Vampires in fiction: A history

“The Vampire Diaries” has come to an end, which essentially means that I am officially way too old to be obsessing over vampires. With that being said, I’d like to take a walk down memory lane to pay homage to my favorite fantasy creatures.

My “Fan”pire History

In honor of one of my teenage fave, I have decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to the creatures of the undead. When I was in high school (and obsessed with “Twilight”) I decided to take it upon myself to read all sorts of vampire books in order to immerse myself in the fantasy books that I was obsessed with. Of course, what better way to start that with the original Dracula” by Bram Stoker? After all, the novel is the godfather of all vampire fandoms as we know them today so I figured I would enjoy it. 

Long story short, I picked up the book and barely made it to 50 pages(unless it’s the Princess Diaries, epistolary novels aren’t really my thing). I instead decided to watch the film (Francis Ford Coppola’s rendition is the truest adaptation) and was sorely disappointed. For starters the film isn’t really romantic so much as it is disturbing and the actual character Dracula is not a sexy prince (unless he’s in his young Gary Oldman form). In Dracula, the initial concept of vampirism is not something that is enviable as it is in “Twilight” and “Underworld”, nor is it a love story with relatable protagonists. 

Vampire History

Here’s a TED-Ed video that contains a brief history of vampire folklore

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Stephen King’s ‘It’ Trailer Reaction

Image: imdb

What. The. Hell. Did. I. Just. Watch.

When I first saw images from the upcoming film “It” on Twitter, I was immediately intrigued. I have never seen the original “It”(mainly because every time I think of Tim Curry, I think of comedic characters and I feel like  seeing him as a murderous clown would take me out of my element, the same way Emma Watson’s acting in “Beauty and the Beast” did*), but I have always wanted to see the movie.

Since this was my first time watching anything related to this movie, I was not sure what to expect, but what I was NOT expecting was to be emotionally scarred for life.

At first, I thought that it would just be another jump scare-filled trailer with the appropriate cuts made the second the clown was about to get to the children. What I got was almost two minutes of anxiety inducing terror.

(Here’s the trailer, if you wanna check it out)

 

*Author’s Note: Admit it, Emma Watson as Belle was not anyone’s first choice. In the immortal words of RHOA’s Kenya Moore, don’t come for me unless I send for you. 

‘Riverdale’ Makes The Cut

(Photo Credit: The CW)

Recently, The CW said goodbye to its long-running fantasy series “The Vampire Diaries.” Although some fans were sad to say goodbye to the series, they should rejoice in the fact that there is an unlikely new sheriff in primetime town: “Riverdale”. This new show is based on the famous Archie comics, which at first made me roll my eyes, but as I began to watch, I found that it’s actually really, really entertaining.

And surprisingly more enjoyable than The Vampire Diaries ( Ian Somerhalder as Damon will forever reign supreme, though) , a show that I have always been a fan of, but seemed to lack luster in the later seasons. (@JuliePlec, why didn’t Bamon happen?).

When I first saw Riverdale, i figured that it would be just another melodramatic teen show, filled with weirdly grown-up looking high schoolers and a cliche love triangle, but what I got when I watched the show, is a surprisingly heartfelt tale about friendship, family drama and . . . . murder?

Anyway, if you haven’t watched it, please check it out:

(And if you were wondering, I ship Archie/Veronica, BTW)

‘Get Out’ Review

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

SPOILERS BELOW

So I have been trying to see this movie for two weeks now, but I was just able to see it today, but let me just say that this movie is amazing. For the past two weeks I have been avoiding every single article, tweet, and Facebook post that even references the film so I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I walked into the theater since my knowledge of the plot only spanned what I knew from the one trailer I watched on YouTube.

 

Synopsis:

 

Before I start, let me just say that this movie is not horror in the sense that you will be hanging onto the edge of your seat, waiting for a jump scare at every corner. To be honest, I was anticipating for this film to be much scarier than it actually was, but overall the storyline was pretty suspenseful and the plot was very engaging. Watching this film was almost like watching two separate movies in one. The first part of the film focuses on the subtle racism that Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) must endure while visiting his white girlfriend Rose Armitage’s (Allison Williams) family for the first time.

 

The initial meeting of the family as well as seeing the dynamic between Rose’s parents and their black servants makes Chris realize that something is amiss although he cannot place it. The turning point of the film that leads into the second act is a party that is hosted by Rose’s family in honor of her late grandfather. Chris sees another black man and tries to connect with him and is put off by his odd behavior. Chris then attempts to take a photo of the man, but the flash from Chris’s phone camera triggers the man and releases him from his programmed behavior. The man then grabs Chris and tells him that he is in danger.

 

This event leads us into the second plot point. Aside from the subtle racism that Chris has endured throughout his stay at the hands of Rose’s family and friends, Chris realizes that the Armitage family has sold him at the highest bidder to a wealthy art dealer who wants to trade bodies with him. Better yet, Chris is not the first person that this has happened to, but instead Rose has been used as bait to lure dozens of other black men to the Armitage estate for the same purpose.

 

Review:

 

When I first heard about this movie, I didn’t know how to react. Even sitting in the theater I was getting anxious because I kept waiting for Rose’s family to call Chris racial slurs or do something incredibly violent to him, but that uneasy feeling just added to the suspenseful nature of the film. Rose and her family are avid Obama supporters and are all upper class individuals with prestigious occupations.  Even in scenes when they are literally ready to murder Chris, they are still oddly nice to Chris and speak to him in a civil manner, yet they view him as less than. The family is oddly polite as are their friends who bid on him like a slave at a slave auction. In fact even the man who buys Chris is weirdly nice to him, which makes the film even more creepy and surreal.

 

The subtlety of this movie is what truly made me love it. The plot of the film gives audiences themes that allow them to think critically about what is going on in our society today in terms of race relations. I, personally, am sick of films that bash audiences over the head with an intended message. I feel as though when films go the route of being too heavy-handed on issues like racism by using extreme imagery and language such as black people being brutalized and characters shouting racial slurs, it allows the audience to see racism as a black and white issue and allows them to walk away saying “I’m not racist, because I don’t fit that specific mold.” Making Rose’s family civil and liberal allows us to see another side of racism that isn’t always noticeable.

 

 

Netflix Thriller review

So, after my last attempts at doing Netflix films failed, I decided to revisit it this week for some new recommendations. 

Colonia (2016)

 

Now, when I first saw the trailer for this film, I had real idea as to what this movie was about because the trailer makes it seem like Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl are two star-crossed lovers stuck in a dystopian society. Upon watching the film and consulting Google, I found that this film is not about dystopia but about the very real events that occurred in Chile under the repressive regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Bruhl plays a poltiical prisoner who is sent to the infamous Colonia Dignidad camp as punishment and Watson must bring him home. It sounds cliche, but the film is pretty intense, especially when you finish watching and realize that while Bruhl and Watson play fictional characters, the actual history behind Colonia Dignidad is completely true and incredibly disturbing.

#TrueCrime: YouTube Edition

This week’s blog post was supposed to be a piece about the best horror movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime, but following further inspection, they (the one’s who don’t want us to succeed) have removed them from the site, so as a default I will be introducing you to two of my favorite true crime YouTube playlists.

BuzzFeedBlue: Unsolved

 

This BuzzFeed series focuses on the mysterious circumstances surrounding some famous crimes, such as the Zodiac Killer and the Elisa Lam case. For those who may not enjoy too much suspense, creators Ryan and Brent break up their storytelling with some occasionally hilarious commentary and feedback. In addition to their true crime portion they also have a hilarious Unsolved: Supernatural segment where they indulge in the secret histories of the men in black and the Illuminati.

Cayleigh Elise

 

This YouTube channel focuses a bit more on the serious side of things. YouTuber Cayleigh Elise focuses on not only true crime events but also paranormal experiences. Her videos run longer than the standard five minute mark but are always infused with a great deal of information and insight into each case.

Horror Podcast Recommendations

(Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay)

“Stuff You Missed In History Class”

Ok, so “Stuff You Missed” isn’t a horror podcast, but hear me out because some of these episodes are extremely creepy. While most episodes focus on little known historical figures and events, occasionally, they dedicate podcasts to historical mysteries, disappearances and infamous unsolved crimes. The wonderful thing about “Stuff You Missed” mystery episodes is that the narrators approach each mysterious topic with a hint of skepticism, so if you are not naturally inclined towards anything supernatural but still enjoy a good story these are for you. The narrators make a point to thoroughly investigate and research the subjects they chose to cover and provide concrete facts int he form of newspaper articles, testimonies, books and academic research. The podcast is available on their website, iTunes and Spotify.

“The Black Tapes” – PNWS

I found this podcast over the summer and honestly, it is one of the best horror/mystery podcasts out there. Although the plot is a complete work of fiction, it is designed to sound as authentic as “Serial.” The podcast follows Alex Reagan, a radio host and reporter who seeks the help of myth buster Dr. Richard Strand to help her uncover a mysterious disappearance. Pro tip: “The Black Tapes” must be listened to consecutively, so no skipping around! The podcast will soon air its third season and can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

“In the Dark” – APM Reports

This podcast, which is hosted by Madeleine Baran delves into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the case of Jacob Wetterling. The interesting part? Wetterling’s disappearance from a small Minnesota town took place 27 years ago and the killer was only revealed in 2016. Baran’s interviews navigates over 20 years of cold leads, police investigations, eyewitness testimony and the testimony of the police who were in charge of the case at that time. “In the Dark” can be listened to on Spotify and iTunes.