Jack the Ripper Documentary

The Secret Identity of Jack The Ripper

Peter Ustinov is the host as they use forensic evidence and experts from the FBI and Scotland Yard to figure out the true identity of Jack the Ripper.

If the video doesn’t show, click this link to view it on YouTube:

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The Last Exorcism

From the trailers it kind of looks like the camera work of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project. The story seems to emulate some of the Exorcism of Emily Rose. But the actual summaries I’m reading come across as a little contradictory. On IMDB it says that Cotton Marcus has just run out of faith. In another synopsis it says he’s a fake and is doing the exorcisms just for the money and is conning people into thinking they’ve been cured.

Perhaps it’s a little of both.

This sounds quirky and amusing, and from the trailer it does look like it has some pretty cool elements. But with a PG-13 rating will it actually be spine tingling?

Who’s heading out to see it this weekend? I’d really like to hear what you think. I won’t be able to make it this weekend, but unless it’s absolutely horrid I think I’ll have to go see it.


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True Blood – Season 1

I know I’m really late to this party, but I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what this True Blood show was all about. It’s pretty good, but not quite what I expected. Actually, the last vampire show I watched was Moonlight and I thought that was pretty interesting. That show had quite a bit of potential, too bad they killed it.

Anyway, I like the location and the characters (Lafayette always cracks me up) but the story is pretty standard fair isn’t it? At least so far. I’m sure there’s more to this murder mystery, that would just be too damned simple.

I guess you have to expect a slow build with a new series, you have to introduce everyone and go through the long process of giving the back-story riddled with issues and problems. And you have to know who’s sleeping with whom. And I have to admit, I’m a little surprised at the volume of sex in this little tale. I’m not being prudish or shocked by it, quite frankly I think most of it is embarrassingly funny, just strikes me that the only one keeping it in his pants is vampire Bill. :) Although I think that’s about to change.

One thing I do like is how each episode picks right back up where it left off. They don’t skip over huge gaps of time and leave you wondering what happened.

I’m certainly going to finish out this season then jump into Season 2. I’m sure things are going to pick up nicely as we move along. I’m sure this will hold me over until September when a whole slew of shows return for new seasons.

True Blood fans, is it worth the ride?

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Frankenstein, or Modern Prometheus

What could be better than writing about Frankenstein on Friday the 13th!!

It’s been decades since I last read Frankenstein, and in fact I’m not sure I actually ever did (at least not the whole thing). I think I had the greatest of intentions, but always ended up watching movie interpretations instead. And now that I have seen dozens of movies and with the original fresh in my head I am startled at how different the original is from all these Hollywood stories.

For one thing, there is no massive lightning storm that brings the creature to life. In fact, that aspect is left quite vague in the original story. The idea of Galvanism is presented as a way to reanimate the body, but there aren’t any details on how to actually make it happen. There is no pulsating generator, or conveyor that leads the body to the top of the castle as the storm approaches. Of course, it’s a really cool idea. Too bad Mary Shelley didn’t think to include it.

Secondly, Frankenstein’s creation is quite articulate and is able to speak and understand multiple languages. Not only is he able to talk to Frankenstein to ask for a companion and to explain his anger and depression at humanity, but when he watches the exiled family in the woods he is able to pick up their language. He’s even able to show remorse and regret to Walton once Victor has passed away.

Additionally, there is no driving the creature from town with torches and pitchforks. To be honest, the creature isn’t actually seen by more than two or three people. And there are a lot of other major differences, such as the story begins and ends in the region of the North Pole.

I guess that old black and white film really doesn’t do the story justice. From the many versions I’ve seen the Kenneth Branagh version seems to be the closest to the actual story, but there are plenty of liberties taken in that version too. I guess a story about grave robbing and trying to bring someone back from the death needed a little more spicing up to make it on film.

What I find interesting, depending on whom you read and what you believe, is that many parts of the Frankenstein story are actually true. There is some debate on the whole body snatching and sewing pieces together aspect (although there is quite a bit of evidence to support it happening), but the idea of Galvanism was certainly real and certainly believed by many to be capable of reanimating a body. It seems many experiments were done where electricity was passed through a corpse and the muscles would contract and move. We now know this really isn’t a big deal and is perfectly understandable, but a hundred years ago this was the first step towards bringing a body back to life. The rules surrounding medical experiments were a touch more lax back then however. Good thing we don’t do crazy stuff like that anymore…

Another amusing coincidence is that the Frankenstein legend and the seed of the vampire legend were both created on the same night or at least close to each other. If the legend is true, then while trying to entertain themselves during a very rainy and cold season Mary Shelley, who was a guest of Lord Byron, sat around the fire and crafted the beginning story of Frankenstein. With her husband’s help and encouragement she expanded the story and created the full length novel we know today. During this same time, Lord Byron came up with a fragment of a story about the vampire legend. This was then turned into the story, Vampyre, which is arguably the start of the vampire legend and of course would later lead to the short story Carmilla, which would then lead to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

It’s also fascinating how these writers would vacation together, work together and even help craft and mold the story simply because they wanted to see the idea come out. It wasn’t all about the publishing and movie rights, but that’s another discussion entirely.

If you haven’t read Frankenstein in awhile, or ever, it’s really worth going back and indulging in the original. The feature length movies we have now really don’t compare to how the original plays out. Plus, it’s getting close to Halloween, so there’s no better time to jump into the classics and surround yourself with old castles, grave robbing and a ill tempered creature bent on revenge. It’s good stuff!

You can grab the regular text from here:

You can listen to the audiobook here: (The audiobook is quite good. It’s not perfect, but it’s free and the imperfections don’t overshadow a good story.)

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