Sunday, November 29, 2015

Frankenstein and Romeo Void's "Never Say Never"

Old couple walks by, as ugly as sin
But he’s got her and she’s got him

Never say never (Romeo Void)
I thought of Frankenstein's creature while I was listening to this song recently. I had just read the chapter where the creature convinces Frankenstein to make him a female companion and he'll give up his violent quest for revenge against Frankenstein's bitter abandonment of his creation. The creature believes that a companion of his same species will provide him the comfort and sense of belonging he needs to stop taking out his lonely rage on humans, particularly Frankenstein's loved ones. 

What neither one considers is the possibility of the new creature accepting the original as one of her own and a partner in life. On the other hand, when I was listening to Romeo Void's "Never Say Never," I was reminded that very often couples do seem to share some of the same general physical characteristics. Although he didn't need it, the creature could have used this song as a selling point in his pitch to Frankenstein!

However, all Frankenstein considered was creating a partnership of over-sized, exceedingly strong, vengeful murderers roaming Europe killing humans, especially his family. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Frankenstein : Anger and Alienation

I love the part of Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, where Walton writes his sister reciting Frankenstein's retelling of his creature's life story. This is the same type of second or third account storytelling used in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights where the story is written by Heathcliff's tenant, Mr. Lockwood who, halfway through the book announces that he's going to continue the story using his own words to retell Nellie, the housekeeper's, version of the family history.  In both works of fiction, we're obviously reading what the novelists want us to read; however, in real life, how much of such a retelling would you take as literal truth? It's like listening to rumors at work or at school, where the story might become embellished or parts omitted with each telling. 

Anyway, Shelley does an impeccable job of portraying the pain of rejection, physical and emotional, by the only people the creature loves and also the resulting pain of loneliness and isolation when she describes the creature's failure to become accepted by his beloved De Lacey family.

"I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed and had broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the feelings of revenge and  hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive to control them, but allowing myself to be borne away by the stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death. When I thought of my friends, of the mild voice of De Lacey, the gentle eyes of Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the Arabian, these thoughts vanished and a gush of tears somewhat soothed me. But again when I reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage of anger, and unable to injure anything human, I turned my fury towards inanimate objects." Mary Shelley

The De Laceys didn't know who he was or that he even existed until they saw him clutching the legs of their invalid and blind father. After observing the family from behind a wall in their house, the creature's desperate loneliness and need for human empathy and interaction brought him in the habit of thinking of these people as his own family with hopes of joining them and living happily ever after. It goes to show how people need to belong to achieve a personal sense of identity, whether it's daily interaction with the group or from a distance, to be accepted as a member. 

When the creature felt rejected by those he hoped to join and already had an emotional attachment to, although only in his mind, he was overwhelmed with anger and felt the pain of his alienation from the world more sharply than ever. Since the creature's hope of belonging to the human race was destroyed, he sought revenge on his creator and those who rejected him. He essentially became a terrorist.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scream Queens (2015): Mommie Dearest

Jamie Lee Curtis kicks the asses of the serial killers when they attempt to make her the next victim, sending them fleeing the scene, was so great! Using the Psycho-like shower scene as a prelude to the attack was a hoot too, since her mother (Janet Leigh) was in the original Psycho movie. Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is kind of nutty, but she was pure confidence and badassness when she found herself confronted with three masked attackers and said, "Bring it on," before methodically overpowering all of them.

Usually, I find Emma Roberts (Chanel Oberlin) has all the great scenes in Scream Queens, but Jamie Lee Curtis definitely owned Mommie Dearest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Frankenstein: A Despicable Coward?

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Google books) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I think the first time I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was in a 19th Century Lit class in college and I wasn't completely sure about Victor Frankenstein's character. Was Frankenstein terrified to take responsibility of his horrible act of recklessly creating life and then abandoning it or did he fear saving Justine's life by confessing and sacrificing his own in her place?

At the time I thought the latter was true, but now I'm thinking maybe both are true. Maybe he was just a big coward. He certainly didn't want to admit that he had created what turned out to be a hideous looking freak and didn't want his family and friend, Clerval, to know, but he wasn't about to risk looking like a madman by publicly confessing that he was indirectly guilty of murdering his brother in an attempt to save Justine's life either. 

"A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine, but I was absent when it was committed, and such a declaration would have been considered as the ravings of a madman and would not have exculpated her who suffered through me."

Really? I'm pretty sure he could have at least tried. His innocent little brother was dead and now innocent Justine was going to be tried as his murderer. How could he just stand by and watch it all play out? Then Shelley goes on to describe his remorse and inner agony over the whole thing. It would be different if he didn't have a conscience, but he obviously does. How could anyone live with themselves after that? But he does only to have more horror and guilt piled onto his dark and damaged soul. For someone who at first looked upon himself as a god, he quickly became a low impotent creature.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Crimson Peak (2015)

Stunning scenery, lots of Victorian gothic elements and great acting made Crimson Peak a movie worth watching again. I'm definitely buying it! Everything in the movie was over the top except for the plot and predictable story line. Within the first twenty minutes or so, we know exactly what's going to happen and how it will end. The only thing that's a mystery is exactly what the Sharpe family history is and why do the Allerdale Hall heirs need Edith to attain their life goals.

Allerdale Hall, the once stately, now rundown gothic mansion is in worse shape than the Munster Mansion with its gaping circular hole in the roof. How did they let it get that big? Where were those leaves coming from? The many constantly blazing fireplaces in the mansion were no defense against that draft! However, the corridors, candelabras and the elevator that led to Thomas Sharp's toys-in-the-attic workshop above and Lucille Sharp's gruesome burial vats below were gothic genius.

Crimson Peak was just as much campy fun as gothic beauty. We see a ghost reclined in the tub with a cleaver lodged in her skull, Lucille points out a horrid unflattering portrait of her mother to Edith, then snow piles up in a circular shape on the floor in the foyer under the open roof. Towards the end, Edith wacks Lucille in the head with a shovel as she quips a la Ash from the Evil Dead movies. These are only a few of the many laughs.

The only thing this movie lacked was a little intensity and passion between the newlyweds when Thomas truly falls in love with the smitten Edith, as fantasy bad boys do after meeting that one special woman who draws out the respectable faithful inner man with their unique elixir of love. Never in real life, ladies. Speaking of real life, the ghosts would have been spookier if they were more of a gothic ethereal quality bearing resemblance to their living form instead of the modern grim-reaper-covered-in-slime variety.

If for no other reason, this movie is worth watching for the scenery, costumes and cast.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Being Human UK: The Final Broadcast Revisited

I think when a TV series is in its final season and the writers know in advance that the series will be ending, it should be universally understood that faithful viewers deserve some closure.

After seeing an additional scene of The Final Broadcast on Blastr, it becomes apparent that the trio are trapped in a dream-life created by the devil. At the end of the scene they resolve to find a way out to save the world for real as though the show will continue with a new season.

Yes, it's nice to know the team is alive and well and committed to a higher purpose, but I still think the series finale would have been better if the three died as heroes, saving the world and sent to heaven like the original flatmates.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Being Human UK: The Last Broadcast

I loved this show! It was so well done and the story is so unique and addicting. I was sad when the original cast members left, but the new cast grew on me too. It's too bad the show had to end, but I really enjoyed how it all wrapped up. The story line never got old and I never saw what was coming. I truly thought Alex, Hal and Tom would die as heroes that saved the world. Now we know why Alex's door never presented itself!

Frankenstein: Success Becomes Failure

The ultimate control  is that over life and death, since those are the two things that we, as mere mortals, have absolutely no control over. There's no more helpless feeling as when you watch a loved one sicken and die. You stand there as they suffer and grow weaker and sicker day after day. As they grow closer to death your fear and helplessness increases until the inevitable time when you trade your helplessness for horror as they succumb to their illness and die.

Victor's mother's death was his first experience of loss, grief and mourning. He refers to the feeling as an "irreparable evil. The void that presents itself to the soul." When a loved one dies it does feel like a huge gaping hole has been torn from your chest leaving a huge painful void. Birth, on the other hand, feels like something warm and bright and hopeful is filling your chest.

Maybe Victor tried to fill the void in his soul with the bright warmth of new life when he obsessively built his creature. With the loss of his mother's love and adoration, perhaps he thought the creature would love and adore him for granting him life. Instead he learned many things, such as bringing a new life into the world doesn't guarantee that person will appreciate you and being able to control life and death wasn't the glorious achievement he had hoped it would be.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Frankenstein: Victor's Naive God Complex

Victor, still mourning the death of his dear mother, goes off alone to school and after a couple of years, discovers how to spark life into dead flesh. He becomes so obsessed with his gruesome project that he fails to consider all of the possible consequences.

In order to make his work easier and speed up production by not having to work with such tiny parts, he decides to enlarge the human frame of his project and make him 8 feet tall, acquiring all the body parts from "the dissecting room and slaughter house." Imagine the smell! After consciously deciding to create life in such an oversized, hideous creature, he expects the creature to not only be grateful for giving him life, but to worship him as its creator!

Poor demented Victor, so excited over creating something that would fulfill his deepest needs by bowing to his divine superiority and recognizing and being grateful for his devotion and success, that he never considers what his responsibility might be if the creature instead accuses him of  being more demon-like by cursing him with an unbearable and unwanted life.

Victor should have considered all of the possible consequences before pursuing his project. Instead he was in his own head where every though was only about Victor, Victor Victor.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Being Human UK: Season 4 - Annie Saves the World

What a great way to end Annie's story line! I'm so sad that the last original flat mate is gone, but Annie's happy ending provided, at least, some compensation. The implication that she is now free to join her beloved friends who she deeply misses, delivering baby Eve to her parents perhaps, was a sweet finale, as though her brave sacrifice to save humanity from evil vampire domination wasn't enough.

Even though the original flat mates are no longer on the show, the story, character development and the writing is so great that I'm sure Season 5 will continue to satisfy my addiction to Being Human UK.