Posts Tagged ‘Demons’

Def By Temptation (1990)

October 11, 2021

Demons have always been frightening. I was absolutely terrified of them as a little kid, filled with fear from misguided church lessons. I thought they walked among us and that I could run into one at any time. Worse, I imagined they could seek me out for some perceived slight. I was a good boy, though. I was older when I learned of the fabled succubus and incubus. Demons who either fed from sexual pleasure or used it as a major tool to obtain the death and damnation of their target. Human sexuality can be a hell of a weak point. It is absolutely fabulous but we know that it also drives some truly heinous behavior from mortals let alone demons. These demons lean into the myths of Lucifer. The danger of evil so beautiful and seductive that it is hard to resist. Before you know it, it is already too late.

This movie is written and directed by James Bond III. Beyond being handed a name that must have been both a blessing and a curse, he had been acting since 1977. There is actually little information about him online but his IMDB page tells quite a story. First, nobody has ever listed his birthdate. I have no idea how young he was when he first started acting but he looks very young. He appeared on several television shows including a shortlived show called The Red Hand Gang which looks like a 1970s version of The Little Rascals. He also appeared in Spike Lee’s School Daze from which he got most of the cast of Def by Temptation. Finally we come to Def by Temptation which was his last confirmed acting role and also the first and last movie that he wrote and directed. He has since become solely a producer. This was his one movie. This was what he was building toward.

The first thing I noticed was the setting. We are looking at urban New York City in the 1990s when there were still such things as smoking sections. After that, the music really hit me. We have some of the best tracks of late eighties rap, funk, and R&B. It really drives home that this is a black production top to bottom. Like Spike Lee and horror movies like Bones, Blacula, and Ganja and Hess, this is an uncompromising journey into black culture. The effects are tastefully done and I appreciated them being appropriately cartoony. The movie cuts away a lot to let you imagine what exactly is happening. There are some really trippy effects as the action heats up that really blew my mind. The lighting and atmosphere reminded me of Fright Night but it felt more natural like a Spike Lee movie. The movie also sneaks in some level-headed and interesting takes on homosexuality.

Cynthia Bond is so good as the succubus. Many movies with predators go full to the hilt with campy and aggression. Bond is so good at appearing vulnerable, playful, wicked, and so many more emotions and all of it is subtle and fun. Of course, there are her moments where she gets very spooky and campy too but the moments are chosen well. James Bond III is really good as the everyman preacher who is at a crossroads in his life. He is a great at being nerdy and cute and vulnerable. Of course, he is helped a lot by Kardeem Harrison and Bill Nunn who are hilarious as his friends and comedic relief. I was also really pleased that the villains victims were fleshed out a lot and given quite a few scenes to humanize them. Samuel L. Jackson has the most calm and subtle role that I have ever seen him in.

Overall, I really loved this movie and a big shout out to my friend Tchaka who recommended it to me years and years ago. It absolutely stuns me that a lot of the people who made this did not do much else. James Bond III could have continued directing. Cynthia Bond was so good but she retired from acting to be an author. I am thankful to Lloyd Kaufman and the people at Troma for giving a young filmmaker a chance at making something unique. I recommend this movie.


The Gate (1987)

October 2, 2019

Rated PG-13 for fantasy horror, existential dread, and stop-motion creepiness.

I am the oldest brother out of three brothers and I was born in the 1980s. This means that I lived through a time where it was not out of the ordinary for parents to leave their kids alone in the home. As the oldest, I was in charge and given the responsibility to keep the younger ones safe. I mean, they were only four and five years younger than me so it did not take much. We either watched television together or we went our separate ways since there was more than one television and three floors to our house. I never once threw a party when my parents were out. However, we did have rules. The doors were to remain locked and the phone was not really supposed to be answered. If we did answer the phone, we were to say our mother was in the shower. It could be a little spooky if I was alone. Not in a child abuse kind of way but in a thrilling, nervous energy kind of way. It was these moments that taught me how to live alone and be completely comfortable with it.

When you are a kid, it is really easy to imagine very scary things. Every shadow is an excuse to make up stories about monsters. Every cave in the wilderness is the home of a big bear or even a troll. I soaked in stories and imagined so many creepy crawlies especially in the wilderness. I was born a city boy and I have spent over two-thirds of my life in that same city. So those scraps of nature were always magical to me. Nature was for dreaming. I used to walk along the stream that wound through the city along the path from school to home and imagine so many things. I especially remember thinking up so many things out in Oregon Ridge Park near where my friend Arthur lived. He lived in an entirely different world that I eventually moved to myself after college. Now I am back in the city and I still take walks through Druid Hill Park and daydream. Of course, I never imagined anything really sinister and scary. I imagined fairies, vaguely dangerous animals, and mythical creatures.

My first impression of the movie is that it has the same kid-friendly creepy trippiness that I felt from watching Invaders from Mars. This was the time of horror where practical effects had been perfected and digital effects were really just beginning. The movie does a lot with costuming and forced perspective, things that would later be used in the same way in the Lord of the Rings franchise. I can clearly see great effects which were used later in stuff like Stranger Things and the Elm Street franchise. I can see great parallels to other gateway horror classics like Monster Squad, Fright Night, and even Gremlins. I love the character design of the creatures both in costume form and in the creepier stop motion form. I love stop motion animation so much, though, and it is used to great effect in this movie. The story is great for what it is, tapping into a lot of real childhood fears and mixing those with supernatural fears. Having precocious kids and teenagers facing off against the supernatural horrors is always fun. Moreover, everybody is perfectly reasonable in their actions based on what they know at the time. None of that silly genre-inflicted stupidity.

This is Stephen Dorff’s first movie released in theaters at age 14 but you would hardly know it. For a child actor, he is already on top of his game as the precocious, nerdy little brother who just wants a little respect. It is clear why he is still acting if he was this good early on. Louis Tripp plays his best friend, a troubled but good-natured odd duck kid who is obsessed with heavy metal and the occult. He is a lot of fun and reminds me of some of the misfits I grew up with. Christa Denton is great at the older sister who used to be a tomboy but is now trying to grow into her feminity in order to fit in with her friends. She cares for her little brother but also does not want to look bad. The rest of the cast is filled in with Christa’s assorted friends who are a little more cold-hearted and immature than she is. They are a band of teens that a lot of good horror movies need.

Overall, I really loved this movie. I usually try to start off Halloween with a gateway horror film, something for people to watch with their families. I got this one off of a listicle on Bloody Disgusting and I am glad I did. I have not heard much buzz about this movie and I was unlikely to hear anything as it was not a franchise and came out over thirty years ago. I am so happy to find weird cult classic films like this because I feel like I am making this month extra special. I definitely recommend it and it is not so scary that preteens have to be escorted out of the room.

Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 2

October 13, 2018

Aftershocks Playthings

While they were waiting for Rob, Lydia and Nancy had tried to do their best to research the problem. They had called a few people to see if they could separate fact from the rumors that had started to circulate. They found out which parents had died specifically and they had started to theorize what the actual plan was. The children were all going into the system but in the meantime, they were being held at a Social Services-sponsored group home. Without more information, neither of them had a clue what was going on. They were not even sure that the problem was supernatural in nature. There was definitely a killer on the loose, though.

Rob showed up at the bunker a bit later in the day, hanging his coat up near the door. He looked tired as he laid his magical blade across two pegs on the wall of the bunker. He took a deep breath and turned toward the girls.

“So,” he said. “People are getting murdered again.”

Nancy nodded. “A lot of them so far,” she said. “At least the kids got away. Do you have any ideas about what did this? Is it a demon again?”

“Slow down,” Rob said. He was a serious little kid and he looked sternly at Nancy’s frantic behavior. “I poked around little myself and yeah I think it’s demons.”

“What makes you think this is demons?” Lydia asked.

Rob pulled out his phone. “I found some stuff at one of the houses,” he said.

“You snuck into an active crime scene?” Lydia asked, her eyebrows rising up in surprise. “That’s a huge risk.”

“It’s not like we could flash a badge and pretend I’m FBI like my family does,” Rob said. “I’m too young for that. Nobody would buy that you two are law enforcement.”

“Thanks,” Lydia said with an edge of sarcasm. “I guess it’s fine as long as you didn’t get caught. People’s lives are on the line. What did you find?” Lydia was pragmatic and, although she was not much of a rule breaker, she recognized that the demons obviously did not care about rules.

Rob showed them the screen of his phone and the word ‘Playtime!” was written on the wall in a reddish brown liquid. The two girls had seen enough violence to know blood when they saw it. It still made them cringe and feel a little sick. “I found this written on the wall of the garage where one of the dads was found.”

“Oh geez,” Nancy said. “Why would somebody write that?”

“I have a theory but I wanted to check if the cops have uploaded the crime scene photos yet,” Rob said and moved toward his laptop.

“How?” Nancy asked.

“I have a backdoor into their server,” Rob said. “I installed it months ago to keep tabs.” He started to type on the computer.

Lydia took a deep breath. “I’m going to hold back my disapproval and just focus on how all the crimes you’re committing are saving lives.”

“It’s kind of a family tradition,” Sam said. “Look at these.” On screen there were a series of photos of similar writing on walls. Messages like ‘Friends til the end’, ‘Jack wuz here’, and ‘Wanna play?’ all written in blood. There were dozens and dozens of messages. “The messages are all written close to the ground like really close to the ground. That confirms my theory. The toys killed the parents.” He got up from the computer and headed toward the door.

The girls looked at each other and then back at Rob. “The toys?” Nancy asked.

“Are you alright?” Lydia asked. “Did you hit your head or something?”

“I’m fine,” Rob said and started fishing through the pockets of his coat. “I found something else at the house.” He pulled out a plastic container and walked into the interrogation room, the room where the three of them had officially become a team. He dumped the contents onto an elaborate symbol engraved on the table’s surface. The girls walked in to see what the fuss was about and saw a little sailor doll which looked kind of cute. Except that the doll was moving around by itself and its little hands were stained with blood.

“What the Hell?” Lydia said, joining Nancy in taking a step back from the creepy little doll.

“Exactly,” Rob said. “It’s possessed by a demon.” He turned toward the little demon sailor. “Tell us what happened.”

“Go f%9# yourself!” The little doll yelled. Despite its efforts to seem tough, it came off a little bit cute if creepy.

“I don’t think it’s going to talk to us, Rob,” Nancy said.

“Strange,” Lydia said. “We’ve killed quite a few of his kind so far.”

“You don’t scare me, lady, you’re a c&*7!” The little thing yelled at the top of its tiny lungs.

Lydia started to gather a fireball into her hand but Rob caught her wrist. “Hold that thought for a minute,” he said. “I have something they’re all afraid of.” He started to chant in what sounded a bit like Latin and the sailor started to scream and writhe in pain. “Talk and the pain stops!” He yelled at the demon. Nancy backed up a little further and hugged herself.

“Stop! Stop!” the demon screamed and Rob stopped chanting. “I’ll tell you what you need to know.”

“Go ahead and talk then,” Lydia said.

“He told us to kill the parents but I was out of practice and I hung around too long and that’s why you caught me,” the demon said indignantly. “It just felt so good.” The demon sighed. “He’s going to be mad.”

“Who’s he?” Nancy asked. One could practically see her pulse speed up.

“Charles,” the doll said in a mocking voice. “What a loser.” Nancy started to relax and Lydia reached over to squeeze her hand gently.

“Where are the other demons?” Rob asked. “Where’s Charles?”

The doll hesitated, looking down. “I dunno,” it said but gave itself away by smirking.

Rob started to chant again. “Talk!” Nancy yelled, furious at this little creature for harming the children she cared for. Her eyes flashed inky black for a moment and the doll recoiled from that even as it was in pain from the chanting.

“Harbin’s Toys!” The doll yelled out. “43rd and York! Please!”

Rob tapped that into his phone and then nodded at Lydia who tossed the fireball onto the doll and the three of them watched it writhe as the flames consumed it. It melted before the flames got hot enough to actually burn it to cinders. Lydia extinguished the flame with a gesture and they all left the room. Rob sat down at the laptop and searched the address.

“It’s an abandoned toy store,” he said.

“Perfect for finding little murderous bodies to inhabit,” Lydia said.

“We have to stop them,” Nancy said. “Charles must die.”

“I’ll get the car,” Rob said.

Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 1

October 6, 2018

Aftershocks Playthings

Charles stepped into the back of the toy store and admired the blood stains on the walls and floor with glee. The only thing he regretted was that the deaths that had occurred in the storeroom were not his handiwork. He had been out of the game for far too long and he was ready to spill plenty of blood himself. He placed one of his small hands against a blood spatter on a shelf of toys and found that it was still wet. He reveled in the feel of blood on his flesh once again. He wondered if enough of it was wet that he did not need the blood he had brought with him. He shrugged and figured he might as well use the bucket he had gotten out of the taxi driver.

He dipped his finger into the bucket of blood repeatedly as he drew the pentagram on the floor. He was really more of a voodoo guy but this was how these things were done. He focused his will on the symbol and a little boy appeared in the middle of the pentagram but partially transparent. He looked impatient and annoyed which turned to complete disdain when he saw who summoned him.

“Oh,” the boy said. “It’s you.”

“Yeah yeah,” Charles said. “It’s me.” He liked being recognized but usually, that recognition brought unreasoning fear. “We haven’t actually met yet but we’ve both worked with sort of a similar theme.”

“I’m far more creative than you are,” the boy said, folding his arms over his chest. “The other yous are slightly smarter but still not as smart as I am.”

“And yet you failed once and haven’t done squat since,” Charles said. “Look, I have a different plan from those other mes and I need a power source to do it.”

“Why do you think I will help you?” the boy asked, his eyes narrowing.

“Look, I know this is a crapshoot,” Charles said. “You are plan C after things with Toulon and Hartwicke didn’t work out.”

“I’m so flattered,” the boy said.

“If you help me,” Charles said. “I’ll make sure to give you credit and when He hears how much you helped, he might let you out.”

“Then playtime could really begin again,” the boy said with a grin. He thought of the last time he had gotten to come out and play and the lives he had been able to take. Of course, Charles had been right when he had reminded him of his failure. That door was shut forever but new doors could always be opened.

Charles laughed his wild laugh, his red hair flinging all over the place as he tilted his head back. “Exactly! But for now, it’s my turn.”

“I suppose I can learn to share,” the boy said. “On one condition. You have to say the thing.”

Charles hesitated and sighed and nodded slowly, mentally filing away that he was being forced to say the phrase once again. “Give me the power. I beg of you!”

* * *

Lydia was in the bunker, which was where she was spending much of her summer. She had always been pale and unathletic so going out into the sunshine hardly sounded like fun to her. She much preferred to dive into Rob’s collection of arcane tomes to research the world of magic. As she read, she realized that she had only just dipped her toes in the world of magic and there was so much more to learn that it made her head spin. It was all so fascinating and she ended up spending whole days absorbed in reading book after book.

Nancy, on the other hand, could not stand to be cooped up for too long and reading about demons made her nervous. Twice she had displayed her father’s demonic powers but in the real world instead of the dream world and it dredged up too many shadows and fears inside of her. She spent most of her days in the sunshine as a camp counselor run out of their school. Laughing and playing with kids in the light lifted her spirits and seemed to bring her back to herself. Sometimes she came to the bunker and brought Lydia dinner or a DVD so they could have a movie night. This was why Lydia was startled when Nancy walked in before lunch one day in early July.

“Lyds!” She called out as she burst through the door. “It’s so terrible.”

“Nancy?” Lydia said, looking up from yet another book. “What are you doing here? What happened to summer camp?”

“People are dying, Lydia,” Nancy said, pacing back and forth. “It keeps finding us no matter what we do.”

Lydia stood and hugged her best friend. “Slow down, Nance,” she said. “You said something terrible happened?”

Nancy took a couple deep breaths and then started speaking again. “Summer camp was canceled today since the parents of three kids died last night.”

Lydia took a moment and thought about that. The two of them had experienced death and violence before both before and after they met. Nancy was excitable and all but she was frantic. Children were involved and the deaths had happened at night. Lydia was able to put two and two together and realized that Nancy must have been reminded of her father. She made sure to hold onto her friend’s shoulders and looked her in the eyes. She tried to make her voice as comforting as possible.

“Nancy,” she began. “I know what this sounds like. I know how much you like kids. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. We’re going to stop whatever is happening.”

Nancy nodded and she started to shake a little less. She started to calm down but still clung to her best friend. “Alright,” she said.

Lydia nodded reassuringly. “We are going to need to call Rob to get him in on this. All hands on deck, right?”

“I already called him on the way here,” Nancy said. “I left a voicemail for him.”

“Wow. That was probably an interesting message,” Lydia said.

“Oops,” Nancy said. “Yeah, let’s actually fill him in.”

Aftershocks: Ghosts Check In Pt. 2

October 14, 2017

Aftershocks Ghosts

The hotel was in a run-down part of town, probably perfect for hiding the murders of people less likely to be missed by a loved one. It looked like it was frequented by tourists looking for a bargain, maybe even people flying in to deal business in the old financial district fifteen blocks away. Whatever the case was, it looked like any other non-chain hotel that Lydia and Nancy had ever seen. It looked like it was an alright place to crash after a night on the town or a day in the boardroom. There was even a sign on the door advertising free wifi which looked like it was a new addition.

They took Rob’s car but only because of the trunk full of weapons, otherwise Lydia wanted to take a cab or ride share or something. When you have dealt with demons and demon ghosts, dealing with an Uber driver suddenly felt easier. Lydia insisted on driving because she actually had a legitimate driver’s license and the thought of riding in the car while Rob drove made her nervous. It was a strange place to be in when she was more worried about a car accident than facing down a deadly demon.

“Will you teach me to drive?” Nancy asked. It shook Lydia from her thoughts.

“What?” Lydia asked.

“I don’t have my license yet and I want to learn how to drive,” Nancy said. She was curled up into a ball on the passenger seat, hugging her knees. She was staring straight ahead.

“I can teach you,” Rob offered from the back seat. He had grumbled at having to sit in the back seat of his own car but had finally relented when Lydia pressed the issue.

“No,” Lydia said. “Not you. You keep forgetting that you are younger than us. You should not be driving this thing. If we’re going to be partners, I’ll do the driving unless it’s an emergency. We can’t risk getting the car pulled over by a cop. They might search it.”

“Besides, we wouldn’t want anything to happen to you, Rob,” Nancy said.

“Fine,” Rob said and went back to putting guns from the trunk hatch into his duffel bag.

They pulled into the parking lot and walked toward the hotel. Lydia was a little bit surprised that the sliding door just opened so readily for them. When it did, they were hit with the air-conditioning and also the specific chemical smell of bleach. All three of them looked at each other and they stepped into the lobby. It was absolutely empty. When they were not looking, somebody must have come to the front desk from the office. Lydia saw that he had a neutral face which suddenly turned into a practiced smiled, a move known to all in the retail or service industry. He was obviously taking in the well-armed teenagers and preteen.

“Can I help you?” The man asked. His name tag said Grady but Lydia was not sure if that was a first or a last name.

“We would like to speak to the manager,” Lydia said calmly.

“I am sure I can help you and we do not need the manager,” Grady said. “Shouldn’t you be off at some school function?”

Lydia drew her sword from is scabbard. “We know about Jack, Grady. We’re here to stop him.”

“Don’t pull any tricks,” Nancy said and put on her best tough face.

“I don’t know what tricks I could possibly pull and I don’t know who this Jack is,” Grady said. “You would do well to turn around and go home before I call security to correct this situation.”

Rob pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and fired it directly at Grady. Lydia and Nancy screamed but noticed that Grady was not injured, he just dissipated in the pray from the shotgun. “Salt rounds,” Rob said. “It looks like we have some angry ghosts to deal with.”

“Great,” Lydia said. She ran behind the front desk and found some keys and tossed them to Nancy. “Nance, see if these will lock the front door. We don’t want to be interrupted.”

Nancy went to the front door and the key worked and she locked the sliding doors into place. She pocketed the keys and walked back over to regroup with the others. They checked the office and it was empty. They started down the nearest hallway, Lydia with her sword, Rob with his shotgun and Nancy with a poker that she had pulled from the lobby fireplace.

“Stay close, there’s bound to be more of those ghosts,” Rob said.

“Do I look like I’m afraid of ghosts?” Lydia asked. “Some of my best friends are ghosts.”

“You’re just afraid of one ghost,” Nancy said softly. Lydia shot her a look and Nancy shrugged.

“Not anymore,” Lydia said. “If I see him again, I’ll be ready.”

Nancy yelped as Rob’s shotgun went off again, dissipating another ghost. “I have a feeling that if we get rid of Jack, the ghost stuff might clear up?”

“I hope so,” Rob said. “Otherwise there are ways to get rid of ghosts for good too.”

“Wait, are there guests here?” Nancy asked.

“Not that I saw on my stakeout,” Rob said. “At least not living ones.”

“Then who are they?” Nancy asked as she pointed. She was pointing at a pair of children standing in the middle of the hallway ahead. The two young girls were identical with sunken eyes and plain dresses and looked absolutely out of place. As they were noticed by the heroic trio, their dead eyes seemed to come to life a little bit.

“Come play with us,” the girls said in unison.

“That’s super creepy,” Nancy said. “What do we do?”

Rob pointed his shotgun and fired and the little girls screamed as their bodies dissipated just like the other ghosts.

“Were you a hundred percent sure that they were ghosts?” Lydia asked.

“Ninety-seven percent. Maybe Ninety-six,” Rob said and shrugged.

“OK,” Nancy said. “That’s slightly less homicidal then, kiddo.”

“But only slightly,” Lydia said.

At the end of the hallway, there was suddenly a rumbling noise that started to get louder and louder. Rob aimed his shotgun until it was clear that whatever it was would not be bothered by salt fired from a shotgun.

“I think you pissed it off,” Lydia said.

The elevator doors slid open and thousands of gallons poured out of the elevator. After that first wave, what looked like millions of gallons started to pour, rushing down the hallway towards them. For a moment, all three of them stood there with their eyes wide. Nancy started to run in the opposite direction down the hallway. Lydia punched Rob in the shoulder.

“Run!” She yelled.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Supernatural

September 23, 2017


It is currently Halloween season and I love traditional lore when it comes to things that were supposed to go bump in the night. Of course, these things have not been proven to exist in the real world but they are ‘alive’ and well in fiction. I thought I would compare the lore of the world of Sports Entertainment with the world of the supernatural and see what I can come up with. Keep in mind that I am playing fast and loose with many different sources and, as usual, this is all for entertainment purposes.

Mil Muertes – Wight

A wight is an undead creature that is created when a person dies but part of their soul remains in their body. A quick note: I am not talking about the ones in A Song of Ice and Fire, those are different. Wights are more than zombies but are definitely not still living humans. They are fundamentally changed and no longer side with humanity. Wights are also often known for the ability to suck the lifeforce from their victims. Their description in Dungeons and Dragons is as follows: “A wight is given a semblance of life through sheer violence and hatred.” and then goes on to describe their life stealing properties.

Mil Muertes is most certainly dead. He is the Man of a Thousand Deaths and, like Fenix, each time he is killed (or defeated) he merely comes back stronger than before. When the monster Matanza killed him during/after their Graver Consequences match, Mil only came back stronger. When he died long ago and ever since he has been resurrected by the dark magic of Catrina. Through it all, he definitely has the sheer violence and hatred part down as he is one of the most dominant forces in sports entertainment today. He has also demonstrated that he can take life by touch when he killed his own Disciples of Death when they repeatedly lost matches. When he died during the mysterious earthquake, Catrina must have returned part of his soul but not all of it. He was fundamentally changed into the unstoppable death machine that he has become.

Gangrel – Vampire

A vampire is an undead creature that was once human but was attacked by another vampire in life. They arise from death with a thirst for blood. There is a lot of debate in the lore what the origin of vampires actually is but my favorite legend is that vampirism is the mark of Cain. It makes each vampire a part of an epic chain of cursed individuals. Regardless, vampires are frozen in the condition they were in before death and are made immortal. Beyond preternatural strength and speed, they also are often gifted with flight and hypnosis powers. It is very hard to put a vampire down for good.

Gangrel showed up in the World Wrestling Federation in the late nineties and he claimed to be a vampire. He drank from a goblet of blood which he also playfully spit into the air during his entrance. He would also use this blood to blind his opponents. While he never showed preternatural strength, he was very successful for a time in the ring. Eventually, he formed a faction called The Brood by inducting Christian and Edge. I do not remember ever seeing Christian or Edge drinking blood and since then they do not act like vampires. I can only conclude that Gangrel used vampire hypnosis powers on them (and later the Hardy Boyz).

Bray Wyatt – Elder God

The elder gods are creatures we really do not know much about mostly because knowing too much would simply drive us insane. The elder gods were creatures of immense power who ruled the land long before the creation of more “modern” religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and so on. They were so powerful and terrifying that the mere presence of them or their offspring could drive humanity crazy. Most of them are depicted as having horrifying tentacles and other alien features but according to lore, those depictions are only approximations and the real thing would be way worse. It is said that the elder gods are sleeping and when they wake they will only be interested in death and destruction.

Bray Wyatt has captivated people since he first appeared. His spellbinding voice and charisma have sent chills down my back just as much as the visuals connected to him. When he first appeared, he led a backwoods cult called The Wyatt Family full of people who were obviously unhinged from reality. One could assume that witnessing the arrival of an elder god could have done that to them. At first, Wyatt came off as a cult leader but eventually, he claimed to actually be a god. His madness is infectious as audiences have seen his cult grow over time. He is very powerful, having the ability to teleport himself or others at will and he once stole the Undertaker’s lightning and Kane’s fire. Finally, he seems to mostly be only interested in inflicting mental and physical pain on his victims. He laughs when he loses and only seems interested in winning if it gains him power or the opportunity to spread his influence.

And all of the rest…

When I decided to do this entry, there were a lot of obvious choices. I chose instead to mostly try to pin down characters that were presented as vague supernatural characters. A lot of characters are marketed explicitly and specifically as supernatural creatures. In the WWE we have both Kane and Finn Balor, both of which are different kinds of demons. We have the Boogeyman who is a boogeyman. There is Drago in Lucha Underground who is a dragon who took human form. World Championship Wrestling’s The Yeti was basically a yeti who inexplicably dresses as a mummy. Maybe next time I’ll try to explain The Ultimate Warrior when he was in WCW and Mordecai from the WWE. Probably not. They both sucked.

Are there any I really missed? Do you have any suggestions of footage I need to watch?


I, Frankenstein

April 10, 2015

I have been a fan of the Frankenstein story since I read it as young kid one summer because it was a classic and all I had ever seen was Young Frankenstein. I wanted the story straight from the horse’s mouth. I was also a big fan of Greek and Roman mythology so the title Prometheus Unbound also grabbed my attention. Frankenstein is a rich tale full of complex thoughts on ethics, morality and the nature and compostion of a man. I expected that I, Frankenstein would be none of these things. I was shockingly wrong.

I went into this movie thinking that it was just going to be an action romp that I would forget almost as soon as it was over. Instead, it was an action romp that followed through with a lot of the themes and thoughts from the original book. Adam Frankenstein is now trying to find a place in a world that fears and despises him and he also gets caught up in a war between good and evil. The character acts believably when confronted with obstacles that you would expect would be thrown at him.

The characters are all written pretty well and with a surprising degree of subtlety given what I thought I was getting myself into. The villains are charming and intelligent which makes sense as they are demons. The female protagonist is a fairly rounded and strong character without being action girl. I wish she had a little more screentime so that we could get a little more insight into her character but this was an action fantasy and they weren’t going to do that. The gargoyles are actually a pretty mercenary lot and make surprising choices. Actually, there were a lot of surprises in this film. Places where the movie turned right when I expected them to go left.

Here’s a few thoughts I had during the movie.

“Wait, this is an almost sequel to the book? Wow.”

Yeah, I was not expecting them to actually recount some of the story from the book. Of course, they change the ending so that Frankenstein’s Creature lives but movies have been doing that for a long time. The ending to Prometheus Unbound was poetic and beautiful in a way but I often wonder what would have happened if the creature lived. What if the creature clung to humanity instead of allowing his creator to debase him into being the expected monster?

“Ok I laughed at the cheap ‘It’s alive!’ callback. Sue me.”

It’s a line that’s been attached to every single depiction of Frankenstein since the book. It kind of had to be thrown in there. It actually comes about pretty naturally and therefore kind of funny.

“He’s fallen in with a militant sect of supermodels.”

The gargoyles are all ridiculously pretty and slathered in baby oil so that everyone has a sheen to their skin. It actually got a little better as the film progressed but  I found it kind of funny in the moment.

“Why is everyone else British?”

Yeah. I know it takes place in England (I guess) but why are all of the supernatural creatures speaking with a British accent? I guess you could explain away the demons who interract with human locals on a day to day basis. The gargoyles tend to have a sort of no contact rule like the Prime Directive in Star Trek so there’s no need to have a local accent. Whatever.

“Microwaving a dead rat isn’t going to bring it back to life. Oh wait, Frankenstein is fantasy not sci-fi.”

I’ve always classified Frankenstein as fantasy even though the word science is all over it like white on rice. However, there’s next to no technobabble and nobody is ever able to explain how he did what he did. It’s more or less treated like magic in countless adaptations and I approve. I’m definitely more a fan of Fantasy than I am of Science Fiction.

I would definitely suggest people see this movie if you’re into urban fantasy and action.

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