Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Don't!

Well there are friends to listen to and there are others... not so much. Alas, I found myself listening to the wrong ones! Their advice? “Watch the Vampire Diaries!”. Little did I know I would regret the moment I decided to.

What do I have to say about it? Well, I have new found respect for True Blood!

Yes, yes, I know I was the one ripping it to pieces a few weeks ago, but, partly due to its rather surprising bouncing back to normal this season, and partly due to knowing what else is out there, yes, I do have new found respect!

What can one say about the tragedy called Vampire Diaries? A lot, trust me!

Where do I start? Let's see, plot non-existent. Beverly Hills meets Twilight and believe me they went to a lot of trouble to find the twin brother o Robert Pattison (as if we were ever in need of another one!).

Lame high school dialogues, teenagers in heat and the same old drama of a “good natured” vampire struggling to connect to his human side.

My personal struggle? To find anything remotely interesting about this.

A love triangle is the main feature of the first (and hopefully last) season. People looking like vampires, vampires walking around in sunlight (where have I seen that before...?), witches helping vampires and then hating them, and I don't know what else, makes for a very painful pastime.

What was worse than watching the first episode, was the idea that I had to watch the rest in order to have a rounded opinion. And I did (in fast forward mostly). I actually went through it and I'm not proud.

The things I do for you all!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

As far as classic horror movies go The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari) is the oldest -possibly most important too- of the lot. It was, after all, shot back in 1920 and could easily be the first horror movie ever created, though I really can't be sure of such things. Mind you, most the internet does believe this to be the case, so I guess further research isn't what matters right now.

What actually matters, you see, is that you dear lovers of horror, German expressionism and wild, romantic film-making absolutely watch this masterpiece. The film is now happily a public domain work of art and can be freely and very legally downloaded from the Internet Archive.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

George Romero's Survival of the Dead

I am a huge fan of George Romero's work; really am. And I frankly believe that his zombie movies, the same movies that actually established the zombie sub-genre in horror, are some of the most interesting, unique, smart, innovative and politically intriguing horror movies ever created. The Night of the Living Dead was unique in featuring a black protagonist and anti-racist overtones back in 1968, the Dawn of the Dead was harsh in its critique of consumerist society, Day of the Dead openly mocked armies, the Land of the Dead was the only zombie-based class drama ever shot, and all of them were great films with proper characters, interesting plots and wise scares.

George Romero's 2009 zombie flick Survival of the Dead, on the other hand, is far less than spectacular. Actually, it's a right-out disappointment, that fails on so many levels, it actually managed to shock me. This is sub-standard, uninspired b-movie fare, and I simply didn't see it coming.

First of all, you see, gone are the political undertones and the original ideas in the already tired sub-genre, and in are most major zombie movie cliches. Then there's the inclusion of some dire attempts at slapstick humour, and an even more desperate attempt to test some cardboard, soap-opera inspired characters, which -surprise, surprise- miserably fail to create any sort of empathy. Oh, and in case you were wondering the plot sports gigantic holes and is roughly as interesting as watching school kids remake Romeo and Juliet. Adding the fact that the movie doesn't even try to scare anyone, well, I guess it would be safe to say this is something you'll most probably want to avoid.

It doesn't even get the atmosphere right! Seems like someone forgot to put the needed amount of zombies in it...

And, please, don't get me started on that curing the zombies subplot. Or the miserably and decidedly unfunny slapstick ending to some originally promising scenes. It simply makes me sad. George Romero deserves much better than that. 

You can find out more about Survival of the Dead at imdb and its official site. To grab a copy of the movie, you could try Amazon.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Cruelty of Being Edgar Alan Poe

I remember the first time one of Poe's books found its way into my hands. I was just a teenager and had no idea that there was a world as messed up as I thought I was (or still am?). I instantly fell in love and for the following three months I devoured anything with his name on it... The pain and agony that reflected on every single one of his short stories and poems, along with the total lack of happy endings made me sink deeper and deeper in to his world.

I decided to read everything in the order that was written and so I read and read, thinking to myself "just how cruel can he be"? Little did I know; I simply had no idea of just how much...

It was time for “The Pit and the Pendulum”, one of his few works that had no sign of the supernatural, and the critics were diverse. Some said that it was one of his softer pieces because of the ending. I was intrigued so I set out to read it, see what everyone was talking about and decide for myself.

When I was done, I realized that he could be crueler than I ever thought! This was a writer that had hooked all his readers in pain and unspeakable horror, but this was soooo different. I am actually writing this, in order to give an alternative interpretation to what Poe had in mind when he wrote this. Agree or not, this is how my poor little mind worked.

The pit, all bloody and haunted by the hundreds of lives it had already claimed, the man, mortified and seeing the end approaching inch by inch, and the pendulum, all set up and ready to harvest yet another soul. I kept reading and I must say it was the first time I ever identified as strongly as I did with the victim. The pendulum was there just a mere second away from giving the final blow and rendering the only finale fitting. I could taste the desperation, smell the fear, hear the sound of the final sway when... oh horror of horrors, a hand reached out and he was saved.

A happy ending? If thats not cruel, I don't know what is.
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