Juliette’s Short Film Selection

I recently posted about some short films that left an entire theater full of people saying, “WTF?.” (Click here to read that post)

I’ve never seen so many depressed, sad, and shocked people in one room in my life. We all thought we’d be entertained for at least a few of the films but no such luck.

To make up for it I’ve posted five other short films that I thought were entertaining, interesting, scary, funny, cute, surprising, and maybe just silly.

My favorite is “Bugaboo and Graham.” It was nominated for an Oscar. It didn’t win but it won my heart. “The Crush” is also just wonderful.

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The 2019 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts at the Crest Theater

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For years we’ve looked forward to watching the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. Well, I have to say the selection this year was quite unexpected. That isn’t a good thing either. The real show was watching the stunned movie goers stagger out of the theater shell shocked and depressed.

One had a slightly bitter sweet message, but the rest were just depressing and somewhat disjointed.

Skin (United States)
The was the only American film in the group. It was sort of a skin-head white-trash revenge film. It was squirmy and uncomfortable with a totally unrealistic ending that sort of wasted the message of the movie. We came up with a lot of much better endings and resolutions.

Marguerite (Canada)
This was a bitter sweet story of an elderly woman and her caretaker. The message was about missed love and understanding. It had a bitter sweet ending. This was the only one that didn’t make me want to cry, scream, or throw something.

Madre / Mother (Spain)
A woman gets a call from her small child. He is alone on a beach. He can’t find his father. Twenty minutes later they are still on the phone and the tension is high. PANIC time. No ending. Seriously, there is no ending. It was like the start of a movie but nobody was allowed to see the rest of it.

Fauve (Canada)
Two typical funny kids (think of the boys in Stand By Me) go exploring what looks like some sort of mining operation. Bad things happen. I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one. It was well done but odd and disturbing.

Detainment (Ireland)
If you want to have your heart and gut torn out watch this half-hour film  based on transcripts of police interviews with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the English boys who were convicted of torturing and murdering two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. I was in tears after this one too. Yes, it was done well. Yes, it might just win. No I wouldn’t see it again.

I would not show kids any of these films. I wouldn’t recommend this group to any of my friends.

On the way out my husband, daughter, her boyfriend, and I discussed all of the live action shorts we’ve seen in the past. Never have we seen such a depressing selection. And most live action horror shorts I’ve seen are 200% better than any of these. And I don’t like most full length horror films so I’m not playing favorites on the genre. I’m just saying these films kind of left me feeling dead, and that’s coming from me.

We watched the movies at the wonderful Crest Theater in Sacramento, California, a restored movie palace of a bygone era. That made it worth while.

 

 

The Crest Theater was also the inspiration for my story “A Night at the Crest.” Maybe one day I’ll make it into a short film, or maybe a full length movie, or into a full length book (my original plan.)

A Night at the Crest

A Story from Marla Todd  (Juliette Kings)

Dallas Andrews was performing at the old Crest Theater in Sacramento. Jonathan Ward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend Beth told him that this guy was hot. Andrews could actually communicate with the dead. Dallas Andrews said angels walked among them. He claimed to see angels all around him 24/7.

Andrews was the darling of the clairvoyant, medium, mysticism, aura generating followers of spiritual awakening. He had been featured on most major network and cable television stations. He did radio shows, graced the covers of magazines and now was packing in full houses on a nation wide tour. He followed in the footsteps of Casey and Nostradamus. His book was on the best selling nonfiction lists.

Jonathan had tried to talk Beth out of it. He told her the guy was a fake. He told her that all of these guys were fakes, but she insisted. She told him it would be fun and enlightening.

“It would be fun and enlightening to stay home and watch The Wizard of OZ.” he replied, but she wasn’t going to budge.

Jonathan Ward, founder and editor of the West Coast Review, was 5’10 with broad shoulders on his medium build. He was in good shape for someone his age, which appeared to be somewhere in his mid 40’s. According to his drivers license he was 46. His sandy brown hair had soft grey streaks at the temples. His eyes were framed with long thick lashes. His prominent nose was straight and narrow, but it fit with his oval face. He was good looking enough to get noticed by women but not enough to stand out in a crowd, unless one noticed his almost unnerving pale ice blue eyes. He had almost a perpetual and too quick of a smile. “Always amused” is how he was often described.

His companion Beth McAllister was knock down drop dead gorgeous and she knew it. Aside from her occasional bizarre and childish fascinations with freaks like Dallas Andrews, she was also brilliant. Well, most of the time.

Beth chattered away as they entered the lobby of the Crest Theater. Her stiletto heels clicked on the floor. Jonathan always thought of it as her mating call. He slid his hand down over her perfect behind. She promptly slapped it away. “Who do you want to contact?” she asked.

“Judy Garland and Billie Burke.”

“No, it has to be somebody you knew.”

“There are no dead people I want to talk to.”

“Maybe Dallas can contact your parents or your brother.” She said gently.

“They have unlisted numbers”

“You aren’t funny.”

“Bitch.” he whispered then kissed her on the mouth and led her to their seats.

As they made their way through the crowd his eyes met a well-dressed, slightly handsome, thirtyish man in the lobby. Jonathan was sure it was a plant; someone sent by Andrews to listen in to the conversations in the lobby. “My brother was blown to bits in Afghanistan. Pass that one on to your boss.” The man looked calm but Jonathan knew he’d unnerved him.

The restored art deco movie palace was the perfect place for the grand show of bullshit he would witness tonight. The lights dimmed. A woman in a long green dress played a traditional Irish harp on the corner of the stage. At the other corner was a plainly dressed woman signing for the deaf.

“I bet there isn’t one deaf person in this theater.” He said to Beth. She rolled her eyes at him and squeezed his hand. The lights came up on the stage. The crowd cheered. Jonathan sat back with his arms crossed, glaring at the stage.

Dallas Andrews walked causally onto the stage dressed in a white silk shirt, cream colored tie and matching cream colored dress slacks finished off with tan Italian loafers with tassels. He was in his mid-to-late thirties with wavy dark hair and boyish good looks. He smiled sweetly at the audience showing off perfect dimples, practically glowing with goodness and concern.

“How innocent, how angelic, how phony” thought Jonathan.

The audience clapped until Andrews blushed on command and told them to stop. Jonathan glanced at Beth. She was transfixed. He had lost her, to Dallas Andrews, at least for the next hour.

The man in white told his story with all the passion of the finest bard or worst televangelist, depending on one’s point of view. It was all bullshit about dead friends and relatives who’d ended up with tragically only to “speak” to Dallas through his new found gift.

Dallas ended his touching life story with “We can all be at peace with those we love who have passed over. I knew at that time I had to help others to find that peace and end the pain and worry.

It is a selfish thing that we expect the dead to contact us. It isn’t easy for them. But I’m trying to make it easier, as their go between. I channel. I am the messenger. I am merely a vessel to bring the message of love from the other side.”

Jonathan said nothing as the audience sat transfixed. He jotted a few notes then put his pen away. The night might not be a complete waste of time if the timing was right.

Andrews proceeded to ask questions of tearful audience members who wished to hear from departed loved ones.

“I’m hearing from Mary, Martha? I also see black and white. A nun. A policeman.” Andrews said in the most gentle and concerned voice.

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Jonathan swore under his breath. The people around him glared. He ignored them.

They heard from a dead son killed in a car accident, a recently departed grandmother, a young wife who died from cancer, a career Army officer killed in Iraq. Jonathan’s heart broke for those who came looking for answers and the hope of any small comfort. He took notes while Beth wiped tears from her face.

After about 90 minutes Andrews opened up for questions and answers. When called on, Jonathan stood up with his usual amused smile. “Be nice” Beth whispered.

Dallas Andrews saw a familiar face. He knew who the middle-aged man in the expensive black suit and distracting ice blue eyes was. Then he noticed the incredibly beautiful brunette sitting next to him. Dallas smiled sweetly at Beth, catching her off guard. She smiled back then blushed. With any luck he’d she’d be at the reception afterwards and after that in his suite at the Hyatt Regency across the street.

“Yes, you had a question.”

Jonathan addressed the clairvoyant. “You actually see angels? Show me who the angels in this room are?”

Dallas smiled and nodded “You won’t be able to see them. They are spirits who reveal themselves to me, but they are here, all around us. Open your heart and you’ll feel their presence.”

Jonathan didn’t like the answer “Tell me Mr. Andrews, are your angels from heaven or are they from someplace else? It’s often hard to tell the difference.”

The room hushed. Dallas Andrews was obviously annoyed by this man. “I sense you have a troubled soul.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” Jonathan replied in disgust.

Andrews gave a sympathetic smile and help out his hands, palms up. “Let me try to help you find out where your demons come from.” His voice was soothing as if talking to a troubled teen.

Jonathan almost laughed. “Oh you’re good. You’re very good. Mr. Andrews, where I come from we have words for people like you. A few that come to mind are liar, con man, cheat, and oh yes, more importantly sinner.”

“What is your name?” asked Andrews trying to keep his composure.

“You know perfectly well who I am.” thought Jonathan. He smiled at the man on stage. “Jonathan Ward, West Coast Review.”

Dallas Andrews pointed at Jonathan then put his finger to his chin. He smiled again. “I thought I recognized you. You’ve seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears the news I’ve brought to these people tonight. Mr. Ward, humor me for a moment. Think of someone you’ve lost. Your parents were from Alaska. They died in a plane crash, you and your siblings survived. Would you like a message from your parents?” he asked raising an eyebrow at Jonathan.

Beth took Jonathan’s hand. He gave it a quick squeeze and let go. Parents my ass. “Why should my dead mother contact you, a stranger, when she could contact me directly?” he asked.

Dallas toned down his voice. He turned up the gentleness and compassion. “You block out the passage for her to travel with your negativity.”

Jonathan only glared. “You found the information about my mom from the bio on my web site. You’ve been following my stories for the past year.”

“You must have great pain in your heart” replied Dallas in a comforting voice, as he put his own hand over his heart.

“How do you know my mother is really dead or even has a soul?” Jonathan shot back sarcastically.

“I speak with the angels.”

“Really? You not only see, but you also speak with angels? That is truly amazing.”

“It is a gift, a blessing.”

“It’s a lie.” said Jonathan calmly as Beth sunk lower in her seat.

Dallas Andrews smiled sadly “Ladies and Gentlemen, this reaction is common from skeptics. There are angels all around us.”

“Show me.”

“There’s one right next to you.”

Jonathan ignored the comment. “Dallas, do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“Do you believe in hell?”

“I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all mankind. So, no, Mr. Ward, I don’t believe in hell.”

“You will Dallas, believe me you will.”

Dallas lifted his chin in defiance. “Is that a threat?”

“No Dallas, it isn’t a threat. It’s a statement of fact.” Jonathan said cooly.

“What in your opinion is hell, Jonathan?” asked Dallas slowly and deliberately as if he was ready to pull out the big guns.

“I’ll give you a tour,” Jonathan thought to himself. He wasn’t going to take the bait. “I’ve seen enough. Good night Dallas. Don’t forget to check out next week’s issue of the West Cost Review for the end of this riveting story.” Grabbing Beth’s hand, he started to make his way to the back of the theater. Beth stopped and turned back.

“Just like Lot’s wife.” He whispered in her ear.

She pulled her hand away and hissed “Asshole.” He stopped by the exit door and faced the stage.

Dallas Andrews had already started to have a violent seizure. Then he started to scream and fell to his knees holding his head in his hands. Soon he’d feel pain like he’d never felt before. It was an ugly way to end the evening, but the man had to be stopped. Jonathan couldn’t kill, but he could do an amazing amount of damage to the living. Maybe, with any luck, Dallas Andrews would get the message and change his ways.

Jonathan smiled slightly and narrowed his eyes “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Amen.” He said quietly to nobody in particular.

Beth looked at him with wide eyes.

He scowled at her “What? Don’t look at me like a frightened cat. I told you he was a fake.”

“Jon, we can’t just leave.”

“Sure we can. There isn’t anything we can do here except be in the way.” He took out his phone and dialed 911. “My name is Jonathan Ward. I’m at the Crest Theater on K Street. Sacramento. Dallas Andrews is having some sort of attack. Horrible convulsions. Oh my gosh, I think he passed out. Please, he needs help. I’m not sure…there’s a doctor or someone up on stage with him now.” He paused “Yes…you’ve had other calls…help is on the way. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Beth stood in shock. “Oh no, oh no.” she whispered, her eyes still on the stage.

“Let’s go darling.” Jonathan told her grabbing her arm like a vice and practically dragging her out of the theater. She passed a few of her wide-eyed friends, but he didn’t let her stop. She’d be blabbering all night to them about poor Andrews. He wondered how someone as smart as Beth could be so gullible and stupid when it came to crap like this.

They walked across the Capitol Park to his car. Beth was livid.

“We should have stayed. I bet you made him have an aneurism with your stupid questions. I can’t believe how rude and mean spirited you were to him. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She tried to stop him but he kept walking.

He gave her a disgusted look. “I was rude and mean spirited? At least I was telling the truth.”

“No, if he dies it will be your fault.”

“How will it be my fault? Should I have asked for his medical history before I asked him any questions?”

She grabbed his arm. “Aren’t you concerned at all?”

He stopped and pushed her hand away. “Tell me why I should be concerned with a fraud like Andrews? Enlighten me?”

Beth was livid. “Dallas isn’t a fraud. What I saw tonight was real.”

This was going nowhere. Jonathan changed his tone. He ran his hands down her arms and gently took her hands. “Dear sweet Bethany. It wasn’t real.”

“You never respect anything I say or feel.” She cried trying to pull her hands away. “What about his visions from his cousin and dead girlfriend? He couldn’t have been making that up.”

Jonathan held on tight. “His cousin Joyce died when he was two years old. Andrews had seen her once. And there was no girlfriend Patty. She was a girl in his dorm who died of leukemia. They knew each other but they never went out.”

“He might have loved her. He might have cared for her.”

“No Beth, the guy is a liar and a fraud.”

“You don’t know that.”

““Listen to me. Remember the first time you saw the trunk that belonged to May Woosley, in the Sacramento History Museum? You were on a field trip with your nephew’s 4th grade class.”

Beth blinked, her voice turned shrill. “What are you talking about?”

“Let me jog your memory. May died in 1879. She was just a little girl. On the advice of a clairvoyant, like Andrews, her mother sealed a trunk full of May’s belongings in the wall of their home. Mrs. Woosley spent the rest of her life searching for a message from her daughter because she’d listened to the words of a con-artist rather than listening to her own heart for healing. The trunk wasn’t found again until 1979. When you saw it in the museum you cried. You went home and cried all night for the little girl and her family.”

“How did you…that was 5 years ago, before I even met you. I never told you about that.”

“You didn’t have to. Beth, don’t you see. You knew Mrs. Woosley was lied to. Dallas Andrews lies to people too.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. She backed away. “How do you know these things? You always know things.”

“I observe and I guess a lot.” He wiped the tear away and kissed her. “See, you aren’t as tough and shallow as you pretend to be.”

The fog had rolled leaving the night air with zero visibility. He took her hands and wrapped the car keys around them. “You’re driving.”

She took the keys knowing full well that he was practically blind on clear night and completely blind in the night fog.

“Could you even see Dallas Andrews on the stage.”

“I could see enough. Let’s go.”

“If you could have seen his face.”

“I saw his face clear enough to know every single thing he said was a lie.”

She adjusted the seat and glanced over at him. “You’re such an asshole.”

“Just drive.”

“Where are we going?”

“Your house.” Her house was closer and he wouldn’t have to drive her home in the morning.

“You expect me to let you…”

“I love you Beth. Nothing, including your faith in a charlatan like Dallas Andrews, is going to change that. Not now, not ever.” He took her hand and whispered, “You are my soul. And despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy, I need you.”

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she drove in silence.

When they got back to her house and made love to her like she was the last woman on earth. She asked him again about the long thin scars on his back. He told her for the 100th time that he didn’t remember how it happened. It was during the plane crash when his parents died way up in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from anyone. So final. So tragic. It made for a good story, even thought it wasn’t true.

Beth’s amazing body was as fake as the con man he’d just put down. Beautiful store bought breasts, a dazzling smile of the best veneers money could buy, cheek implants and a slightly smaller and straighter nose than nature had given her, violet colored contacts covering her hazel eyes, the trendiest hair colorist in town, a sprayed on tan, artificial nails and a toned body thanks to grueling sessions with a sadistic personal trainer named Bruce. Jonathan thought wistfully that there was an entire generation of American men who had never felt a real female breast.

The sad thing was that at 38 Beth would have been lovely without most of the work. At least her heart was real, despite her tendency to be shallow and superficial.

He knew he scared her. The only reason she kept him around was for the great sex and his political connections. What a joke – there were no real “best” connections in Sacramento or anywhere else for that matter.

Jonathan knew the best people to know where those brilliant folks who stayed away from the media limelight, away from the cultural and political wanna-bees. He often thought, “Give me the rocket scientist next door over those who claimed they partied with Arnold and Jerry, or knew the more influential elected officials and developers at the state capitol. Give me my own friends; the mom who writes historic romance novels, the high school science teacher, the master gardener and the emergency room doctor. These were the people who really know what it is like to be alive and human.”

The next morning the fog had been replaced by a grey drizzle of rain. He left Beth’s in his silver Jaguar XJR, heading off to the airport to pick up Lorna. A few years his senior, she was a golden haired, blue eyed living Barbie doll. She lived in Malibu with a view of the ocean. Tapped into the spiritual rhythm of the ocean, she fit right into the affluent new age lifestyles of her neighbors. They had to be some of the most entertaining and shallow people he’d ever met.

“Where’s the hybrid?” asked Lorna

“Dropped it off for new tires.” He thought of Lorna and her unrelenting social conscience – knew he should have driven the hybrid, then shrugged it off. This weekend he wanted style not substance. In a few hours all the substance he could ever want was going to be shoved down his throat.

“What are you listening to?” she asked in disgust when he started up the car.

“Metallica.”

She turned it off. “Have you heard today’s news yet?”

“No. I’m clearing my mind today. No radio. No TV. No newspapers. No Internet. No phone.”

“Tell me what happened last night?”

“Beth broke up with me. She said I was too intense. I recall she used also used the words weird, asshole and insensitive. Lots of tears so I think there’s a good chance she’ll take me back.”

Lorna grabbed his wrist like a vice. “What happened with Dallas Andrews?”

“Let go, do you want me to wreck the car? Where did you hear about Andrews?”

“NPR, Morning Edition. CNN. Fox. LA Times.”

“Was my name mentioned?”

“They said that in the process of being interrogated by you, Andrews had a violent seizure. He is now is now seeing visions of hell and keeps mentioning your name.”

He changed the music to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Funny guy that Andrews. I heard the story on the way to the airport. Didn’t realize Dallas Andrews was so popular.” He said giving Lorna a wink. “Grab my phone, it’s in the glove box. Check my messages.”

Lorna’s beautiful mouth turned into a slight smile as she listened to the messages. Jonathan thought it was almost a snarl. “You have 22 messages. The first three are from your office, CNN and Beth. She’s hysterical. The rest seem to be people wanting to talk to you about Andrews.” They headed down Hwy 50 towards the hills. “What are we going to do with you Jonathan?” she asked rubbing his neck with her left hand.

“Don’t do anything with me” he answered quietly. “Just let me do my job.”

They went up the hill towards Sutter Creek, to Ruth’s Ranch as he always called it, for the annual, get our heads screwed back on, clear our brains, find peace, drink a lot of great wine and solve all our problems retreat. He was looking forward to it. The past few months had been a major drain on his mental and emotional resources.

He loved the drive through the rolling oak forested hills. He spent every weekend he could with his cousin Ruth. But this weekend might be rough. He was going to ask his family about his latest job offer. This was his dream job. He’d all but signed the contract. Everyone would be there to give him their own jaded opinions. Most wouldn’t be too thrilled.

He looked over at beautiful golden Lorna dozing in the seat next to him. She was his older sister, his mentor, the one who kept him grounded. He imagined her with a halo and beautiful wings spread out in shining glory. Then he wondered if she was sleeping with her new best friend, a plastic surgeon named, Dennis O’Brian. Denny, as she called the man was nice enough, but suddenly Jonathan felt like he wanted to beat the crap out of the guy if he ever touched Lorna. Then he’d torture him and flay off his skin leaving him a quivering mass of, well, whatever. He had to stop being so protective of his sisters.

Jonathan’s mind skipped back Dallas Andrews. He felt sick to his stomach. It had been unpleasant business, but somebody had to do it. After all it wasn’t easy being angel.

Copyright Ó 2013 Marla Todd

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

A favorite from 2013 –  Aside from all of the love letter, taking kids to rock concert, and spoon hanging posts THIS one is in the top five all time most popular.

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

Time to Countdown to Halloween with Halloween Hotties  – WEREWOLVES.

Werewolves. I’m torn on this one. I just don’t find them attractive at all. OK – I don’t find most of them attractive.

Now wolves, the wonderful wild wolves who don’t turn back into humans are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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But Werewolves? Really? They’re just gross and disturbing.

This is not attractive or hot in any way shape or form.

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But before he was transformed…Mr Chaney was quite the looker. After the transformation his was just one ugly dog faced boy.

Lon Chaney looking hot in a suit! Sweetheart stay out from under that full moon!

American Werewolf In London = hot guys, ugly werewolves.

Looking cute now guys but wait until midnight!

So what does the whole Werewolf thing mean in modern culture. Man shows his inner beast? Nooooo, it’s just another way to creep us out and give us some scary fun.

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Caution: If you’ve come here for deep and meaningful look at my parenting posts.

That said, if you are looking for a HOT Werewolf… The hero of Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour, Michael Gallatin, is the most smoking hot Werewolf ever to grace the pages of fiction or non-fiction. I love this book. It goes down in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Take my word for it.

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The Wolf’s Hour is about a Russian Werewolf who is a Nazi hunter during WW2. Trust me, this isn’t some silly book. It is powerful, well written and filled with some of the best characters ever written. Read it. Read it. Read it. And by the way, Mr. McCammon you’re pretty hot yourself! I mean, any man who can write how he writes has to be hot.

Then there is Adam, my own Werewolf friend. He just rolls his eyes at me.

Yes, I do have personal experience with these guys. It is creepy when you see hair growing out of the top of somebody’s hand. I can handle the teeth thing, especially since I have fangs too. And I like a man with a little hair on his chest, but not covering his entire body like, well, like a DOG or a bear rug. Nor do I like the idea of kissing a guy knowing that he was chewing on his ass the night before. Yuck.

I once told Adam that I found the idea of turning into a wolf somewhat disturbing. He went off on me for a full 15 minutes about how vile Vampires are and that we’re more or less the most evil disgusting creatures that ever stayed awake all night. I told him I hoped he’d get fleas in his crotch and that I would NEVER forgive him for trying to rip my throat out a while back. I told him he smelled like a wet dog after he’d been a wolf for the night.

Most Werewolves are Halloween Hotties because of what they look like BEFORE the full moon. You gotta admit I’m right about that one. I mean, look at the photo below with the cute guy and the puppy. Cute now…just wait until the full moon and he turns into some disgusting hairy beast that eats Alpo and small children. Maybe we just want to take care of them – like we take care of our faithful dogs. Poor babies…. No, I don’t think so.

cute guy with pup

Adam and I didn’t talk for a while after our big Werewolf vs Vampire blow out and insult throwing contest,  but we’re back to being in the close friend category.

Creatures such a Vampires and Werewolves can get a little emotional with expressing our feelings. That said, if you want emotional try spending some time with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And as long as you’re here…check out the rest of the blog for more fun and don’t forget to subscribe by email, Facebook or as a WordPress subscriber!

He claims he looks more like the wolf, but I've seen him with those wolf teeth and hair growing out of his arms...it is enough to scare the most hardened Vampire.

 

Juliette’s List of Watch a Million Times Somewhat Romantic Movies

On one especially shitty day in 2012 when the kids and husband were busy I sat alone in the dark and watched The Hangover for the third time. I laughed out loud alone in the dark. Then I felt better. At the time it was a movie I would not let my kids watch, but boy did I feel better.

This is not a list of the most romantic, or the best romance movies. This is a list of the movies that I can see again and again and again because all of them touch something romantic and comforting inside of me. I can relate to all of them.

These are the films I can watch when I’m in a slump, or alone, or just have to get my mind out of a funk. These are movies I love that I can watch over and over and over. Of course all of these have a bit of romance in them. Most have humor as well.

Juliette’s List of Watch a Million Times Romantic Movies

  • The Hangover (2009)
  • Bridesmaids (2011)
  • Made of Honor (2008)
  • Leap Year (2010)
  • The Proposal (2009)
  • 27 Dresses (2008)
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
  • Pride & Prejudice (2005)
  • Shrek (2001)
  • Rebecca (1940)
  • Notorious (1946)
  • Casablanca (1942)
  • A Walk in The Clouds (1995)

So what are your Watch A Million Times Romantic movies? Please share. Maybe there is one I haven’t seen yet.

Of course there is a list of movies that aren’t really romances, but that is another post, for another time.

But please – share your favorites. And go ahead and add The Lake House (2006) to my list while you’re at it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Movies + History = a lot of Daniel Day Louis

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It is the end of the school year and my daughter and her classmates have already taken the AP History Test, so they’re watching historic movies in class. By the way, they’re juniors in high school. (AP stands for Advanced Placement, which is curriculum approved by an organization that makes a lot of money off of giving tests to kids who want to get into college.)

Movies + History = a lot of Daniel Day Louis.

My daughter is watching Last of the Mohicans at home, and hour at a time. She’ll write about it and compare the movie/story with historical events for accuracy. She already pointed out a few points that are not accurate but she could have asked James Fenimore Cooper about that. That said, she did point out several accurate points, and also pointed out how smoking hot Daniel Day Lewis was as Hawkeye. Actually, I was the one who pointed out how smoking hot he was. She just said how much she liked his long hair and how attractive he looked.

In my opinion some of the most romantic movie moments EVER were between Hawkeye and Cora in this movie. Sigh.

Yesterday Clara (my daughter) told me that they (the history students) started to watch Gangs of New York in class. She said, “I don’t get it at all. Daniel Day Lewis comes out in some crazy wild colored clothes, and I thought this was supposed to be in the 1950’s. I can’t keep track of anything. I didn’t know Leonardo DiCaprio was in it too. That isn’t a bad thing at all.”

I gave my usual small lecture on costume history, etc etc etc, but as my kids get older the less they listen to my little history lessons. Sometimes I wonder if they ever listened at all. They’re like boyfriends on the first three weeks of dating. They listen politely, then they just turn up the radio and block it out. But as a wonderful mom I listen to everything they say. I listen to what my husband says too but he’ll tell you I don’t.

This time I told Cora that in the 1860’s, the same period of Gangs of New York, Werewolves had taken up loud garish clothing. They always had the brightest of everything, the tallest hats, and the most extreme hair. They delighted in their get ups. This is an odd contrast to their current subdued nature, including their clothing. Back then they didn’t care as much because nobody knew what they were. Now, with all of the popular culture about paranormal creatures, not to mention modern forensics, they have to be more careful. But that is just another one of Mom’s (me) silly tales and it is time to change the subject.

 

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Gangs of New York

School is almost out and Clara will be a senior. Then in a year or two there will be no children in my house, only a husband, a dogs, and two cats. Dad is in sad panic mode. I am just in sad mode.

A the same time I am happy that the young people in my life are so excited about their futures.

I’m also glad they have come to appreciate history. If you don’t know where you’ve been you can’t see where you’re going. Unfortunately most people don’t know jack about history and they aren’t interested in learning it.

I’ve always thought the aversion to history by most people is due to several things. The first is just a general lack of curiosity. The second is the way history is taught in so many schools – it is all about dry facts and people in funny clothing. History has to be relatable. That is why I LOVE my daughter’s history teacher. They guy makes it relatable. The third reason is the fact that people don’t value what others have done. They don’t value lives spent to give THEM the right to vote, or speak freely, or pray to whatever they want to pray to, or do anything they want to do.

But I’m off subject again, as if I really had a subject…

If you don’t like history give it a try…see a movie, even if it isn’t accurate, then read a book about it. Sometimes fiction is easier to digest, if you know what I mean. But don’t forget that truth is always stranger than fiction. And if all else fails see a movie with Daniel Day Louis in it. Yes, the kids also saw him in Lincoln, The Crucible, and There Will Be Blood. This summer I’ll make sure Clara sees  Age of Innocence and of course Room With A View. Yes, history can be fun.

So have fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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America was founded by Vampires and Free Thinkers (or nobody wanted to be a Puritan – not really)

A lot of ignorant people like to spout off that America was settled/founded by Puritans. Sure they were here. But they settled a small area of North America – not every where. But they were so stick-up-your-ass intolerant and unfun that they aren’t around anymore. Nobody wanted to be a Puritan anymore. Can you blame them?

On the other hand, the Quakers, who were, and still are, gentle and kind folk, not to mention smart, are still around.

That brings us to Thanksgiving. I have to say a few words on that day before I go on. Please don’t make it political. People around the world celebrate feasts of THANKS. We should all be thankful for something, and we should all be thankful for the free thinking individuals who had the courage to go do new stuff and think new things and come up with cranberry sauce. President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the Civil War. Look it up. It was a horrible time in United States history. We all needed to stop and reflect. That is a good thing. Being with family, friends, and even strangers is a good thing, no matter where your family is from and no matter what your religious or political beliefs are. On Thanksgiving we are all family. Take a day off from the BS and enjoy each other’s company guilt free. Now back to the history lesson…

Like now, the world in the 17th Century (the 1600’s for those of you who don’t know history) was not always a happy place for those who wished to worship, THINK, or live as they pleased. I say THINK out loud because it wasn’t all about religion. People left their countries of origin to go into the great unknown for a lot of reasons. I will explain this in a moment.

And you think, for someone to get onto a tiny ship and sail across an ocean for months takes a lot of guts. Things must be pretty bad where you came from.

Least we not forget those who did not come here of their own free will.

So witch burning aside I will give you a list of many of the groups who DID come over to the New World and groups who were already here.

  • Already here (Native American Tribes – and there were many)
  • Came over of their own free will for religious freedom
  • Came over because they were free thinkers
  • Came over for a job, commerce, or trade
  • Come over for the Millitary
  • Came for adventure
  • Came over to hide or escape
  • Forced to be here (slaves and indentured servants and prisoners)
  • Kicked out of everywhere else
  • Kind of came and went (Vikings etc)
  • Vampires.

For more information on any of the groups above please look it up on the Internet or at your local public library. Wikipedia is a good option if you’re in a hurry. Except the Vampire… I’ll give you the rundown on that really quick.

The first Vampires came to the colonies in the mid 1600’s. While a few came as individuals, most came in small groups organized by Nathaniel Chase. The first groups were from England, but they also came from France, Holland, Scotland and Ireland. Most left to flee persecution by both humans and other less progressive old guard Vampires. They established themselves as successful business and trade leaders, keeping their identities as Vampires secret. Their community grew and prospered. Today there are several groups still established, including my group, the “Modern Vampires.”  

Still feeling the Colonial America Vibe? Here is a list of some of my favorite books, movies and plays on the subject. Disclaimer: I’m stealing descriptions from other sites.

 

Books (not the movie, the book. Read the book.)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1959)

You may have read this one in school or your kids might have. If you haven’t now is time to do so. I love this book.

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.

 

The Orphan Master by Jean Zimmerman

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Wow. This is one of the best books I’ve read – EVER. And one of my favorites. This is on the love list. THANK YOU JEAN ZIMMERMAN for writing this wonderful book.

It’s 1663 in the tiny, hardscrabble Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now present-day southern Manhattan. Orphan children are going missing, and among those looking into the mysterious state of affairs are a quick-witted twenty-two-year-old trader, Blandine von Couvering, herself an orphan, and a dashing British spy named Edward Drummond.

Suspects abound, including the governor’s wealthy nephew, a green-eyed aristocrat with decadent tastes; an Algonquin trapper who may be possessed by a demon that turns people into cannibals; and the colony’s own corrupt and conflicted orphanmaster. Both the search for the killer and Edward and Blandine’s newfound romance are endangered, however, when Blandine is accused of being a witch and Edward is sentenced to hang for espionage. Meanwhile, war looms as the English king plans to wrest control of the colony.

 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Heart and soul I love this book. Hester Prynne rocks!

Here is a rather dry description but believe me, it is part of American History and literary tradition.

The Scarlet Letter: A Romance is an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Note and WARNING: Every time someone watches the movie “The Scarlett Letter” with Demi Moore a puppy dies. Every time someone says they like that movie they forfeit their soul to HELL. Plus you will lose ALL of my respect.

 

Young Goodman Brown, a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story starts like this:

YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.

“Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”

“My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done ‘twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married!”

“Then God bless you!” said Faith, with the pink ribbons, “and may you find all well, when you come back.”

“Amen!” cried Goodman Brown. “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee.”

So they parted; and the young man pursued his way, until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him, with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.

It all starts off nice and sweet but then it gets as sick and twisted as any slasher film. You can find a copy at your local library or bookstore or read it for free online.

 

Plays/Films (READ or SEE)

The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953)

A powerful play about the Salem Witch Trials which also echoes the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s.  This will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up because the truths of this play still run true today.

The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.

If you can find a live production of this play to see or know of a movie version that FOLLOWS THE PLAY then by all means please see this.

 

The Devil’s Disciple (1959 movie, 1897 play)

The Devil’s Disciple is an 1897 play written by Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw. The play is Shaw’s eighth, and after Richard Mansfield’s original 1897 American production it was his first financial success, which helped to affirm his career as a playwright. It was published in Shaw’s 1901 collection Three Plays for Puritans together with Captain Brassbound’s Conversion and Caesar and Cleopatra. Set in Colonial America during the Revolutionary era, the play tells the story of Richard Dudgeon, a local outcast and self-proclaimed “Devil’s disciple”. In a twist characteristic of Shaw’s love of paradox, Dudgeon sacrifices himself in a Christ-like gesture despite his professed Infernal allegiance.

OMG I love this movie. I love this play. Such a fun story. The movie stars Kurt Douglas and Burt Lancaster (who are both hotter than a room full of Helmsworth brothers.)

Either see the play or the film version. This is one of my favorite movies.

 

Last of the Mohicans (1992)

This is not a feel good movie but it is so beautifully filmed and acted. And Daniel Day Louis is absolutely stunning.

A Toast of Thanksviging... and other stuff

A Toast of Thanksviging… and other stuff

 

 

Over the next week I’ll be posting more Thanksgiving fun. So keep checking back. Have fun going over the river and through the woods – and don’t forget to watch for Werewolves.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman