Monday, October 07, 2013

Weekend Report

 The Halloween season has gotten off to a good start. Over the weekend I watched several scary movies, starting with the 1977 BBC version of Dracula. This one, titled Count Dracula, starred Louis Jourdan as the bloodthirsty count. It's probably the closest adaptation of the book anyone has done, which made it drag a bit to tell the truth. If someone cut this script just a bit and then shot it as a two hour movie with today's special effects it might make the best Dracula so far. Still, this is a very Gothic version and manages to capture the feel of Bram Stoker's novel. Oh and Frank Finley is great as Van Helsing.
   Then I jumped to a more modern horror film, 2010's INSIDIOUS. What appears to be a haunted house film turns into something entirely different. Like the trailer said, it's not the house that's haunted. Some good suspense, a broodingly creepy atmosphere, and no gore to speak of made this a winner for me. I like horror films that are disturbing and this one fits the bill.
   And then I watched the BBC version of the Woman in Black. You may recall that I liked the 2012 theatrical version quite a lot, and that I thought Susan Hill's novel was even better. The BBC version is also quite good, but the 2012 version is scarier. There is one truly frightening moment in the BBC version though, which had me squirming in my seat. I did find it interesting that both versions strayed a bit from the novel and in different ways and that neither used the novel's ending exactly.
   Reading-wise I read yet another Sexton Blake novel, The Deadlier of the Species. Very good in a whodunit sort of way, though I spotted the killer fairly early on. Of course the title had already tipped me off that the murderer would be female, so it allowed me to rule out half the suspects. A lesson in poorly chosen titles there, kids.
   I read several western short stories from the collection THE LONG RIDE BACK, which is a massive tome of Ed Gorman's westerns. Gorman is one of my favorite crime writers and he sure knows his way around a Western too. Really it doesn't matter what genre Gorman is writing in because his stories are always about people.
   Also read some stories from the new anthology WORLDS OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, about which I'll have more to say later.
   All and all a good weekend for reading and movies.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Yes, I thought Count Dracula was the best adaptation, but in hindsight, I realize that I liked it because it stayed so close to the source. But, as you noted, that is not always for the best. A novel is not a screenplay - and direct adaptation is not necessarily the best thing.

Still a very strong version, though.

Doctor Who trivia (if you didn't know,) the folks working on 'Doctor Who' in 1977 really wanted to do a vampire story, but because of the Count Dracula broadcast, they had to shelve it for a few more years. Eventually the Doctor met vampires in "State of Decay."

Rachel said...

Have you seen The Conjuring yet? I really like Lili Taylor and the promo with her was tense and well done, I thought... I wondered if that carried over to the film.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Rachel, I plan to get it on DVD. It should be out before Halloween.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Paul, it may be my favorite version as well. Like I said, very Gothic, as Dracula should be.

That's interesting about the Dr. Who connection. Don't think I've seen that one.

The Wasp said...

I was eleven when the BBC Dracula aired and some scenes (baby in a bag) were pretty disturbing. I need to track it down.
Just rewatched the original Nightstalker telefilm and am in the midst of the Night Strangler to get my Shocktober vampire fix.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Wasp, yes a couple of the scenes are still pretty potent. The stand out scene for me back in the original broadcast was where Van Helsing and Mina are menaced by Dracula's brides in the forest. That still held up.