Bride of Frankenstein

I’ve recently watched the classic 1935 horror film Bride of Frankenstein. directed by James Whale, Bride of Frankenstein is the first sequel to Frankenstein (1931) and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of his mate and Mary Shelley, Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Septimus Pretorius.

It starts On a stormy night, with  Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester) recounting more of the story story of Frankenstein and his Monster. Following on immediately from the events of Frankenstein, the Villagers are cheering the apparent death of the Monster (Boris Karloff). However Their joy is tempered by the realization that Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is also apparently dead and his body is returned to his fiancée Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson) at his ancestral castle home, However the father of the girl the creature drowned in the previous film, wants proof that the  Monster’s is dead, and falls into a flooded pit underneath the mill, where the Monster — having survived — strangles him and also kills his wife (Mary Gordon). He next encounters Minnie (Una O’Connor), who flees in terror and sounds the alarm about the Monster, but her warning goes unheeded.

Meanwhile a chastened Henry Frankenstein is being Nursed back to health by his wife Elizabeth, having abandoned his plans to create life, However he still believes he may be destined to unlock the secret of life and immortality, and is finally tempted back by his former mentor, Doctor Septimus Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger). who shows Henry several homunculi he has created, including a miniature queen, king, archbishop, devil, ballerina, and mermaid. Pretorius wishes to work with Henry to create a mate for the Monster and offers a toast to their venture: “To a new world of gods and monsters!”.

The Monster then saves a young shepherdess (Anne Darling) from drowning. Her screams upon seeing him alert two hunters, who shoot and injure the creature and raise a mob that sets out in pursuit. The nonster is Captured and hauled to a dungeon in chains, however he manages to escape and later encounters a gypsy family and an old blind hermit (O. P. Heggie) who teaches the monster words like “friend” and “good” and shares a meal with him. Later while taking refuge from another angry mob in a crypt, the Monster spies Pretorius and his cronies Karl (Dwight Frye) and Ludwig (Ted Billings) breaking open a grave and learns that he plans to create a mate for the monster. So Pretorius visits an unwilling Henry, who refuses point blank to help, however Pretorius blackmails him into helping by kidnapping Henry’s wife Elizabeth, and only guaranteeing her safe return upon Henry’s participation.

So preparations are made to bring the Bride to life. During the operation A fierce storm rages outside until finally Her bandage-wrapped body is raised through the roof. Lightning strikes a kite, sending electricity through the Bride. Henry and Pretorius lower her and realize their success. “She’s alive! Alive!” Henry cries. They remove her bandages and help her to stand. “The bride of Frankenstein!” Doctor Pretorius declares. The excited Monster sees his mate (Elsa Lanchester) and reaches out to her, asking, “Friend?” Sadly The Bride, rejects him. prompting him to say “We belong dead.”

Advertisements

Halloween A.K.A All Hallows Eve

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots. Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (also known as “guising”), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

Celtic influences

Though the origin of the word Halloween is Christian, the holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots – some folklorists have detected its origins in Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain”, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”. Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in) was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic (Irish, Scottish and Manx) calendar. It was held on or about October 31 – November 1 and kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall) and Kalan Goañv (in Brittany). Samhain is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year This was a time for stock-taking and preparing for the cold winter ahead; cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and livestock were slaughtered. In much of the Gaelic world, bonfires were lit and there were rituals involving them. Some of these rituals hint that they may once have involved human sacrifice. Divination games or rituals were also done at Samhain.

Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a time when the ‘door’ to the Otherworld opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings such as fairies, to come into our world. The souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes on Samhain. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. Lewis Spence described it as a “feast of the dead” and “festival of the fairies”. However, harmful spirits and fairies were also thought to be active at Samhain. People took steps to allay or ward-off these harmful spirits/fairies, which is thought to have influenced today’s Halloween customs. Before the 20th century, wearing costumes at Samhain was done in parts of Ireland, Mann, the Scottish Highlands and islands, and Wales. Wearing costumes may have originated as a means of disguising oneself from these harmful spirits/fairies, although some suggest that the custom comes from a Christian or Christianized belief (see below). In Ireland, people went about before nightfall collecting for Samhain feasts and sometimes wore costumes while doing so. In the 19th century on Ireland’s southern coast, a man dressed as a white mare would lead youths door-to-door collecting food; by giving them food, the household could expect good fortune from the ‘Muck Olla’.[23] In Moray during the 18th century, boys called at each house in their village asking for fuel for the Samhain bonfire. The modern custom of trick-or-treating may have come from these practices. Alternatively, it may come from the Christian custom of souling . Making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween may also have sprung from Samhain and Celtic beliefs. Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on Samhain in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. As well as being used to light one’s way while outside on Samhain night, they may also have been used to represent the spirits/fairies and/or to protect oneself and one’s home from them. However, a Christian origin has also been proposed.

Christian influences

Halloween is also thought to have been influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day (also known as All Hallows, Hallowmas or Hallowtide) on November 1 and All Souls’ Day on November 2.They are a time for honoring the saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach Heaven. All Saints was introduced in the year 609, but was originally celebrated on May 13. In 835, it was switched to November 1 (the same date as Samhain) at the behest of Pope Gregory IV.

By the end of the 12th century they had become holy days of obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory. “Souling”, the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for “all crysten christened souls”, has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door on All Saints/All Souls collecting soul cakes, originally as a means of praying for souls in purgatory. Similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of  whimpering like a beggar at Hallowmas.” The custom of wearing costumes has been linked to All Saints/All Souls by Prince Sorie Conteh, who wrote: “It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints’ Day, and All Hallows’ Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognised by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities”. In Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, Nicholas Rogers explained Halloween jack-o’-lanterns as originally being representations of souls in purgatory. In Brittany children would set candles in skulls in graveyards

In Britain, these customs came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants berated purgatory as a “popish” doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination. This, coupled with the rising popularity of Guy Fawkes Night (5 November) from 1605 onward, led to Halloween’s popularity waning in Britain, with the noteworthy exception of Scotland. There and in Ireland, they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since at least the early Middle Ages, and the Scottish kirk took a more pragmatic approach to Halloween, seeing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country. Traditions and importance of Halloween vary greatly among countries that observe it. In Scotland and Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include children dressing up in scary costumes going “guising”, holding parties, while other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires, and having firework displays. Surprisingly Halloween was not celebrated in North America until the Mass Irish and Scottish transatlantic immigration in the 19th century popularized it in North America, and gradually it was assimilated by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds in the United States and Canada. This has had a significant impact on how the event is observed in other nations too. This larger North American influence, particularly in iconic and commercial elements, has extended to places such as South America, Australia, New Zealand, (most) continental Europe, Japan, and other parts of East Asia.

Continuing with the Halloween theme, On October 30th 1938, the American actor, director, writer and producer Orson Welles broadcasted his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing widespread panic and anxiety in some of the audience in the United States, who thought it was genuine. He is also remembered for his innovative including Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaption of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre; The War of the Worlds (1938), one of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio; and Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films.

The War of the Worlds was performed as a Halloween episode on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898). The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that, the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism.

Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. The episode secured Welles’s fame.

Indian Grand Prix 2012/Happy Birthday Tiff Needell

The Indian Grand Prix took place on Sunday 28th October 2012 and here are the results

  • Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
  • Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
  • Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus
  • Mark Webber – Red Bull
  • Lewis Hamilton – McLaren
  • Jenson Button – McLaren
  •  Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
  • Romain Grosjean – Lotus
  • Felipe Massa – Ferrari
  • Sergio Perez – Sauber

Happy Birthday Tiff Needell

British racing driver and television presenter Timothy “Tiff” Needell was born 29 October 1951. He is best known as a former co-presenter of Top Gear and current co-presenter of Fifth Gear. Needell first raced at a driving school at Brands Hatch in 1970. He progressed to Formula Ford, his progress assisted by the use of a Lotus 69 FF he won in an Autosport magazine competition. He later sold his Lotus and used the money to buy and race an Elden Mk10. Needell’s Formula Ford period culminated in his acquiring a Crossle 25F with which he won the Kent Messenger FF Championship after competing for only half of the remaining season. This success landed him a partly paid drive in the Formula Ford 2000 Championship in a Hawke chassis provided by McKinstry Racing. Needell was completely dominant in that car and series which provided him with the springboard into Formula 3. The remainder of the 1970s saw Needell as a front runner in the British Formula 3 series and then in the Aurora British Formula One championship. In 1979 he was unable to graduate to the F1 World Championship due to the lack of the correct licence, but he was back in 1980, driving two Grands Prix for Ensign, qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. However, he had an engine problem and did not finish the race. He subsequently failed to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix.

In 1988 and 1989 he competed in the British Rallycross Grand Prix in a Metro 6R4 prepared by Will Gollop’s motorsport team. He achieved a good result in 1988 finishing 4th in the B-Final in what was his first rallycross event, however, the 1989 event was cancelled due to heavy fog after the practice sessions. Needell made his first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1981 driving a Ibec-Hesketh 308LM alongside Tony Trimmer. They failed to finish and again in 1982 this time paired with Bob Evans and Geoff Lees in an Aston Martin Nimrod NRA/C2. However the following year Needell finished 17th driving a Porsche 956. In 1985 Needell briefly led the 24 hours driving the Aston Martin EMKA C84/1 and would eventually finish 11th. His best result at Le Mans was 3rd in 1990. He then had a couple of years in the British Touring Car Championship with Nissan, before returning to sports cars in 1995, driving a Porsche at Daytona and a Jaguar XJ220 at Le Mans. He then drove the Lister Storm for 3 years, reaching 3rd overall at Daytona in 1997 before gearbox problems dropped them to 19th. In 1998 he finished 2nd in the GT1 championship and won the Silverstone Golden Jubilee Trophy race. Since then, Needell’s racing career has mainly consisted of racing tin-tops (hard-topped cars), with varying levels of success in sports cars, historic racing and touring cars. He achieved particular notoriety after an accident with Nigel Mansell at the 1993 TOCA shoot out race at Donington Park.

Needell is also known in the United Kingdom as a television presenter and motoring journalist, in particular in association with the BBC TV series Top Gear which he started co-hosting in 1987. In 2001, when the BBC cancelled Top Gear (the show was brought back in 2002), Needell and the whole cast defected and signed with Five to produce and host a new motoring show named Fifth Gear. He does however, still contribute to Top Gear magazine. Needell has also co-presented ‘MPH’ at Earls Court in 2003, 2004, 2005 with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond and in 2006 with Jeremy Clarkson and James May (because Richard Hammond was recovering from his accident). He also appeared very briefly in the 2005 Top Gear Comic Relief special, Stars in Fast Cars. In 2009 he appeared on James May’s Toy Stories featuring the building of a Scalextric around Brooklands, and also visited James’ LEGO house. In 2011, he appeared on Top Gear, driving the Ariel Atom V8 in a race against a BMW S1000RR around the Top Gear Test Track. The segment was done in humour, with James May supposedly driving the Atom V8, only for it to actually be Tiff. He was also one of several people suspected of portraying the elusive masked racing driver The Stig on Top Gear.

Happy Birthday Bernie Ecclestone

English Formula One business magnate, “Bernie” Ecclestone was also born 28 October 1930. He is currently president and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration and through his part-ownership of Alpha Prema, the parent company of the Formula One Group of companies. As such, he is generally considered the primary authority in Formula One racing. He is most commonly addressed in tabloid journalism as “F1 Supremo”. His early involvement in the sport was as a competitor and then as a manager of drivers Stuart Lewis-Evans and Jochen Rindt.

In 1972, he bought the Brabham team, which he ran for fifteen years. As a team owner he became a member of the Formula One Constructors Association. His control of the sport, which grew from his pioneering the sale of television rights in the late 1970s, is chiefly financial, but under the terms of the Concorde Agreement he and his companies also manage the administration, setup and logistics of each Formula One Grand Prix. Ecclestone himself entered two Grand Prix races during the 1958 season, failing to qualify for either of them.Ecclestone is also the ex-majority owner of the British Queens Park Rangers F.C.

Happy Birthday Stephen Morris (New Order)

Stephen Morris, British musician with Joy Division and New Order was Born October 28th 1957. Joy Division were formed in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester. Originally named Warsaw, the band primarily consisted of Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Stephen Morris (drums and percussion).

Joy Division rapidly evolved from their initial punk rock influences to develop a sound and style that pioneered the post-punk movement of the late 1970s. According to music critic Jon Savage, the band “were not punk but were directly inspired by its energy”. Their self-released 1978 debut EP, An Ideal for Living, caught the attention of the Manchester television personality Tony Wilson. Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures, was released in 1979 on Wilson’s independent record label, Factory Records, and drew critical acclaim from the British press. Despite the band’s growing success, vocalist Ian Curtis was beset with depression and personal difficulties, including a dissolving marriage and his diagnosis of epilepsy. Curtis found it increasingly difficult to perform at live concerts, and often had seizures during performances. On the eve of the band’s first American tour in May 1980, Curtis committed suicide. Joy Division’s posthumously released second album, Closer (1980), and the single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” became the band’s highest charting releases.

After the untimely demise of Curtis in 1980, the remaining members formed New Order, with Bernard Sumner on vocals, guitars, synthesisers), Peter Hook playing bass, synthesisers and Stephen Morris playing drums, electronic drums, synthesisers, they were also joined by Gillian Gilbert playing keyboards, guitars, synthesizers. By combining post-punk and New Wave with electronic dance music, New Order became one of the most critically acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. Though the band’s early years were shadowed by the legacy and basic sound of Joy Division, their experience of the early 1980s New York City club scene increased their knowledge of dance music and saw them incorporate elements of that style into their work. The band’s 1983 hit “Blue Monday”, the best-selling 12-inch single of all time, is one example of how the band transformed their sound. New Order became the flagship band for Factory Records. Their minimalist album sleeves and “non-image” (the band rarely gave interviews and were known for performing short concert sets with no encores) reflected the label’s aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including an aversion to including singles as album tracks.

Sadly In 1993 the band broke-up amidst tension between bandmembers, but reformed in 1998. In 2001, Phil Cunningham (guitars, synthesisers) replaced Gilbert, who left the group due to family commitments. In 2007, Peter Hook left the band and the band broke-up again, with Sumner saying in 2009 that he no longer wishes to make music as New Order. The band reunited in 2011 without Hook, with Gilbert returning to the fold and Tom Chapman replacing Hook on bass. During the band’s career and in between lengthy breaks, band members have been involved in several solo projects, such as Sumner’s Electronic and Bad Lieutenant; Hook’s Monaco and Revenge and Gilbert’s and Morris’ The Other Two.