The Bride of Spooktober

Hey folks — it’s been a bit, but the run of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival ended this past weekend, and so now I’m rested up and ready to get back to my Spooktober viewing.

Last night was a first for Spooktober — I started a movie, and it was so bad that I shut it off and went for something else. The awful film was a demonic possession movie (usually of interest to this former Catholic School kid) called Along Came The Devil, and the less said about it, the better. I only made it like a half hour in.

Disappointed, I returned to an old favorite, which I haven’t watched in a couple of decades — 1986’s horror-comedy, VAMP, starring Grace Jones and 80s EveryNerd Chris Makepeace.

The movie features the first time that I recall seeing the “Vampires Run A Strip Club, Feeding On Men Who Won’t Be Missed” angle, later used in From Dusk Til Dawn. It also features a standard cringeworthy sidekick performance by Gedde Watanabe (although to be fair, this time it’s “clueless rich nerd”, rather than explicitly racist), and the “stripper with a heart of gold, who turns out to be the literal girl next door” stereotype played by Michelle Pfeiffer’s younger sister DeDee (over there —->), who wears the sort of outfits that 80s movies and music videos all told us that Hot Girls wore, but that were seldom encountered in the real world (I dunno, maybe this *was* how they dressed in L.A.?). Regardless, it’s a look that still speaks to my inner teenaged brain, I’m embarrassed to admit.

It’s not a good movie. At all. But I like it. It is steeped in nostalgia for me — of my vampire movie fandom, of my new wave music fandom, of my high school and early college years (I saw it in the theater when I was in high school, and rented it on VHS to watch in my dorm room with my roommate during my freshman year).

And sometimes, nostalgia is good enough.

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

Saw the first episode of the 13th Doctor.

Short version: Watched it. Loved it.

Longer takes: As introductions go, the episode was one of the better ones in the show’s history.

Proper behind-the-sofa scary at times, a solid mystery, and it’s absolutely wonderful that we’re back to the idea that the companions are random acquaintances, rather than Chosen Ones. Whittaker absolutely inhabited the role from the first moments. There was no adjustment period for me. And her spending the majority of the episode in the 12th Doctor’s torn and tattered costume was a nice conveyance of the not-yet-done-regenerating theme.

As the Doctor said:

“Right now, I’m a stranger to myself. There’s echoes of who I was, and a sort of… call… towards who I am. And I have to hold my nerve and trust all these new instincts, shape myself towards them… I’ll be fine. In the end. Hopefully.”

Hell, I even loved the score. After a decade of Murray Gold starting to sound samey-same, the new sound from Segun Akinola was more modern, a bit darker, and really well done. Can’t wait for an album release.

Last thought: As a Who fan since childhood (which was more of a rarity here in the US, back in the last century), it took me a bit to get used to the idea, around the time of David Tennant (although hints of it starting to appear with 8th Doctor Paul McGann), of people being attracted to the Doctor. It took a bit for me to wrap my brain around the idea of the Doctor as somebody you’d fancy.

Now that Jody Whittaker is in the role, I’m finding that now I have adjust to the fact that now *I* fancy the Doctor. It’s a very strange feeling. :)

The Revenge of Spooktober

Home sick today — turns out that two days out in the cold rain at KCRF isn’t conducive to one’s health.

The last bit of Spooktober viewing last week was Friday night, where Laura and I watched Count Dracula, the 1977 BBC miniseries, often touted as the most faithful adaptation of Stoker yet filmed.

It was pretty damned faithful, although seemingly arbitrary changes were made: Mina (Judi Bowker, who would make an impression on me 4 years later playing the Princess Andromeda in Clash of the Titans) and Lucy (Susan Penhaligon, who bears such a resemblance to Alicia Vikander that I had to do a double-take… check the pic, you see it, right?) were made sisters… and Arthur Holmwood, Lord Goldalming, is entirely removed from the narrative, yet his last name given the American, Quincey. (And the less said about Quincey’s accent, the better.)

Dracula is played with a feral grace and urbane intelligence by Louis Jourdan, in what is easily the best of the portrayals of the time — unlike Frank Langella, Jourdan actually managed to convey an otherworldly menace, a genuine threat.

As Laura remarked when we were watching, it also seems obvious now in retrospect how much of an influence this production had on Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, particularly in what scenes, often left out of adaptations, were included, and how they were staged.

Another thing I found remarkable — for a 1970s BBC production, at a time when self-appointed moral guardians were screeching about “video nasties”, Count Dracula was shockingly visceral. I was expecting something a bit more reserved. The staking sequences in particular were bloody and harrowing, with the vampires howling in agony as the claret gushed.

Really enjoyed this one. You can pick it up at the link above.