Monday, October 7, 2013

Good News...and Bad News.

The Good News

Sorry I haven't been writing long posts or posted my (unfinished) Red Death (1964) review. I have to get off my butt and finish up on it. I shouldn't be doing this. But, since this blog IS called Red Death Productions, and the Red Death Cinema division is making a film, I think it suitable to tell you about the film and the story it is based upon.

The film is called The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, based on a Poe story of the same name. This is one of Edgar Allan Poe's most grotesque stories - unlike The Fall of the House of Usher, The Black Cat, or Hop-Frog, Valdemar tells of physical horrors like Red Death. This tells of deathbed horrors, of mesmerism, of the frightening plane between life and death. The horrifying thing is that M. Ernest Valdemar's body deteriorates and decomposes as if a corpse while his mind - well, I cannot say that his mind is completely intact. While the body rots, all Valdemar can say is that he is dead and that he wishes to be let out of mesmerism. Dr. P - (I know this initial as Valdemar writes a letter to the doctor with it inscribed) refuses this request - but in the name of science.

Valdemar is not for the weak-stomached. It is heavily assumed Poe knows what he's talking about when he describes Valdemar's corpse living, breathing body. Poe most likely searched medical records. And, since Poe is the master of horror, some individuals found leisure to actually think the story was a medical report itself. Here are a few choice quotes - I found them on Wikipedia, I own nothing. And just for you information, Poe received many similar letters.
  • "Your account of M. Valdemar's case has been universally copied in this city, and has created a very great sensation." Robert Collyer
  • "I have strenuously held that it was true. But I tell you that I strongly expect it for a hoax." George C. Eveleth
  • "It details...most extraordinary circumstances...For the sake of...Science and truth..." Archibald Ramsay, demanded an answer from Poe. Poe replied: "Hoax is precisely the word suited...Some few persons believe it - but I do not - and don't you."
  • Poe wrote this postscript to a friend: "P.S. The 'Valdemar Case' was a hoax, of course."
It was also one of Poe's best recieved stories.. I could type up some of the reviews and show you myself, but you can read them here.

Valdemar is dying of the at-that-time deadly tuberculosis. I assume this is set in Paris, as "M." is an abbreviation for monsieur and it is stated that his first name is Ernest.

Yes, those two sentences were not associated with each other in any shape or form.

But onto the movie. We have the two main roles picked out - my brother has volunteered for Valdemar and I shall play Dr. P - . I have a prospect for Dr. L - l. I think I can convince someone to be Dr. F - , too. I find it a little strange that all the doctors in this story are given no full name, while the victim subject Valdemar is named quite clearly. And on the subject of the experiment they are performing itself - I can understand the scientific curiosity of the matter - can death be postponed by hypnotism? However, I wonder why Valdemar agreed. For the benefit of science, certainly, but why would he want his last moments to be under control by a friend? I know this is a stupid remark. But seriously, I want to know. And why does the mesmerist (I'll refer to him as that) deny his request to be let out of the decomposing corpse and into the great beyond? Scientific curiosity is given as a reason again. And maybe, in the end, it was scientific curiosity that killed Valdemar in such a brutal way.

...and the Bad News.

I really hate to say this. But Tales of the Grotesque is off due to censorship claims. I guess Poe's stories are too sadistic and evil for the audience we're aiming at. I started reading Poe in third grade, and he didn't bother me - I love him now - but the visuals we've drawn are too...grotesque. I really am sorry to say this. Don't get me wrong - we WILL finish the book. We will not destroy it. We might even make copies. But we're not distributing it. The stories would be very disturbing. I'm okay with distributing it, it's just that the parents would freak out and we would have a scandal. And we can't afford a scandal. Please forgive us, and I really hope that Mr. Poe does not think of me like he did of that fool Rufus Griswold.

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