2005 October | baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

baratillo @ cubao : www.baratillo.net

A Ghost Town

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the October 31st, 2005

Makati, the Central Business District or CBD of the Philippines, has become a ghost town. Not in the Halloween sense but it is nearly without its normal multitude of people. Everyone is gone and went on vacation. Except for us, people in call centres and people in other outsourcing companies. I am not complaining though work is work and we are compensated. Its just an eerie feeling seeing almost zero cars around Ayala and Paseo de Roxas.

Happy Halloween!

Additional posts for today

A highway of many uses

The Bride of Frankenstein

The Bride of Frankenstein

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the October 31st, 2005

Last weekend, my nephew and I sat down to watch the Bride of Frankenstein. His younger brother scuttled away upon seeing Boris Karloff’s monster. My nephew stayed glued to the tv set watching the movie. I would not blame My eyes were also fixed to the tv set. It probably is the one of the best films of all time and it is ,at least for me the best Frankenstein movie of all time.

The movie begins with a conversation between Lord Byron, the Poet Shelley and his wife Mary Shelly, Elsa. Amidst, the thunderstorm besieging the castle Mary Shelley, Elsa Lanchester, is more than willing to continue her tale of Frankenstein and his monster.

After a brief recap of events the tale continues. A reformed Frankenstein, still played by Colin Clive, recovers from the fall from the burning windmill and is set to marry. However, unknown to him the monster, Boris Karloff, has survived and his mentor Dr Pretorius has come to visit him. Pretorius played by Ernest Thesiger has also been conducting experiments and needs Frankenstein to give life to his own creation.

The movie seems to have a more meatier story than the first. It develops the story of the monster his pain and the development of his personality. In fact the monster has several poignant scenes in the movie. This is in term off-set by the scene-stealing and devilish scened of Pretorius. My nephews favourite was the scene where Pretorius showcased his creations. And the introduction of Pretorius’ penultimate creation, the Bride, is a scene beyond words and deserves to be etched into the immortal hall of cinema history. Add to this the garnishing of intelligent dialogue between the characters.

The first dialogue between the Monster and Pretorius -

Dr. Pretorius: Do you know who Henry Frankenstein is, and who you are?
The Monster: Yes, I know. Made me from dead. I love dead… hate living.
Dr. Pretorius: You are wise in your generation. We must have a long talk, and then I have an important call to make.

Several critics have further lauded the film because of its sexual undertones and its dance with taboo topics, like homosexuality. This has been explicity explored in the critically acclaimed movie Gods and Monsters, a movie where Sir Ian McKellan essayed the role of Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein’s director Frank Whales. Maybe it is valid and maybe its not. One thing will not change and that this is a fine movie.

Both Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein is actually based on Shelley’s single novel. Whales may have tweaked with the story a bit, but he did it in such a fine way that it is a movie one should not be ashamed of. My nephew and I agree on this.

As the delightfully sinister Dr Pretorius would say, “To a new world of gods and monsters!”

Kenneth Branagh’s version is a bit more faithful to the book, but for sheer cinamtic pleasure, I guess, nothing beats James Whale’s cinematic opus.

It is a nice movie to watch on Halloween Night.

Bride of Frankenstein:
Directed by James Whale. Adapted to the screen by William Hurlbut and John L. Balderston (as John Balderston).Written by Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein
Cast: Boris Karloff as The Monster, Colin Clive as Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Valerie Hobson as Elizabeth Frankenstein, Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius, Elsa Lanchester as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and ? as The Monster’s Mate.

Feast of All Saints and Feast of All Souls

Posted in Politics and Culture by juned on the October 28th, 2005

We have now reached that time of the year when families begin an exodus to the city of the dead. This yearly pilgrimage is done to remember family members and friends who crossed on to the other side. Some believe that it is Catholic’s version of Halloween, A Celtic belief that on the last day of the Celtic Year (October 31) evil spirits roamed the world with intent to create mischief and in order to be safe one had to dress as ghosts, goblins and other demonic denizens. Growing up Filipino and Catholic there was no Halloween Day, it was always November 1 and November 2 - All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

Growing up I assumed (incorrectly) that Halloween and All Saints and All Souls’ Day were the same. As kids we were kind of proud that we celebrated Halloween for two days. Ha ha. It was probably for the best we never went trick or treating. The trick or treating part was done in the gated communities of in Makati and Greenhills at the time. For us November 1 and 2 was going to the graves of our ancestors cleaning the place, probably eating, making wax balls from the melted part of the candle, and saying the novena for the departed members of the family. Some of the other people would actually sleep overnight, played mah-jong, drink; the whole cemetery became alive during November 1 and 2. It was min-city complete with food stalls and on the outskirt a carnival was set-up. Unfortunately, the city of the dead became quite congested with the living and the living leaves trash and others whereever they step.

As the years passed and as the cemetery became more crowded we found it more practical and less stressful to visit our dead a few days or a week before All Saints and All Souls’ day. And a few years ago, my nephew started going trick or treating. The local malls sponsor such events as part of their marketing schemes.

So, I guess Halloween is coming to the Philippines. But, we still celebrate All Saints and All Souls’ day; a little bit different perhaps but the intent of remembering the dead and the saints is still there.
Additional posts for today

Books to read on Halloween, Feast of All Saints and All Souls Day

What is your choice of horror movie?