Wednesday, July 02, 2008


While this doesn't directly relate to yesterday's post, it's thematically related. It's also about horror. Last night, after a particularly black storm and a wonderful meal, we settled down to watch Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula* on DVD. I think this movie is underrated. I've always loved it, but a decade later it seems like one of the very last examples of horror cinema to be constructed by a mind actually interested in exploring new possibilities. Sure, it shows no greater fidelity to its source material than any other romantic apology for the great Victorian taboo; but I don't care. It comes closest to the novel's material evoking Mr. Stoker's embarrassing, stiff, and serially staged camp, not his effectively curdled xenophobia. Right; I don't care. See, it also shows a parental devotion to husbanding moods of sensational corruption, a finely-crafted signal that the world molders under its antagonist's shadow, even while preserving discrete-but-interconnected character viewpoints of that shared disintegration. It's an examination of seduction and repulsion rubbing together so finely-tuned, so disruptively overt, that it might require absolute silence and some formal concentration to swallow, as it also abandons much of the verisimilitude we're used to coddling our disbelief. It's more like a magic trick than a carnival side show: evidently more interested in sympathetic bewilderment than shocked conviction. But this is not what I came here to talk about. After the movie, in the half-dark of the scrolling credits, I brushed what looked to be some wet sand out of the DVD keepcase, unwrapped two hours before. What it turned out to be was hundreds of spiders or mites that covered my fingers and the coffee table and took an hour to track down and clean away once my heart finally was up to it. Horror. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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