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The Woman In Black (2012)
The movie opens on three little girls playing with their dolls. They hear a voice, and suddenly drop their dolls and walk to the windows, open them, and jump to their deaths.
Then we cut to a young man, our hero Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliffe), grieving over his dead wife. He hugs his son and goes off to work for a lawyer that tells him ‘buck up or you’re out on your ear. (because, he only lost his wife, for god sake nothing to cry over (freaking 19th Century alpha men, what are you going to do?).
Anyway, Arthur’s employer informs him he’s to oversee the probate of a deceased woman in Crythin Gifford (a village in England) and the selling of her home Eel Marsh House. Arthur leaves his four year old son behind and heads off a train for the town.During the trip he meets a nice, but somewhat ominous figure, Daily (played by Ciarán Hinds). However, Daily seems personable enough and invites the lawyer to dinner. Arthur arrives the home of the family solicitor to find him not at all forthcoming. On the contrary, he wants Arthur out of his hair, and out of town as soon as possible. In fact, everyone warns him not to get involved with the Eel Marsh house–including the innkeeper who doesn’t want to give him a room, until the wife offers him the attic. Yep. That attic, the one they little girls jumped from.
Stranger still, all this going on around him and no one will tell Arthur much; they just all want him gone.
Daily finally tells him the whole sad story: A family got stuck in the bog that stands between the town and the house, and a little boy died. The mother never got over the child’s loss, blamed the family, hung herself in the Eel Marsh house and cursed the whole town–supposedly.
Arthur shrugs off the spook story and heads to the police station to find out more. Two children rush in; the boy says “my sister drank poison.” And the little girl dies in Arthur’s arms. The grief-stricken family, and the gossips around town, blame “the woman in black.”
Arthur finds out at the promised dinner with his new friend Daily that even he has had a son that perished. And Daily’s wife (played by Janet McTeer), well, she still hasn’t quite gotten over it. Might be because she’s a wee bit psychic and seems to be in communication with the boy and several of the other dead children.
Still, Arthur’s not so sure the town is cursed. That’s silly, isn’t it?
He goes back to work in the house. Late that night, odd things start happening. He sees the shadow of a hand, on the window, hears whispering, a rocking chair starts creaking on its own. A dog barks frantically, and he hears someone crying but can find no evidence for anything causing all this. Bewildered, he takes the story of his night back to his friend. Then there’s a fire, and a little girl trapped inside the burning building. Arthur rushes into save her, just in time to see her light another lantern over her own head.
You can imagine what happens to her. And that’s when he sees a woman dressed all in black, yet he can’t get to her, and she won’t come to him. Again, he goes to his friend, his wife goes into some sort of trance and warns him “Whenever she’s been seen, something horrible happens.”
So what does happens? You’ll have to see the movie to find out.
I found this version* of The Woman in Black quite entertaining. Maybe the fact that it’s a Hammer film had something to do with that, but that alone had me hooked from the beginning. Nice to see Hammer still out there. And for the movie itself, as I said, I enjoyed it. Radcliffe did a great job as the curious and brooding Arthur. While the movie does have its creepy moments, it’s not horror per se as we know it today (Freddie Krueger and Jason Voorhees this is not even though they share themes), nor does it have the gross factor that seems so bloody popular these days. There are some creepy “flash for startling effect” type scenes, but it’s more for those who enjoy Gothic horror like the stories of Poe or other such stories. As a fan of those types of stories, I found the story intriguing and enjoyed the film very much. I look forward to reading Susan Hill’s book someday.
The Woman in Black official movie site.
The Woman In Black at IMDB.
The Woman in Black–Hammer Films site.
*I say this version because a quick check of Amazon and the web shows that there are several versions of the story out there, that are a bit more play within a play type stories.
Juli D. Revezzo is awesome enough to supply a bookmark for this giveaway and wrote one of the best story stories I’ve read in quite a few months….Read more and about the giveaway at:
Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows is a “remake” of the popular 1960s television drama (or soap opera, if you will) of the same name. The story of a vampire who returns for the love of his family, here, Johnny Depp plays the inimitable Barnabas Collins. Once the toast of the small and growing town of Collinswood, Maine, he had the bad fortune to catch the eye and heart of a witch. The problem is, he didn’t return her love. So she cursed his true love and forced her, in a trance, to take a deadly flying leap.
And Cursed Barnabas to live for all eternity as a vampire.
In this movie, Barnabas returns to Collinswood, now basking in the psychedelic glow of the 70s, and finds the Collins family nearly living on skid row, with an uptight teenage daughter and a troubled young boy in their midst. The boy, poor dear, lost his mother to suicide but swears he sees and talks to her ghost. His psychologist, Victoria, is working with him to try to help the dear lad separate fantasy from reality.
And when Barnabas sees her, well, he’s instantly in love. It can only be his Victoria returned from the dead. He’ll win her heart he thinks, and bring the family back from oblivion. So long as the matriarch of the family keeps his secret, that he’s 100 year old vampire.
But time has been kind to Collins’ enemies as well and the witch Angelique returns, determined to shred the last vestiges of the Collins family legacy. She controls all but one of the fishing boats in town, and despite Barnabas’ best efforts, that control isn’t going to slip easily. She’ll compromise, however, if Barnabas will bow to her whims and become her lover.
I was far too young to watch the series when it first came on television, and I guess I’m glad I was. I’ve heard lots of bad press about this movie from fans of the television show, and quite frankly the previews made the thing look dreadful. (And Burton’s movies are always, always hit and miss for me. Beetlejuice, good, Willy Wonka bad. Nightmare before Christmas, one of my all time favorite Christmas movies.)
Because of all that, I didn’t have high hopes going into Dark Shadows, and those aforementioned friends of mine who are fans of the show wouldn’t see if it you tied them up like Alex in Clockwork Orange.
It’s well-known (and damn near his trademark) that Burton has a dreadful habit of destroying—erm, I mean, “reimagining” other people’s masterpieces, however… I was quite pleased with how Burton handled this. It has its highly cheesy moments, and if you’ve seen the trailer…you’ve seen about 98% of them. But the story is really good, very dark and broody and almost suspenseful. I felt for poor Barnabas and Victoria and rooted for them to win. And even the cheese factor wasn’t too bad. (I admit it, I found the Alice Cooper section a nice little touch and would’ve loved it if they’d included the entire performance in the extras (gee, wouldn’t that’ve been a good idea, DVD manufacturers, you think?). But hey. I do like his music anyway. >:)) and he pulled together an interesting cast around his core worshippers of Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Eva Green did her best at Angelique, I suppose but I’d rather see her in Camelot or reprising her role as the witch in Golden Compass (where is that sequel??) By god, Burton even conned—erm, hired—Christopher Lee to be in Dark Shadows!
And the ghost! The first couple times Victoria sees her…well, it’s not as creepy as say, The Grudge, or Sixth Sense (*shudder*) but nicely done.
Despite it’s missteps, all in all, I really enjoyed Dark Shadows, and if you go in with an open mind (and maybe with low expectations), you just might enjoy it too.
Sorry I didn’t get a chance to post the Monday movie. I was busy…writing, and blogging elsewhere (and freaking out a little, I must say). Where was I? you ask…Oh, all right. I’ll tell you. Hanging out with a very nice bunch of… well, nuts. I hope they take that as a compliment. It *is* part of their name, after all. Yes, I was featured over at the great horror blog Ginger Nuts of Horror. Want to learn a little about me and my dark/supernatural fiction works (or just poke around a great site) this is it:
This was kind of a coup for me. Thanks to Jim for hosting me!
Another Sunday sample. Here we go…
From House of Cards
A scream pierced the night. Sinjon turned to spot an eagle as it landed in the dead branches of the nearby tree. Below its perch, the body of a woman hung from a rope around her left ankle, heavy and lifeless, her throat cut, blood dripping down to stain her white hair, the ground beneath her.
Surely, he was seeing things: the poor soul hadn’t been there a moment ago.
Ignoring the driver’s warning, he turned back to demand he lend a hand as Sinjon intended to cut her down. The more he looked, the less he was sure she was human.
There was something odd about her: the nails weren’t right seeming almost like razors, her skin more like wrinkled leather, her throat a little too long. Her eyes were altogether strange, gouged, yet whole; staring and lifeless, yet somehow they seemed to watch him.
What had happened to the right side of her torso, he couldn’t tell, but it was torn to shreds, strips of bloodied flesh hanging, ribs showing through the injury. Yet, when he tilted his head for a different view, the skin and sinew seemed almost woven together.
Something protruded from her back, but whether two humps, knives, or—it couldn’t be—stubby wings, he couldn’t decide. Or didn’t want to know the nature of what he saw.
As he turned back to his driver, a wall of ethereal flame erupted between them.
Sinjon fell back, staring in astonishment. The ice-blue flames crackled and spat, the wind gusting from the blaze was cold as a winter’s breeze. Beyond, noises of battle erupted.
Sinjon reached for his pistol. A screaming woman flew from the conflagration and locked her hands around his throat. Shock paralyzed him as she dragged him to the flames…
If you’d like to see what’s on the other side of those flames, House of Cards is available for $.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. I ended up liking these characters so much, I couldn’t let them just go with one! *g* I’m working on a follow up to this story, so keep an eye out for more in this series in the near future!