Sharpen Your Fangs

Most of the vampires have enjoyed some good time at the box-office with those movies with fangs driving hard into the necks of those currency notes. Some of the most mindless vampire franchises have done so well, that one has already gotten $3.345 billion world-wide. The most shocking thing is that the last two movies of that franchise which were the worst, actually managed to earn more than the the rest. It is a strange world, and a change of human perception about the vampires has made sure that this strange, meaningless vampire romance was going to take over to satisfy some audience.

But the question remained if such movies had to be made, and also if such books were to be written with not caring for the vampire essence? Interview with the Vampire maintained the basic vampire essence, and so did Vampire Journals; none of them needed to go into the strange teenage romance. Let Me In had recreated the same so much, and didn’t go down to a childish fantasy. There is a movie which knows how to make a rather beautiful and thought-provoking vampire stuff; something that Twilight had completely missed out, and with its complicated protagonists and complete artistic beauty, that movie is Byzantium.

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Byzantium is a less recognized beauty. It is not known that much among even the most regular movie viewers. The reason might be that it never really got a wide release. It comes from Neil Jordan who brought us Interview with the Vampire, and this movie maintains the feelings of that one including alienation, solitude, hopelessness and eternal doubt. The movie begins with these lines “My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it”.

In a word which completely takes you into its eerie feeling, Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) and Clara (Gemma Arterton), the mysterious daughter and mother pair is on a never-ending run and finally seems to have somehow settled at the Hotel Byzantium. They have been chased by a group of vampires for around two hundred years. The flashback story goes back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars during which Clara is born. But at Byzantium, it is not just the past that will come to trouble the mother and daughter, as the present will catch up to them to force them in order to make decisions.

We have been forced into the CGI beauty which has often overtaken the beauty of the world and its people, and Byzantium takes you back to it. Saoirse Ronan plays a wandering beauty who carries a burden of melancholy with amazing skills. Four years after City of Ember, she once again brings the audience to a standstill with her performance as the lone vampire youth who never ages. Kirsten Dunst played such a character as a child vampire in Interview with the Vampire, but Eleanor’s troubles go deeper. She has the feelings of not just Claudia from that movie, but also that of Louis de Pointe du Lac.

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The one thing we can tell Saoirse Ronan’s character is to stop being so sad, as it basically depresses the viewers and makes them wonder how an immortal beauty can be portrayed with such powerful and abiding sadness. In such a world of no happiness, Gemma Arterton is Clara Webb, charming, seductive and deadly. Traversing between the darkness and the light, or rather dark grey and light grey, she is a character who saves the day in more than one way, and that depiction is rather of a domination that rises above the expectation. As she says “I had eyes that cut through lies, I had lungs that breathed eternity. Felt I’d lived my whole wretched life just to prepare me for that moment“.

Byzantium is a movie which replenished my vampire essence which was taken away by three movies, the completely worthless and shameless one called The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the hopeless one called Twilight and the clueless one called Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters. Byzantium is unbelievably artistic in its presentation, stylish with its environment and brutal with its emotions. It is like a form of art which does justice to the vampire mythology and never boasting about. As it hasn’t been promoted enough, I provide this post for celebrating this rather #UnknownMasterpiece.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook Page of Byzantium.

TeNy

A Few Unfamilar Rituals

Only a few months had passed since Mavis Dracula was born, and as Uncle Dracula thinks about this day of his past, it is our duty to take a look back to the day before Mavis’ first birthday with him. There are no questions to be asked, and there are no doubts to cleared, but accompany Uncle Dracula’s minions who take us back to that day. Let me assure you that Mavis is no lesser Dracula than our uncle, and it is something that she proved later.

It was quite a dark night, but still not enough for the vampires to celebrate their new festival, The Season of the Night. Dracula was inviting monsters for the first birthday of Mavis, his daughter who came to this world after sacrificing one hundred and twenty eight kilograms of potato chips mixed with blood. All the werewolves and zombies around the castle had agreed to come for the celebrations. But the big problem was at the castle when he was not there.

“This is not happening. I can’t do this at all” screamed the Vampire Panda.

“You are the cutest available vampire in the locality. You have to do this” said the Vampire Penguin.

“Actually, you are pretty much cute too” added the Vampire Owl.

“What? No, I am a dangerous penguin with survivor skills. One day, I was travelling through the Bermuda Triangle and…”

“I don’t think that the baby knows that though. So cute penguins can do” said the Vampire Panda.

“The baby is crying. Can something be done? I have done a few things on situations like this – but I have awesome memory loss problem” added the Vampire Hamster.

“Actually, where is the Vampire Bat?” asked the Vampire Crocodile.

“He is doing his vanishing act. He bought the new and improved Invisibility Cloak from the Goblin Market” said the Vampire Owl.

“Is it like this clock shows time and we can’t even see it?” asked the Vampire Hamster.

“What? No, not that clock! Who gives vampire badges to people like this”? yelled the Vampire Owl.

“I am back! And I am starting a ritual here” said the Vampire Bat as he appeared out of the Invisibility Cloak.

“What is that weapon that you have in your hands? It is the book Dracula and what is this Pampers Baby Dry Pants?” asked the Vampire Owl.

“Both are for Mavis. She needs to learn about the adventures of her father told in the words of other vampires. Any questions?” asked the Vampire Bat.

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“Is that book to be used as a diaper?” asked the Vampire Hamster.

“Are you even listening? Is it so difficult to understand the vampire world which is right in front of you? Vampire Crocodile, get to work”.

In a few minutes, things were set, and the Vampire Crocodile started reading the story. Vampire Cat dropped in and added a lullaby in the “meow meow” vampire model. Vampire Bat and Vampire Owl were making future plans while Mavis Dracula was already asleep. The next day was to be her birthday, a memory which Uncle Dracula was to use a few days later – that would call for another drastic rewind.

***The image used in this blog post is from the Happy Hours campaign page at Indiblogger. This blog post is part of the Happy Hours campaign from Pampers in association with Indiblogger. Check here for further details about the same: http://www.rewardme.in/tag/Pampers

TeNy

Vampires of the Soul

There is no other book that I loved more than Dracula, and I used to read many versions of the same in English and Malayalam during my childhood, and I have known Bram Stoker before I knew William Shakespeare. Count Dracula has been part of my early life more than anyone else and even inspired me to read more horror and made me watch my first horror movies, and my first horror movie in English to be watched on a VCR, John Carpenter’s Vampires. It would introduce me to the entity called “the vampire” which would never be redefined better than it did for me in this work.

Dracula was one person who never really scared me. But people around the world were worth being afraid of more than this one vampire. Some of them suck the life out of you, others money, and the worst of the suck the happiness out of you, and they are the vampires of the heart and soul. Most of them feel that they are the only people in the world, and the Earth no longer revolves around the sun, but instead exist for their own needs and all the people in the world are made for them to use. This one-human-centric universe have been sucking everything good out of our known world for centuries.

Consider the case of Count Dracula. He wanted to migrate to another country leaving his rural world behind. For the same, he leaves his old world behind and is ready to blend in with the so called urban people. But what does he get in the end? He is forced to keep running and in the end gets a stake through the end for trying to understand other cultures and mingle with them. He was a man of nature, blended with his natural environment and feared by the people of his land due to him being an introvert.

Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

The beautiful Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

Now, there comes the problem of being introvert. There are many organizations for supporting even the dumbest things in the world saying that it is one’s personal life and there is the choice to be different. But being an introvert is rather too difficult, as the other take away or rather suck everything away, and bening terribly talkative has been becoming a need, and on the tip of the talks, there would be big lies which will help one to advance in life. The others who can’t lie or show off their vanity will suffer like Dracula.

Still, the society considers introverts and people who can’t use tell a beautiful lie every hour or so as not easily acceptable. Being talkative should be a choice, and when people are chosen according to the performances during a few minutes of interview, it is a case of losing the right person for the job and instead finding someone who can talk and justify all mistakes and atrocities. You can’t find the right person by talking for a few minutes, because lies are too easy to say for the new generation designed just to succeed. This is the world of fake smiles, and the season of faking love.

Dracula was undoubtedly an introvert and a man who couldn’t socialize easily, and the use of diaries, letters and logs in the work and making it an epistolary one means that it was rather the idea of a group of people from one side of the society, and even the ideas claimed to be of other people could have also been forged. May be he had some bad teeth, and it is also possible that he was too much addicted to wine – there goes the ideas about bad teeth and drinking the red fluid. He just belonged to another culture and it is usual to be afraid of the customs and traditions, plus he had his own special abilities.

Christopher Lee playing the Count (photo from wiki)

Christopher Lee playing the Count, considered the common depiction (photo from wiki)

It is a usual misconception to related Dracula to the devil, and it is plain wrong. The vampire is surely not the devil, and beyond that, the Count has a personality which is far better than this plagued society which is not just affected by hatred towards other religion, caste, race and community, but also towards the random people who don’t know one’s idol or their most awesome person, a sportsperson, a movie star – any random celebrity. Yes, vampires have to look scary and not like a dumb teenager, but the story of the Count is debatable. Dracula was million times better than most of the vain humans of this age even on his worst day. Yes, the Indian cricket fans have already proved the same with their racist and sexist comments.

TeNy.