Sunday, October 22, 2017

Poe Arts Festival Entry - Darkest Night

As a huge fan of the works of Edgar Allan Poe there are times when I draw on him for inspiration. That was the case with this piece that was done for the POEtry Contest for the Poe Arts Festival. Please check out the video that was made for this contest (just remember, I am a writer not an actor)! #ShowUsYouPoe

Darkest Night

Help me please; protect me, as these shadows close,
Oh, what have I done, cleanse my darkest darkened heart.

The eyes! Stop…no! The eyes!
Staring deep within the bounds of my soul,
Why me, why now, why?
The screams grow louder as the howling winds grow,
Swallow me whole, silence my cries,
Bury me alive, inside these walls; entomb me by your side.

Midnight nears, hear the echoes of bells?
Fetid flesh binds every move; every quiver,
Scarlet tears, sips of blood, the oceans swell,
Your whispers call, heartbeats shiver,
Something is coming, something from the well,
Save me, do not allow me to die alone!

The aging stones hide the illicit deeds,
Your soul removed, impaled by love and despair,
Truths turn to rust; bosoms turn shallow, pale eyes bleed,
For in your lair, scents of lust fill the air,
And empty hearts and dying embers calm my needs,
Hear my pleas, forgive me, and make me whole again.

Years have passed; your pulse has faded,
Memories remain, visions so pure,
The blade upon your neck, an empty sacrifice, long I have waited,
For this day, and every day, for you to open the door,
Sins of flesh, Satan’s touch, and two lives sated,
Together at last, my tomb awaits, finally you call.

At last I hope, my deeds are forgiven,
And you will embrace my darkened soul.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Invisible Man (1933)

With Halloween being right around the corner, it is fun to sit back and enjoy the classics from Universal Studios. Last night it was The Mummy, and tonight, I followed that one with the classic The Invisible Man from 1933.

Plot/ A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Being in a classics mood, this adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi classic may be one of the best movies of the golden era of the Universal Monsters. Complete with some of the best special effects of all time, this movie boasts tremendous creativity, cinematography, and technical aspects. The performances, especially Claude Rains, are outstanding, the storyline is interesting, and as I mentioned already the effects are tremendous especially considering that this movie was shot decades before the first computer was ever thought of. Yes, it does lack the scenery that made the other Universal Monster movies so memorable and the overall story lacks the layered depths of the other films from the studio, but those elements do not hurt the movie in any way. In the end, like the other classic monster movies of the early 1930s, this movie is a must see. Sure, it often overlooked in comparison to the other timeless entries from Universal Studios, but from a cinematic and technical perspective, it should sit near the top of the chart and it remains one of the most memorable sci-fi films ever made. Go to Shudder and check it out.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Mummy (1932)

After watching an entire series last night in Lore, I decided that I wanted to go back to the roots of horror for my next movie and review. My viewing choice for the evening is the 1932 Universal Studios classic The Mummy.

Plot/ In 1921 a field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Im-Ho-Tep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. One night a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll aloud, and then goes insane, realizing that he has brought Im-Ho-Tep back to life. Ten years later, disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated into a beautiful young woman.

People who suffered through the latest reboot of The Mummy should definitely head over to Shudder and revisit the 1932 Universal Studios classic to burn the modern monstrosity out of their minds. While this is not a straight horror film with it actually feeling more like a gothic romance/drama only in a different location, it does have all the elements needed to make it an entertaining and memorable trip into darkness. This movie screams atmosphere and creates a dreamlike state that takes the viewer to a different place. The performances are outstanding, especially horror icon Boris Karloff in one of his most memorable characters, what little make-up effects that are used are tremendous, and the cinematography, setting, and the set pieces are remarkable. Of course, many viewers that watch this will not like the slower pace and lack of action, but those elements just help bring the story to life in a way that ties the entire movie together. In the end, this may be one of the most subdued horror films from that early 1930s Universal catalog, but it is still an amazing watch. If you have not seen it, there is no way you can call yourself a true horror fan. Head over to Shudder and watch it. It is a must see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lore (2017)

I know that I have been in a retro mood lately, but I decided to change things up as we creep closer to Halloween. With that in mind, I decided to marathon the Amazon Prime series Lore.

Plot/ This anthology series brings to life Aaron Mahnke's "Lore" podcast and uncovers the real-life events that spawned our darkest nightmares. Blending dramatic scenes, animation, archive, and narration, Lore reveals how our horror legends - such as vampires, werewolves, and body snatchers - are rooted in truth.

This was a series that I was actually looking forward to seeing. As a huge fan of folklore and the supernatural, this seemed right up my alley. Now that I have watched all six episodes, I can tell that this will be one of those series that falls into the love/hate category and there will be little middle ground. For me, I thoroughly enjoyed the series and found it both entertaining and informative. Yes, it was not perfect, but the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. The subject matter was awesome and there were some interesting elements sprinkled in, the combination of narration and reenactments provided a nice blend of storytelling techniques, and the production values were solid. Yes, the pacing felt uneven, the performances seemed a bit flat and subdued, and there were times, where the episodes jumped in odd ways, but those elements did not deter my viewing experience. I felt that the best episodes were They Made a Tonic and Black Stockings, while my least favorite was Passing Notes, which seemed to drag on a bit and try to pack way too much information into the allotted time. In the end, I found this series a worthwhile watch. Sure, it has some flaws during the transition from podcast to show, but that is to be expected. It is definitely a series that has potential and they should be able to build upon and fix the flaws as they move forward.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)

Last night I decided to continue venturing down that retro path and turned to Shudder to find something interesting. After some debate, I decided on the 1973 gothic ghost story And Now the Screaming Starts!

Plot/ England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night, she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.

This was a different film than I expected and I was actually quite entertained by the odd elements that were added in. From Amicus Studios, this gothic ghost story offers an interesting (albeit somewhat clich├ęd) storyline that was brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Peter Cushing. The performances were solid, the cinematography and setting were captivating, the atmosphere was heavy, and the visuals and color pallet used was amazing. Yes, the special effects were lacking in quality and the end game was a bit drawn out, but those are small flaws in what is definitely an underrated film in the studios' catalog. In the end, while there were some contradictory moments in the storyline and some of the low budget flaws rise up, for the most part, this one delivers. Yes, it is not perfect, but it is an entertaining movie and one that can be found on Shudder for free if you are in the mood for a classic gothic ghost story.