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Fright Night Friday: Nosferatu

Friday, October 30, 2015



I AM SO MAD ABOUT NOSFERATU YOU GUYS.

For one, I thought it would be a vaguely creepy movie but for the most part it was interesting but then the ending was SAD, which, why? Why?

  • So first off, we have this couple who are happily in love and married and they have an adorable cat. 
  • The main guy is called Hutter but with the Gothic script they used it looked more like Nutter, and it took me over half the movie to figure out that no, he wasn't called Nutter.
  • Hutter's employer Knock is shady as heck and you can tell because he's been made up to look almost as ugly as Nosferatu.
  • When Hutter ends up in Transylvania he ends up having to stay the night at an inn because the forecast says they have a 100% chance of WEREWOLF
  • Who is actually not a wolf at all but a striped hyena
  • First the armadillos, then the hyenas, what is with Hollywood and the fauna of Transylvania?
  • Meanwhile Hutter's wife Ellen is sleepwalking because she's worried about her husband on his trip. Her husband who, by the way, told her he was leaving to go travel the "land of phantoms and thieves" or some crap, like who wouldn't worry after that?? 
  • Anyway Nosferatu comes and picks up Hutter at some point and takes him to his castle and the castle is actually pretty neat! 
  • Meanwhile Hutter has a random book he found that is alllll about Nosferatu and how to defeat him, which is very convenient
  • People are climbing out of windows and coming down with "blood congestion" everywhere you turn in this movie.
  • Anyway Nosferatu is coming for Ellen because he's all into her neck but because Hutter jumped out of a window he gets stuck in the hospital and thus can't protect her. Then we spend the next THIRTY MINUTES watching as Hutter tries to beat Nosferatu back to his place
  • At some point the plague is involved? They try to imply it's because Nosferatu is eating everyone
  • Also there's like, a room full of people who have all touched a body that they believe to have the plague, and rather than lock themselves in the room they all run back to their homes, thereby guaranteeing that the plague gets to their loved ones
  • Nosferatu wanders around town with this like giant casket and no one notices anything
  • Remember Hutter's boss Knock, the 2nd most shady guy? He keeps trying to climb out of windows because he's possessed by Nosferatu or something. Anyway, he escapes from the asylum and everyone blames him for the plague
  • SO THEN EVERYONE LEAVES THEIR HOMES IN A GIANT MOB AND RUNS AFTER HIM.
  • They think they all have the plague! Why would you want to run around in a giant group???
  • they totally FUCK UP this one scarecrow
  • meanwhile Nosferatu is eating people
  • Ellen finds her husband's book and reads about how to defeat Nosferatu
  • which basically entails him drinking a maiden's blood and something about the sun
  • I can never tell what time anything takes place in so I assume it's all day all the time
  • Anyway Ellen invites Nosferatu in and sends her husband away and sacrifices herself to save the town from Nosferatu, and it works
  • SHE DIES! THAT ADORABLE COUPLE IS NOW DEAD. So instead of relief you just feel sad! The heck!
That being said, I can see why this has remained iconic. Any of the scenes with Nosferatu actually do stand out. He seems quietly malevolent at times, rather than outright freaky. I was surprised to see the context of the famous "shadow on the staircase: still. I thought he'd just creep up the stairs but he basically runs up them. Not as creepy as I'd hoped.

This is my first major silent movie, and it was interesting to see how they were done. The acting style is so different from today's and it was cool to see how the information was conveyed through facial expressions and gestures.

Overall, I kind of want to watch it again, but in the context of a class, so I can more fully appreciate its impact on cinema.

Poor Hutter, though.

Fright Night Friday: Dracula (1931)

Friday, October 23, 2015


How could you possibly have a series where you watch movies about vampires and not include Bela Lugosi's Dracula?

Trailer:



Spoilers!!
  • I wasn't expecting Swan Lake to be the theme for the opening credits and that was so odd to me.
  • Renfield was incredibly entertaining and kept reminding me of Igor
  • I wish I'd had an opportunity to watch this with the Philip Glass score. Apparently you can do that on the DVD release of the movie and I honestly am considering buying the movie just to do that.
  • Dracula is SO evil that he keeps wolves around (okay), bats (I can see that), spiders and other insects (totally works), possums (ehhh maybe), and ARMADILLOS (WHAT). Yes, apparently armadillos are native to Transylvania and Dracula keeps them in his backyard.
  • the bat on strings was entertaining but perhaps not in the way the director intended
  • I loved how deliciously, gloriously, over-the-top gothic the castle and the abbey sets were. I have no idea if it were this much of a stereotype back in the 30's but even though it looks kitchsy today I loved it.
  • there was no music to this but it really worked. I think the style of music at the time (bombast) would not have worked for the movie. The lack of music helped keep everything more restrained.
  • I kind of wish the movie had taken place in the Victorian or Baroque or Romantic eras instead of "modern day" (1930's) because imagine how lush the costumes would have been! As it was Dracula actually didn't look too terribly out of place in the 1930's world.
  • I was expecting over-the-top acting from Lugosi, and we did get that somewhat. But Lugosi was strangely compelling. In the moments where he was interacting with the other characters and not being a vampire, I found him charismatic almost. Out of all the people in the movie he absolutely stands out and not just because he's the title character. Only perhaps Van Helsing has as much force on screen as Lugosi. I wish we'd gotten to see this more restrained side of his Dracula because that was when he really shone. And while I found the frequent shots of his eyes as he was "hypnotizing" others to be kind of silly at the time, they are what is sticking with me the most now that the movie is over. This is Lugosi's movie, and everyone else is just sort of living in it.

Fright Night Friday: Byzantium

Friday, October 16, 2015



"Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort." - from IMDb

Trailer:


WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS!


  • I really only picked this movie because it was a vampire movie I hadn't seen and it starred my babes Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton
  • I'd gotten the impression somehow that this movie wasn't very good, but I ended up really liking it!
  • The only trailers I could find did not sell this movie very well. They made it seem like it was some vampire action film and it's not; it's more slow and atmospheric. I'm guessing that's why many people don't like it.
  • Pretty sure this movie passes the Bechdel test. 
  • I liked the vaguely feminist backstory behind the characters' predicament. I wasn't expecting that and it added to my enjoyment of the movie
  • Sam Riley is such a babe, I mean JEEZE! I wasn't planning on seeing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but I guess I'm going to rethink that
  • Gemma Arterton is such a babe, I mean JEEZE! Why isn't she in everything? She was such a badass in this movie.
  • I feel like Clara is such an intriguing character that she should have her own movie. I really admired her character's grit. I was happy that her and Darvell walk off into the sunset together, because by the end I was really feeling it. 
  • Eleanor is such a teenager in this, but that makes sense when your character is eternally 16. Which, by the way, if you had to be immortal forever, wouldn't it be horrible to be a teenager for eternity? I think about being stuck as my teenage self forever and recoil in disgust.
  • This movie had lots of gorgeous imagery, but there are a few images that stuck with me the most are.
  • 1) when the camera is watching poor dejected Frank walking away down the promenade as Eleanor, Clara, and Noel wander off in the opposite direction. I really liked how that shot was composed, that you can see Frank continuing to walk away while the scene plays out.
  • 2) the red waterfalls, when you see them for the first time. When I saw the trailer for it I thought it was going to be just fountains of blood and grossness, but it's actually quite beautiful, and seeing Gemma playing in them was lovely
  • 3) when Saoirse meets herself in the cave for the first time
  • speaking of the cave, I really loved this origin story for vampires. It was a fresh take on their mythology, and how often do you get that?
  • Caleb Landry Jones surprised me in this. I'd first seen him in Antiviral, and I guess I was expecting him to display the same behavior in this, so when he started showing emotions I was thrown for a bit of a loop
  • Frank and Eleanor were so adorable and I wasn't expecting to ship it but here we are

Did you see the film? Tell me what you think!

P. S. Crimson Peak comes out today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fright Night Friday: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Friday, October 9, 2015


"In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire."- from IMDb.

Trailer:



CAUTION: HERE BE SPOILERS!

  • So I knew pretty much nothing going into this. I knew it was some kind of vampire western, there were skateboards, it was Iranian, it's supposed to be good????
  • If you're looking for horror, this won't be it. This is more of a meditation on loneliness and coping with the inherent meaninglessness of life. 
  • Arash is a cutie, I mean dang. Boy is too pretty for my own good.
  • I love, love, love how the chador is interpreted in this film. The image of The Girl wandering the streets in her chador is so immediately iconic. 
  • I was expecting this to be all about the exploits of the girl, so I was surprised when Arash was presented as a main character as well. 
  • I had somehow missed the part where this movie is also a romance, so when Arash and The Girl met I was completely blown away at how badly I wanted them to be together. I don't usually find romances to be very interesting, so the fact that I was so immediately invested in their relationship took me by surprise. I don't think I would have felt so strongly if we hadn't spent the first half of the movie following both characters before their paths crossed.
  • When Arash gives The Girl a hug because she's cold I immediately started flailing around in my bed. THESE LIL' BABES! THEY ARE TOO CUTE! I was instantly swept away.
  • The movie definitely picks up a certain spark once the two main characters interact. Don't get me wrong, it's intriguing beforehand too, but the two actors definitely have chemistry together that makes the second half more interesting in some ways than the first.
  • I really loved the way Sheila Vand played the scene of her and Arash in her room, and she's standing right in front of him and tilting his head back. For the longest time you can't decide if she's going to go for his throat or a hug, and the way Sheila plays the character conveys this character's indecision on the same matter. I loved the depth her performance brought to that moment.
  • This movie is definitely the perfect follow-up to Only Lovers Left Alive. If you love one, you should absolutely check out the other. They are both the types of movies that reward repeat viewings, especially when analyzing the style.

What did you like about the movie?

Fright Night Friday: Only Lovers Left Alive

Friday, October 2, 2015

For the month of October, I thought it would be fun to watch and review movies with some kind of horror element. These won't be straight horror, although I enjoy that genre too! This is more artsy, pretty moving pictures of people- type movies. These posts will assume that either you've already seen the movies, or you don't mind spoilers. They're just my thoughts on the films and are really more like discussion posts.



Our first offering this month is Only Lovers Left Alive, which I LOVE.

"Only Lovers Left Alive is a 2013 British-German vampire film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, and starring Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival." - From Wikipedia

Trailer:



Some thoughts on the film:

  • So I knew going into this movie that it was not going to be some action packed horror. I expected it to be kind of slow and artsy. It fully met those expectations. But I quite enjoyed it! The style of the cinematography was very dreamlike and it gave me a languid feeling
  • How adorably emo hot was Hiddles? So hot. A lesser actor might have been tempted to give into the ANGST of it all, but Tom never devolved into Hot Topic territory. The sheer charisma of Hiddles was enough to overcome what had the potential to be a very unlikeable character. He played Adam with a finesse you don't see many actors display. He was truly masterful and it was a pleasure to watch him.
  • SWINTON was... I can't. Tom may have been the brooding bad boy of our dreams, but Tilda was on another level. She was luminous, ethereal, enchanting... she was like something from another realm of existence. I have to confess a terrible secret: I liked her, but never saw her in enough movies to truly love her. But after this movie I'm in complete and utter love with her. She had an ageless quality to her that is quite necessary in a vampire. Tom is quite possibly the only actor who could have truly stood up against her, so I'm glad they cast him, because otherwise the film ran the risk of being swept away by the sheer force of her presence.
  • I loved the nighttime driving sequences, especially the ones in Detroit. When I lived in the city and felt restless at night, I would get in my car and drive, just drive, for hours until the restlessness faded away. The scenes of Adam and Eve driving in the car reminded me very much of this. I loved the way it was shot, and how the scenes of the driving were echoed in other sequences as well. These combined with the music gave the film a mesmerizing feel.
  • The music! I loved how trance like the music was. The lute gave the whole film this really ageless feel. Jozef van Wissem's compositions really made a lot of the movie, and I plan to buy much more of his music.
  • I loved how the movie celebrates music and literature. It's very clear that without either of these things the characters would not have the joy that they do.
  • If I had to pick a favorite sequence, it would be the one at the very beginning, where the night sky turns into star lines turns into a record player. I loved how the association of eternity with music was visually conveyed.
  • Anton Yelchin! My god, if I didn't know that was him I never would have guessed. He was exactly like guys I've met in real life. He too was a treasure. I was heartbroken when his character died, because I wanted him to stay in the film and become a vampire.
  • Mia Wasikowska also did an amazing job. Her Ava was beautifully believable.
  • Really, all of the actors in this film were stunning. A++++ casting, would cast again.
  • This is a film I feel I will return to again and again.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?






 Parts of this post were originally published on my Livejournal.

3 Albums That Perfectly Capture The Essence of Autumn

Thursday, October 1, 2015






Autumn is literally everything I love in life.

If it were possible to live in a place where it was fall year-round, I would sell a kidney and half my liver to live there. Crisp nights, cool days, misty mornings, spiced tea, apple cider, pumpkin picking, hayrides, wood fires... I could drone endlessly on, but you get the idea. 

My favorite thing is to explore during the fall. I live near the Virginia mountains, so gorgeous scenery is always only a car ride away. And what's the point of having an amazing vista if you don't have an appropriately amazing soundtrack to go with it?

Now, for some reason, autumn is the time where I go "Yes, everything must be acoustic and preferably inspired by Medieval Europe/the Renaissance/Baroque/traditional Chinese music/resonance instruments in general". I blame my friends. One of the movies we made back in the day was filmed in the fall, and the soundtrack we put together for it had a lot of Renaissance/Medieval/Baroque inspired music on it, and I guess that must have imprinted on me a love for such music during this season. 

Now, I won't subject you to my autumn playlist- yet- but the 3 albums I've selected all have very strong acoustic and/or classical components. 

In addition to these sounds, I also like to listen to music that's bright, but melancholy. That's what autumn feels like to me, honestly. It’s a beautiful season, but a sad one too- the nights get longer, the foliage fades away, and always running beneath the beautiful days and clear nights is the knowledge of the oncoming winter, of the cold and the dark that waits at the end of it all.

These albums, to me, also perfectly capture this feeling, this beauty that is enriched by the awareness of its impermanence.

Secondhand Rapture- MS MR




Originally I bought their EP, Candy Bar Creep Show, and liked it enough that I knew I would have to buy the album when it came out. And I'm so glad I did! Now, I’m incredibly ADHD and I find it hard to sit through albums that are too slow. SR has none of that; all of its songs are utter jams. “Bones”, in fact, is the song that I consider to be the “opening credits” of Sylvanlight- more on that later. Lizzy Plapinger’s voice is a contradiction- clear and yet can have this rough quality to it in certain parts, and I love it. Max Hershenow creates intriguing soundscapes that are different in every song- yet the whole album doesn’t feel disjointed, but cohesive. They’ve been compared to Florence and the Machine, and I think that’s a very apt comparison. Both acts have an almost “baroque pop” feel to them. Florence in fact is another artist who makes frequent appearances on my autumn playlists, but her two CDs don’t feel as autumnal as a whole, unlike Secondhand Rapture. It still makes me sick that I had to miss their tour for this album.

Enchant- Emilie Autumn





It would take quite a few more blog posts to explain the significance of Emilie Autumn to my life, so I’m not going to even try and I’ll just settle for saying that she’s one of my “ride or die” artists- creative people who have influenced my own endeavors. I discovered her Enchant era one fall, and during that time I listened to pretty much nothing else, especially during art class. The whole Enchant era comprises about 24 songs, including remixes and b-sides, and I wish there had been more. The actual album itself spans quite a few genres, from hip-hop to jazz to classical and then back again via rock. If Middle Earth had punk rock, Enchant would be it. However, at the time she was very inspired by baroque and medieval music, and it shows, because this early baroque feel is present in all the songs, no matter how jazzy or punk they get.

And you know how much of a sucker I am for early baroque music in the fall…

The lead single from Enchant was "Chambermaid", a punkish number which showcases a hint of her later-to-be-iconic electric violin. However, I feel that this was actually not the best choice. To me, the best songs on the album are "Juliet", "Rose Red", and "Epilogue: What If". I literally can’t choose between any of them; it’s gutting to try and figure out which one to feature in this post. Those songs also feature what I feel is the best descriptor of the album: renaissance pop. I would donate my other kidney to have more music in this “genre”, but she moved away from it for her next era, which is crushing because no one else seems to do anything similar. There’s a lot of people out there performing music from the renaissance era, but no one melding that sensibility with more modern genres. I want to hear interpretations, not just replications. How dare she introduce me to this and then peace out?? Doesn’t she know that some random person 10 years later would need more???

I finally decided to go with "Rose Red", as I feel it best captures the album as a whole (and really should have been the lead single). But really, the whole album has a wistful beauty to it- perfect for fall.

Eden- Sarah Brightman





My ultimate ride-or-die artist. As a teenager, my friends and I were utterly obsessed with her. I have all of her DVDs and one of my life goals is to obtain the elusive Classics special. I’ve watched all of her concerts at least twice, and her Harem DVDs multiple times. No one else has influenced me in the manner she has.

I’m sure this is ridiculous to people who aren’t as familiar with her, especially if your only association is that she did Phantom approximately two centuries ago. But she has actually been quite an innovator since POTO; her and Andrea Bocelli both jump started the classical crossover genre in the early-to-mid 90s. However, unlike the others who followed after, Sarah has never let the conventions of the genre confine her. While others were content to wear tuxes or ball gowns and stand in front of an orchestra for all their photo shoots, music videos, and tours, Sarah always took it to the next level. She did that for the Timeless tour, and then after went “LOL no that’s boring” and basically went Cher on us with elaborate tours and breathtaking costume and set design. Her albums usually have a theme that is carried through the photoshoots, the music videos, the promo, and the tour. Everything is perfectly cohesive.

The albums that best showcase this are the Holy Trinity of EdenLa Luna, and Harem. Of the three, Eden is the most autumnal of them all. She uses a lot of orchestra, choir, and acoustic instruments in the album, which gives it a very heavy and velvety feel. Oddly enough, that velvety feeling also makes it perfect for late afternoon summer listenings. Probably because in Virginia those times are also full of rich sunlight and heavy humidity, which go with that feeling.

Between songs like the title track, "Dust in the Wind", and "Deliver Me", there is a beautifully melancholy tone to the whole affair, which makes it perfect to listen to as you drive down the winding Virginia backcountry roads, sunlight on trees that will soon be bare, and air still tinted with the smell of that morning’s frost.

What about you? What albums do you have to give a spin during autumn? 






Parts of this post were originally published on my Livejournal.