Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Vampire, by Dumas [1865]

Links feature is not working like usual; sorry, but you'll have to copy and paste into your browser.


Dumas, of the much more popular "The Three Musketeers" fame. Didn't know he'd written a Gothic too. ;-)

Translated by Frank Morlock. I've just now discovered Frank translated this work and so haven't yet read it.

Mr. Morlock happens to be a member of my "Age of Voltaire" group (Yahoo). I'm also recently a moderator of his "Age Of Enlightenment And Reason" group. If you're interested in 18th century Enlightenment philosophy and history, check us



Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bat [When It Flies, Someone Dies!] 1959

Recently I purchased (used...of course) a copy of "The Bat." Later I was recalling Agnes Moorehead, and a film of hers I've owned about 10 years: "The Bat" - with Vincent Price co-starring. I watched the film upon buying it but haven't since rewatched. I wondered if the film were based on the book (a paperback pulp Gothic? what were the chances? nil...) and checked the Internet Movie Database: Sure enough! :-o The movie is based on the novel. Turns out the author (MRR) was a very talented and accomplished lady, who for a while OUT-SOLD that British powerhouse named Agatha Christie! I don't recall much of "The Bat", frankly none of it, so apparently it didn't make an impression (even if I adore Agnes Moorehead). Will watch it again sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy the following images:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tarn House :: You'll Like My Mother :: Daughter of Despair [and lookalikes]

For all you sons-in-law out there: The 2nd one! :-p I think the model on the cover of "Daughter of Despair" looks a lot like Neve Campbell ala late '90s. I've also seen a cover wherein the model looks very much like Nicole Kidman, Claudia Schiffer, etc. -- celebs who were tots when the cover art was created, if even yet born.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Girl On the Run :: Portrait of a Dead Lady :: The Ice Forest

As in the last post, small but sharp and crisp images. These are obtained via "The Bookshelf":

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crow Hollow: Cover Scan

This is an unusually pretty cover, despite the lack of excessive detail and neutral colors. It's the hint of pale wintry blueness (despite her filmy sleeveless plunge neckline gown!), the murder of crows sitting on a black gnarled tree branch, the STARK RED LETTERING above...it works for me. Simplicity in beauty I guess. I don't own this cover and found its scan at Fantasticfiction.uk.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two Novel Covers [small]

Break out your magnifying glass. ;-) Sorry, I couldn't find a larger online image. Both found via Gothic Bookshelf (seller). The images are crisp and sharp however. I'd particularly like to have the 1st:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vampire Hunter D: The Novels [2]

Yesterday I posted 3 titles and their cover art. This is the 4th of these novels which I purchased yesterday. I've begun reading it, and the story reads like the original Anime film "plays." Very interesting and enjoyable. There are other novels as well, and of course their cover art can be found via Google Images.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vampire Hunter D: The Novels

This past Friday, while browsing in Hasting's, I noticed one of these novels for sale. Hadn't known VHD had been novelized, though it didn't surprise me. I also noticed it's a serial collection and was curious to see what selection Barnes & Noble might have. Turns out B & N has nearly every title, and I bought 4 of them (will try to find a photo of the 4th tomorrow). I *love* Vampire Hunter D, immediately liked the original 1985 Anime film back then.

These books are NOT graphic novels. They are labeled as Manga, despite reading right to left and only containing 9 or 10 illustrations. The style is prose. The creator of VHD wrote these novels in the mid-1980s, and around 2006 they were finally translated into English. :-)

The cover art are gorgeous. I got these from Google Images and none of the scans really do the art justice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dracula, by Bram Stoker [1897] *Review 1*

After reading extensively about this classic novel in the book which accompanies "The Vampire Tarot" by Robert M. Place (that Tarot deck is based upon Stoker's novel), I decided to read the novel itself (my copy's cover is that shown).

Far be it from me to review "Dracula," much less approve of it, but wow -- it truly IS a masterpiece. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars it would rate 500. I'm halfway through the novel and will jot down my impressions of it so far.

First off, I'm amazed an Englishman of his day could write female characters (Mina and Lucy) so well. The ladies' diaries and letters sound so authentic, as if actually written by women of the time. All characters are likeable (except for the Count of course), and I've fallen in love with Jonathan Harker. ;-) A genuine Gothic atmosphere pervades the book, including fantasy-type imagery I wouldn't have thought possible for an author of the late 19th century.

At first I was skeptical the "diary/journal entries, letters, telegrams" style of the novel would work. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to imagine Mina or Dr. Seward not getting horrific writing cramps, but the style DOES work. The entire novel is written from a "collection" of each main character's 1st-person accounts and observations.

And it is precisely that which keeps this novel MOVING. It must have been considered a very fast-paced and exhilirating read in 1897 because it keeps this 21st century gal turning the pages. You know how old novels tend to be: It takes the author 10 pages to move characters from exiting the door to being down at lane's end picking daisies. :-P Yeah, I know life was slower then...but Stoker's novel is NOT like that. It keeps clipping right along.

Stoker was bold and daring. It paid off.

Will write 2nd and final review when I've completed this treasure.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blade Runner [1982]

Ah, Blade Runner; what's not to love? Who didn't find the opening scene of "The Hades Landscape" breathtaking, and with the Vangelis soundtrack combined? Magnificent.

It needs no review from me. I love sci-fi and while this isn't "a Gothic," I definitely do enjoy the dark mood and brooding quality of the film - particularly in the winter; this is a winter film for me. The detective aspect of it is another draw, and I prefer the version which contains Deckard's monologue.

The city. Who wouldn't be drawn for a visit?

And the lovely Rachael. She's my favorite character. I only wish they'd written something profound for her to say.

I missed seeing the film in a theater in 1982. I hope it's re-released to the Big Screen for its 30th (gosh...can it be??) anniversary in 2012.

*First posted this in January 2009. I enjoy the film so much, particularly this time of the year, I couldn't resist reposting it.*

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Master of the Blue Mire [cover scan]

I found this day before last at an online bookseller's site. It's a beautiful cover which immediately caught my eye, particularly the blueness. You can see the splashing of water as the girl hurriedly steps into a pond.

As Photobucket.com won't open for me today (it's so glitchy), I've gone back to the web site and copied the page where the cover appears LARGE:


The publication year was listed as 1971. I'd like to have this novel and will check local used bookstore; they've got half a dozen Coffman titles.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bride of Darkness, by Margery Lawrence [1967]

Correct cover art, different title and author. This book's title is in bold white letters at upper left-hand corner. The true color is a sinister bile green with mossy hightlights. In the lower right-hand corner are these words in white italics: "Beneath the lovely facade of a modern young wife lurked an evil -- as ancient and indestructible as time."

The story purports to be true. Its author, Margery Lawrence, begins in the Foreword: "Most readers of this book will regard it as a piece of pure fantasy, but in fact it is not. It is the true and exact account (except in a few places where I have altered the 'coloring' of the story in order to avoid any possible identification with places or people) of the marriage of a friend whom I will call, for obvious reasons, Mr. X. Mr. X is a scientist of considerable attainments..."

Blah blah. The story opens on Keith Randolph, 27-ish Englishman. The story is told from his perspective. While on business in Italy on his father's behalf, Keith meets Gilda: A gorgeous red-headed sculptor, and a widow, who works in her father's home. Her father is a wealthy collector and antiquarian. Keith is madly attracted to Gilda; she's smooth and coy. Soon they're married and burning up the marriage bed. She'd always wanted an English husband, and soon they settle in London. Things go fine for a while; Gilda has a few oddities about her, including refusal to take any salt in her food. She's also always offering to "do" other peoples' hair and nails; claims to have been a former stylist and manicurist. Keith's father, wealthy in his own right, becomes progressively ill. Keith finds little envelopes filled with hair clippings and nail trimmings of various people (their names are written on each envelope in Gilda's hand) in a mysterious box in her work desk. Hmmmm! Soon Gilda becomes pregnant; and she's FURIOUS about it. The baby (Noel) is born and Gilda shows no care for her child; let the nanny do everything. She's cold, callus, super-selfish; Keith becomes increasingly frustrated and enraged by Gilda's "turn" of character.

But a bright spot in Keith's life: Chloris. She's the daughter of his father's long-time Grecian friend (or something). Chloris and her Aunt Mary relocate to London as well; Chloris begins working for a magazine. They've known each other for ages and Keith gradually begins to fall in love with Chloris. Aunt Mary's lady servant recognizes Gilda for what she is: A witch! Despite the shocked utterance accompanied by fainting on the woman's part, despite all evidence he's seen/experienced, Keith is "shocked" and must run to a dictionary to ensure he understood the Greek word the woman used against his wife. Right.

As the Randolphs' marriage continues to sour and the health of their son, Noel, continues to falter, Gilda is suddenly summoned to Italy: Her father. Who soon dies. Seems lots of people die around Gilda at the most opportune times. Meanwhile, Keith nobly plans how to save his faltering infant son, Noel, from his mother; she's away in Italy and he has time...which he fritters away wringing his hands when he's not taking Chloris out for drinks and dancing. >:-( It's very easy to see the social mores/values of the time in these old novels: An angry witch will carry a child to term rather than abort it; a man cannot divorce his wife and must stand idly by (sort of) until she returns home.

The story is chatty, chatty, chatty. Lots of descriptives of dress, hairstyles, jewelry. Painstaking detail about EVERYTHING. That was a major turnoff, and after page 108 I had enough and skimmed to the ending:

Which is happy of course. Gilda gets hers in the end. Noel is spared (thankfully!), Keith and Chloris are free to love and marry; they have 3 children.

I give it 3 stars out of 5. It's good writing and entertaining, just...tedious.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Tulip Tree (cover scan) - *ENLARGED*

Absinthe of the former "Gloomy Sunday" blog scanned this. She offered me copy/use of her images...and then she was gone (November '08).

I've not been able to find this book/cover locally.

This post is in honor of Shaun's friendship: Seven years of fun discussing astronomy, planetary science, manned spaceflight and Mars colonization at two message boards. Farewell, my Aussie friend. :*-(

p.s.: Finally got stupid Photobucket to open/work. Enjoy the larger version.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Girl on the Moon & Her Vampire

Image from "The Vampire Tarot" by Robert M. Place, found via Google Images. Last night while continuing to read the accompanying book, I came across the author's reference to a patient of Jung's. Mr. Place quotes the source of the case -- Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" -- which I read probably 5 years ago. Mr. Place retells the case perfectly, and I thought it might be of interest, so I'll quote him:

"Jung related a fantasy of an 18-year-old female catatonic patient under his care, in which a vampire symbolized her Animus and became the catalyst for her healing. As he stated later, her condition stemmed from being seduced by her brother. Because incest is traditionally associated with royalty and divinities, this experience transported her to a mythic realm. She gradually became more and more isolated and odd, until she was completely silent. Jung worked with her for weeks, and when he finally persuaded her to speak, she depicted her catatonic state as a fantasy in which she had been living on the moon.

She said that the men on the moon kept their wives and children in sublunar dwellings so that they would be safe from a vampire who lived in the mountains. As a favor to the moon people, the patient planned to destroy the vampire. To accomplish this, she waited for him on a tower erected for this purpose and had a sacrificial knife concealed under her gown. Day after day she waited until he drew close. His appearance was that of a large black bird with several pairs of wings. His iridescent black feathers totally hid his face, and when he was finally within reach she was seized by a curiosity to find out what he looked like. Suddenly the wings opened, revealing a man of unearthly beauty, and she was spellbound and unable to strike. Then, the vampire seized her with an iron grip and flew away with her.

After this, she was able to speak and could no longer return to her catatonic state. Gradually she returned to complete health, was married and had a natural full life.

When the female patient began to wonder what her Animus looked like, she began to interact with him consciously and he transformed into a healing catalyst."

Cool huh? ;-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

More Bitter Than Death (cover scan)

Found this beauty (published in 1962) at the local used bookstore the same day I found "The Master of Phoenix Hall" (posted very recently). Both books are in near-mint condition, particularly this one. It'll likely be a while before I get around to reading MBTD, although it's definitely in my 10-stack of "read soon" Gothics. Meanwhile I'm 2/3 of the way through a current Gothic.

{p.s.} If you look closely enough, the girl is wearing a blue-beaded necklace which is swinging off to the viewer's left as she flees.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

House on Somber Lake, by Alix de Marquand [1968]

Unfortunately I couldn't find a cover scan for this novel, but it's simple enough to describe: Picture the "Easy Eye" logo at cover's top with "Large Type Non-Glare Paper" at its side. The art itself: Picture the Bates House in upper left-hand corner, beneath it a girl (Gillian) with shoulder-length straight brown hair in a red/white checked sleeveless dress who looks a lot like Hilary Swank aged 25. In cover's middle is marshland/ponds. The sky is gloomy/overcast. At cover's right side is a column of black smoke which looks like a tornado falling down. Gillian is looking at the column of smoke with trepidation.

This novel is a hoot. I've not finished it and am not sure I will, because it is so poorly edited and is flat-out zany. It starts out well enough; Gillian's on a train. She seems wise and level-headed. The train comes to an abrupt stop. Her friends, Sidney and Marylois, decide to exit the train and tramp to the nearby small town until the train's troubles are repaired (they have NO idea how long or short in duration this will be). Gillian of course thinks this is highly foolish of Sidney and Marylois; yet she decides to follow them! Gillian gets off the train, searches for her friends. They're nowhere in sight. Now she's confused. The train whistle blows and she runs for it; too late! That stupid Sidney and Marylois; how dumb could THEY have been?? :-p

Well Gillian's a heckuva lot dumber, because she suddenly finds herself in a quicksand-type bog which nearly kills her (who's the idiot now, again??). A strange man hears her cries for help however, and comes to rescue her. His name is Edward Webley.

Webley's a recluse. He has little money. Despite wishing to be left alone in this dreadful world of 1968 and being nearly flat-broke, he has an older married couple as hired hands. Makes no sense; little money, lots of time, claims to be a recluse and yet he's got "help."

Webley puts Gillian up for the night. But tomorrow she's GOT TO GO. He's never had guests before and dadblame it, she'll be the last. And he's not going to take her to her "new" (sight as yet unseen) house; the hired help will drive her there.

Next morning Webley's tearing down the road with Gillian as his passenger. Seems he's changed his mind awful sudden: Now HE will take her to the sight-unseen house she's bought.

They arrive at the house, which isn't a cottage but a villa; it's made of dark gray stones. Only the bedroom is furnished. Later we discover it's a cottage after all, and is pretty much furnished throughout. Another contradiction.

Gillian has no car of her own. She's nearly out of money (yet later offers to loan Webley money), no job, no foodstuffs in the house. Because of this, you guessed it: She'll be a guest in Webley's home again tonight (despite his adamant stance it'd be the one night only). They head for the car. Get in. Gilliam SLAMS the car door (she has a penchant for this). Webley's at the wheel, begins to drive off. Next thing we read, she's FOLLOWING him in the rain as he walks ahead of her; she watches the movements of his shoulders in the rainfall. They're sopping wet as they get into the car. *sigh*

She's going to spend the 2nd night at Webley's house, right? Nope, now Mr. Recluse (who hasn't seen the outlying towns in aeons) is taking her into town; to a bar, where people hate him. They're at the bar so Marylois can come pick Gillian up.

However, the novel does have a certain charm because of all its flaws. It also does have a solid enough storyline. I think the author was probably rather young, and didn't benefit from a good editor; a pity, because it had true promise imo. If I finish it, I'll do another review.

My Gothic Jewelry

This will soon be ordered. It's due to Jake. We're no longer brother and sister. I'll always cherish you, Jake; regardless. Thanks for practically killing my heart.

I have a garnet ring similar to this one, except mine is fancier with a fine filigree. Can't find a pic on the 'net of it.

Pugin Cross ring. A heavy man's ring. Wear it on my left forefinger. No one seems to notice though; hmmmm. This one is copyrighted 1998 by The English Alchemy Carta; I ordered it from England years ago.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Vampire Tarot, Dracula & Carl G. Jung

"The vampire of European legend is a repulsive, ugly monster, the stinking reanimated bloodsucking corpse of a criminal, a suicide victim, an alcoholic, a heretic or other social misfit who crudely preys (on others);...folk beliefs do not attest to the intelligence of this monster...who rarely strays far from home.

+However+, the vampire of modern novels and cinema bears little resemblance to his folkloric predecessor. He is likely to be a romantic wealthy noble who has lived for centuries, travels far, has his choice of beautiful women for prey, intelligence (etc.); he or she may also be beautiful and the focus of sexual desire.

To comprehend the connection, and yet dissimilarities, between the folk and the literary fantasy, the observations of the famous pioneer of psychology, C.G. Jung (1875 - 1961) are helpful. Jung observed that whereas passive fantasy -- the fantasies produced in dreams, visions, delusions and folktales -- "bear a morbid stamp," active fantasy -- a therapeutic, conscious exploration of a fantasy, one that takes place in the arts as well as in therapy -- "is one of the highest forms of psychic activity." Applying this observation to our vampire theme, we see that the folk traditions of the vampire are passive fantasies and bear a morbid stamp. In Jungian terms, this morbid quality occurs because these fantasies are unconscious projections of fears that derive from a powerful inner force or archetype. The archetype that they derive from is one that Jung termed the Shadow, which is a depository in the unconscious for all aspects of the personality that most people consciously disown.

The literary vampire, on the other hand, is a work of art, which is a conscious exploration of the unconscious. The archetype that it calls on is primarily the one that Jung labeled the Anima (male psyche) or Animus (female psyche)...personifications of the soul that can appear as either a negative or positive influence. In fact, when explored in a fantasy, the Anima or Animus tends to transform from negative to positive and become a guide to greater wisdom. Because it is a conscious fantasy, the literary vampire is a personification of the Anima or the Animus, and owes more to the mythical themes of gods and lovers...that is why it can become the theme of a Tarot deck."

[The Vampire Tarot book, pages 69 & 70]

As an armchair student of Jung's, I found this fascinating! Sorry for any typo's that I might not have caught after proofing.

p.s.: I should add that I wasn't aware Mr. Place is a student of Jung's nor that Jungian psychology is applied to "Dracula" in this book and Tarot, when I purchased it. What a delightful surprise this has been! :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Vampire Tarot, by Robert M. Place [2009]

As recently mentioned, I purchased this deck in late November. Have been reading the accompanying book (will post regarding it tomorrow). Last evening and this, I unwrapped and studied the cards. They are *MESMERIZING* - bold and powerful! I've not yet encountered so powerful a Tarot deck as this one, but then it IS rooted in the application of Jungian psychology to Bram Stoker's "Dracula." The art is phenomenal, imo; certain cards have an almost 3-D effect, as if you could push your finger into it and feel textures. I was instantly engrossed. The colors are enticing, and some are tones and hues I've never seen before. Also, many lovely contrasts with stark solid black. :-)

My only criticism of the deck are the Court cards: I dislike historical figures used to represent some of them (others are represented by fictional characters). Why do I dislike the use of historical figures? Because they were real people, and why should I presume each individual *would have* represented the essence of the card?

I wanted to include as many scanned cards as possible in this post (found via Google images), but NONE of the scans do the cards true justice. If you think the images in this post are lovely then buy the deck, see the real cards and prepare to have your socks knocked off.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Master of Phoenix Hall (cover scan)

Have just now obtained this terrific cover scan via Ecrater. The colors are true (thank you whoever you are!). I found this Gothic at the local used bookstore today. The title on the spine was unfamiliar, it was on the top shelf; I'm glad I reached up to check the cover...it is *gorgeous.* :-) Instantly one of my absolute favorites. The girl with her flowing gown and lovely white gloves, tapering lit candle, ancient weaponry, another gloomy dungeon door; and notice the three dangling skulls. Fabulous! Had to share it now. Probably will read after I've finished two current Gothics.

p.s.: Until I can get my Photobucket.com account to open (to host the original larger image), here's the scan's link:


Friday, January 1, 2010

The Cry of the Cat (cover scan)

Trixie's all-time favorite cover art. I have a copy of this novel; it's probably many months away as reading goes. Thought I'd start off the new year with a nod to my co-reviewer. ;-) No hangover here; in fact, we forgot about the Smirnoff altogether! It would have been a toast and few sips. Have half a day's work ahead of me, which is great; I'm a workaholic and generally can't abide 3-day weekends. Happy 2010!