May 13, 2004

Lola's Last Ride

Today I sold the love of my life into American servitude.

Mi piquante tamale Lola, my beloved lipstick-red Sunfire, has ended her wild ride as my spicy chariot of fun. I loved her well. But now she must move on to fill her destiny elsewhere. Tomorrow she rides into the west (like the Elves before her) and then southward to her new home as Canadian import tamale-of-love in Seattle. Yes, she now belongs to Skotty and Shannie. I rest easy knowing that at least she's still family.

Farewell Lola-love, little money-sucking troublemaker extraordinaire. I'll never forget our time in the sun. Or snow. It was a helluva ride.

"Lola... lo lo lo lo Lola... lo lo lo lo Lolaaaa..."

May 10, 2004

The precursor to this entry is the discussion I had over icon use and extranneous additions to popular lore. By rights, Dracula, though he is a character created by Bram Stoker, has risen to such iconic status in our culture that he more or less embodies vampires at large. By which argument if a writer wants to use Dracula specifically in a non-canonical tale of their own creation rather than just using a general vampire, it is allowed. I personally think that characters should be respected and lore remain more or less sacred unless you are expounding upon it in a beautiful new light or taking the general idea into a character of your own. As Anne Rice did so wonderfully, for example. But to take Dracula and make him into whatever hybrid macabre monster you want to, ignoring conventions and mythos along the way, seems to me wrong on some level. Not legally wrong, however. Icons may be used. It's different than plagiarism. There are all sorts of murky arguments on either side and in the end though I may rail against those who bastardize the lore of my beloved vampiric kin, there isn't a lot I can do about it. Which brings us neatly to Van Helsing.

This isn't a review of the movie, this is an examination of the bizarre leaps in lore logic taken by writer/director Stephen Sommers. So yeah... SPOILERS AHEAD. Lots of spoilers. Like the whole movie is here. So don't keep reading and then bitch to me about how I ruined the whole thing for you. THIS IS YOUR WARNING.

To be fair, the weirdness done to Dracula's character is hardly the only head-scratching moment in Van Helsing. Abraham Van Helsing's name is mysteriously now Gabriel. Dr. Frankenstein was apparently under contract with Dracula to create his monster. The Wolfman was in the service of Dracula. The Knights Templar, operating out of the Vatican, had James Bond technology centuries ahead of the rest of the world. And only a werewolf can kill Dracula. Those are minor details in my mind, however. The real boggler is the underlying world domination plot involving the spawn of Dracula and his brides. Okay it's like this: only Frankenstein's monster can properly activate the machine that Igor recreated out of Dr. Frankenstein's lab in order to give life to Dracula's thousands of fetal undead bat offspring that hang from the ceilings of Dracula's ice castle in suspended animation in Alien spores. Stephen Sommers apparently loved every old horror movie so much that he couldn't pick just one to film so instead mashed them all together in a CGI hybrid of everything. And then added Alien and Robin Hood elements just for variety's sake. Fine. Having already established that iconic monsters are pretty much fair game, there's not much that complaining will accomplish at this point. And really it was a great romp. David Wenham and Richard Roxburgh in particular had the best lines and the most campy fun. My big beef (because in a movie like this you'd be mad to pick more than one beef - you'll only give yourself an anuerysm trying to keep track of them all) is with the Dracula Alien spawn thing.

Vampires, just to be clear, are undead. They are mortals who died and, after having been infected with vampiric blood, live past death by feeding off the blood of the living. To get technical, an animated corpse living off nothing but blood would negate the presence of other bodily fluids. Anne Rice describes it somewhat more erotically in her retelling of the dark gift as her vampires retain and indeed expand upon their mortal sensuality; instead of it being focused on sex, it is focused on the ecstasy of joining through blood exchange. Whether you're a traditionalist or embrace the more modern take on vampiric lore, it's still more or less gospel that vampires have no bodily fluids other than blood and do not procreate the mortal way. They prolong their own kind by creating other vampires through blood exchange. Not sex. Vampires are kind of like angels that way. No functioning genitalia. (I'm so going to hear about this paragraph, I can just tell.)

Stephen Sommers either a) doesn't know this about vampires, b) knows and doesn't give a fuck, or c) is afraid of blood and took the procreation way out. Thus in Van Helsing Dracula and his brides get together to birth these horrendous fluid-engorged sacs containing frightful pasty bat-like offspring. First of all, is the whole killing you by drinking your lifeblood or, worse, forcing you to drink his blood and turning you into an immortal corpse angle just not scary enough any more? In a movie with the Wolfman, Dracula, Dracula's brides, Frankenstein's monster, and a cameo by Jekyll/Hyde, you'd think there'd be enough chills to go around. Unless that movie is Van Helsing, of course, since nothing in it is quite as frightening as the idea that Dracula's children may have actually come to Transylvania via Sigourney Weaver. The Alien spore thing is, in a word, preposterous. Assuming the rest of the movie isn't, it's the cocooning baby Dracs that just pushed the envelope one step past insane. And what exactly Dracula planned to do once his army of offspring were given life remained a mystery. You're a vampire. It seems to me that grandiose world domination schemes involving questionable technology and monster unions is a bit far-fetched. Just bite and feed, man. Tried and true.

I know you're dying to ask if the movie's worth seeing after all this. Go ahead and ask me. "Is the movie worth seeing then?" Yes. Yes it is. And not just so you can walk past all the luscious Troy posters on your way to your seat, either. Van Helsing is fun. It's stupidly nonsensical CGI fun. With the wickedly funny David Wenham in it to boot.

May 9, 2004

So I log onto Blogger to do a little update on Ye Olde Blog and I come across this nasty Windows-esque chaos that is the new Blogger format. You pretty mortals won't be able to tell because I fortunately have a Crypt template to spare you the visual agony. But I now have to burn my retinas with this weird newness in order to continue bringing you the same quality undead entertainment you've come to know and love. What it appears to be is dumber. Yes, that's it exactly - dumber. Blogger has been dumbed-down to accomodate the masses of under-six and over-ninety year olds not yet regaling us with their daily activity logs online. On the upside, it's definitely now more simian-friendly. Good news for "George".

It's not that I'm afraid of change. I'm just afraid of bad change. Actually, afraid isn't the right word. Opposed to bad change is more accurate.

Other things I'm opposed to include (but are not limited to)...
1. Cold coffee.
2. Keanu Reeves.
3. String beans.
4. Pennies.
5. Mornings.
Pretty new toys. We love pretty things.

Much gratitude to Thor for making the lush banner for the Crypt.