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"death-pale were they all"

First, some links to share:

** sneezythesquid reminded me of the wonderful 30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library, which includes "retellings" of some classic Halloween-friendly films, such as The Exorcist, Night of the Living Dead, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, among others. Take a peek: these stories take on new life when retold by a troupe of animated bunnies in 30 seconds!

** One of the creepiest public service announcements ever must be 1973's "Lonely Water," in which Donald Pleasance voices the "Spirit of the Water," who is portrayed as a Grim Reaper figure, waiting to claim unsuspecting children who didn't practice safety while at play. View it here.

** For information on the origins of Halloween, as well as recipes, video clips, and related DVDs, visit the History Channel's "History of Halloween" site.

And now, back to the countdown. According to the Edmonton Journal, the second scariest poem of all time is "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by John Keats (1819). (To see some excellent examples of the Pre-Raphaelites' paintings based on this poem, go here.)

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she gaz'd and sighed deep,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes--
So kiss'd to sleep.

And there we slumber'd on the moss,
And there I dream'd, ah woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd--"La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 9th, 2006 12:31 pm (UTC)
LOL! Scary for men, maybe, but it makes me laugh and go 'oh, pull yourself together!'

There's not an ounce of romance in my soul :)
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:32 am (UTC)
Love your icon.
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:11 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks! But it's not as cool as yours :)
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! Snagged from the guys at Penny Arcade. :)
Oct. 9th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
Speaking of the history of Halloween, have you read Death Makes a Holliday: a Cultural History of Halloween by David J. Skal? I thought it was an excellent book.
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for the recommendation! Obviously, I must read this book. :) I'm so glad you told me about it.
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
scribbulus_ink posted an excerpt from this book today, actually: LINK

It does look like a fab, fun book. :)
Oct. 11th, 2006 12:35 am (UTC)
Oooh, thanks! It does indeed look fun. Thanks so much for the heads up on the excerpt!
Oct. 9th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
I am seeing gorey bunnies!

LOL, I was really busy this weekend so I was reading but not responding to your entries. I just wanted to let you know how cool they were!

That public service announcement was horrible! Kids see scarrier stuff in entertainment but I bet if that were a current public service announcement it would receive complaints and get pulled.

I have liked the romantic "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" paintings but I never read the Keats so I didn't know she was creepy! LOL! Not quite the romantic thing I thought they were.
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your kind words!

Aren't the bunnies a hoot? I must confess that my favorite of the 30-second shorts is The Highlander, not only because I love the film, but also because I love the wee little bunny voice at the beginning singing the theme song. Too funny!

I agree with you - a contemporary audience (at least an American one) wouldn't stomach that creepy public service announcement. It's so morbid it's funny, though!

Your comment about "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" cracked me up. It is quite a shock to move from those familiar, romantic images to the actual story! Then again, I guess many of those painters' subjects were rather dark. Just look at "The Lady of Shalott." She's essentially dying in the beautiful painting by Waterhouse (and looking gorgeous while doing so)!
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
PS. I like your icon! :) And it's especially appropriate for this time of year.
Oct. 9th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
The 30-second bunny films were really, really strange. I liked the Lonley Water clip, very cool. It's seems to be UK in origin, which doesn't surprise me much. They always seem to have cooler movies, cooler shows, cooler actors, and now, cooler commercials. Except for the Teletubbies, can't account for them. *shudder*
Oct. 11th, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
Yep, I think you're exactly right about the British origin of the "Lonely Water" clip coming through clearly. It strikes me that of the four shows I follow regularly, two of them now are from the BBC. Great, great writing, production values, etc. We just won't talk about the Teletubbies. ;)
Oct. 10th, 2006 12:10 am (UTC)
Another great post. *would cartwheel if one knew how to cartwheel*

I've been gorging myself on the Bunnies (so to speak...actually, considering the time of year...).

"Alone and palely loitering" - this always makes me snigger. Have witnessed many an unrequited crush in various office workplaces where this was the case. All very tragicomic.
Oct. 11th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Better not cartwheel in your condition. But I appreciate the thought. :) (*hugs to you and the funglet*)

I've been gorging myself on the Bunnies

There's some Silence of the Lambs joke about serving them with fava beans and chianti just begging to be made here...

"Alone and palely loitering"
This makes me think of the "no loitering" signs that occasionally appear here and there. I think a sign saying "no loitering alone and palely" would be fun. :)
Oct. 10th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
Oooo... ever read the "Many-Coloured Land" series by Julian May? I'm sure you have it's right up your alley. Anyway, one of the characters is an archetypal "La belle dame sans merci"!
Oct. 11th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
I've read about Julian May, but I've never read this series. :( *makes note on my MUST READ list* Brilliant! Thanks so much for the recommendation!

Oct. 11th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
The style may or may not be to your liking, but the way that he took old myths and stories and wove them into a race of beings that explains why these myths came into being. The Jester, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the Flying Dutchman, the Berserker - and a very interesting story setup. I enjoyed them!
Oct. 10th, 2006 08:31 am (UTC)
sneezythesquid reminded me of the wonderful 30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library

A pleasure to be of service! *bows*

Donald Pleasance voices the "Spirit of the Water,"

He had such a great voice. He's what really made the original Halloween flick work. And Prince of Darkness.
Oct. 11th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
Yep, the Pleasance voice was made of awesome. I'm suddenly reminded, though, of the MST3K of Puma Man - how's that for a random connection? - in which he insisted on saying "P-yuma" instead of "P-ooma," and all the guys in the Satellite of Love made merciless fun of him.

Still, great voice. The voice of doom.

And you are always of great service, Squid Man. Your recs rule!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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