeks her revenge on Jennifer's murderers. It was great that Lance Henriksen plays the nice old man who picks her up hitchhiking, and that she is finally fearless, maybe because of her own partial possession, or maybe because she's pretty much got nothing left to lose. The scene changes to the evil rock band enjoying the stereotypical rock band activities in a hotel room and living it up at the expense of Jennifer and everyone that she killed. 

As the credits rolled it shows the crime scene investigation taking place in the hotel room where the band members were all brutally murdered. This was the only scene where I laughed out loud.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff and Catherine's Bedroom Scene

I always get choked up when I read this scene and I've read it many times. Catherine's eager and expectant face as she hears Heathcliff searching the house for her bedroom after months of her being almost as emotionless as a zombie since they last parted. Then when he finds her, rushes to her, kneeling at her chair, enfolding her in his arms and he in hers, the both of them entwined together almost as one "bestowing kisses" for a full five minutes before speaking. Then she blames him and Edgar for killing her by their failure to get along so she can have a relationship with them both and that she should be the one to be pitied but they only pity themselves at the thought of her death. 

I love that Heathcliff calls her on it, reprimanding her for trying to lay a guilt trip on him that will last a lifetime while she'll be at peace in her grave. This dialogue takes place after she desperately rips a chunk of his hair out as he rises from his knee by her chair and he leaves bruises on her arm from his passionate grip. 

From the emotional excitement her heart beats so hard she can't speak until the beating levels out a little. Then she kind of alludes to her description of her relationship with Heathcliff as told to Nelly on that fateful stormy night at Wuthering Heights when she explains how she and Heathcliff share the same soul and share the same feelings as one. She tells Heathcliff she will not rest until he joins her and she will still feel everything he feels even though she'll be dead and buried. 

When Heathcliff is overcome with emotion and moves away from her, Catherine explains that she's looking forward to death as liberation from her life of imprisonment when her spirit will be free to pursue her passion and live where she'll be happy, presumably with Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights. And then they fall into a passionate embrace again, so intense that Nelly fears for Catherine's fragile health. When Nelly attempts to go to her aid Heathcliff scares her away.

I choke up again when Heathcliff gives the speech of how Catherine is to blame for her death because she consciously broke away from Heathcliff by marrying Edgar. He describes their love as something nothing, not even God or Satan could betray, but she did it intentionally to become Edgar's wife, Lady of Thrushcross Grange. He ends by saying that once Catherine's dead, he'll be living "with his soul in the grave." Now Catherine is the one wracked with guilt as she admits she made a mistake in marrying Edgar and that she's dying because of it.

When Edgar comes home from church Catherine refuses to let Heathcliff sneak back out of the house. Poor Nelly! What a horrible position she's in when Edgar walks in and sees Catherine in Heathcliff's arms in her bedroom! It's really no wonder Nelly momentarily hopes Catherine is dead. It's almost comical.

Imagine how shocking this scene must have been back in Victorian times when it was first published. It's pretty rude in the 21st Century, in my opinion. The first line of the next chapter reveals that Catherine was seven months pregnant with her husband, Edgar's baby, as well! 

Over the years I've heard some people suggest Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship is unhealthy and codependent while others, including myself, describe their love as the way they both describe it: soulmates. Some people don't believe there is such a thing as soulmates. What do you think?