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"with lewd diabolical gesture"

Happy Friday the 13th!

According to the Edmonton Journal, the five scariest monsters of all time are as follows:
1. the acid-dripping black reptile-like creature on Alien
2. Frankenstein's monster as acted by Boris Karloff
3. Dracula as acted by Bela Lugosi
4. the demon that possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist
5. the werewolf as portrayed in An American Werewolf in London

Do you agree? (That's right - it's poll time!)

What do you think is the scariest monster of all time?

And speaking of monsters...
You're a vampire. And you like it.
Which Popular Halloween Monster Are you?
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Don't miss fungus_files's post today, which is on creature features!

Today's eerie text is "The Dance of the Dead" (the 1902 translation from the original German) by the great Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

The warder he gazes o' the night
On the graveyards under him lying,
The moon into clearness throws all by her light,
The night with the daylight is vying.

There's a stir in the graves, and forth from their tombs
The form of a man, then a woman next looms
In garments long trailing and snowy.

They stretch themselves out, and with eager delight
Join the bones for the revel and dancing --
Young and old, rich and poor, the lady and the knight,
Their trains are a hindrance to dancing.

And since here by shame they no longer are bound,
They shuffle them off, and lo, strewn lie around
Their garments on each little hillock.

Here rises a shank, and a leg wobbles there
With lewd diabolical gesture;
And clatter and rattle of bones you might hear,
As of one beating sticks to a measure.

This seems to the warder a laughable game:
Then the tempter, low whispering, up to him came:
"In one of their shrouds go and wrap thee."

'Twas done soon as said; then he gained in wild flight
Concealment behind the church portal,
The moon all the while throws her bright beams of light
On the dance where they revel and sport all.

First one, then another, dispersed all are they,
And donning their shrouds steal the spectres away,
And under the graves all is quiet.

But one of them stumbles and fumbles along,
'Midst the tombstones groping intently;
But none of his comrades have done him this wrong,
His shroud in the breeze 'gins to scent he.

He rattles the door of the tower, but can find
No entrance -- good luck to the warder behind! --
'Tis barred with blest crosses of metal.

His shroud must he have, or rest can he ne'er;
And so, without further preambles,
The old Gothic carving he grips then and there,
From turret to pinnacle scrambles.

Alas for the warder! all's over, I fear;
From buttress to buttress in dev'lish career
He climbs like a long-legged spider.

The warder he trembles, and pale doth he look,
That shroud he would gladly be giving,
When piercing transfixed it a sharp-pointed hook!
He thought his last hour he was living.

Clouds cover already the vanishing moon,
With thunderous clang beats the clock a loud One --
Below lies the skeleton, shattered.



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
Your poll, I just now realized, is based on the list of scariest movie monsters. My bad, since I named the Lovecraft monster from Pickman's Model (though, if they ever made a movie of THAT, I might be hiding under the covers).

As for my scariest movie monster pick, it's probably a tie between zombies (any zombies, really) and the Blair Witch, even though you never actually see her except in a drawing, but that's enough for me (go figure, girl with fertile imagination here).

And OMG, 'Dance of the Dead'! One of the greatest poems ever. I love Goethe. Love him love him love him.

Alas for the warder! all's over, I fear;
From buttress to buttress in dev'lish career
He climbs like a long-legged spider.


Awesome. :D
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
I believe Pickman's Model was adapted on Night Gallery.
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC)
Good catch!
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:27 pm (UTC)
Oooh, but I like your Pickman's Model choice! It's horrific, yet it leaves almost everything to the imagination. (I didn't mean for that to be movie-specific, anyway. Silly old Edmonton Journal. ;) )

I love The Blair Witch Project. Some people say that once you've seen it, it loses its effectiveness, but I completely disagree. The escalating tension, the sounds, the woods... it's all good. And I think it's brilliant that we only see the witch in the drawing.

I'm so glad you like the Goethe! melissagay just posted some, as well. It's a Goethefest! (Say that three times fast.)

Oh, and my mug has shipped. Wheeee!
Oct. 13th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of the classic monsters! I'm surprised some of the original were on the list given today's pre disposition for the hi-tech, realistic looking type of creeps.
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
I'm 100% with you on the old school preference. The CGIs appear more realistic (though most are obviously still CGIs), but it's very easy to get desensitized to them. Throw some prosthetics on a good actor -- or even a not-so-good actor, LOL! - and creepiness ensues. I just rewatched Nosferatu, and holy cow! All he had were elongated fingers and dark eyeshadow, and he was nightmarish!
Oct. 14th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
Nosferatu definitely has its moments. But it also had some serious pacing issues. For the first hour, it kind of meanders over the events from the first half of the book. Then in the final twenty minutes, it rushes through the material from the second half. Of course, I also make the foolish decision to listen to the commentary track included with the DVD. Except it wasn't called a commentary track. It was called an "audio essay". Or something similarly pretentious. An hour and twenty of my life wasted listening to some bore spouting quasi-Freudian psychobabble at random intervals. At least the intertitles were done in this nifty Gothic type.

A really good ghost flick is The Uninvited with Ray Milland. Unfortunately, it's not on DVD and the VHS recordings are hard to find. I believe it's shown on AMC every Halloween though. It's a textbook example of showing that what you really need for a good ghost movie is a script with a sordid past dug up and plenty of twists in it, a few creepy sounds, and some bad lighting.
Oct. 13th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
I went a little vote-crazy there... Thing is, the monster from Aliens and Werewolf in London both deeply scarred me. But that house in the original Haunting was the worst.

To illustrate how bad it was: At the time I saw American Werewolf in London, I was living in a camper a few yards away from a converted garage were Mom and SD resided... I was so terrified of being out in the dark after the movie, I demanded they install an intercom system. When I had to go to the bathroom, I'd intercom my SD and he'd escort me to the house. This procedure was in place for the entire year I lived in that camper. Why did I see the movie if werewolves scare you Bat-shit crazy, you ask? Duh. The Dr. Pepper Guy! I haven't changed a wit in 25 years, have I?
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
ROFLOL! You are too much! The Dr. Pepper Guy!!!

I like the house from the original Haunting as a choice. It's everywhere, it has no face, and you don't know how it will manifest itself next. Creepy.
Oct. 14th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
The Dr. Pepper Guy!!!

Stalker-girl is born. I knew I'd regret seing that movie for the rest of my life (and I did) but I was powerless.

...the original Haunting

And it manipulates and hypnotizes the lonely and desolate - And it *wins*. You are *never* going to believe what was on AMC last night, in letterbox, uncut. ;-)

Someone else below mentions the Cat People remake... OMG how could I forget that!!! You *HAVE* to see it! Just gorgeous - The atmosphere and casting are just sublime.
Oct. 13th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
you know what's always much scarier to me than actual monsters? or at least more unsettling? things you don't see. :O i.e. john carpenter's the thing, or the evil from the micmac burial ground in pet sematary (book not movie), or the resurrected son in the monkey's paw. i guess because imagining what's out there is scarier than what really is out there, sometimes.

in any case, i am just reveling in all this spooky halloween stuff. :D makes me want to read lovecraft and poe all over again. <3
Oct. 14th, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC)
You know, you're exactly right - when we can only imagine it in our minds, it becomes twice as terrible. I think that's why I liked the Blair Witch Project so much: we never saw the witch. Or anything else, much.

Great point.

I am SO thrilled you're enjoying the posts. You've made my day! :)
Oct. 14th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm NOT a zombie fan........
but vampires = sexy:)
Oct. 14th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm NOT a zombie fan........
LOL! I certainly understand why zombies don't = sexy! ;) No argument there.
Oct. 14th, 2006 03:00 am (UTC)
I, like serpentcoils, like John Carpenter's "The Thing" and wish it could have had a place in there. I'd say it's definitely top 10 material if not top 5.

Geiger's "Alien" is my scary favorite and I'm glad it took top honor! I want to scary-marry an Alien. :)

Another one that I'd like to nominate for the top 10 is the Cat People from the Nastassia Kinsky 1980 "Cat People" remake-- that transformation was horrific.
Oct. 14th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about the fact that "The Thing" and other monsters that are left up to your imagination more than shown in every detail are scarier. Our minds can always come up with something worse that the special effects people can!

I want to scary-marry an Alien. :)


I'm sorry to say I've never seen the Cat People remake. That will have to go down on my "must see" list.
Oct. 14th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for the shout-out. What can it mean when we're on synchronous monster-paths...? (:0

As for scariest monster, I'm not sure if my answer counts as a 'monster,' but the climax of the Japanese version of that film had me cowering against the wall and peeking through my fingers...even though the room was full of people (my sibs, S., and my parents laughing and pointing at me - oh, family...).
Oct. 14th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
The two of us, on the same wavelength? Who'd've thunk it? ;)

I really, really, really need to see the Japanese version. It's very lame that I haven't. The US remake was wonderful. I have the bad habit of laughing during scary scenes - I honestly enjoy getting chills down my spine, it's fun - so when the creepy girl started climbing out of the TV, my shoulders were shaking, I was laughing so hard. I try to be very quiet, but I know it annoys people, that I have a huge grin on my face, and I'm shuddering with suppressed giggles, while everyone else is covering their eyes. But when it happens, it's only because a film is so good -- okay, or really, really bad.

(I don't usually laugh at comedies, on the other hand. Except a precious few: Monty Python, The Princess Bride, Office Space, Galaxy Quest, etc. I think I'm wired wrongly somehow. We watched the AFI's countdown of the funniest films not too long ago, and I kept saying over and over again, "But that's not funny!" LOL!)

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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