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Archive for the ‘Macabre’ Category

Lily Wight

     John Polidori (1795 – 1821) is best remembered as Lord Byron’s travelling companion and personal physician but his short story, The Vampyre (1819) is the first significant vampire tale in English Literature, following on from Lady Caroline Lamb’s less revered Gothic Novel, Glenarvon (1816).

     The Vampyre is rather prosaic and melodramatic for modern tastes yet its brevity and vital role in vampire mythology make it an essential read.  The Vampyre himself, Lord Ruthven, is the original frilly-cuffed brooding immortal; a character endowed with the dangerous dilettantism associated with the Romantic writers and artists who, for many, have come to define the tastes, fashions and attitudes of the Georgian era.  Ruthven’s style of vampirism bridges the gap between the demons and monsters of folklore and the modern vampire anti-hero with his magnetic charisma and troubled conscience.  This new archetype was later perfected and explored by…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 20/05/2014

     It has two long years since Lily Wight brought you the very first images from Disney’s live action adaptation of Sleeping Beauty featuring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, the baddest fairy of them all.

     Maleficent is due for release in UK cinemas on 28th May.  Here is the latest trailer and a peek behind the scenes while you wait…

     Click here for more new on set pictures 🙂

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Lily Wight

     Updated 28/01/2014

     It’s almost a decade since Stephenie Meyer’s first Twilight novel was published and here is the last review of our four book retrospective…

     Breaking Dawn is undoubtedly the most mature and entertaining book in the series with more incident, action and horror than all the previous volumes put together.

     Discerning fans might try to excuse, scan or simply ignore Edward and Bella’s nauseating honeymoon and enjoy instead Jacob’s first person narration of the birth of their monster offspring.

     The Twililght Series has always tended to be a little tame and anaemic but by introducing that classic horror staple – the “demon-child” – Meyer invigorates the tale creating, arguably, a better starting-point for the entire series.

     Unfortunately Meyer bungles the ending by rushing the introductions to an influx of interesting new characters and…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 25/01/2014

     We’re three books – and three reviews in – yet The Twilight Saga refuses staunchly to improve or evolve as its little flashes of brilliance are swamped with so much melodramatic waffle.

     Stephenie Meyer obviously missed the writer’s workshop on “show, don’t tell” because those pages of circular dialogue do not equal plot momentum.

     An inspired chapter on Quileute folklore provides too brief a respite and elevation by delivering a tantalising glimpse into a better book that never was.  More of this and less of Bella might have given the saga more depth to match its breadth.

     Meyer has an unfortunate habit of disappointing readers with ideas and plot-strands which fail to flourish.  She denies Bella the opportunity to embrace the fate of The Third Wife thus denying Eclipse…

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Lily Wight

     Updated 11/01/2014

     It is almost a decade since Stephenie Meyer’s genre-busting archetype-twisting début novel Twilight was published.  Now that this much-loved yet contentious saga is definitely over and RPatz and KStew have gone their separate ways (or have they?) perhaps it is time for a reassessment.

     Fans of hardcore horror and esoteric gothicism will feel vaguely violated by this dilution of Vampire Mythology for the Young Adult market but Twilight heroine, Bella Swan is as clingy as a Spider Monkey 😉

     Unfortunately Twilight’s magnificent PR campaign will forever be superior to its subject and style – melodramatic teen diary destined to alienate literary-minded adults.  It also commits the unfortunate crime of being a mere introduction to better things to come.

     Heroine Bella details her chores one minute and snipes about her perfectly nice and…

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     Perhaps you missed The Mist?  Frank Darabont works his magic on another Stephen King novel with a couple of appearances from The Walking Dead cast.  A new 10 part TV series based on The Mist has just been announced so catch-up now.  It’s more than worth a watch for that ending…

     There’s a great movie you might have missed every month at Lily Wight ~ The Arcade of Arts & Arcana!

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     Updated 23/10/2014

     Samhain – pronounced “sow – inn” and known presently as Halloween – is celebrated from sunset to sunset on 31st October to 1st November.  It is the most important Fire Festival or Sabbat on the ancient Wheel of The Year calendar.

     “Samhain” has been variously translated as “first frost” or “Summer’s end”:  opposing suggestions with the same meaning.  It is the name for November in ancient and modern Gaelic.

     Samhain lies between The Autumn Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  It marks the death of the year and the end of the annual agricultural cycle.  Many ancient cultures throughout The Western Hemisphere regarded Samhain as their New Year’s Eve.

     Samhain is the third and final harvest on The Wheel of The Year calendar.  After Lughnasadh (grain and cereals) and Modron (fruit and vegetables) herding communities drove livestock back from Summer pasture to be housed or slaughtered for winter, furthering the festival’s associations with death.  The eighth century scholar, Bede refers to November as the “blood month”.

     According to ancient beliefs the mythic courtship of a god and goddess symbolised the eternal rotation of seasons.  At Samhain the Goddess, in her crone or hag aspect, midwifes the waning or sacrificed God into the Underworld where he will journey until his rebirth at Yule with the promise of Spring. 

     Crone Goddesses, such as Celtic Ceridwen and Greek Hecate, ease transitions and guard borders and crossroads.  They are keepers of arcane wisdom and herbal lore who are associated with broomsticks (for cleansing thresholds) and cauldrons (for brewing natural medicines).  Halloween “witches” are a modern remnant of this frequently misunderstood ancient archetype.

     Sexy Halloween witches owe their style to The Morrígan, the Gaelic Dark Mother or Raven Goddess  who presides over death and battle – akin to the Scandinavian Valkyries.  At Samhain The Morrígan mates with The Dagda (the Gaelic All-Father) to bring creation from chaos.

     Samhain is considered a liminal time; when the veil between the mortal and the preternatural realms – the living and the dead – is at its thinnest.  Ancestors are remembered and honoured with a variety of worldwide customs that continue to this day, such as the Mexican Dia de Los Meurtos or Day of The Dead.

     Costuming for Halloween is an ancient tradition with many possible origins and purposes.  Celebrants may have daubed themselves with ash from ritual bonfires or disguised themselves to confuse, deter or even consort with mischievous otherworldly creatures before parading from house to house to collect donations for the Samhain feast: the likely origin of trick or treating.

     It wouldn’t be Samhain without a pumpkin lantern.  The gourd was the first domesticated plant species and has been used for carving for thousands of years.  Pumpkin lamps were carved with fearsome faces as festival decorations; to light parades and repel unwelcome spirits.  Jack o’ Lantern was another name for will-o’-the-wisp; strange but naturally occurring flares of marsh gas.  Jack o’ Lantern evolved into a folkloric hero who tricks The Devil in a variety of tales.  Barred from the afterlife he roams the world forever, carrying a single ember from the fires of Hell in his pumpkin lamp.

 

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