The Picture of Dorian Gray – Book Review

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Happy Halloween!

What’s better than to post about something particularly Goth today?

Well folks, you’ll be happy to know that I have just finished reading The Picture of Dorian Grey and it made me reflect upon my own life and how fun deprived they are. #toomuchwork

TMI? Too sad? Oh, well… isn’t what the blogsphere’s all about? Sharing?

Anyways, I was always super intrigued by the story of Dorian Grey and his submission to narcissism. This story very well written by Oscar Wilde was criticized as scandalous and immoral, so much that Wilde revised the novel in 1891 and added a preface and six new chapters to soften the blow and better explain himself.

The Picture of Dorian Grey is Gothic, vulgar, hedonistic, dangerous and seductive, which makes it an absolute perfection of a novel. Dorian Grey is a dandy young man, endowed by impeccable beauty and charm and very much idolized by society, especially by his friend and portrait maker, Basil Hallward. While posing for his full-length portrait, Dorian meets Basil’s provocateur friend, Lord Henry Wotton, which flaunts his hedonistic world view and sweeps Dorian off his feet. Such decadence was compelling and Dorian was convinced that beauty and youth are the only aspects of his life worth pursuing. Dorian’s behavior derails as he explores the life of sensuality and sin, and what was once a naïve man gradually becomes a monstrosity. When he sees his own beauty reflecting through the portrait, Dorian, much like Narcissus, falls in love. He is besotted, so much that he wishes that the painting would age instead of him. His wish comes true and backfires on him when signs of deformation, cruelty and decay are starting to appear on the image.

So, what’s next for our Dorian?

As the plot moves forward the libertine slowly withers and withdraws from society, bewildered and distressed of what he sees on the image which is creepy as hell, and what does that teach us? That Grey so eager for freedom to act upon his deepest desires is ultimately trapped inside his own vile soul, and that, my friends’ what makes this a very appropriate tale for Halloween.

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I watched the 2009 remake of Dorian Gray starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth a while ago. Unlike the mixed reviews it received, I remember the film quite fondly, but I’m biased, I love Colin Firth. The film did things quite differently than the novel adding actress Rebecca Hall as Lord Wotton’s daughter, Emily. Her character was not a part of the novel, which kind of surprised me as on the film she was Dorian’s love interest. On the novel, Dorian loved only the beautiful and talented Sybil Vane as she very much reminded him of himself, but this eventually went south just like everything else.

Dorian saw himself in Sybil Vane as Wilde sees himself in Dorian. The character of Dorian inhabits Wilde’s inner fantasies, unresolved emotional conflicts and repressed hidden desires. His Homosexual tendencies are discreetly expressed in the novel making it to provocative and scandalous for the Victorian era, which ultimately resulted in Wilde’s exile.

A leader and promoter of the Aesthetic movement Wilde supported the creating “art for the sake of art” rather than focusing on its moral aspects and the pleasure it may bring to the audience and that is why we experience so many expressions of self-indulgence and maliciousness in this infamous novel. Word on the street is that Wilde was especially influenced by Edgar Ellen Poe (who was an extremist) and Walter Pater who was an advocate of the Aesthetic movement and indirectly contributed literary gems to the novel.

All in all, The Picture of Dorian Grey is an inspiring and overwhelming read and I almost hate to part from it as I have to give it back. The 2009 film is really ok, purely entertaining, but I highly recommend (as always) to read the book first.

Have a spooktacular Halloween

mwahaha!

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OMG, It’s Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Are you ready to spook the bejesus outta someone or get the jitters yourself tonight? Have you packed your candies and rehearsed your Trick or Treat? Have you gruesomely decorated your front door and backyard with fake spiderwebs, jack-o-lanterns and polystyrene graves? Have you practiced singing horrific lullabies by the fire place and dusted off your favorite Vincent Price films?

Although trick or treating and celebrating Halloween is not a part of my religion, I do solemnly dedicate this day to watching scary as shit movies and playing super dark video games. I love this day so much as it includes all of my favorite things: pumpkins (eating and carving), costumes, witches, horror, black cats, dark decorating, Gothic and quirky films and sweets. Love sweets.

And so, this is my agenda for today:

  1. Play dark video games. Right now focusing on “Fear For Sale – Mystery of McInroy Manor”
  2. Change my ringtone to Beetlejuice theme
  3. Watch Vincent Price on The Masque of the Red Death
  4. Check if Penny Dreadful 3rd season’s out yet
  5. Suffer quietly. I skipped working today due to bad stomachaches, which I’m sure will get better once I accomplish all of the above.

For all of you celebrating this magnificent day, I wish a very scary Halloween.

May you be properly scared and scream your lungs out!

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Carrie (2013)

Directed by Kimberly Peirce

Film summary:   an adaptation of the classical 1976 film which is originally a 1974 Stephen King novel. It tells the story of a Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a lonely and shy girl living with her unstable and religiously controlling mother, Margaret White (Julianne Moore). Carrie possesses special telekinetic powers which she discovers by accident, and eventually uses it as a weapon of revenge against her abusive high school peers, only to create a prom night horror.

To me Carrie goes way back ever since my school book report on it when watched the 1976 film instead. I mean, I’m obviously a film person rather than a book one…   This time Carrie is being played by the up and coming child star, Chloë Grace Moretz, who’s not so short for as young as she is filmography history insists she’s the perfect match for this creepy role, Dark Shadows as Carolyn Stoddard and  Let Me In as Abby, for instance. She’s remarkable in this one as well, although I think she’s way to prettier for playing Carrie. She’s missing a little weird-ish essence Sissy Spacek most honorably possessed back then. All in all, Chloë’s pretty convincing. I still would have picked Sissy as a #1 choice. 

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I remember when the film just came out, and posters were shown all over New York City, I thought to myself that this should be interesting. It has been such a long time since the last film, in which Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie (Margaret White) stamped on unforgettable performances and left huge shoes to fill. Julianne Moore was a bright casting as Mrs. White, and to me it was quite obvious she would master the part, I mean her pale freckled face and haunted dark appearance couldn’t be a better fit on any other actress. 

I often want to cry when I’m watching either Carrie film. Eventually, we’re talking about a pretty sad story here. All this young girl ever wished for was to be able to lead a normal life with an ordinary loving mother. Instead, she had it pretty hard not only as a teen but as a daughter too, not given a break at any moment. When she finally had a chance to have one night of feeling like a princess, she was brutally humiliated in front of the entire school. How can you not feel for her? Maybe I’m crazy, but I was kind of experiencing her rage at that last famous pig blood revenge prom scene. I also wanted to scream my lungs out and get even. God knows high school is pretty tough as it is without you having a loony for a mom and strange telekinetic powers. The icing on the cake.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!