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I am planning, indeed have been meaning to cover HPL in some depth for a while :) And part of the plans include Lovecraft at the movies - probably a couple of episodes, one for direct adaptations and another rounding up films like In The Mouth of Madness that are Lovecraftian without being translations of his stories to screen
If you are referring to Cloudbeast then that can be found in S,Petersen's Field Guide to Creatures of the Dreamlands (Chaosium INc. 1989)
Sadly there doesn't seem to be a print available of this wonderful artwork!
Now obviously the quick answer would be ‘No!’
But that’s not very entertaining and, more to the point, not strictly accurate...
For as many of you probably already know, there was a real life Dracula - Prince Vlad III of Wallchia, (and you can read all about him here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_Dracula ). Classed as on the great monsters of history, this 15th century Prince was famous for his cruelty and brutality, particularly his penchant for impaling his enemies on long poles, hence is his popular sobriquets of or Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler. However it should be noted that some historians have pointed out that many of the accounts of his atrocities were penned by his enemies and therefore it is possible that Prince Vlad is the victim of a Middle Ages smear campaign. Indeed in Romania, he is still considered a national hero for defending his lands against invasions and incursions by the Ottoman Empire.
Also it should be noted that his second name is not a surname but an honorific. His father Vlad II was inducted into the Order of the Dragon, an elite order of knights and hence became known as Vlad Dracul - ‘dracul’ being a translation of ‘dragon’ into his native tongue. And therefore ‘Dracula’ simply means ‘son of the dragon’, as Vlad III very much took followed in his father’s footsteps, vigorously defending the country against all aggressors.
However while this Dracula certainly existed, the waters become murky when we considered the character who bears his name. Now Bram Stoker originally called his famous villain ‘Count Wamphyr’, however in the course of his researches he came across the history of the Wallachian Prince, and as ‘dracul’ can also be translated as ‘devil’, Dracula leapt out as a far more fitting perfect name for his Satanic vampire.
But ever since the popular imagination became aware of the historical Dracula, largely through In Search of Dracula by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally in 1972, the two figures, one real and one fictional, have become confused. Many have assumed that Stoker’s Count is meant to be Prince Vlad III, still living on as a vampire, and indeed many versions of the Dracula story have made this connection explicitly, most famously Francis Ford Coppola’s mendaciously titled Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).
Stoker does have a reference to the infamous 15th Century noble, in Chapter 3 the Count tells Harker -
Who was it but one of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danube and beat the Turk on his own ground? This was a Dracula indeed! Woe was it that his own unworthy brother, when he had fallen, sold his people to the Turk and brought the shame of slavery on them! Was it not this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that other of his race who in a later age again and again brought his forces over the great river into Turkey-land; who, when he was beaten back, came again, and again, though he had to come alone from the bloody field where his troops were being slaughtered, since he knew that he alone could ultimately triumph!
Later on Van Helsing in the novel more or less confirms that this ancestor he speaks of is highly probably a case of the Count indulging in that old immortal’s trick of attributing one’s own past deeds to a forebear.
However while there are parallels between the Count and Vlad III’s histories, this does not make them necessarily one and the same. For scholars are still arguing over how much Stoker actually knew about the historical Vlad. We know for certainly one of the books he used for research mentioned “Voivode Dracula” and his battles with the Turks but little else. Hence in the novel there is no reference to his first name being Vlad or his position as a Prince and national ruler.
Furthermore Stoker appears to show this limited knowledge of the historical Dracula when Van Helsing reveals the Count’s origins. Yes, you read that right - it’s a little known and much overlooked fact that Stoker does reveal an origin story for the Master Vampire.
We learn that he has made a pact with the Devil, attending the legendary Scholomance, a secret academy where the Dark Lord teaches a select few students the secrets of magic. According to Transylvanian folklore, the Devil takes on ten students to tutor, and in chapter 18, we are told -
The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due.
And in chapter 23, Van Helsing says of Count Dracula -
He dared even to attend the Scholomanse, and there was no branch of knowledge of his time that he did not essay
The implication is that the Count is the tenth student who has become the Devil’s pawn in the world. However what is interesting is that the first quote seems to show that Stoker was unaware of how powerful the historical Draculas were; rather than a royal house, they are depicted as a merely aristocratic line.
However some scholars have noted further connection as the fact that Stoker’s description of his vampire villain seems to tally with portraits of Vlad and the fact that the stake through the heart appears to be an ironic a take on Vlad’s preferred method of execution. However in the case of the former, the text’s description equally matches the stereotypical Victorian villain, all arched eyebrows and long moustache, and also Stoker’s employer Sir Henry Irving who the author wished to play Dracula in the stage adaption of the novel.
As for the staking, firstly this is a method of vampire destruction common in Eastern European folklore. And secondly although the vampirised Lucy Westernra is dispatched in this manner, the Count himself has his throat cut and is stabbed through the heart with a Bowie knife.
Now the case can be made either way, but personally this writer tends to the view that Stoker only had limited knowledge of Prince Vlad, and so while his vampire Count has some elements inspired by history, Vlad III wasn’t the sole source of inspiration from the Count, as Stoker’s use of the Scholomanse shows.
And certainly there is no evidence or even rumours of the historical Vlad rising from the grave to suck the blood of the living. So then to recap, historical Dracula existed but certainly wasn’t a vampire. Stoker’s Count of course is a literary creation and therefore doesn’t exist...
...Or does he? In the strange world of quantum mechanics, there is the highly weird Many Worlds Interpretation. Now, without becoming entangled in the complexity of this field of physics, basically the Many World Interpretation holds that whenever there is a choice in the universe, it splits into two different realities where each possible outcome happens. Now a great number of these branching off worlds differ only from ours in the position of one particle, however some have theorised that the range of branching universes is pretty much infinite, with every possible variation happening. So as well as worlds with larger changes, such as scifi staples such as universes where Hitler won the Second World War and the Roman Empire never fell, some theorists have postulated that wilder universes exist where the laws of nature operate differently.
And hence as the range of possible worlds is infinite, somewhere in the multiverse there are universes where not only magic and legendary creatures exist, but where Hogwarts and Middle Earth are real. And naturally in an infinite multiverse where every possible world is played out, there will be not only one where the events Stoker’s Dracula occurred as historical events, but worlds where every version of Dracula, from the Universal version of the story, to comics like Tomb of Dracula, and even Z-grade movies like Zoltan Hound of Dracula, have actually happened!
So then if the Many World Interpretation should prove to be correct, then not only does Stoker’s Dracula exist somewhere in the multiverse, but every Dracula - Lugosi, Carradine, Lee, Langela, Jordan, Oldman and all the rest - exists!
However the arcana of modern physics aside, finally we should note there are profound philosophical issues raised by the question of whether Dracula exists. For example, does ‘exists’ mean the same as ‘real’, and how do we measure or define either quality? Stoker’s Count never walked upon this earth, yet there are reams of print, miles of celluloid, and endless conversations about him. Is a concept or an idea as real as an actual person? Does the fact that Dracula only exists as fiction make him any less actual than existing in the flesh? Strictly speaking if he didn’t exist at all, in any form, neither the question or this answer would exist. Personally I feel that defining actuality or reality purely in terms of physical objects is a dangerous business, for so much of what we are, our thoughts, emotions and memories, and so much of what makes us human, such as notions of art, love, humour and justice, only exist in the same abstract realm as fiction..
Of course none of the above can quite explain why after receiving this question, for the last three nights legions of web-winged bats gather about the house after sunset or why I have seen a red eyed, coal-black hound of monstrous proportions sat waiting in the midnight shadows of the garden...
Hmm, tough one!
Well, years of watching horror flicks have informed me that the primary way to create life is sew together corpses and bring the resultant new person to life with the power of what Catweazle used to call 'elec-trickery'.
Now many variations on Baron Frankenstein methods have been presented over the years, but I'd definitely go with the classic Ken Strickfaden equipment - all whirling dials and Tesla coils and harnessing the power of lightning. There be none of that arsing about with electric eels as seen in Cuddly Ken's mendaciously titled Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) - it's be the power of heavens all the way baby!
What? You don't want to be a suture covered, mute, violent, hulking patchwork beast? Now that's a surprise!
Well, we could use the alternate process of life creation developed by Frankenstein's one-time collaborator, Dr Septimus Pretorious. On the plus side, you'd be fully human, looking normal and have some power of speech. The downside is you'd be only several inches high and have to live in a bell jar...
What? That's a no-no as well? Just think how cheap accommodation would be! No? Still not convinced?
Well, the modern digital era does allow the creation of people with a few mouse clicks. I could very easily make up an entirely new person by opening Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages... However, you would of course just be what techies call 'a sock puppet' under my control. Not exactly ideal, as I can barely run my own life, let alone some one elses!
And just to be clear, we are ruling out actual physical sock puppets aren't we? That's a shame... I have some nice bits of felt and some natty buttons in my craft box...
Well then, I'm out of answers... Oh hang a minute though... There is this old Arabian style lamp I picked up the other day... I'll just give a rub...
Bingo! One puff of smoke and a big blue fella doing a poor Robin Williams impersonation later, and now you exist! Hurrah!
Hope that is satisfactory! Right must dash, this hyperactive bugger wants another two wishes from me...
Well, having just returned from seeing Deathly Hallows: Part 2, so now I'm fully qualified to answer these batch of questions...
My overall feeling on the end of this series is probably relief. And no, not in a 'oh thank the dark gods it's over' fashion either! It more feeling satisfied that firstly they actually got the saga complete without dwindling profit margins leaving the series unfinished. And secondly that they kept the quality levels high. In fact it's a rare instance in a film franchise where the strength of the some of the later films tops the first outings.
My favourite moment? Very tough to answers as there are so many great sequences to pick from over the eight movie run. However, rather than stage an epic clash of the FX scenes, I'm going for a little moment that captures the charm of the books and the central friendships in the stories. It comes in the final scenes of the first movie just after Hermione has remember how to deal with the Devil's Snare that was threatening to kill them...
Hermione: Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare..."It's deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun!" That's it! Devil's Snare hates sunlight! Lumos Solem!
Harry: Ron, you okay?
Ron: Lucky we didn't panic.
Harry: Lucky Hermione pays attention in herbology.
As for what I'd change... well as a lover of the books, there's a hundred and one scenes I'd have liked to see make it onto the big screen. However rather than single out an individual passage than should have been squeezed into the screenplays, I'd opt to just reinstate Peeves the poltergeist into the movie incarnation of Hogwarts...
Overall, I think the films have suffered from trying to cram in too much in a short space of time and consequently have been better montages of key scenes rather than coherent stories in their own right. But then again, plenty of folk who haven't read the books have enjoyed the series, so maybe I should get off my high hippogriff! But while I've had niggles over the approach the adaptations have taken at some points, it's been a fun ride over the years and they brought JK Rowling's world to beautiful and vivid life.
Ah Lego! How I loved thee! But I built wardroids and space cities, an Tie Fighter and X Wing for my Star Wars figures, a Nautilus style submarine for my little Lego fellas and even a motorised K9... One of the earliest toys I remember owning and one of the last to go before hormones demanded I put aside childish things... Bestest toy ever invented? I think so...
Now the possibilities offered by unlimited bricks, time and space are damn near infinite! And while I'd be tempted to to attempt some arty cleverness in the vein of Nathan Sawaya, a more appropriate answer would be the project I'd have done given this opportunity as a nipper...
And that would be a massive undertaking inspired by one of my other childhood obsessions, the scifi TV sagas of Mr Gerry Anderson... which I never had nearly enough bricks for back then...
Yes, I'd build Lego Mini Figure scaled versions of all the Thunderbirds and their super secret base, Tracy Island. But I wouldn't stop there... I'd go on to translate his whole universe in little plastic bricks; from Captain Scarlet's Cloudbase in the heavens, the World Aquanaut Security Patrol HQ at Marineville in the seas, and the moonbases of UFO and Space 1999! All with their attendant vehicles of course!
Definitely! Texting may be seen as quieter than speaking on the phone, but there is still clicking and beeping , but worst of all, a distracting light from the phone screen. If you really MUST answer a text during a film , take it to the lobby!
Well considering the last US version of Godzilla turned the King of the Monster into the Queen, I've often wondered whether Toho's KIng Kong Vs Godzilla could have gone down a different route... Just imagine cities smashed in the throes of titanic passion!
Sadly in these days of the internet going in blind is very hard, especially if you use social media. Then again with ever rising ticket prices and everyone tightening their belts, going in blind isn't that preferable - after all who wants to end up seeing the turkey of the year instead of one of the future classics ;)
Generally if a movie catches my attention and I'm considering a cinema trip to see it, I will watch the trailers and check out a few spoiler free reviews from folks whose judgements I respect. If the buzz is positive and the trailer doesn't make me want to stab out either my own eyes or the director's with a plastic spoon, money will change hands at the theatre.
And in the main, all the reviews, interviews and sundry other peripheral material can wait until I've seen the movie... As an older gentleman, I've been sucked into hype maelstrom too often before and come away disappointed, so I try to avoid building up too many expectations. Obviously that's easier said than done, but I feel that getting too carried away with the idea that Movie X is going to be the second coming of sliced bread will skew your critical judgement. And keeping a cool head means you tend to enjoy more films more often without the weight of hype and hopes tipping the balance ;)
Once again, my gob ran away with me! Read my lengthly discussion of horror remakes here - http://hypnogoria.blogspot.com/2011/04/horror-movie-remakes-love-them-or-hate.html
I'm afraid I rambled on quite alot for this question - hence I'm posting the answer s complete with pix and linkage here -
Heh heh heh! I know how you feel... I often doubt my own existence! But in the wise words of Slartibartfast "that's just perfectly normal paranoia, everybody in the Universe has that!"
Defining what actually exists is an increasingly tricky question the closer you look at it. You've all heard the old saying "If a tree in a forest falls down and there's nobody around, does it make a sound?" - well quantum mechanics suggests that if there's no one to observe an event it doesn't actually happen, fnord so actually there is no tree or forest in the first place if there's nobody there! In such a universe, are any of us truly real?
Hence it’s very hard to prove I actually exist! I can assure you I do but if I was fictional then I would say that! Of course if you take that view, then I must refer to the Good Bok, and quote the words of Our Lord Brian “Well what sort of chance does that give me?!?”
And as this is an anonymous question, all the Gentle Readers out there may indeed be wondering if in fact I actually posted this to myself, and hence what you are actually reading is the textual equivalent of a Punch and Judy show, orchestrated by a secretive cyber-mastermind who dwells in a clock tower.
You can perhaps take scepticism too far…
However I will say that if I were a fictional character striding about the real world, firstly I’d be up before the Beak in Literary Court in no time at all – just look what happened to Jerry O’Flynn!
Secondly and less obscurely, if I was a fiction then my tweeting would be far more interesting! It wouldn’t be “mmm toast and Blakes 7” but “Just fed Ninja #6 to piranhas for letting that man from the Diogenes Club access the complex” and “Receiving visitors from Dimension X – do they like jaffa cakes?”
Incidentally, there is actually more than one photo of me floating about. They do surface from time to time on my Twitterfeed but I don't overdo it. Partly because years of absorbing pop culture has taught me that when a creative person goes from 'look at what I produced' to 'look at me!' the quality of their output takes a nosedive... As an old mentor of mine used to say “it doesn’t matter what it claims on the label, it’s what’s in the tin that matters”
But if I'm honest it's mainly because I firmly believe I have a face for radio! Plus as most of my family and friends either aren't on the Facebooks, or if they are, don't use it very often, I don't put up lots of personal snaps up there.
Mind you, the concept of “luring innocent listeners into a web of dreams” is an intriguing one! Not entirely sure what that would entail – will ask the Fishers From Outside next time I encounter them…
Then again, if you switch on the news for five minutes these days, a world of dreams where interesting genre and cultish material is celebrated in a relaxed and hopefully amusing manner does look a far more pleasant place to dwell.
And if my assorted online ramblings may uphold such old school Reithan values of informing, inspiring and entertaining all at the same time, then I’m more than happy to lure in the unwary to a realm that is both a solace and a counterbalance to constant negativity, cynicism and vapid celebrity worship that pervades so much of the media :)
It would have to be The House of Hammer hands down!
Firstly it was an essential source for details on the history of Hammer back in the days before there were several shelves of tomes devoted to this most iconic of horror studios.
Secondly it delivered all the latest news from the world of horror - for example, this fine periodical introduced me to modern masters such as David Cronenberg and George Romero. There were great features and interviews too which broadened my cinematic horizons.
But perhaps best of all were the comic strips - gorgeous adaptations of Hammer classics and macabre twist-in-the-tail shorts introduced by the Cushing Van Helsing. Featuring top notch art from the likes of Brian Bolland, Brian Lewis and John Bolton, these strips were a godsend in the days before the home video age; these comics were the only way to experience these classic movies, at least until the gods of late telly would oblige with a repeat.
And this delightful package was loving wrapped up in lavish painted covers. Iconic, eye catching and often truly beautiful - you'd be hard pressed to find another mag with such a run of brilliant covers.
I'm still dreaming of the day when the entire run is reissued in handsome high quality hardback volumes...
Yes indeed ;)
I'd say "Don't move an inch! I saw a giant spider from Metebelis Three go in here... there may be more! Slowly move backwards and get your back against the wall!"
So many great films choose from, so few remaining memory cells! Ignoring that terrible feeling I'm forgetting some favorites, a random ten that occur to me right now would be - The Abominable Doctor Phibes, Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera (silent Lon Chaney Snr version), Carnival of Souls, Dr Terror's House of Horrors, The Innocents, Night of the Demon, Bride of Frankenstein, and Dracula AD 1972 .