Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 42

Still hosted by Conversion Diary.

1.       Happy Halloween! You know, lately I’ve been seeing a bunch of different posts in the Catholic blogsphere about how Catholics should embrace Halloween. I guess I’m not really the target audience, because I already love Halloween. The macabre, the spooky, and the grotesque are all part of the Christian tradition and a day that celebrates those things seems perfectly reasonable in my book (then again, I’m the guy who thinks A Nightmare On Elm Street is an allegory about the destructive nature of sin, so what do I know?).

2.       To celebrate the holiday, I put together a music video I’d had in mind for a while: Marilyn Manson’s cover of This Is Halloween set to footage from the Arkham games. Batman is supposed to be a fairly scary hero, and his villains even more so, so it seemed a good fit. Making music videos is a hobby of mine, just one that sometimes is hard to indulge because I’m obsessively detailed about that sort of thing and need to find the exact right song with all the necessary footage before I make it. This one was a lot of fun, though time consuming, since there was so much footage to go through. Enjoy!

3.       I used to celebrate the run-up to Halloween with a series of horror movie reviews, but lately I just haven’t found the time or energy to write reviews. Oddly enough, my recent film diet has largely consisted of Disney movies, most of which I hadn’t seen since childhood. I’m finding them a nice tonic to my moods, as nothing uplifts quite like a good fairy tale.

4.       Speaking of fairy tales, I’ve also purchased Charles Perrault’s classic collection and read through it in a flash. He’s retellings tend to be gentler than those of the Brothers Grimm (though still with plenty of death and murder to go around), and often with a surprisingly wry sense of humor. For instance, in his version of Sleeping Beauty, when the princess awakes she and the prince sit there and chat for four hours before the housekeeper comes in to remind the princess that the whole castle has been asleep for a hundred years, are near faint with hunger, and so could they please come down to dinner now!?
 Oh, and I love how in his version of Cinderella the title character cheerfully forgives her wicked stepsisters after marrying the prince, invites them to live in the palace, and finds them noble husbands, instead of the old version where they get their eyes plucked out by birds. In fact, this version of Cinderella is all around a pleasant character, responding to her unfortunate lot in life with humble good cheer and answering the rudeness of her stepfamily with kindness. Some call it passivity, I call it goodness (and Monsieur Perrault agrees with me).  

5.       On that note, rewatching Sleeping Beauty and so forth has made me realize that I’ve been approaching Order of the Rattlesnake all wrong. I’d been thinking of it as an urban fantasy in the mold of, oh, say, Harry Potter. Instead, I realized, it’s a modern-dress fairy tale. So, I’m going to be taking a step back for a while to do the ‘nanowrimo,’ and in the meantime rebuild the story in a proper fashion (I suspect I’ll be able to keep most of what I’ve written, only tweaked here and there, so that’s good news).  

6.       Last night was Rifftrax Live: Anaconda. Rifftrax, for those who don’t know, is basically an updated version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, featuring the three leads and head writers of the show – Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett – ‘riffing’ on various films. They offer both downloadable Mp3 commentaries to synch up with big-budget modern blockbusters and pre-synched versions of more obscure features and shorts. Now, Anaconda is one of my formative movies: I love the damn stupid thing, so I was of course eager to see them ply their talents here. They were in top form, with lots of great riffs on the general stupidity of the film and, especially, Jon Voight’s famously over-the-top performance (“If you can’t trust an insane poacher who casually confesses to killing many people, who can you trust?”). All in all, a good time.

7.       Let’s finish up with a suitable Halloween quote (and it’s disturbing how often this perfectly applies to my own life. Except for the ‘girlfriend’ part):
Ash (looking at himself in a mirror): “I’m fine…I’m fine…”
Mirror Ash (jumps out and grabs him): “I don’t think so. We just cut up our girlfriend’s head with a chainsaw. Does that sound ‘fine’?”
-Evil Dead 2

Vivat Christus Rex!

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