Archive for May, 2006

Loving ‘Carrie’

Entertainment Weekly’s Ask the Critic is asked what movies provide the best scary, “gotcha” moment:

To me, there’s one that towers above all: the final shocker in Brian De Palma’s Carrie, where Amy Irving kneels down before Carrie’s grave, the sugar-rush musical score swelling, the credits seemingly about to roll, and suddenly Carrie’s bloody hand reaches out of the ground, as if from hell, scaring the bejesus out of poor Amy, not to mention everyone watching the movie. The first time I experienced that moment, the day that Carrie opened in 1976, I was so terrified I literally stood up out of my seat in fear, and so did half the audience.

The reason I was eager to answer this question is that even though a lot of people recognize Carrie as a classic and cherish that final funhouse jolt as much as I do, what isn’t so widely acknowledged is how much influence that moment had on the horror movies that followed. Simply put: before De Palma, no one had ever thought to stage a moment that unsettling as the very last scene of a movie. There was no release, no time to steady your nerves; you were simply terrified to your bones and then…boom, the movie ended. And so you carried the nightmare right out of the theater with you.

I remember the first time watching that movie. I was at home watching it late at night in our old farmhouse in Ohio with my younger sister. I was 19. We were alone in the house with my father in a Columbus hospital dying of cancer and my mother there with him.

When ‘Carrie’ came on Chiller Theater that Friday night, I was eager to watch it because I recalled hearing ‘Carrie’ was really scary. I recall I felt disappointed right before the end. The movie had been OK, but had not been the blood bath I expected, until, you know, the blood shower followered by the blood bath scene. I recall thinking how cool those scenes were. But it hadn’t been scary and then ‘boo!’ the hand shoots out of the grave. I jumped and my little sister screamed. I remember the jolt of adrenaline and both of us going “Whoo!” We laughed that the scene had frightened us so much. But I wasn’t laughing when I turned in to sleep and if I remember correctly I slept with the shotgun under my bed.

Lawmaker urges passage of vampire slayer act

Sadly the story in the California Chronicle isn’t nearly as interesting as the headline…

UPDATE: The Vampire Slayer Act passed!

Balticon report

Blogger TealVeal sent me his report of last weekend’s Balticon:

Hey Carnacki,

Balticon 40 was pretty good though I think last year’s was better I intend to attend next year, schedule willing. Whether I believe the 39th one was better is because the panels were more interesting or because it was my first one…I don’t know. There seemed to be a few more “filler panels” this year than last. I think there were 4 or 5 on podcasting, which while interesting are not as intersting to me as more panels about villians etc. Last year’s had a panel on werewolf/vampire stories which really went into the pulp history of the two..

The convention did have activities for everybody. There were children’s activities the whole weekend, there was stuff for anime geeks, stuff for role playing geeks, stuff for science geeks, stuff for musical geeks (filking, science fiction themed songs set to traditional filk music, though I got one guy to play Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” the crowd was downright frigid when I suggested it. I finally realized most of the people in the audience were alive when Dylan switched to electric…and some people can hold grudges for a very long time :)) , stuff for LARPing geeks, stuff for fantasy geeks, stuff for table top gaming geeks…they had a ton of stuff. They had a huge dealers’ room with a bunch of people selling books, DVDs, crafts, bumper stickers, swords, etc. I picked up a few books that looked good.

There was a kick ass mini film festival there MCed by Count Gore de Vol (he had a show on channel 20 in Washington DC for a long time, I think before it because UPN 20? and now maintains a web presence and weekly feature at http://www.countgore.com/) who dresses up as a vampire. My favorite film was this one called the Grandfather Paradox:
http://www.redheadproductions.com/grand_page.html I’d spoil the ending but you might see it some time :) They screened a feature length movie as welll: http://www.livelihoodmovie.com/, it’s about the troubles zombies have reintegrating into society after they come back from the dead. It was interesting but they had 4 stories which never intersected.. The film festival was probably my favorite event of the convention.

Here is a link to the program: http://www.balticon.org/B40pocketfinal.pdf

It sounds like you all had a fun time yourself out in the open where you couldn’t be tapped :)

“[W]e here highly resolve…”

Arlington National Cemetery - Memorial Section G

 

“…that these dead shall not have died in vain…”

— Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”

Ghost ship on the high seas

From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to Dracula’s schooner Demeter running aground off Whitby, from the real-life mystery of the Mary Celeste (about which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a highly speculative and sensational account) to Poe’s “MS. Found in a Bottle” – the image of the ghost ship (unmanned, or manned by a damned crew) is a recurring one. Alas, as with the Mary Celeste, such things are still all too real:

The white ghost ship rolled in the Atlantic swell as the rescue boats approached it 70 nautical miles off Ragged Point, one of the most easterly places on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The yacht was unmarked, 6 metres (20ft) long, and when Barbadian coastguard officers boarded it, they made a gruesome find. The boat’s phantom crew was made up of the desiccated corpses of 11 young men, huddled in two separate piles in the small cabin. Dressed in shorts and colourful jerseys, they had been partially petrified by the salt water, sun and sea breezes of the Atlantic Ocean. They appeared to have come from far away.

[…]

In a part of the world where legends and myths have often been furnished by the sea, the mystery of the dead men soon provoked curious speculation.

The full story may be found here – as with so many things, the full story manages to be both simpler yet more horrific than most fiction.

[A well-deserved tip of the hat to Exclamation Mark.]

A celebration of ‘Darkness’

Cool article on the vampire cult flick Darkness in the Wichita Eagle.

Disappointing ‘Lestat’ closes run

From The Associated Press:

 

NEW YORK — They’re driving a stake through the heart of “Lestat.”

The $10 million Elton John-Bernie Taupin musical inspired by Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles” will close Sunday after a disappointing run of 39 performances.

The show opened April 25 to negative reviews and has seen its box-office grosses steadily sink since then. Last week, for example, the expensive show, which stars Hugh Panaro as the neck-chomping vampire, grossed $448,525, playing to only 53 percent capacity at the Palace Theatre.

Death and destruction

I’ve been tied up on the plans of death and destruction — not mine, but someone else’s  for a change —  for this entire month. Hopefully the issue will be resolved soon. When it does, I intend to take advantage of all the new tools the site offers. I’m also working on a short horror story that will be posted soon.

Welcome to the world, Zolten

You’ve got to love Penn Jillette. From USA Today:

After naming their first-born girl Moxie CrimeFighter last June, comedian Penn Jillette and wife came up with something a bit more mainstream for their new son — Zolten Penn, who was born Monday.

“Zolten is a common Hungarian name, it’s my wife’s maiden name and most importantly, it’s the name of Dracula’s dog,” Jillette, the 51-year-old larger half of the comedy-and-magic duo Penn & Teller, said in a statement.

Although in the movie the name of Dracula’s dog was spelled Zoltan. How much of a loser does it make me that I knew that without checking?

Posted in Horror | 1 Comment »

Croatia’s Dracula

USA Today has a story on Croatia’s efforts to tout the country’s own version of Count Dracula. It’s a story I highlighted some time ago, but USA Today is a small newspaper that probably needs a few hits I can send their way (and it is a well-done story).

 

Posted in Horror | 3 Comments »

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