I just came across this review of a slightly old version of the script for Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of Lovecraft’s novella. Read the review and weep quietly to yourself as you realize a great story built entirely on atmosphere and the protagonist’s lack of comprehension is turned into a standard Hollywood monster-chases-people movie.
I wanted to announce that I’m giving a public lecture a week from today. I was asked to give a talk on psychoanalysis and I’ve decided to talk about psychoanalysis and film, specifically vampire and zombie movies. The paper I’m presenting can be understood in three ways: First, I want to discuss the trajectory that these creatures have undergone throughout the history of cinema. Second, I will discuss what this trajectory means in terms of what we fear, assuming of course that Zizek is right and that films express our own beliefs and fears better than we can ourselves. Third, I want to present my own critique of apocalyptic films of this nature.
This is a topic that’s been on my mind for some time now and I look forward to being able to talk about it as part of this great series. Here’s a blurb about the lecture series from the MUN Philosophy site:
St. John’s Public Lectures in Philosophy
Presented By Memorial University’s Philosophy Department
The reasons for this series of lectures are to support the intrinsic value of public, philosophical discussion, to provide a free public forum for such discussion, and to stimulate a culture and love of learning in St. John’s. The lectures last approximately 30 to 40 minutes and are followed by an hour of discussion. The lectures deal with a wide variety of philosophical topics and all citizens are invited to participate. The lectures occur on the last Tuesday of each month.
I’m excited about this one, and since it too is in the public domain, I thought I would share it. I will likely be watching this tonight:
There have been three films based on the book I Am Legend (1954), this one starring Vincent Price being the first, followed by The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith (which is the only one I have seen up until now). What I find interesting about this series is that through combining the mythos of the vampire and the zombie, this may be the first instance in popular culture where vampirism and/or zombification is a disease or virus, rather than being seen as magical or other-wordly in some way. This is actually one of the important themes for my book, the relation between magic and biology in Vitalism, but also in how we view the death drive. I am also interested in the relation between Vitalism and the idea of “mutations,” and how these connect to post-humanism and/or anti-humanism.
Also significant for my current writing is the idea of the apocalypse, in the case of the I Am Legend book and film off-shoots as well as many zombie films inspired by it, the idea of a biological apocalypse and the relation it has to the common Christian apocalypse.
I will be watching this film this evening. Please join me and we can discuss it (maybe!). The copyright has expired on it, so I am posting it below. Here’s the Wikipedia page for the movie. Note: It stars Bela Lugosi as a voodoo master named Murder(!) and so can’t possibly be bad! Enjoy!
PS: Click through to watch it on YouTube with a dimmer.
Wow talk about “undead labour,” huh? Creating the undead to work in a sugar mill? You’d think a voodoo master named Murder would aim higher than that. Maybe it was all part of a plan? As we all learned from The Simpsons, “First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.”
I did love that scene when Madeleine sees Murder’s gaze in the glass of wine and says “I see death.” Nice.