Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Raven--Flying To A DVD Near You

E. A. Poe; with this portrait, no wonder he would be the prime suspect.
 A film called "The Raven" will be debuting April 27, and it looks like an excellent briefing of Poe's various horror stories. He invented the genre way back in the 1840's.

His stories are completely compelling to read. In California, "The Tell-Tale Heart" is standard reading for Eighth Graders, who can really appreciate the fantastical machinations of the deviant mind. Seventh graders read "Annabelle Lee," but I think they are too young to be exposed to a character that emotionally disturbed. Grade 9 reads "The Cask of Amontillado," Grade 10 reads "The Masque of the Red Death," Grade 11 reads several selections including "The Raven." There is no 'poe-verty' in the California State Standards. (Sorry about the pun.)

http://www.poestories.com/

Poe, a journalist in Baltimore, Maryland, for awhile, no doubt was exposed to truly extreme crimes that would make "Criminal Minds" seem like Sesame Street. He had a tough enough start in life as it was, and combined with intelligence, talent and America in the 1840's, et voila, the ingredients for very, very strange stories and poems. Attending West Point prior to the Civil War probably didn't help either.  I find his life sad, but his stories, especially the murder mysteries, complicated and interesting. The Rue Morgue...

Jeffrey Combs-great job.


 In Vegas last year was a great performance of Poe's works called "Nevermore." The actor Jeffrey Combs, of Star Trek fame, presented a one man show. It was great. I'm pretty picky about my famous authors, but he really nailed it. In a frenetic version of "Bells," his Edgar Allen Poe was especially convincing as the character became increasingly intoxicated.



Scientifically cool?



  In 1963, a B movie was made of "The Raven," with Peter Lorre, Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. It was called a horror/comedy. You'd think that would be an oxymoron. Jack Nicholson was in it, too, before the 'here's Johnny' line.





This preview reminds me a little of Johnny Depp's attempt at Ichabod Crane in "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" which diverged greatly from Washington Irving's hilarious story. However, I am not expecting the supernatural in this film, but the premise of "The Raven" to base its horror on the depravity of the human heart, whether its  tell-tale or not.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeLFDaZ-7NU

Here is the trailer. John Cusack plays Poe, but, thank heavens, doesn't resemble him that much.

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