Welcome back, y'all. Hope you're having fun preparing for Halloween. I know I am. My wedding anniversary is on the 31st. I mainly did this due to a previous relationship with someone who didn't do holidays. I wanted an excuse to make a big deal out of Halloween every year. Once it was done, I started to regret that choice. It put us in the place of having to decide whether or not to celebrate Halloween *or* our anniversary. However, now I see it differently. It actually gives us an excuse to celebrate twice. I kind of love that now. :) Anyway, shall we continue with the serial killer films today?
First up today is From Hell.
Oh, come on. You knew that was coming. I totally enjoy watching Johnny Depp work. He seems to pick projects that instantly appeal to me. Anyway, I've long studied Jack the Ripper. (That should come as no surprise either.) I've read the comic book from which they borrowed the title for this film. It has very little else in common with it--other than the theory of who the culprit was and even that isn't entirely original. That said, I'm going to say something unpopular. I prefer the film to the comic book. Something about the comic book turned me off. (I don't remember what it was now.) The film has its problems. (Remember, few films don't.) But at least it attempts to point out the plight of women in an era when they weren't permitted access to well-paying jobs and few paying jobs at all. (Thus, the heavy-handed emphasis to this day upon het relationships, 'marrying well,' and romance being THE Mono-story for female characters. For me, the best parts of this film are mopey Johnny Depp being dragged out of his self-destructive spiral to do what he does best--making Sergeant Peter Godly the hero on so many levels and one of my faves, the secret royal love child, and Ian Holm's performance as Sir William Gull. The overall design of the piece is pretty great too.
Next, Sweeney Todd.
I'm picky about my musicals. Very. I love this one. It's just so...deliciously wicked. There's also the Angela Lansbury version which is quite good. The costumes in the Depp version sometimes throw me off, but largely it's wonderful end to end. And how can you not love a little priest? [cough]
And now, Silence of the Lambs.
I read Thomas Harris'novel a year or two before I saw the film, by the way. It's excellent and I highly recommend it. His Red Dragon is a good novel too. However, it and the film aren't quite as great IMHO. Largely because Red Dragon lacks Clarice, who is a wonderful well-written, three-dimensional character. Anyway, I didn't see The Silence of the Lambs without a whole wealth of background information. So, I don't know how much of it made it to the screen. It seemed to me that most of it did--which is the best one can hope for, really. The movie is intensely creepy and violent. So, prepare yourself for a rough ride. To this day I can't watch certain parts of it. (I walk into the other room until the scene is done.) There's so much to love about this movie. Jodie Foster is amazing in it, and so are Anthony Hopkins and Scott Glen. It's worthy of every one of the Academy Awards it got. One of the things that super-creeped me out about Hannibal Lector is that he's an evil combination of psychologist and Sherlock Holmes. Best evil character concept ever. Also, Buffalo Bill is a combination of actual serial killers: Ted Bundy, Gary Heidnik, and Ed Gein who also was the inspiration for another film I'll talk about tomorrow.
 I've even been on the Jack the Ripper tour in London. The best part of which was when we went into an alley in Whitechapel near The Ten Bells. The tour guide told us it was much like how it was then (except much cleaner) and then turned off his flashlight. It was seriously like being in a cave. I couldn't see a damned thing, even once my eyes adjusted. It was creepy as fuck. Imagining being there alone with a strange man to have sex for money did me in. It stayed with me for a long time too. So much so, that that alley makes an appearance in my next novel, Blackthorne, by the way--only I've added light, trash, and a corpse. ;)
 A story featuring a woman as a character 9 times out of 10 will feature her a) in a relationship b) being attractive to a male and thus, relationship potential, c) having lost a relationship and working to gain another...blah, blah, blah. Male characters are permitted to be themselves with their own goals. Women, not so much. Somehow, a man with relationship potential always features in the plot somewhere.
 Also, when I begged for my ex-BF to take me to see it in the theater he was so creeped out by it that he insisted I wasn't to make him see another serial killer film EVER AGAIN. That struck me as particularly funny since he was kind of an asshole.
 Who used the 'broken arm" routine to get his victims to help him and then attack them--often using the arm cast to stun them. Read The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. It'll remove any idea you might have of instantly spotting a serial killer. She worked on a suicide hotline with him for years and had no idea.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.