Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I Sell the Dead (not me personally, you understand).

A long, long time ago in the 80s little Jinx was brought up on steady diet of golden age Hollywood, comic books, Carry On films and Hammer Horror. It made her the person she is today, and probably explains a lot about her psychology maybe even why she is referring to herself in the third person at this very moment, but anyway, the point is this: in a later time, lets call it ‘now’, big Jinx was reminded of why she fell in love with horror in the first place and it was good.

It was my hubby who brought I Sell the Dead to my attention and as he’s not inclined to go into a film knowing too much about the plot all he said was I’d love it and that it had Ron Pearlman in it. I heard the words Ron and Pearlman in the same sentence and I was sold.

Ron Pearlman and Hobbit

Grave robbers Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) and Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden), having eventually fallen foul of the nineteenth century’s zero tolerance justice system find themselves facing the gruesome feat of engineering that is the guillotine. In the shadow of his particularly grisly death young master Blake finds he has a bit of time on his hands and allows himself to be cajoled by whiskey bearing confessor Father Duffy (Ron fucking Pearlman, y’all!!!) into recounting the tale of his misadventures or Confessions of a Resurrectionist, as I prefer to think of it. And what a tale it is! Blake, ably abetted by man about cemetery Willie Grimes, journeys from impoverished urchin to fully fledged grave robber to ghoul specialising in the not so dead dead. And the of course there is psychotic rival gang The House of Murphy who don’t respond well to others encroaching on their patch.

What follows is a vivid and fantastical tale, a rip roaring adventure of dark derring-do, classic horror creatures and unconventional friendship. It lovingly recreates the nineteenth century in a way only the sixties and seventies could truly appreciate, wholly deliberate on the creators’ part I would imagine. Similarly, I was enamoured of the manner in which it harked back to a simpler time of B-movie monsters, rolling mists, crazed villains and an unquestioning acceptance of presented mythology which made me nostalgic for my formative years and the unequalled excitement of seeing these old movies (which seemed to be always on TV back then, like Keith Chegwin and Bob Monkhouse). Also, in terms of style, I am unsurprised to discover that a comic book version has just come out, today as it happens.

Oh, and it's got zombies in it

In a time of ‘torture porn’ and endless remakes* when I’m questioning if I can really be bothered to drag my sorry arse out in the October wind and drizzle to watch another installment of the Saw franchise when I lost any enthusiasm after the first and the will to live after the third, it was refreshing to see something that genuinely loved the medium and the genre and respectful to it and the little kid inside us all that just being deliciously and thrillingly scared. It made me feel young and I like feeling young and therefore I liked I Sell the Dead.

*all of which have their place, don’t get me wrong, and doubtless much has been written about their cultural significance in terms of today’s’ society that cannot be denied. And am I really in a position to judgement after speaking of my fondness for Hammer and movies of the ilk all of which are surely equally as representative of their culture, trends and time?

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