The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Since I found Serenity... Firefly flew by me when the short lived sci-fi/horror series first ran in 2002. I was buried in writing my vampire novel. I caught the first televised episode, thought it was interesting, and went back to work. I wish I had made time for it. When Serenity (Widescreen Edition), the movie based on the television series, landed in the theaters I watched it and thought it the best movie I'd seen of the year. Set 500 years in the future at the edges of the known 'Verse, Serenity is like the original Star Wars if it had stayed in Han Solo's milieu. The crew of the Serenity are criminals AND Big Damn Heroes. In the movie they face three horrific threats. One is the Reavers, men believed to have gone mad after staring too long at the blackness of space. Zoe, the first mate, describes Reavers as characters who "If they board us, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skin to their clothes. And if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."

[chased by a Reaver aircraft] Jayne Cobb: How come they ain't blowin' us out the air? Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: They wanna run us down. The up-close kill. River Tam: They want us alive when they eat us.
The other threat is one of their own, River Tam, a precocious teenage girl turned into a deadly assassin by the machinations of the oppressive government, The Alliance. She is like the vampire Lucy Westenra, turned into a killer against her will and damned good at the blood letting.
Dr. Simon Tam (her brother, discussing leaving Serenity): Do you want to stay with them, River? River Tam: It isn't safe. Dr. Simon Tam: No. No, I feel it isn't safe. (Walks away) River Tam: (softly) For them.
The other is The Operative, an agent of the government who sees his actions as entirely justified no matter how many innocent bodies he leaves in his path, as long as he protects the government's interests.
The Operative: You're fighting a war you've already lost. Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Yeah, well, I'm known for that.
Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, knows his horror. Unlike most horror movies, I never get to know the victims. I never get to care about them or even love them. In Serenity, I did. And when they're under threat, when they're killed, it's much more horrific than when it happens to nameless, featureless victims in countless slasher flicks. And the moments of laughter and romance only accentuates the horror they face. So Serenity is released on DVD today. I highly recommend it. I can't think of a television show or movie I've loved more.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: But it ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flyin' is? Well I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say. River Tam: I do. But I like to hear you say it. Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Love. You can know all the math in the 'Verse, but take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her home. River Tam: Storm's getting worse. Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: We'll pass through it soon enough.


Blogger Sherm said...

Hmmm... Sounds very very interesting. I've only heard about this from afar. I think I might have to seriously check this out. Thanks! :)

12/27/2005 05:00:00 PM  

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