Posts Tagged ‘Dracula’

Media Update 1/16/20

January 16, 2020


The Witcher

I just started to play The Witcher games but I wanted to jump into the show because I heard it described as if Xena had a baby with Game of Thrones. I would say that it is a fairly good description. The show is able to draw from a rich fantasy world from the games and plenty of ready-made characters to play with. Henry Cavill is so good as Geralt, a snarky and grumpy and a total badass. I really like the female representation on the show. There are so many badass ladies. Freya Allen plays a princess out of her depth but wanting to move forward. Anya Chalotra plays a young woman who wants to be a sorcerer but more importantly wants to find her place in the world. Jodhi May plays a warrior queen. Emma Appleton plays a twisted version of Snow White. I also really love the bard character of Jaskier played by Joey Batey who walks the line between funny and annoying (kind of like Ted Raimi did on Xena). There are so many other great supporting characters and plenty I am sure I have yet to meet. The show feels a bit like a fantasy version of the wandering samurai tales or the old westerns. An outcast for hire wanders the countryside and continuously stumbles into situations where he has to decide what to do based on coin and his own moral code. I really recommend this show.


Dracula (2020)

I have been in love with the story of Dracula since I first read Bram Stoker’s book so I will always be interested when a new adaptation comes out. When I heard that this one would be helmed by Stephen Moffat of Sherlock and Doctor Who fame, I was even more intrigued. From the beginning, the show feels familiar, touching a lot of the same beats as the book and previous film adaptations. However, it quickly became clear that the show was also going to shake things up a bit. I love the changes because they will keep me guessing as the miniseries continues. Claes Bang is a super charismatic and sadistic Dracula who has a touch of humor while making it easy to hate him. Dolly Wells plays a badass nun who may hold the key to Dracula’s defeat. Morfydd Clark plays the legendary role of Mina who is less of a prop in this version and more of a heroine herself. There are plenty of other great characters both new and familiar who fill the story with life. I definitely recommend it.


NOS4A2

I am not really familiar with Joe Hill other than him being Stephen King’s son. I can say based on what I have seen so far of this adaptation of his work that the apple does not fall far from the tree. The series feels a bit like King’s Dark Tower world. However, unlike his father, it feels like he gets more to the point and strays off the path less. As a child of a new time, he also seems to be more sensitive to racial and social issues. The show has a dreamlike quality that reminds me of one of my favorite shows Happy! but with far less humor. That is alright because this is a different, more horror-based story. The show follows a story involving what are called “strong creatives”, minds so keen that they are to basically cut through reality. The villain is played by Zachary Quinto who plays a man oblivious to his own villainous nature who is nevertheless insidious. Ashleigh Cummings plays a teenage girl who is just discovering the magic out of sight from normal people. Jahkara Smith plays a local librarian who is trying to solve the mystery. I definitely want to see what the world unveils next. I recommend this show too.

Music of the Week:
The Interrupters – She’s Kerosene

The Glorious Sons – Panic Attack

LSD – No New Friends

Raphael Saadiq – So Ready

ANCIENT BARDS – Impious Dystopia

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Monsters Among Men”
– I finished Scream Season 1
– I finished Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Ducktales Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I watched more Blue Bloods Season 9
– I watched more The Gifted Season 1
– I watched Batman: Hush
– I started watching Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time

Media Update 11/22/18

November 22, 2018


She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

I remember watching a lot of He-Man back in the day, but I look back at it now and it was not very good. The original She-Ra was much the same, dirt cheap animation with bare-bones stories designed to sell toys. A lot of eighties cartoons were like that. We did not know any better. However, there has been a big wave of rejuvenating these old properties by giving to good storytellers. They gave She-Ra to a woman named Noelle Stevenson who I knew through the various comic books she has worked on and also through her connection to Critical Role. She is a proven artist who knows how to create things that people care about. Here, she took a stiff eighties cartoon and infused character and heart into it. She also loosened up the art style to make something that is really fun to watch. The show takes the original source material and adds to it and twists it. None of the characters are perfect and there is no annoying comic relief. The show basically works like a magical girl show, with Adora having to deal with both being herself and being She-Ra. People love She-Ra but some people don’t like Adora. I am really interested to see where the story goes because there are a lot of fun moving parts and the art is gorgeous. I definitely recommend it.


Castlevania (2018)

I remember playing Castlevania as a kid both on the NES and on the original Gameboy. I kind of hated it because they were too difficult to have fun with. Still, I loved the lore of the games and the mechanics of the gameplay. I have since seen some gameplay and artwork from later games and I continued to really like the world of the games (much like the Metroid series). When I heard about a new cartoon coming out, I gauged my interest and decided I was not that interested. However, I heard rumblings that the show is really good and those reports were not wrong. The show is short. The first season is four episodes so I breezed through it. The show is about Dracula vowing to basically burn Wallachia to the ground after his wife is murdered by the church. Opposing him and the church is Trevor Belmont, the last of the Belmonts, a family sworn to fight monsters. It is a pretty bloody and brutal show that adheres to the world of the show but expands on it. Stuck between a corrupt church and a horde of monsters, Belmont has few allies and that seems to be the way he likes it. The animation is fluid (and graphic) and the voice acting is really good. I recommend this one as well.


Tombraider (2018)

I never really played any of the Tombraider games nor did I ogle over Lara Croft like many in my age bracket did. I did once play a demo for one of her games and enjoyed it but it just was not what I played on PlayStation. I preferred games like Spyro and Final Fantasy VII. Still, I enjoyed the Angelina Jolie Tombraider movies for their campy 90s action qualities. However, when I heard about this movie based on the revamped Tombraider games, I was curious. So, on a lazy Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I decided to check it out. For starters, Alicia Vikander is a great actress and she brought a lot to this role of a young woman of privilege who lost everything and has a chip on her shoulder. She is opposed by Walton Goggins who has been a sleazy bad guy in a bunch of good things that I have seen. Dominic West plays Lara’s father with the right amount of heart and gravitas. The movie kind of drags in places but it is a fairly interesting romp through archeology. There is a lot of action and not as much acting but I suppose those who played the games expected as much. I recommend it but don’t expect so much.

 

Music of the Week:
North American Pharaohs – Suzy

No Buses – Girl

BREGMA – MILK ft. Jahmed & Thunderous Knight

Kill The Silence – Memories

Joshua Surgeon – No Time For Work

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Childhood Revamped”
– I watched more of Designated Survivor Season 1
– I watched more Hilda Season 1
– I watched more The Haunting of Hill House Season 1
– I watched more Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– Happy Thanksgiving!

The Satanic Rites of Dracula

October 28, 2015

I was born in the early eighties so I was just a little kid during the great Satanic Panic of the eighties. First and foremost was the McMartin Preschool affair where employees were falsely accused of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA). The charges were trumped up and borne of paranoia and only fed heavily by the coached testimony of preschool kids. However, worry over Satan has been around for a long, long time before the eighties. In the seventies the players of Dungeons and Dragons were painted as Satanists and many other people were marked by similar witch hunts (including actual witch hunts). As far as I know, most (if not all) victims of these investigations have not been guilty of Satan worship. Even the Church of Satan doesn’t actually worship the biblical Satan. Still, we fear that somebody is out there actually worshipping evil and using an evil figure as a template for their life.

Count Dracula is a well known horror character modeled after Vlad Tepes, a brutal ruler whose evil deeds were probably a bit exaggerated after his death. Bram Stoker combined Vlad’s history with existing vampire mythology and formed the basis for vampires in fiction from then on. Pretty much every vampire since has shared some traits with those laid out in Stoker’s novel. Universal Pictures was the first to officially cover the Dracula story and therefore had a massive impact on how people imagine Dracula looked. Since Stoker never correctly copyrighted his work, pretty much anybody could make a Dracula movie especially after his widow had passed away. In the fifties British film company Hammer Films made a string of horror movies starring Dracula, going well beyond the Stoker’s original story for the Count.

One of the reasons that I chose this movie to review was because of Christopher Lee who plays Dracula. Sir Christopher Lee died this year and I wanted to honor him because I am a huge fan of his. This was my first time seeing him in the role and he did not disappoint. He is a mostly silent, steely eyed Dracula who looks both unstoppable and undeniable. There is a force of will behind his performance that makes him incredibly imposing. Of course, he’s opposed by Peter Cushing who plays Van Helsing, a descendant of original vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing. Cushing is a very intense man. He plays a very determined man who wishes to protect his family by ending a centuries old feud. He is an expert of the occult but he is aided by his granddaughter (Joanna Lumley!?) and Special Branch.

I confess I haven’t watched the rest of the series but they introduce a lot of new elements into the Dracula story with this chapter. Dracula can apparently be reincarnated which explains why he keeps coming back but the spell must be cast by a loyal follower. Dracula co-opts a Satanic cult to find followers and to protect his interests. These cult members are not vampires and merely human servants who have entered the 20th century by using guns and computers. Part of Dracula’s plan includes manufacturing a bioweapon from the bubonic plague which is a new one on me. Still, he also relies on some old standbys of his by posing as a wealthy human, amassing a collection of “brides” and using hypnosis to subdue his victims.

The soundtrack is suitably dramatic but interestingly it’s a little dated and full of brass instruments whereas usually stringed instruments are more common in horror. It’s an English production so they aren’t afraid to use people who aren’t traditionally attractive. The acting is enjoyably subtle until the perfect moment for it not to be. The plot is surprisingly complex but easy enough to follow. It’s cheesy but just the right amount of cheesy for it still to be a little scary. If you’re looking for some light Halloween entertainment I would suggest searching this one out.


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