strange_complex: (Vampira)
As mentioned at the end of my last Hammer Dracula review, I have set myself the intellectual challenge of seeing if I can conjure up an internally-consistent continuity framework for the entire series, even though no such thing was ever used or imagined by the people who originally made the films. For the lulz, I'm interpreting the challenge in the most extensive possible terms, and am thus going to (at least attempt) to include not only Brides of Dracula (a perfectly good film which presents no particular continuity challenges anyway) but also The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (a terrible film which utterly contradicts almost everything Hammer had done before) within my remit. May the gods have mercy upon my soul...

Brides is the first avowed sequel to Hammer's original 1958 Dracula, but in spite of its title Dracula himself is not in it. His place is taken instead by David Peel as the Baron Meinster )

Up against the Baron is Peter Cushing as an impeccable Van Helsing )

There is a great supporting cast of classic British character actors )

Some nice misdirection sets us up to expect that the Baroness Meinster is the vampire at the beginning of the film, She's not, but she is probably the best character in the film anyway )

Vampirism as a sort of pagan cult )

Lesbian and poly readings )

Sets, props and other production elements )

Next time: kung-fu vampire-hunting adventures in turn-of-the-century China - so help me.

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Pompeii sundial)
It's taken me a fair old while to finish this book: in fact, I interrupted it for The Merlin Conspiracy for a while, as it seemed a bit much back in late February, and I was in need of something lighter. Bulwer-Lytton's prose style is so famously overblown that there is an annual bad fiction contest named in his honour; and as for the florid Victorian poetry which he inserted at every available opportunity - well, reader, I skipped it.

This is not to say he's actually a bad writer. Once you attune to his rhythms and get into the highly mannered spirit of his prose, it can be marvellous fun. Check out this fantastic description of the Witch of Vesuvius, for example:
"With stony eyes turned upon them — with a look that met and fascinated theirs — they beheld in that fearful countenance the very image of a corpse! — the same, the glazed and lustreless regard, the blue and shrunken lips, the drawn and hollow jaw — the dead, lank hair, of a pale grey — the livid, green, ghastly skin, which seemed all surely tinged and tainted by the grave!" (Book 3 chapter 9)
Now that's a proper witch, all right. But an endless succession of passages like that can get a bit tedious, especially when the subject turns to long-winded musing or moralising.

Nonetheless, it was worth persevering - not least, of course, because I have now finished it just in time to see whether or not it's conveyed a legacy to the forth-coming Who episode, The Fires of Pompeii. Judging from the trailers so far available, it looks like the influence isn't going to be that direct. But then again, this novel is really the ur-text as far as fictional representations of Pompeii go, and I can certainly see traces of it in the Who audio adventure, The Fires of Vulcan now I've finished it. More on that, later...

Historical realism )

Ancient religion )

Romantic idealism )

Bulwer-Lytton and the visual arts )

Finally, because I can, and because I want to know what's come from where when reading or watching further fictional representations of Pompeii, I finish with a table summarising key story elements in the three main examples I've encountered so far:

A very big table )

Just a few more hours now till I can see how The Fires of Pompeii fits in with all that!

strange_complex: (Bettie Page shoes)
Yesterday evening, I ventured along with [livejournal.com profile] nalsa, [livejournal.com profile] big_daz, [livejournal.com profile] myfirstkitchen and two other folk (who are probably on LJ but I don't know their usernames) into the remarkably friendly and agenda-free territory of the University Chaplaincy, for the sake of an audience with Doctor Who writer, Paul Cornell. We got there a bit early, so had time to settle down with free cups of coffee amongst the bean-bags, and chat to Paul (whom [livejournal.com profile] myfirstkitchen already knew) while we waited for the talk proper to begin.

And an excellent session it was, too )

Finally, while I'm writing, I also want to rave about my fantastic new shoes! )

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