Friday, May 14, 2010

The Season Finales of Vampire Diaries and Supernatural Pt 1

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers if you have not watched either episode!

The first in the two part article will discuss Vampire Diaries.

Well the season finales of Vampire Diaries and Supernatural were upon us last night, so what did you think of them?

Vampire Diaries:

Anna: I was very surprised that they killed Anna's character, considering her popularity and also her relationship with Elena's brother Jeremy. Before she died, she gave Jeremy a vial of her blood so he had the choice to become a vampire if and when he wanted, but giving the overwhelming love for this character on internet forums, including myself, I was quite surprised they let John Gilbert kill her. I read the actress Malese Jow had signed on for season 2, so I assume it might just be for flashbacks.

Damon: Wow. Almost from turning from an evil character to a love sick puppy for Elena, I can still say that Damon is my still my favourite character on this show. Of course there is always the link to Katherine due to the eerie resemblance between the two girls, but the love triangle was important in the books, as it is in the show, amping of the sexual tension to drive its fans crazy.

This of course mirrors the way both Damon and Stefan fought for Katherine's heart back in the Civil War Era days, though what happened then with Damon the supposed favourite due to his dark heart is now flipped with Elena finding comfort in Stefan's 'pure' one. For me honestly, this 'shades of grey' for Damon makes his character even more interesting then when he was purely evil, and the fact that Elena and Stefan love him has brought him out of the Darkness that he was in for so long since he turned. In regards to him kissing Elena at the end on her balcony, and how that scene ended I think he is starting to figure out what's going on, even if it's in his unconscious mind at this time. Lastly, is Damon going to be blamed for turning Jeremy (if he does turn from drinking Anna's blood at the end), though I'm sure Jeremy will come straight out and say it was Anna's from the vial.

Also his closing scenes with Jeremy and Bonnie were very well done. It goes to show you that in some way the people you surround yourself with is indicative to the person you will become. I'm not sure whether Damon offered to erase some of Jeremy's memory to further his chances with Elena, and how he also made amends with Bonnie, but his speech about changing from his original intent of wanting to destroy the town to saving it I believe is an honest choice, regardless of his feelings for Elena.

Stefan: I try to like Stefan, I really do. I think he is a good character and the show's Knight in Shining Armour, a hero the town needs to save it from the darkness, and just like Angel I think when all the players are set (incl Matt and Tyler) I think he will take the lead for the final battle against Katherine. I don't think it will be Damon, though those who have read the books know how Katherine meets her fate. But this show is a way different creature to the books, so what could happen could change dramatically from canon. I think his faith in people is admirable, and he was even able to turn a vampire hunter like Alaric from someone willing to kill all vampires to knowing some are worth saving, and fighting along side.

Of course Stefan's guilt that he was the partial genesis to all this, including his father's murder and Damon's full turning will cultivate into something more dramatic. Elena knows the truth of their vampire origins now, but due to this darkness inside him that he has to constantly control, I think Katherine will use that against him and for a while could even once more (with a gallon or two of human blood) sit on the right hand of Katherine as her Vampire King in Mystic Falls for a while. Something both Elena and Damon will have to resolve, while at the same time dealing with their growing attraction to one another.

Elena: I was very surprised with the final scenes of this episode, and was actually cheering Elena and Damon's pairing, I guess I am a 'Delena' fan more than a 'Stelena' fan to tell the truth, and I did not see that reveal coming that it was actually Katherine who kissed Damon and was allowed entry into the Gilbert Home by Elena's overprotective aunt Jenna. In the books Katherine poses as Elena for quite a while, and fools everybody until the boys start to piece things together, such as things Elena doesn't remember she said and vice versa. But as we saw Elena coming up the stairs at the end, telling Stefan on the phone someone stole her handbag etc, is she going to have a confronation in the house with Katherine, and is Katherine going to knock Elena out and stash her somewhere or play a sick mind game and pretend to be Elena only SOME of the time?

I'm guessing Elena will find the body of her father/uncle in the kitchen, sans fingers and magic ring and this show seems to be going quite the tragic route, you'll find no love and light in this town. Her bio father is now dead, and her mother is an uncaring vampire who is protecting her from afar, but perhaps can't show her true feelings due to Katherine's cruelty. I assume Isobel will die soon enough when she tries to protect her daughter from this monster that is her Master.

Alaric: I've becoming quite fond of Alaric, and enjoy it immensely when he and Damon team up to be 'bad ass' and carve through a room full of vampires. I'm not sure what role he has to play in coming season but I hope he doesn't meet the same fate as John Gilbert did since he is also a possessor of a regenerator ring. I can assume he will become another General like Stefan, where Stefan leads the supernaturals, Alaric might lead the mortals. I'm not certain of his relationship with Jenna, and whether she'll find out what's going on but I hope he makes it out alive at the other end.

Tyler: After the constant teasing of full moon shots and anger fits, most fans have guessed Tyler is a lycanthrope, and we finally see evidence due to John Gilbert's device knocking out vampires, but also other supernaturals such as Tyler and his father The Mayor Lockwood. The Mayor met a grizzly fate along with the other tombed vampires when they were stuck with vervaine and thrown in a room to be immolated. We saw vervaine doesn't work on wolves (though I assume wolfsbane will) but since The Mayor was unable to defend himself (I assume he know what he was) then I can only assume that this version of werewolves is the classic variety and only can turn and access their abilities on a full moon.

This of course puts Tyler at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting off other supernaturals, who after tonight's events could sense he isn't human. I think the device only affected the wolves indirectly since it emitted a high pitched sound only non-humans could hear, and due to the wolves sensitive hearing, it was too painful to bear, not in a magic way like the vampires, but more in a physical fashion.

But that leaves us with what side of the fence will Tyler sit on? If he discovers the truth of the town, which I'm sure he will when he speaks to his mother, and he has his first change, I hope he will side with the vampires as it was the Council that inadvertently killed his father. The town is also without a Mayor as well, and since this family comes from wealthy stock, is the title hereditary or public vote? I, for one think that Alaric would make a good Mayor, I mean who else is there?

Bonnie: Last but not least is Bonnie. I quite enjoy a witch character on the show as they can have more variety and depth that the other supernaturals. Their powers can also grow over leaps and bounds than the physical powers of Vamp and Wolf, and I think Bonnie will become the most powerful character on the show, if she isn't already. I'm glad she was able to resolve things with Elena, and I actually agreed with her not disabling the device. Elena doesn't quite think clearly when it comes to the Salvatore Brothers, and if she heeded Elena's word and disabled the device, a whole lot of humans would be dead right now, as compared to a few minor characters such as Anna and the Mayor. Elena really needs to treat Bonnie right, for I think without Bonnie on their side, when Katherine finally steps up to the plate, they don't have a chance of winning this fight without her.

BUT, just as Bonnie's ancestor Emily served Katherine, there could be chance even with her hatred of vampires that Bonnie could come under the control of her as Emily kind of was. It's iffy, but it could happen. I look forward not only Bonnie continued growth in magical power, but I hope she starts making more magical artefacts for the gang, much like Emily did in the past. Kudos for Bonnie also by grabbing Stefan and Damon by the privates, and announcing that if either spills a drop of human blood, she'll immolate them both with a flick of her wrist.

So what are your thoughts on the season finale, the fates of the characters, and your hopes and thoughts for Season Two?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Aww Shucks!

The lovely Nicole Hadaway over at ALL THINGS SMART AND SCARY  granted me this award today, and I feel a little bit like Chewy in Star Wars when Luke and Han are up on the podium getting the award from the ever sexy Princess Leia, and I have to hang back even though I helped just as much. Just joking :)

Thanks Nicole! Now to think of seven truths, or are they lies (?) that goes along with the award.

1) I've spent the night in Dracula's Castle on the Borgo Pass in Transylvania a few years back
2) I used to be a member of a Witches Coven
3) I have sixteen tattoos
4) I have a child each to three different women
5) I've done martial arts since I was ten but never got a black belt
6) My name means "Strength of God Forever" in two old Languages
7) I named my first cat after a Vampire: The Masquerade Clan.

Now for the seven blogs, some new and some old, that I have a daily joy reading and keep me entertained in the cyber world:

1) Taliesin Meets The Vampires - Goes without saying this is my favourite Vampire blog and Andy was the person who got me into the blogosphere in the first place. Always a delight to read his reviews, and you'll always find something new (or old) you've never seen before to watch.
2) Vampire News - Everlost's blog is great because it's all the World's Entertainment news of the Vampire Genre in one handy blog, and you never have to go anywhere else for the latest fanged news. Very up-to-date information for the vampire aficionado.
3) Lady Lovecraft is one of the Lovecraftian blogs I follow, and always has very interesting articles on HPL and the Cthulhu Mythos, worth checking out!
4)  Propnomicon is a wondrous site that catalogues all the HPL and Cthulhu Merchandise from around the world, you'll discover some neat artefacts!
5) Scare Sarah - As far as I know, Sarah is relatively new to the blogosphere, but she is charging full steam ahead reviewing all kinds of movies in the Horror Genre including old favourites from the Exorcist to new Horror such as Halloween 2 and Orphan. Check her blog out!
6) Vamp Chix - A great lover of the Vampire Genre (with a dash of werewolf), might seemed geared towards Paranormal Romance, but you'll always discover a new book to read there to dig your nails into!
7) Preternatura - Suzanne Johnson writes a great Pop Culture blog, from High Fantasy to Urban Fantasy among other genres. Suzanne has some very interesting articles, most recently on why Gandalf never married and a discussion of the 'overuse' of Kick-Ass Heroines as opposed to heroes in today's urban fiction. Worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grave Reviews: Martin (1977)

Directed and Written By: George A. Romero

Starring: John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest.

I first watched MARTIN about twenty years ago on VHS. I was 15 at the time, and had seen most vampire films back then such as Count Yorga Vampire and the Hammer Horror Films. I didn't know Rollin and Franco's work existed as of yet, and Martin was the one of the last vampire movies on the Horror shelf I had yet to watch, so after picking it up and putting it back a few times I finally rented it.

To be honest as it was so long ago I couldn't really remember what happened. I think I remembered the train scene at the start and that's it, so when news of a remake was announced recently, I thought it was time to revisit this strange little film.

Romero is mostly famous for his zombie movies, but I think this is his most underrated film and it's certainly his strangest. We first meet Martin Mathias boarding a train to go live with 'cousin' in Braddock, Pennsylvania (A modern Transylvania perhaps?). On the train Martin attacks an unwary fellow passenger with a needle pumped with narcotics and as she passes out he slices her arm with a razor blade and drinks his fill. As Martin does his clean up, the audience sees he is used to such a thing. He cleans most of the blood and changes into a fresh set of clothes, and scatters pills around the cabin to suggest the woman was depressed and attempted to commit suicide.

At the end of the journey Martin disembarks scott-free and meets with his superstitious and fantatical cousin Cuda, who is dressed like Colonel Sanders and drops the word "Nosferatu" towards Martin as a foul-mouthed expletive. During his stay Martin lives under Cuda's roof subject to his superstitious rule, tries to avoid his neurotic Niece Christina, and while working at Cuda's Deli strikes up a sexual friendship with lonely housewife: Abbie Santini.

Throughout the film we see Martin's struggle with his bloodlust, while putting up with the religious prattling of his cousin, who swears if one person goes missing or dies under suspicious circumstances, Cuda will blame Martin and destroy him before his soul is saved. Both Martin and Cuda claim that Martin is an 84-year old Vampire, and that the curse runs in his family from the Old World. It seems to be a recessive gene and has only afflicted perhaps five people in the last century.

When Martin hunts for his blood throughout the film, the footage is interwoven with surreal black and white imagery that could be Martin from an earlier time, or his own delusions of his supposed nature. For instance when he comes in contact with his female prey, Martin imagines her willing to seduced by the vampire much like they are in vampire movies, complete with candlebras and flowing gowns. In reality the women flee for their lives before Martin stabs them with narcotics, subduing them till they pass out so he can feed.

Martin does not possess the usual powers of the classical vampire. He isn't fast or strong, does not shapeshift nor has eye mojo, doesn't have vampire fangs, yet he claims he hasn't aged past the age of 18 or so. When Cuda attempts to repel him with a crucifix after Martin enters his bedroom, Martin chomps down on a garlic bud hanging from the door screaming "You see!" and holds Cuda's crucifix to his face lovingly, sighing that "their is no real magic, ever."

So it is up to the viewer to decide whether Martin is the vampire he and his cousin claim him to be, or that since he is not a Catholic like the rest of his family, they have labelled him a Devil due to his 'ungodly' nature. In the middle of the film after delivering meat to Mrs Santini, he discovers she has become enamoured with him which unsettles Martin because before no other woman has been interested in performing the 'sexy stuff' with him. After a few encounters and curious to know what it's like to make out with a woman while she is awake, Martin begins a short affair with her that expounds on her loneliness and ends in tragic results. Cuda doesn't see it that way and is quite certain to prove to Martin his 'point'.

This was a charming film, and at the same time unsettling. I can't really remember it making an impression on me 20 years ago, perhaps I didn't like it as I was used to vampires having powers and living in crumbling castles while flossing their fangs. I clearly remember coming home from school having discovered my Father watched it that day and getting quite an earful about how disgusting it was (hey it must have been good!), which was a similar experience to my Auntie walking in on my cousin and myself watch Grace Jones in VAMP around the same time.

Ultimately it is up to the viewer to decide whether Martin was actually a vampire, or a deluded, sick little boy who had his head filled with superstitious nonsense from his Catholic Family at a young age. There really wasn't anything else in the film that triggered Martin's 'madness'. He didn't watch vampire films, nor read horror novels. His supressed sexuality could be part of it as he seemed to have trouble hunting and feeding once he started doing the sexy stuff. I tend to think that this film was a social commentary on established religion much like Romero's Zombie films were a social commentary on consumerism. The only scene at the Church in the film had the Priest ask his parishioners to sell their unwanted goods so they could give all their money to the Church, along with Cuda's total domination of Martin and the rest of his family. Also during an exorcism at the house, Martin grows bored rather fast and wanders off to do something else.

The scene where Martin attacks Cuda in the playground at night dressed as Dracula with cape and plastic fangs is gold. After Cuda begins to freak, Martin spits out his teeth and wipes the white pancake make-up off his face professing "It's only a costume", but unfortunately for Martin, Cuda seems to get the last laugh.

My Grade is B.