Slingshots and Stuff

on September 24, 2012 in Misc

First off, I want to give y’all a heads-up about some book-related stuff.

Personally, I never could get through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I tried.  God knows I tried.  But the first part just drags on and on with characters yammering and philosophizing and not much happening but still the narrators keep talking…

On the other hand, the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff is sheer genius.

Did the movie stick closely to the book?  Hell no.  Instead it’s proof that Hollywood can be the best thing to happen to a bad book.  From the opening scene in a graveyard where Dr. Frankenstein and his helper are digging up a body and cutting down another one hanging from a gibbet, to the mad scientist laboratory in a castle, to lightening galvanizing a monster to life, to peasants with torches chasing the monster, we are talking about original images and dialogue (“It’s alive! It’s alive!”) that became famous archetypes.  Even Karloff’s flat head and bolts in the neck were the result of a make-up artist’s brilliance and not thanks to Shelley.

So you may like to know that the TCM channel is sponsoring one-night double-feature showings in select theaters of the original 1931 Frankenstein and the1935 Bride of Frankenstein.  The date, of course, is close to Halloween: October 24.

And on a similar paranormal / scary note…

The current issue of Smithsonian has an article called The Great New England Vampire Panic.  It seems how even late into the nineteenth century some Yankees became convinced that vampires were draining the life out of love ones, who in reality might be dying of diseases like tuberculosis.  So the living went to graveyards and exhumed certain bodies, and cut out and burned hearts or cut off heads.  One such exhumation of a young woman very likely inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

This same issue also has an article on how a young Mark Twain became friends with a larger-than-life fireman named Tom Sawyer.  And yes, the man inspired Twain’s first book.

From Tom Sawyer I can segue naturally into the topic of slingshots.  As in I’ve now added one to my small inventory of weapons.  Okay, so a slingshot isn’t exactly action-hero glamorous.  But I wanted one when I was a ten-year-old tomboy and never got one but now I bought one and it’s really cool and fun to shoot little metal balls and rocks with.  And you never know what villains I might take down with it.

As for my pistol crossbow:  I can confirm that at near distance it does indeed send a dart a full inch into a phone book.  Trouble is, the bow is FREAKING HARD TO COCK! (Yes I know, I just typed hard and cock in the same sentence, but I’m being literal and frustrated.)  I told you it has an eighty-pound pull, but the way it’s designed you’re just supposed to “easily” push the back part down, which pulls the cord back.  No problem, I thought, as I watched this being done on YouTube videos.  But you know what I shoulda noticed?  That they were being cocked by BIG HAIRY MAN HANDS!  When I try to do it… Let’s just say it’s really, really tough for me and I had to use the edge of a table for leverage.  But I’ll get stronger.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Hope you have a splendid week.

15 Responses to “Slingshots and Stuff”

  1. One inch into a phone book? That is cool. And a slingshot can be deadly. David killed Goliath with one.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – Yes, David killed with a slingshot. But vampires and zombies are harder to kill than giants.

  3. I am excited for this: “The Strain” to be produced by Guillermo del Toro. An airplane lands and everyone aboard it is dead. Soon, the world learns there is a new vampire strain that plans to eradicate the human population. What might interest horror lovers is that these vampires are not dapper and seductive, but parasites and disgusting blood suckers serving one Master.

    “These are very scary vampires,” Cuse told Variety. “These are not romantic vampires. They will give you nightmares.”

    The plan is for Guillermo Del Toro to start filming the pilot for “The Strain” in Toronto in the fall of 2013.

    “The Strain”, dear Helena, is going to be a television series done on FX (the same network that is bringing us American Horror Story). Also (and of note) these vampires while feeding, actually crap themselves. That’s how disgusting they are. I imagine this will one up the “Walking Dead.”

    And with the Frankenstein book, I maintain that for its time, the book was incredibly scary not because of the monster, but because of what the book implies about the universe. That is, the book suggests that god does not exist because man can create life. If man can create life (a divine power) then what does this mean about god? Well it means everyone got everything wrong. And this was terrifying to superstitious uneducated people.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – It sounds like The Strain will harken back to what people used to associate with vampires, which was disease and death. Personally, I never could get into sexy vampires, so The Strain might be more my style. That said, I do have a low gross-out tolerance level.

    I think you’re right about the original Frankenstein book, in fact you reminded me that Shelley’s husband was a famous atheist. So man becoming a god terrified people; but then the book also seemed to warn that people shouldn’t pursue godhood because the creation result would be the likes of a monster. Intelligent argument, any way you look at it.

  5. Ciara Knight says:

    I confess that I’ve never watched the original Frankenstein. I think sling shots are cool. :)

  6. Helena says:

    Ciara — If you liked to the old Tarzan flicks, you might like the Frankenstein one too.

  7. Gina says:

    This is very fascinating stuff. I’m really glad to read this post (mostly because I never knew what really inspired Dracula). Nice work.

  8. Helena says:

    Gina – I didn’t know either that there’d been an American connection to the original bloodsucker.

  9. Ketutar says:

    Yes, the Middle Eastern shepherds are deadly with their slingshots… and I was thinking about Ayla in Jean Auel’s books. Killing vampires and zombies with a slingshot… I suppose it depends on what you use as a projectile.
    And I was thinking about the Chinese assassins killing people with pins and playing cards…
    I have always had a thing for whips. :-D Cat Woman… I suppose :-D You can kill with a whip too. Oh, and The Man from Snowy River. I love the scene in the beginning where he shows off in the military training with his outback skills :-D

  10. Helena says:

    Ketutar – I never saw The Man from Snowy River, so I’ll try to watch it. And killing with pins and playing cards? Sounds like you have a lot of lethal knowledge. As for whips — Indiana Jones is my favorite whip wielder.

  11. Misha says:

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted a crossbow, but I sounds like it wouldn’t be all that practical for me. Slingshots are a lot easier. ;-)

  12. Misha says:

    Btw I loved learning where a lot of these famous stories came from. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Helena says:

    Misha – This little crossbow is so tough for me to load, it’s not practical but it is fun. The slingshot is easy fun, though.

  14. Old Kity says:

    Totally love The Look of Elsa Lanchester as Bride of Frankenstein!!!

    My brother had a slingshot he used to torment me with! LOL! Take care

  15. Helena says:

    Old Kitty — What a mean brother! And yes, Elsa looked divine.