Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up.  I was only two behind, and now I still am.

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. The next one was:

This Present Darkness (Darkness #1) by Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors. In fact I was able to meet him once and totally fangirled over him. But he was super nice as he autographed my books and actually spent a long time talking to me. It made the other people in line mad, and I can’t blame them, but I didn’t care as I had just met FRANK PERETTI!

Frank Peretti started out being a pastor, but discovered that it wasn’t the life for him. He drifted from job to job, and while working in a snowshoe factory he wrote his first novel, and this book, This Present Darkness. He has now written over 30 books for adults, teens, and children. His books are amazing as they always have great, realistic characters, action, adventure, suspense, and a moral message. Every time I read his works I feel great!

This book is about a small town Ashton that becomes the battleground in a war between angels and demons.

Rafar the prince of Babylon is taking over, using his followers to take over the town and its college in order to indoctrinate the students into believing their untruths. They also have city council, board members, the police chief, and the pastor of a mega church in their court.

On the other side we have a pastor of a small church, Rev. Hank Busche, a true prayer warrior. He was brought in accidentally, and unable to be controlled. He kneels every morning in prayer for his town fighting the only way he can.

Marshall Hogan, editor of the Ashton newspaper, becomes involved when his reporter Bernice Krueger sees something she shouldn’t. After she is falsely arrested, so that the police can tamper with evidence, Marshall and Bernice try to blow the top off the coverup.

It has action, comedy, suspense, drama, and the supernatural.

It is a powerful story. I reread it every 6 months as it recharges me and builds me up in my faith.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, you need to check this out. I love this book and I cannot stress it enough how much I do.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

For more Frank Peretti, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more on This Present Darkness, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more bible verses, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For more on spiritual warfare, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

 

Advertisements

Even Though I’m Furious with You, I Still Love You: War Room (2015)

Most Romantic Moment #6

war-room

So this is a Christian film that came out last year and did pretty well for a low budget (compared to hollywood) film.

hearts banner

Elizabeth Jordan is a successful realtor, married to a handsome, prosperous pharmaceutical sales rep, Tony. The two live in a beautiful home with their ten-year-old daughter. On the outside things look great, but the two have been having a lot of problems.

post-32452-this-is-a-fight-gif-we-are-fig-xWvc

Tony and Elizabeth haven’t communicated in a long time, their conversations being fights more than anything else. Tony has been gone a lot, wanting to be in complete control of “his not ours” money, and is even contemplating having an affair. Elizabeth is unhappy with their relationship, but doesn’t know what to do as every battle makes her feel worse.

I don't know what to do

One day she meets with a client, Miss Clara, and is shown something surprising; her war room (prayer closet.) Miss Clara encourages her to pray for her family and prepare herself for the real enemy, Satan.

Last Battle C.S.Lewis

At first Elizabeth is hesitant, but as things seem to be getting worse she decides to try her hand at offense.

Let'sdothis

hearts banner

Most Romantic Moment: Pissed off But Praying

So the romantic moment I’ve choosen comes at the middle of the film. Elizabeth has tried to create a war room of her own, but hasn’t been able to focus on prayer.

spongebob-imagination-o

But this time she has decided that she is really going to hunker down. She cleaned out her closet so there is nothing to distract her, posted on the walls her prayers…and then she gets a text from a friend that they saw Tony out with another woman.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

But instead of becoming angry, thinking about getting a divorce, calling her husband up to yell at him, burning his clothes, leaving the house, screaming, etc. She decides to sit down and pray.

Say What

Yes, she is able to stop any destructive behavior she could have done and pray for her husband. Pray for their marriage. Pray for protection, for a renewal, for blessing, that he will do the right thing, that she will do the right thing…etc.

Wow

Wow

Now we know she has been furious with her husband for the way he had been behaving. And although she doesn’t know if he has been having an affair she has been suspecting that he might be messing around for a while now. So we know she is angry

fliptablesangrysurprised

But instead of doing something with that anger that she might regret or could further fracture their marriage; she pauses and decides to pray for her husband character. You really have to love someone to do that.

iLoveyou

hearts banner

To start Romance is in the Air:Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous post, go to You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

hearts banner

For more Christian films, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

the wolf man

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.

So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.looked to it in creating their stories.

So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb. Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s  father, Lon Chaney.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.

wolfman

So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

Look at this sweetheart

His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).

Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.

Lon-Chaney-Jr-The-Wolf-Man-1941-acting-16369193-325-217

  That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:

Even a man who is pure in heart

and says his prayers by night

may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms

and the autumn moon is bright

Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went  down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]

Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.

Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?

Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.

[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]

Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.

Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.

Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.

Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!

confused

Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.

Wolf Man 1941 5

The gypsy woman, Maleva reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.

Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?

Maleva: The wolf was Bela.

Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?

Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.

Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.

Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.

Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?

Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”

 

Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by  Jack Pierce  for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.

wolfman

That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

wolfman-strangle

The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.

Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.

The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The nigh as Larry as the Wolf Man  steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had  felt sorry for his predicament.

Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

the_wolf_man_1941_larry_is_talking_to_gwen

He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.

“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?

Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.

Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”

Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM  THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!

And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.

So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.

Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Opera where he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.

should-have-listened-to-me

So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.

the-wolf-man-lon-chaney-jr-evelyn-ankers-1941

But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

John_Talbot_vs._the_Wolf_Man

The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.

padme-youre-breaking-my-heart-gif-1

Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

right in the feels broken heart

Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time. 

3_WolfMan

So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

halloween banner

For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

Bringing the World to Your Backyard: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Romantic Moment #12

itswonderfullifeposter

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Now this movie holds a special and dear place in my heart. Even though it is now considered a Christmas movie, it is one of my favorites to watch anytime because of the great message. Here is one man who helps and touches so many others, without even realizing the affect he has on everyone. He may not be a famous or a millionaire; but in his kind and quiet way is helping everyone in the town. I also love it because Jimmy Stewart is in it, and he’s my favorite actor. Plus we also have the film directed by the amazing Frank Capra. He is my second favorite director and I simply adore practically every film he has made.

Iloveit love

Now this may come as quite a shock, but I am not choosing the “Lasso the Moon” scene as my romantic moment. I know, I know; it’s a great scene and I absolutely love it, as I do every scene, but I thought I’d move us into a different direction.

hearts banner

We start off It’s a Wonderful Life, with all these people praying for George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart); for God to please help him in his time of need. God decides to send in an angel to help him. We hear all this from Joseph, an angel overseer, who selects Clarence for the job. Joseph fills Clarence in on George’s backstory so he will know what lead George up to this point in his life.

Flashback

Flashback

From a young age George was a leader and eager to travel the world. When he was 12, he saved his brother from hypothermia, rescuing him when he fell into some icy water and sacrificing his ear. He works at a pharmacy and saves Mr. Gower, the pharmacist, from jail time when he points out that Mr. Gower accidentally messed up the dosage in  draught on account of him being distraught over his own son’s death. We are also introduced to Mary, a girl a few years younger than George, who declares she will marry him and love him forever.

wouldhavehisbabieslovehim

Fast forward the years and George is now 22, and eager to go off into the world. He was working for his father at the family’s Building, Saving, & Loan; until his brother graduated, and now he is going to use all the money he put aside and go off for college. That night he goes to Harry’s grad party and hijinks ensue. This is where we have the famous pool scene and moon scene. Both are awesome! But unfortunately as George and Mary are getting closer together; George’s father becomes ill and dies. The only way to keep the family business going and save people from evil Mr. Potter is to stay. So George does for another four years.

galaxyquestrollseyesugh

Fast forwarding again, and Harry, George’s brother, is back from college. But instead of staying, he is going to work for his wife’s father. George is distraught at having to stay in the town longer, but after finally admitting his feelings for Mary, is happily ready to start a life together.

itsawonderfullife

Yes every time George tries to leave the town forever, he is just sucked back in. He doesn’t even get to go off in WWII on account of his ear. But he enjoys his life with his growing family. However, everything goes sour when an account of money is misplaced. If George doesn’t have it soon, then he will go to jail and they will lose everything. As he starts contemplating suicide, Clarence comes and stops him.

No killing yourself on my watch

No killing yourself on my watch

George then wishes he was never born, and sets off to see what the town and people would look like without him. Will they be better? Or worse?

hearts banner

Most Romantic Moment: I Want You to “See” the World

It is after George and Mary’s wedding, and the two are excited to leave the town for their honeymoon. Once again as George is preparing to leave the town, something happens to get him to stay. (The man just can’t get a break.) There is a run on the bank and to calm everyone down, George and Mary sacrifice all of their honeymoon trip money.

Here’s the romantic part!

George was so busy trying to help everyone that he hasn’t even realized Mary left the building. He gets a call from Mrs. Bailey (Mary)  who asks him to come home. George doesn’t know what home she is speaking of, but heads off to the address she provided him. When he gets there, it turns out to be the old house on the block, the one that everyone throws rocks at to “get wishes”. Mary has fixed up the whole place with posters of far away places, she has a record playing tropical music, and a chicken rotissering over the fire.

It’s so romantic because Mary knows how much George has longed to leave Bedford Falls, and how many chances he has sacrificed for others. While she can’t take him around the world, she decides to bring those far off places he loves and dreams of, here. She even has Bert and Ernie, the cop and cabdriver (not muppets), serenade them. How romantic is that?

 

So romantic

So romantic

hearts banner

To start Romance is in the Air from the beginning, go to Boom Box of Love: Say Anything (1989)

For the previous post, go to I’m Sorry Sounds Better in a Song: Music and Lyrics (2007)

hearts banner

For more on It’s A Wonderful Life, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more on Mary Bailey, go to I’ll Give You the Moon: It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

For more George Bailey, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more Jimmy Stewart, go to Hunk-a-Thon