I’m scared, Fif. You know why? It’s that rat circus out there. I’m beginning to enjoy it.
What is this, funny week?
Look. Any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, you know? A terminal crazy… only I got a bronze badge to say I’m one of the good guys.
So during the #shelterinplace in the COVID-19 crisis, my sister and I watched a lot of End of the World/Dystopian Future films.
One we both had wanted to watch as people have gone on and on about it, is Mad Max (1979), the original film-yes the one that launched Mel Gibson to action star fame.
So I didn’t like the film. It reminded me of a lot of other films and moved really slow.
The story is that post-apocalyptic Australia is overrun with nomadic motorcycle gangs who pillage, rape, and cause havoc.
from Terminator 2: Judgement Day
This actually wasn’t supposed to be post-apocalyptic but they had a small budget and could only afford rundown buildings.
The only one who stands against the gangs are the police who roam the land and take these guys down. There are only four police.
That’s not good.
Mel Gibson is Max and he takes out one bad rider, arresting gang member Johnny Boy. However, Johnny Boy is acquitted when no one shows up at the trial (he raped someone-they have a hard time facing their abusers, even more so in this world). This makes police officer Goose angry ad he shouts at the gang telling them he will get them.
You should never get the nickname Goose, Gooses tend to die…So you know where this is going. Goose made the gang angry and they sabotage his motorcycle. After Goose dies, Max becomes disheartened at being a police officer and wants to quit (he had before but they convinced him to stay on) and takes a leave of absence. He, his wife, and son are traveling when they run into the gang and his son ends up killed, his wife in a coma.
This makes Max angry, furious, and crazy-thus Mad Max is born. (I really like the play on the word “mad” as it means furious and insane-which he becomes both of). He suits up, steals the souped up police car, and chases down the gang taking them out.
So the most of the movie as I said is slow-the gang is insane, strange, weird, and hard to watch. They are very chaotic-raping, blowing things up, running things over, etc. The movie doesn’t show everything, only some, but alludes to enough, too much-I didn’t like it.
Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451. Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.
The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.
This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.
Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.
However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.
The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…
Illustration I: The Veldt
This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.
The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.
The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?
“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘
‘—that they could become real?”
Illustration II: Kaleidoscope
The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.
“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”
Illustration III: The Other Foot
Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?
“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”
Illustration IV: The Highway
A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?
“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”
Illustration V: The Man
A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.
“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”
Illustration VI: The Long Rain
We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?
“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”
Illustration VII: The Rocket Man
Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.
“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’
‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”
Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons
A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.
“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”
Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World
A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?
“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”
Illustration X: The Exiles
On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?
“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’
‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”
Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning
Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?
“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”
Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest
In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?
“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”
Illustration XIII: The Visitor
Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?
“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”
Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.
“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”
Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.
A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?
“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”
Illustration XVI: The City
A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.
“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’
The men moved back.
‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”
Illustration XVII: Zero Hour
Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?
“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”
Illustration XVIII: The Rocket
From the film Stargate.
Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?
“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”
In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?
Day 1) A is for Apocalyptical: Choose a book with an apocalyptic theme
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is one of my absolute favorite books. I first was introduced to it at the age of 10, when I came across my parents watching the German film. I didn’t quite understand it, so my mom gave me the book to read. Since then I read it at least once a year.
Or 10th, 50th, 100th….
Every time I read this book it shocks me with how accurate it is in portraying the culture of today. I was amazed at that age, but this most recent time when I read the book, it really struck me with exactly how spot on it is.
The book was published in 1953, and is set in a Dystopian future. No year is given, although it is done after 1960. In this future reading is outlawed
Books are an illegal substance,
and the firemen’s job is to burn the offensive material.
I don’t know about you all, but a world without books sounds like a catastrophic end of the world to me. After all:
Guy Montag has always lived life the way culture dictates; has a good paying job, married, no kids as they are bothersome and their are already too many, multiple wall screens to stream TV, etc.
But then one night everything changes. He meets the daughter of his new next door neighbor, Clarisse, who doesn’t like firemen.
“And you must be-…the fireman.’ Her voice trailed off.
‘How oddly you say that.’
‘I’d- I’d have known it with my eyes shut,’ she said, slowly.
‘What- the smell of kerosene? My wife always complains,’ he laughed. ‘You never wash it off completely.’
‘No you don’t,’ she said, in awe.” [pg. 4]
She starts talking about all kinds of things, like how firemen at one time didn’t burn things but helped stop fires. She even questions whether he ever reads the books he burns.
Clarisse is completely counter to the culture of the day and a throwback to the past.
For instance, she doesn’t like this obsession with everything has to be in a hurry, driving all is blur with no one taking the time to look, examine, or have have patience. In fact her uncle was jailed for driving 40 mi/hrs, as it was far too “slow”.
Clarisse also likes to go out for walks and and look at the sky, stars, or moon. Something else everyone finds as weird or odd.
This reminds me so much of our culture today. Everything needs to be instant-instant news, fast food, all TV shows, etc. No patience, no waiting. My niece and I were watching a show on Netflix, and she asked me why they would have these moments where they pause, go to black, and then do a review of what we already seen. I actually had to explain that they used to show these episodes on TV, and there would be commercials in-between. Because you might get people who just tuned in and didn’t see the beginning, and were unable to see the beginning (unless they purchased it on VHS or DVD, they would repeat it for them. And then I had to explain that streaming is something new, prior to it you had to wait a week for the next episode; and when the season ended you had to wait 6 months to a year for the next season.
Now here is a child who has grown up on the world of streaming and the internet and never, ever experienced having to wait for something.
Just like in this.
Anyways, when Montag returns home he finds his wife, Mildred, almost dead, having sucked down a lot of pills. He calls the hospital and they don’t even bother sending an ambulance. So many people these days are trying to kill themselves and end their life with pills, they have a machine like a black snake to pump the stomach.
The next day, Mildred doesn’t remember anything about what happened that night, and all she cares about is her “family” a TV show she follows.
There are all kinds of people suffering in the world or “real issues” that need to be talked about, but are all glossed over by entertainment. All people care about is the TV screens, wanting this giant Wall to Wall circuit. And the shows they watch have no real themes or content to them. Just mindless chatter.
When I reread this, it made me think of the reality shows we have that are just the same thing again and again, no real changes or real content. Keeping Up with the Kardashians for example. Or the endless dating shows looking for love like Flav O Flav, My Fair Brady, etc. Or The X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, etc, And people care more about these shows then real things.
We are strange people.
Then Montag runs into Clarisse. She talks to him, really talks just about anything and everything. Because she isn’t “normal” they force her to o to a psychiatrist.
“They want to know what I do with all my time. I tell them that sometimes I just sit and think.” [pg. 20]
In fact that is something she and her family like to do, just sit around and talk no devices, go out and walk just talking. In this world conversation is dead, no one really talks anymore. Sound familiar?
She glanced quickly over. ‘Why are you laughing?’
‘I don’t know.’ He started to laugh again and stopped. ‘Why?’
‘You laugh when I haven’t been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I’ve asked you.” [pg. 6]
It gets him thinking, and thinking is dangerous in a dystopian world.
“He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding upon the other.” [pg. 21]
Clarrise is a great character because she represents a type of person that is fading out. The one who is still holding on to the values of the past. A type of person who wants to think for herself instead of being spoonfeed an idea from the Internet, government, or teachers.
“I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this…But I don’t think it is social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?…We never ask questions…they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing…It’s a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it’s wine when it’s not.” [pg. 27]
The other thing I love about Clarrise os that she is so easily relatable, at least to me she is. She is disconnected to her generation because she doesn’t have the same values as they do she is more old fashioned, and because of that she is an 80 year old in a 17 year old’s body. I know exactly how that feels. I love reading, creating things by hand, having things until they wear out, not getting the newest stuff. That’s how I been my whole life which makes it hard to find others who value the same thing. I mean I read Emily Post.
“You sound so old.’
‘Sometimes I’m ancient.” [pg. 27]
Clarrise hates this world of blandness and nothingness.
“People don’t talk about anything.’
‘Oh, they must!’
‘No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else.” [pg. 28]
Clarisse opens Montag’s mind up to the way the world is and how it should be, and before he knows it, she and her whole family are gone.
You question in a dystopian world and you are gone.
He asks Captain Beatty if it is true that fireman used to stop fires instead of creating them.
The rest if the firemen are uneasy, but Captain Beatty knows it is natural for at one pint a fireman to question things. He shows him the history of the firemen and when they were first established.
“Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.
Answer the alarm quickly.
Start the fire swiftly.
Report back to the firehouse immediately.
Stand alert for other Alarms.
Before anything else can be done, an alarm sounds and the group heads out. They reach the place and apprehend a women, demanding to know where her contraband is. She won’t tell them but quotes Hugh Latimer.
“Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
The fireman don’t understand this, but Hugh Latimer was executed for his protestantism, under the ruling of catholic Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth’s older sister. He was burned alive for his beliefs, which is foreshadowing as to what is to come.
They find the books and are going to burn them like they always do, except this night is different. This woman, Mrs. Blake, stands their silently judging them.
Montag begins burning everything, but instead of just being things, they feel more alive, like killing animals.
They burn everything, ready to decimate the building, but Mrs. Blake won’t leave. She refuses to give up her books. The fireman leave, ready to let her die; but Montag tries to help her. She refuses as she holds in her hand a match.
Willing to die for her beliefs.
I think that is why I love this book so much, the fact that it truly explains a connection people have not just to the book but to the author’s thoughts and ideas. Destroying a book is more than destroying a physical object, it is trying to kill the person who created it.
“It’s not just the woman that died…Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I’d never even thought that thought before…It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life and then I come along in two minutes and boom! it’s all over.” [pg. 49]
Montag returns home after the horror with a secret:
“His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up his wrists and into the elbows and his shoulders, and then the jump-over from shoulder blade to shoulder blade like a spark leaping a gap. His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything…He balanced in space with the book in his sweating cold fingers.” [pg. 38]
Montag realizes how empty his life is, he married his wife ten years ago, but can’t fathom why. He doesn’t love her and she doesn’t love him. They don’t talk, they spend no time together, and all she does is watch TV or listen to her device with her little seashell headphones that go in her ears practically disappearing from view. Both people are empty, full of nothingness. There is countless walls between them through the TV shows she watches and she is more connected to those fake creations on the screen than her own husband.
All Mildred does is watch TV, yet even that is so empty that you if ask questions what is it even about Mildred doesn’t know. Mildred doesn’t know anything. It’s like she is on drugs, the way her memory and mind is so foggy.
She is like a zombie.
The next day Montag is sick, not physically but mentally, and philosophically. The death of the woman has troubled him dearly and he can’t understand it.
“You weren’t there, you didn’t see,’ he said. There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” [pg. 48]
Mildred doesn’t understand it and think that Montag is crazy for taking the death of a stupid radical this way. He should focus on work, on making more money, so they can get more things and TVs and such.
“Let me alone,’ said Mildred. ‘I didn’t do anything.’
‘Let you alone! That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long has it been since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” [pg. 49]
Then Beatty shows up as Montag has been missing from work. He figured it out that Montag has been questioning the world they live in. So he gives them the spiel he gives out to bring those on the edge back to reality.
“Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths…Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of paste pudding norm…in the twentieth century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids…Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve line dictionary resume…
Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click, Pic, Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom!…Whirl a man’s mind around so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters, that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought.
…philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?” [pgs 51-53]
Life today. Now this part here really gets me with how PC you have to be 24/7, the littlest infraction and you are out.
“Now let’s take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico…The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean.
Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca…But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic books survive, And the dimensional sex magazines of course.
There you have it, Montag. It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick…Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time…
With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual’, of course became the swear word it deserved to be…
We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man in the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, judge themselves against…”
Horrifying, yet that is the world we live in. You don’ like it, they destroy it; and that is happening now. A book about George Washington’s slave, who liked him because she saved his life from an assassination plot, making him a birthday cake was pulled because it isn’t p.c. Uncle Tom’s Cabin? No longer read because it is portrays African Americans in a bed light when it didn’t, Uncle Tom was an extremely powerful character. People don’t even read the book, but destroy it because it might hurt someone’s feelings.
Captain Beatty lets them know they got rid of the girl as she was too crazy and out there.
Life’s better bland, nothing to worry about, pleasant life, no problems, no nothing.
He tells Montag it is okay to check out a book, just one, as there is nothing in there. He’ll read it and burn it afterward.
After Beatty left, Montag is furious, but instead of taking something to make him happy, he has 20 books hidden in the house. He has decided to read them, sharing them with Mildred.
Montag goes to see Professor Faber, a man he ran into before. Faber used to work at a liberal arts college, but they closed it down as it was no longer important. He wants to know how to understand the books, to learn and Faber is the only one he has left.
Faber tells him we need three things in life:
“Number one: Do you know why books such as these are so important? Because they have quality…This book has pores…You’d find life under the glass, streaming past infinite profusion…The good writers touch life often.” [pg. 79]
And the second? Leisure. Now Montag brings up that we have plenty of leisure, but he means actual time set aside to read, not bombarded with all types of things.
“You can’t argue with a four-wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’
‘…You can shut [books], say ‘Hold on a moment.’ You play God to it. But who has ever torn himself away from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlor? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason. But with all my knowledge and skepticism, I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred-piece-symphony orchestra, full color, three dimensions…” [pg. 80]
And thirdly the ability to carry out the actions learned from it.
Montag thinks they can change the world by planting books on all the firemen, to bring them down. But Faber knows it won’t help, it isn’t the fireman that created this rule but the public who wanted people to stop reading.
That’s right, we did when we stopped reading.
Montag is afraid to go out as Beatty might mix him up again. Faber gives him these devices so he can put it in his ear so that he can hear Faber. That night he goes home and sees that Mildred is having a party.
Montag is horrified by these women. One just marries, divorces, marries, divorces, no emotions whatsoever. The other has kids who are in school constantly, and never sees them as she doesn’t care. They discuss politics. voting for people based on how they look and their names, rather than what they actually say or want to do.
Montag reads to them but they don’t understand. They’ve been too distorted with TV and the culture with no substance.
Captain Beatty knows that Montag has been reading and plays with him, using the books he clings to to rebut his arguments. They leave as they have a call, and it turns out that it is Montag’s house
Mildred put in the alarm and she is heartbroken. But what saddens her the most? Losing her TV family
Yes, not her husband, home, etc.
Montag is forced to destroy his own home, and afterwards destroys the firemen. After all, his whole life he has been taught, you have a problem, burn it.
He has now become a fugitive and runs. Not knowing where, but just continuing to run.
After running, he plants the books in other firemen’s houses. Montag stops to see Faber, finds out the Hound (the firemen’s robotic assassin) is after them, and continues to take off. Never knowing where he is to go next, but running.
He runs into the country until the end of the all known. He stops when he reaches an area with men siting near a campfire and TV set. They give him a potion to change his perspiration, but it is’t really necessary. The Hound needs to find someone, as after all this is TV, the people need the answer.
They find some poor sop who looks like Montag and kill him to save face.
These men are former professors , intellectuals, etc; who have been running from the law. Each one has taken in a new life, the life of a book. These books are locked away in an area they can never be taken from. The mind.
Eventually the hope is to one day reenter society and bring the books they have been passing orally to the world.
“Do you really think they will listen then?’
‘If not then we’ll just have to wait…you can’t make people listen. They have to come around in their own time…” [pg. 146]
And what book does Montag choose to be? Ecclesiastes.
Besides this fantastic story, we have the amazing language and the great way it was written. Take the beginning:
“It was a pleasure to burn.
It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmut numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.” [pgs. 1-2]
This book is only 158 pages, barely any pages, but there is so much power is in that. Amazing amounts of power. I just love this book.
Turn your TV, computer, cell phone, and any other device you have off for a while and pick up a book instead.
So last year I posted a Christmas Carol every day in December and I really enjoyed it. I had so much fun picking out the songs, I decided to bring it back.
So with everything going on in the world, and the way people have been acting: I think we need a little Christmas in our lives. So I choose that song.
We Need a Little Christmas is from the musical Mame based on the novel Aunt Mame. In the story Mame gains guardianship of her nephew and starts to raise him. At this point in the musical, Mame has lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. With everything practically gone, she decides to have Christmas early as she doesn’t know what will happen.
Of course that isn’t the end of the play as Mame has many more interesting antics. However, this song is great and just the right thing to put us in the mood.
This version is sung by Angela Lansbury, from the first musical cast of Aunt Mame.
“All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon’s” somebody.”
So I know that I have had quite a few TV episodes this October. I know that I went a little overboard, but I wanted to include this anyway. You see I have been wanting to review this episode for a while, but felt that I couldn’t do it until I had reviewed the original The Wolf Man film. As I finally did it this October, it allowed me to finally be able to talk about this episode. This is my all-time favorite episode because it has what I love! Monster Movies!!
So Supernatural is a show that like Grimm, every episode could be done for Horrorfest. The show consists of two hunter brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who travel all over the U.S. hunting ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, etc. As the seasons progress they get more focused on the battle between angels and demons and stopping the end of the world. It’s an awesome show.
So this episode takes place in season 4. There have been a lot of angst and sadness
(I won’t go into detail in case you haven’t watched it and want to) and the two brothers have finally been reunited.
So Dean and San are driving into Pennsylvania on the trail of vampires. Sam is worried about the apocalypse, but Dean convinces him to stop off at an Oktoberfest to relax a bit. They find the Sheriff and introduce themselves as Agent Angus and Agent Young (homage to Angus Young of AC/DC).
There they are told to speak to the witness Ed Brewer, but the Sheriff doesn’t put much stock in his testimony. They run into the very beautiful waitress Jaimie, who points them toward Ed. There Ed describes the Vampire as being the one out of the 1931 Dracula film.
Yep, Dean and Sam are shocked, but Ed insists that it is true. The guy looked just like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula.
In fact the vampire even uses the Transylvanian accent.
Sam and Dean confer and determine that it is probably a twilight-esque fan and that it isn’t really strange enough for them to stick around.
The night however, things change.
A couple is making out in a car when a werewolf comes upon them and attacks.
The next day, Sam and Dean talk to the girl who survived the attack, Anne-Marie, and discover that the killer looked just like Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 Wolf Man film.
The sheriff also finds wolf hair on the dead body. Sam and Dean are confused as real werewolves don’t have wolf hair.
That night a guard discovered an Egyptian sarcophagus at the docks. As the guard is about to call to figure out what is going on, the mummy rises from its grave.
The Mummy attacks the guard, strangling him.
The Winchesters go down to investigate and try and figure out what is going on. There they discover the sarcophagus is actually a movie prop that has been laced with dry ice. Dean leaves Sam to figure out a theory, while he heads down to meet up with Jamie for their date.
Meanwhile, Jamie has been waiting for a while and decides that Dean is most likely standing her up. She starts to walk home, when she runs into Dracula.
He calls her his reincarted love, and tries to kidnap her, but Jamie sprays him with pepper spray and then runs away…right into Dean. Dean gets a punch into Dracula
But then finds himself overpowered by the vampire
The vampire calls him “Harker” (reference to Jonathan Harker the fiancé of Mina [the woman Dracula tries to take]). Dracula tries to bite Dean, but he rips his ear off and a medallion. With his ear gone, Dracula runs away and jumps on his scooter.
Nope you heard my correctly
Back at the bar, Dean shows Sam the ear and medallion.
“Dean Winchester: I, uh, pulled it off during the fight. Look at the label on the ribbon.
Sam Winchester: It’s a costume rental.
Dean Winchester: All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon‘s” somebody.”
They determine that they are dealing with a shapeshifter obsessed with classic film. Now if you have been reading my posts posts, such as Phantom of the Megaplex, Scream, and An American Werewolf in London, you know probably realize another reason why I love this episode. Yep, I can relate to the shapeshifter. I love classic film (especially horror) and I can completely understand him.
Anyways, so Sam, being the scholar, recognizes the name Harker and figures that the shapeshifter is trying to recreate the 1931 film, Dean being Jonathan and Jamie being Mina. I guess that makes Sam, Van Helsing.
The two figure that it must be someone who knows Jamie and is obsessed with her. When they question her, Jamie can’t think of a person who is strange or crazy. Lucy, her best friend and coworker, mentions that Ed recentlly moved to town and is the projectionist for the old theater. Plus he has a crush on Jamie.
Sam goes to investigate while Dean stays with Jamie. The two are drinking beer and having a deep conversation, when Lucy interrupts. She is on her way out the door, but Jamie invites her to stay and have a drink with them.
Back on the case, Sam has gone into the old theater and discovers Ed playing the pipe organ.
He pulls on Ed’s ear, but find it fast in place.
“Sam Winchester: [tries to tear out Ed’s ear] It’s supposed to come off.
Ed Brewer: No, it’s not!”
This means Ed is not the shapeshifter!!! But if he isn’t…who is?
Back at the bar, Dean and Jaimie are getting groggy and falling asleep. Dean punches Lucy in the face, and discovers that Lucy is not “Lucy” but the shapeshifter.
And she has drugged the two of them. Dean tries to hold on, but faints.
Dean wakes up and finds himself in lederhosen.
In a Frankenstein-esque dungeon.
Now I really like what Dracula has to say here. It’s so poetic. “Life is small, meager, messy. The movies are grand, simple, elegant. I have chosen elegance.”, it’s very Movie Mason from The Phantom of the Megaplex.
Anyways, Dracula is about to electrocute Dean and have a “movie” where the monster wins, when something interrupts him. The doorbell rings and the pizza delivery guy is there.
Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh, pizza delivery?
Dracula: Ah, you have brought a repast. Excellent. Continue to be of such service, and your life will be spared.
Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh-huh. That’ll be $15.50.
Dracula: Tell me…
Pizza Delivery Guy: Yeah?
Dracula: Is there garlic on this pizza?
Pizza Delivery Guy: I don’t know. Did you order garlic?
Pizza Delivery Guy: Then no. Look, mister, I’ve got four other deliveries to make. You want to just pay me the money so I can go?
Dracula: Of course. Yes. But I have a coupon.
And why not take a pizza break? Pizza is awesome.
I love Pizza
So now that Dracula has food for later, he prepares to finish Harker/Dean, but is interrupted by Jamie waking up.
Meanwhile back at the bar, Sam has figured out that with Jamie and Dean missing it must be Lucy. He sets out for her house.
Back in the dungeon, Dracula wants Jamie to dress in the gown he bought her and eat pizza with him.
Just like the Mummy, trying to dress his “reincarnated bride” in his old love’s clothes.
Jamie is really freaked out as she has been drugged, was betryed by her best friend (as Dracula was pretending to be “Lucy”) and is stuck with a killer. Dracula tries to apologize and tells Jamie his backstory. He was called a monster from the beginning of his life and beat by his father. He found solace in monster movies, and achieves strength and confidence when taking their form.
This part actually reminded me a lot of The Phantom of the Opera. Here is a man who is disfigured and mistreated because of it. He knows only how to hate as he has been so mistreated. It makes you wonder how things might have been different if one person had loved him.
While Dracula is reminiscing, unbeknownst to him Sam has slipped into the house and is skulking around the dungeon. Dracula knocks Jamie out and turns his attention to Sam and the freed Dean. They start fighting, with Sam being thrown through a fake door. Dean and Dracula are struggling to get the gun with silver bullets along with trying to knock the other out. Dean tries a groin attack and move for the gun, but Dracula throws him back. Before he can do anything else, Jamie, who has just woken up, grabs the gun and shoots him.
With Dracula conceding, that maybe this is how the “film” should end.
The next day Dean says good-bye to Jamie. The two brothers agree that’s it was nice doing some old-fashioned monster hunting, rather than the angels & demons stuff. They discuss what film they would want to live in as the episode ends.