Bringing Together, Tearing Apart: The Role of Media

Both Dracula and American Psycho present the themes of their eras trough the use of media. Dracula is a composite of people’s journals, newspaper clippings, and epistolaries. This is a reflection of the Victorian idea of human beings finding a human connection. With the new typewriters, notes and ideas and connections are made at quicker rates. The rise in literacy and education  in this time period also ensure that it is being read by more people. All this leads to a sense of a real connection to another person. By doing this, the reader gets to view Dracula as an outsider, a stranger foreigner who holds power over others by being one of the few viewpoints not present within the novel.

     American Psycho uses media to create a sense of isolation. Patrick Bateman  lists what’s playing at the club like it’s the soundtrack to his life. He is being stalked by Les Miserables, though he seems unaware of it. He and his friends where only the labels the media tells them the rich and powerful wear. Since they wish to be rich and powerful they wear those designers which the media latches onto, telling its consumers “Look, powerful, monied people are wearing our clothes. You should too.” and so the cycle continues.  Bateman makes sure to tell the reader what was on The Patty Winters Show that morning ( I have to mention that I was a little panicked when at one point I realized  didn’t know what the previous episode had been and had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to check.). Everything is fixed. Everything is a series of instructions, rules and patterns whose entire purpose is to perpetuate itself, rather than bring people together or perpetuate communication.  Unlike Dracula, there is no sense of connecting to others, only doing what one s told. It brings a suffocating sense of isolation, and isolation will turn so people mad. Bateman’s madness is more exacerbated by the isolation, leading to the first killings.

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Now Playing in your nightmares: Murderous Touring Cast Edition. Buy your tickets today!

(image grabbed at random from Google image search)

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Happy Horror Day

Credit:This picture came to me through Facebook, but is apparently the product of SuedeHeadComic.

Happy Horror Day

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Creative Blogging: A Nightmare

There are vampires and werewolves at the door and windows at the front of the house. My bad. I’m the one who saw that it was dark and there was full moon – orange tinted-  outside and said out loud “Sure, and there’s zombies, vampires and werewolves at the front of the house.” The others had been slamming doors. Shouting about how “they’re going to get us.” Very action-horror movie. I look out through the blinds. There they come all in a nice little group. Friendly with each other. Bloodthirsty trick-or-treaters. I’m okay with it. I’m in the bathroom with the door locked. There’s only the one window and there’s far too many of them, so they have to stick with occasionally throwing an arm or clawed hand through. I can wait until morning. The zombies? They’re in the hallway, trying ineffectively to break in. I’m fine with that too.

Anything’s better than being in the hallway.

Before all the zombies and vampires and werewolves,  we ( I can never remember who the ’we’ are, but it’s at least two others)  were hiding in my room, at the back of the house.  Getting from there to the bathroom meant going down the hallway. The hallway with the blind side of a corner. The one that’s always dark, even with the light on. That I always felt I had to run down when it was empty because something was right behind me. Saying “It’s not there” guarantees it was there,. The fact that it never made any signs of its presence proved that it existed. Now there were zombies in the hallway, which made it safer.

The door of the bathroom splinters, enough for me to notice there are werewolves there too. This. This was definitely. No, this was definitely not part of my plan. Werewolves might actually make it through the door. They’d bring the thing that didn’t exist in the hallway with them. I rush forward towards the hall. It’s the stupidest plan, therefore the best.

I’m in the living room. The vampires, zombies and all have decided too keep after the bathroom. I said they were coming to get us. I never said they were smart. Though the werewolves at the bathroom door worried me.

Just me now. The others are off, in their own little action/ horror movie worlds, holing up until daytime, when the monsters will wander off, punching their cards on the way.

Except for the thing that doesn’t exist.  It’s in the living room. There’s a cloudy overcast sort of light from the patio, showing me only the ordinary, everyday furniture.  That’s how I know. I can feel it, oppressively not being there.

The phone in the kitchen rings. I want this to be an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? There should be heavy breathing, a Monster Clown’s voice, a zombies droning “Braaaains?”. There should be a dial tone. A lack of dial tone. There needs. To be. Something.

There isn’t.

That’s how I know it’s there.

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The Climbme Tree

Species: ClimbMe This picture didn’t end up becoming part of my official blog post, but I feel the need to put it here anyway. I’m not sure of the genus, but I’m pretty sure it is of the Please Climbme species.  A history of broken bones prevents me from trying but look at it, it begs to be clambered on and climbed.

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Structure and Nature

Physical structures Imply power due to the effort that goes into creating them. Building a man-made structure, no matter how large, requires building materials and manual labor and the resources to procure these things. The more of these things that a person can afford, the larger the structure is more likely to be, thus  proving their social status/power. In addition, the Man-made structure is being erected in a natural setting and serves as a symbol of Man’s dominating Nature.

The picture appears to be a reversal of that idea. Ivy and various trees have been planted so as to mostly conceal the University Theatre from view, but a closer inspection reveals that the ivy grows along trellises, and has obviously needed to be trimmed in order to prevent it from covering up the theatre’s actual entrance. Moreover, one notes that the tress would have had to have been planted there purposely and allowed to grown, meaning hat the theatre is concealed on purpose. This makes sense as it a theatre building, Theatre thrives on  imagination, a wild and untamed landscape within the mind. The careful crafted “untamed” Nature that surrounds it implies that the structure has more to do with the natural world that cocoons it than the  Martin Luther King Library next door.

The structure also comes with an implied sort of horror. The entrance to the theatre juts out to be noticeable, but it is still surrounded on all sides, by Nature. Man-made structures are created by encroaching on Nature; in this picture, Nature is encroaching on the structure. If there were no proper care, the building could easily be “swallowed up” by the ivy. The closeness of the trees suggest a small gang of foliage, growing larger, possibly even closer together over the years due to their expanding girth.  The horror comes from the idea of the plant life overwhelming the structure,  of Nature winning the fight against Man,  serving  as a reminder that human beings are not in fact as powerful as they  want to believe they are.

20130904_083642 Ivy Controllers

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The Supernatural in Castle of Otranto

     One of the elements of Gothic fiction Horace Walpole presents in his novel The Castle of Otranto is the element of the unexplained supernatural. Within the first two chapters alone, the young prince Conrad is unceremoniously murdered by a giant helmet, and his fiancée is aided in her escape by the timely appearance of a ghostly portrait and a giant leg encased in armor. Taken in conjunction with how easily the peasants believe  a random bystander to be a necromancer can lead to the conclusion that these are merely the imaginings of superstitious peasants, but they are not presented to us from a peasants view. In each case, it is Prince Manfred who is effect by it. It is Manfred who is present at all these occurrences, either as a witness or as the person hearing about it, and at no point does he completely dismiss the possibility of their existence. The fact that a presumably educated, wealthy man accepts the supernatural lends it a legitimacy that it would not otherwise have. Manfred’s fear of the prophecy  predicting his family’s downfall also lends credence to his beliefs; if these ghosts are walking, the prophecy must be coming true. At the same time, it could be argue that the prophecy is coming true only because the ghosts are walking.
    Each element of the supernatural events include a portion of a giant body part. It is an enormous helmet that crushes Conrad, an a Gigantic leg that stops the servants Jacques and  Diego from pursing Isabella. Even the prophecy states “ (t)hat the castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family, whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it.” (14). The parts seen are suggested to belong to the castle’s “true” owner, Alfonso the Good. Alfonso’s title alone places him I sharp contrast to Manfred, who is known for not only being tempestuous in his emotions, but also refusing to indulge in his moments of kindness, for fear of being thought weak. If the supernatural is indeed real, then it is a sign of Goodness coming to redeem the castle and the landscape it inhabits, leading to fear of what Manfred’s fate would be at the end of the novel.

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