Monday, June 27, 2016

A Letter to PENNY DREADFUL Creator John Logan, From His Fans:




Dear Mr. Logan:


How could you? Do you not have more respect for your audience than that? An audience that has been loyal to you every step of the way? And what of the actors and the crew members who worked so hard for those 3+ years to bring your vision to life? Do you not have any respect for them? Do you not have any respect for your own work?


I’m not a better writer than you, John. I know this. Yet I can think of a good half-dozen scenarios in which PENNY DREADFUL could have continued, and none of them would leave any of the dangling plotlines that your peremptory season finale left us with. Please don’t bother trying to convince us again that it was always your intention for PENNY DREADFUL to run for only three seasons. You are insulting our collective intelligence. A brief web search will uncover several documented instances of you making contradictory statements concerning how long you initially intended the series to run and at what point you made the decision to end it at three. Even without this corroborating evidence, however, it is obvious your decision to end the series the way you did, at the time you did, was, if not a last minute decision, at least a recent one. Or, if the plan had been in your mind for any duration of time, the sloppy, slipshod manner in which you managed the third season suggests that you were already preoccupied with other projects, that you were simply “phoning it in.”


Why introduce such a complex and fascinating character as Catriana, only to do nothing with her? Such a last-minute addition makes no sense. Why introduce Henry Jekyll if you never planned to show us Edward Hyde? What about those story points back in season one, the connection of the vampires to ancient Egypt? Why bring in Dracula, such a larger-than-life, scene-stealing, eclipsing character, then do nothing with him? Are we really supposed to believe that he would just shrug and walk away after Vanessa’s death? That he would not at the very least have taken his revenge, vented his rage, upon Ethan and the others? And what will he do next? There were so, so many loose ends, John. You are far too talented a writer to leave a project so unfinished, and yet that is what you did. Because it was always a part of your grand design? Hogwash. We know you too well, John. You proved to us, over and over again, that you are better than that. A second-rate hack might view such a flawed, contrived ending as sufficient, but not a writer of your caliber.


(As an aside, yes, we will accept that your intention was always to have Vanessa’s story end in such a way, and that particular sequence was haunting and beautiful. It would have been hard, would be hard, for you to top it. No complaints there, John. That particular ending you got perfectly right. But you jumped ahead to it, didn’t you? Yes, you did. You cut right to the grand finale at the expense of a hefty chunk of what should have been the third act. PENNY DREADFUL wasn’t JUST Vanessa’s story, John. You seem to have forgotten that.)


So stop lying to us, John. Your decision to end PENNY DREADFUL in such a way was NOT always your intent. Why did you do it, then?


We’re smart enough to put the pieces together, John. You have a new project in the works with Showtime. Bully for you. So you got bored with PENNY DREADFUL and wanted to move on, and you felt proprietary enough over the series to want to put the period in place yourself. If you cared that much, though, why not take a little more time and end it properly? Another season, or even a few additional episodes, would have sufficed. But you were in a hurry, weren’t you, John? It’s obvious to us, John, that this was the case. Why? Were you under pressure from the network to get busy on your new show? Was there a financial incentive for you to do so? Or are you just a pampered, spoiled genius who can afford to make such decisions based solely on whim, because you know you’ve reached a status of success where no one will call you on it? Does it even matter WHY you did it? Not to us, it doesn’t.


You betrayed us, John. You betrayed our trust in you. Please, tell me why we should ever trust you again. Why should we ever become emotionally invested in any show you oversee, any project you create, knowing that you are subject to, at any moment, get bored and pull the plug, or get offered a juicy new gig and decide to put a premature end to your current show, and this without even bothering to tell us you are doing so until after the fact? By waiting to let us find out that PENNY DREADFUL would end only when we saw the two words THE END emblazoned on the screen, you not only cheated us, you gave no us no advance notice, no chance to prepare ourselves. This is hardly surprising. When one is doing wrong by another, he seldom informs his victim ahead of time.


Make no mistake, John. You screwed us over. We know it and you know it. By trying to claim otherwise you are adding insult to injury. You screwed your fans. We won’t forget that, John. We won’t forgive it. Do you care? I doubt it; not yet, anyway. In the future? Time will tell. But you may rest assured, you are going forward from this point without us. You’ve lost us. Your audience. Your faithful. Your Dreadfuls have turned on you, John. You have turned your most ardent supporters and fans into, not enemies, exactly, but people who will never believe in you again. You should be ashamed, John. You’ve let us all down and you’ve let yourself down. Shame, I say.


And once more, because it bears repeating, SHAME ON YOU.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Did Dracula dip his bread--or his fried chicken--in the blood of his enemies?


I asked historian and Dracula expert Hans de Roos whether he though the mistranslation of the poem describing Vlad Dracula dipping his bread in the blood of his enemies--it should read that Dracula washed his hands in the blood of his enemies--written in the 1400s but rediscovered by Dracula biographers Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally was intentional or deliberate on their part. His response follows: 

"I cannot look into the souls of dead people, but I can tell you this, Wayne: For anyone familiar with German, or Old English, for that matter, translating "hend" with "bread" makes no more sense than translating "cat" with "sponge, "nose" with "fork," "apple" with "shoe," "water" with "book," "tree" with "donkey," etc. etc. The two words have a different spelling, a different sound, a different meaning and a different origin.. "Hend," "Hende," "Hände," "Hand" and "Hant" all come from the Proto-Germanic *handuz (“hand”) and speakers of English, Dutch, Flemish, French, Frisian, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, as well as students of Middle and Old English and Old Saxon can easily recognize it.

For "bread," by contrast, Beheim would have used the Middle High German "brōt," from Old High German "brōt" (attested since the 8th century), from Proto-Germanic *braudą, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrew- (“to seethe, to boil”); an extension of Proto-Indo-European *bʰerə- (“to well up, to boil, to be in motion (as of fire or water)”). Originating from the same root are "Brühe," "Brei," "braten" and "brennen" [Source: Wiktionary.]

For anyone seriously attempting to translate the discussed stanza from Beheim's poem, translating "Hend" with "bread" makes no sense at all; it has nothing to do with a "liberal translation" or a "far-fetched" interpretation. In my opinion, it is a fabrication that serves the interests of authors who like to extrapolate Vlad's habits (that are gruesome enough already) to a type of behavior that fits the definition of "vampire."

If McNally and Florescu would be negligent or ignorant enough to make a simple translation error, the far more plausible option would be to mix up "Hend" with "Hendl," the Bavarian word for (fried) chicken -- a term that has gained global popularity by the famous "Oktoberfest," where the "Hendl" and the "Brez'l" are the traditional companions of the good German beer ("bier" from Middle High German "bier," from Old High German "bior," from Proto-Germanic "*beuzą" (“beer”), from Proto-Indo-European "*bʰews-," "*bheus-" (“dross, sediment, brewer's yeast”).


The "HENDL" almost a homonym of "HEND".... Yes. would it not be imaginable that Vlad the Impaler dipped his HENDL in the blood of his victims??"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Director William Collins (KILD-TV), whom moi interviewd this past weekend at the LEGLESS CORPSE FILM FESTIVAL, shares some thoughts on the GHOST IN THE SHELL/Scarlett Johansson controversy

Its not at all about racial whitewashing. Stupid ignorant leftists are always trying to make everything a racial case. Its the reality of films as a business. I am a director and a filmmaker, and I think about what sells first. In this case, the issue is that Ghost in the Shell is a JAPANESE story of the highest caliber. I've been dreaming of making this since I first saw the anime. It must remain Japanese to transcend time and have its desired effect. i.e to alter conciseness and usher the era of cybernetics. And its here that the film-business regarding Johansson misses the point. Representation/identifying quality does not slave to the story of origin. A tale that transcends is racially blind, and Ghost in the Shell is that type of film. It would be smarter film-business to consider the savings of not using an super star (Ashkenazi jew /not representative of cybernetics), and make the story in the real back yard of where this is taking place (Japan). Otherwise this story has to be done in NY or San Francisco, and the type of runaway silicon valley of cybernetics would have to be created from scratch, chances are it will not be believable to anybody, killing one of the greatest stories of all time.

Friday, April 22, 2016

BLUEBEARD: THE TRIAL OF GILLES DE RAIS --World Premiere!

Our Poster


       Our Cast: 
 GILLES DE RAIS--JEREMY WOODS
PROFESSOR--TANJA LEWIS MILLER
FIRST JUDGE--SUE HASSETT
SECOND JUDGE--MARK MAREK
THIRD JUDGE--TARA FERGUSON
JOAN OF ARC/CATHERINE DE RAIS--SONIA GUETTLER
JEAN DE CRAON--GREG BRANHAM
RENE/POITOU--THOR SMITH
CHARLES/HENRIET--JONATHAN BAIN
FRANCOIS PRELATI--TODD HESS
EUSTACHE BLANCHET--FRED TAMM-DANIELS
JEAN DE FERRON--MICHAEL BRADLEY
PERRINE MARTIN--AMBER DICKEY
 MOTHER--MARCIE JACKSON
BOY--JASPER FERGUSON

Our Crew: 
SOUND: HEATHER HUBER, TODD HESS
SET: MARK MAREK, DANE WAVERLY
LIGHTS: AMBER DICKEY, WAYNE MAYHEW

Our Venue:
THE HISTORIC LOWRY HOUSE

Saturday, April 2, 2016

BYZANTIUM movie review by Sean Rourke



BYZANTIUM, now on Netflix

If it happens to be dark outside, and you're looking through your streaming services to find a descent vampire movie, then I highly recommend calling up Netflix and watching Byzantium.

Without spoiling anything, you're in for the story of two female vampires and their tale of survival.  The first is Eleanor, played by Saoirse Ronan, (which, btw, sounds like an awesome vampire name,) and her older sister, Clara, played by Gemma Arterton, (which is an equally impressive vampire name!)

Eleanor is an immortal trapped in the body of a sixteen year old.  She appears to be beholden to Clara, who claims to be her older sister, though the two could not be any more different.  Clara is a devious seductress who seems perpetually drawn to the darker corners of the sex trade.  Her fishnet shirts and high heeled boots contrast sharply with Eleanor, who is a cardigan-wearing, introspective  artist. 

But as the movie progresses, we begin to discover the roots of these two vampires and the complex relationship that holds them together.  All the things that a vampire enthusiast hopes for in a film can be found here, from bloodletting victims in remote corners of the urban sprawl, to flashbacks of the vampires' mortal lives, to fleeting glimpses of the larger tapestry of vampire secrets in the world.

If any of this sounds familiar, that might be because Byzantium is directed by Neil Jordan, who gave us Interview with the Vampire.  But whether you hated or loved his interpretation of Interview, this movie deserves your attention.  What he's done with Byzantium is give us a character study of two vampires that is both rich and bleak at the same time.  The nuances of their relationship are new to the vampire genre, and that doesn't happen often these days. 

And when it comes to vampire tropes, Byzantium rarely takes the easy way out, always giving a slightly new interpretation, while never straying far from what is familiar.  The vampire origin story is especially vivd.

There are some nods to previous vampire works in the naming of certain characters, as well as the casting of Johnny Lee Miller in a minor role.  Miller's pedigree includes the debatably important Dracula 2000, where he portrays a young vampire hunter.  In Byzantium, his character is far different, and surprisingly short on screen time.  (I'm assuming he did this one during a lull in his career, before he took the lead in Elementary.)

Tom Hollander also appears in a small role in Byzantium, who was previously seen hunting Saoirse Ronan in another movie, Hanna.

But ultimately, it's the performances of the two leads that make this film.  Both are haunting and devastating in their own way, with Saoirse channeling a girl desperate to break free of the child that she's been playing for over a hundred years.  Meanwhile, Gemma plays counter to the role that we've grown accustomed to seeing her in: as that of the wise and aloof love interest to the adventuring hero.  In this, she is an unapologetic survivor - damaged, dangerous, and cunning, pulling at any thread she can in order to insure that the two vampires are always one step ahead of their enemies.

For the vampire fan, Byzantium is worth your time.  It's tense, indulgent, sexy, and dark, and it's streaming right now.

By: Sean Rourke

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Guitars. Beautiful guitars.

Hail to the King, baby! 
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Who's your Mummy?
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It's Murder!


 
Love the color!
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Glorious black and white!
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Supposedly the guitarist for Metallica owns one like this.
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Looks like Frazetta artwork. 
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The ORIGINAL Mistress of the Dark: VAMPIRA!
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Bite me!
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Monday, October 26, 2015

I've had my own website for a few years now, and honestly it's been pretty much nothing but trouble. (Can something be "pretty much nothing but?") Anyway, I'm not out to bash the website provider or anything. Hell, it's probably my fault. I'm not a "techie" and I never will be, and truthfully don't have any interest in being. So I won't be renewing my domain name, both because I'm not really getting any real use out of it and because I can do pretty much (there's that phrase again) the same things here, on this site, for free, that I've been semi-successfully paying to do on the other site. I don't know how much longer the OTHER website will be up and running, but THIS one, right 'chere, will from this point onward be the home and base of operations for all things Evil Cheez. The ONLY home base.

It occurred to me that, before the old site goes away, I should peruse it and see if there's anything there I'd like to preserve for posterity HERE. I'll be moving a few things over, and I'll start with this piece I wrote as the introduction to the other site. It's a little dated, but I kinda have a soft spot for it. It deals with marketing and the need for an author to get his or her name out there, to get "over" in wrestling parlance, and the true motivation behind most people who put pen to paper. Or, more accurately, fingertip to keyboard. Just  for the heck of it.

(Hey, that's not bad as a preamble. Maybe I'll make that the title my autobiography someday. "Just for the heck of it.") 

A few years ago, my father got it into his head to build, during the dog days of one of the hottest summers on record, a lean-to storage shed connecting to his garage, for which he enlisted my help. Because my Dad knows as little about construction as I do, which is to say he don’ know nothin’, he also hired a retired carpenter, Mr. Gilbert, a crusty, salt-of-the-earth type known to all (more or less affectionately) as “Gibby.” It was bad enough for me having to toil alongside Gibby, what with him being twice my age and working circles around me, whistling and hammering away while I sweated and gasped for breath; but to further add to my sense of masculine inferiority, during one of the (too few and far-between) breaks we took that day, while making casual conversation, Gibby asked me what I did for a living.

No problem, I remember thinking. I got this.

I had, at this point in my life, been working for a couple of years as an acquisitions editor for a literary agency. When I told this to Gibby, I was anticipating his response of: “What’s that?” This latter constituting the typical response of, well, everybody upon hearing my spiffy-sounding job title, I had, I thought, by this time in the game, gotten pretty good at explaining exactly what an “acquisitions editor” was and did, breaking down into layman’s terms the inner workings of the publishing world.
“It’s like this, Gibby. When you go into a bookstore, all those books on the shelves, they were published by one of a handful of publishing companies. Let’s say you have written a book, Gibby, a book about carpentry. You couldn’t just send a copy of it to one of those publishers.”

“Why not?”

“Because they only look at works that are submitted to them from literary agencies. It’s because there are so many other people out there who have also written books. You wouldn’t believe how many there are. And the publishers don’t have time to read through all those books, or samples from all those books, to see which, if any, they might be interested in putting into print. Thus they use the literary agencies as a sort of filter. They know that any work submitted to them by an agency has to be good, at least good enough to have captured the attention of the literary agent in question.”

I was on a roll at that point, determined to make my not-glamorous-at-all job sound as fancy as possible.
“But the literary agencies don’t have that kind of time ether,” I continued, “to read through all those potential manuscripts. They get dozens, maybe even hundreds of proposals in the mail every day. That’s why they hire people like me, “slush monkeys” in the jargon of the business, to search through the reams of possible projects and determine if any of them are worthy of the agent’s time and attention.” Taking a breath, I concluded: “And that’s what I do.”

Gibby took a moment, stared at me, blinking, before responding: “Yeah . . . but what’s the point of it?”
I didn’t know what to say to him. What’s the point? The point of what, Gibby, hiring editors? Oh, of writing in general, you mean. Why, isn’t it obvious, Gibby? The point is, uh . . .

Hmm. What is the point, anyway?

To see one’s name in print, in the credits of a magazine or on the spine of a book? To have one’s work read by the masses (a mass or two, at least)? To impart information, to entertain, to communicate? No. That’s not the primary reason. Secondary, maybe. Otherwise they’d just put their stuff on the Internet for free, or go to a “vanity press.” (Vanity presses differ from standard publishing companies. A standard publisher will pay you for the rights to publish your work. A vanity press will publish as many copies of your work as you’d like, but you have to pay them.) Nothing wrong with that, if that’s what a person wants. But all those hordes of people submitting those reams of projects to literary agencies aren’t just looking to see their words in print. So what’s the point, then? The primary point?

To make money.

A writer wants to sell his product, to put it out there for the world to read and enjoy and be financially compensated for it. That’s the point, Gibby. That’s the point.

And the point of all this, my friends, is to explain to you the “point” of this website.

It gets harder day by day for a writer to “make it” in the publishing world. Even a good writer. I learned from my time as a slush monkey, and learned all to well, that every aspiring author believes himself or herself to be good enough for publication, only a scant percentage actually are. What’s the ratio? I’d say 99% to 1%, with the minority being the ones with some degree of talent and ability (and I’m probably being generous, there). Acquisition editors quickly become jaded, numbed by the constant bombardment of flat-out lousy writing. The agents themselves become jaded. The editors at the publishing houses become jaded. It’s hard, really hard, to find that proverbial diamond in the rough when it’s buried in an even rougher trash heap. This is the burned-out, jaded slush monkey in me talking, here.

Even if a writer manages to get noticed amidst all the flotsam, it’s still a hard climb. No publisher is going to invest much money on an unknown commodity. (Those books on the tables at the big bookstores, set out where they’re bound to get noticed by the foot traffic? The publishers pay to have those books put on that table. And if it’s a choice between Stephen King’s latest or the debut book by you, John. Q. Nobody, who do you think they’re going to drop the money on?) How then can a new writer, an “unknown,” even if he actually is good, hope to make his mark, to stand out?

You have to be your own publicist. Drive yourself all over creation to do book signings for no guaranteed compensation, just to get your name out there. Enter your work in various contests; try to win some awards, just to get your name out there.

Or create a website. Put a sample of your work—just a sample, mind you— online, available for free, and try to get people to visit the site, to read your work. Just to get your name out there.
And that, Gibby, is the point. End of preamble.

With that, welcome, friends, to [...] It’s been a long time coming and I’m mighty proud to have you here. Can I offer you a little something to make it worth your while? There’s some good stuff here on this site. Totally free. Because I have the audacity to believe I am a part of that 1% mentioned earlier, that my work actually is worth the time it will take you to read it, and I aim to prove it. It’s like drugs, man. The pusher gives you some for free because he believes you’ll like it and come back for more. Only my work is far more benign than drugs. But, I hope, no less addictive. Heh heh heh.

Right, then. What can I interest you in today? Proceed to our menu, mon friends. Order when you’re ready.
(By the way, you all are going to want to drop by this site not infrequently, as I intend to add new content fairly often. I figure I’ll keep a blog of sorts, containing all my sacred and profane ramblings about anything and everything. I’ll update you on my latest theatrical productions. I also might put some more free stuff on here, sooner or later. You never can tell with me.)