"Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" made its way to the big screen, and Father Steve Grunow made his way to the theater. Based on one of a series of novels that reveal horror-conspiracy theories about historical events, the movie paints our 16th President in a slightly different light, and Father Steve has something to say about it. Read his review here. *SPOILER ALERT*
For several years, Father Barron and I would journey to St. Meinrad's Archabbey in southern Indiana for a week long retreat. Father Barron insisted that one day of that retreat be a trip to the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln which is located near the monastery. The foundations of the orginal Lincoln home are demarcated by a memorial, and a visitor center features a short film about the life of the Lincoln family narrated by Leonard Nimoy. A gift shop offers Lincoln themed memorabilia. A trail on the site takes you to a facsimile of the Lincoln family cabin where people in period costumes explain and demonstrate how the Lincoln's survived in the rugged conditions of rural, nineteenth century America.
Buried on the grounds is Nancy Hanks, who died from the effects of what was called "the milk sick". This malady was brought on by the consumption of cow milk from cattle that had eaten a plant called white snakeroot- or so we are taught to believe. An alternative history exists that speculates that Nancy Hanks died a victim of vampirism, and it was his mother's murder by the undead that provoked the young Abraham Lincoln to wage war against the scrourge of vampires. This quest culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg (which contrary to the history many of us learned in school was actually a conflict between the troops of the Union Army and legions of vampires). Who knew American history could be so interesting, fun and resonate so much with the current fad of vampire-themed novels and films?...
Last weekend, the newest Disney/Pixar heroine graced the big screen as a rebellious Scottish princess with a bow and arrow and a distaste for tradition. But what does "Brave" have to say about bravery? Rozann Carter reviews the film here. *SPOILER ALERT*
"I am Merida, and I’ll be shooting for my own hand."
A wild mop of fiery red hair, the icon of an unconventional Scottish princess, makes its way from one archery target to the next as the leading lady of Disney/Pixar’s newest animated film uses her birthright and skill in an attempt to earn her freedom from the stifling control of tradition in order “to change her fate.”
Reviews of the popular animation studio’s newest visual masterpiece have been all over the web this week, and frequent mention is made of Pixar’s bold move to present a female lead for the first time in their animation history. Princess Merida, the daughter of Lord Fergus and Lady Elinor of DunBrough, Scotland, takes over the big screen with an outdoorsy propensity for adventure and an implied aversion to the girly, swooning, glass-slipper-wearing, romance-obsessed princess of Disney old. “She doesn’t need a Prince Charming,” says her vocal talent, Kelly MacDonald. On this note, the central plotline for Brave revolves around Merida’s mission to escape the impending fate of her betrothal to said Prince Charming who will travel from one of the 3 neighboring clans to compete for Merida’s hand.
Morals and lessons weave their way throughout the storyline, but the primary interplay of the plot occurs between Merida and her mother.
That Snow White is the fairest of them all was decided long ago, but what about the latest cinematic version of the tale? Is it fair or does it fail? Father Steve Grunow reviews "Snow White and the Huntsman" and offers his insights as to why fairy tales continue to fascinate the imagination of the popular culture.
The Guardian UK reported over the weekend that an archive in Regensburg, Germany, had yielded up a treasure trove of new fairy tales. The manuscripts had belonged to Franz Xaver von Schonwerth, a contemporary of the famed Brothers Grimm. The news of this discovery coincides with what seems to be a revival of interest in the fairy tale genre. Television offerings such as NBC’s “Grimm” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” are complimented by new interpretations of the classic tale of “Snow White” in the recent film “Mirror, Mirror” and the just-released “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
I had the occasion to see “Snow White and the Huntsman,” a re-purposing of the original story from the Brothers Grimm. This new rendering of the familiar story preserves most of elements of the traditional tale, while adding a feminist cultural critique as the subtext, along with enough action-adventure and CGI effects keep the viewer interested and to move things along. The film wants to be a vehicle for its star, Kristen Stewart, but she is overshadowed by the elegant malice of Charlize Theron as the wicked Queen, and the rugged charisma of Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. What interested me, however, after seeing the film, was the endurance of the fairy tale genre as a bearer of meaning...
Father Steve just returned from a trip to the theater to take in another "obligatory" B-rate film... for the good of the WOF reader. This time, he reviewed the new Tim Burton horror flick "Dark Shadows." Read his thoughts here.
I knew from the previews that Tim Burton’s re-purposing of the horror camp classic Dark Shadows would have to be on my list of must sees. As the resident Word on Fire B-movie aficionado with a specialty in horror, it seemed a perfect match. So I caught an early showing on a lazy spring afternoon.
Dark Shadows is the story of an 18th century vampire by the name of Barnabas Collins. His vampirism is the result of the curse placed on him by a spurned lover, the witch Angelique. Collins is imprisoned for several hundred years in his coffin and after he is released, discovers his beloved Collinwood Manor in near ruins and the descendents of his once wealthy family on the down and outs. Barnabas takes it upon himself to set things right, despite the opposition of Angelique, who has managed to find her own way of defying time and has dedicated all her powers to make the Collins family pay for Barnabas’ refusal to accept her as his bride...