A Different Kind of Monster



What makes a monster? Is it a deformed visage or is it what’s on the inside in a man’s heart?

Frollo, in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, is the judge in Paris, one of the highest positions outside of the church. But instead of using that power to help others, he has allowed it to corrupt him. Continue reading


Nature vs. Nurture: The Secret Circle



First and foremost, film and television aim to entertain. But they are a visual medium and from their infancy film-makers were attempting to show things that don’t actually happen in real life through the use of various tricks. These continual attempts over the years could be successful or not, but the written word offered no such constraints. The fantastic and awe-inspiring has always had a place on film but the level of special effects made creating ones that didn’t look dated in even just a short amount of time a tricky proposition. Finally, with the advent of computers and the improvement of what they could do, something like magic could be fully realized on screen. If a writer could dream it up, it could be produced. But even magic isn’t uniformly presented in movies or shows. Different stories give it different detail. Harry Potter and The Secret Circle both focus on young witches but the way the characters use their extraordinary abilities is not the same—education is the key in the first fandom, while nature holds the power in the second. Continue reading

Gorey Masterpieces



Fans of PBS’s Mystery! series may know Edward Gorey as the illustrator who drew the title animations seen at the beginning of the show for many years. The animated sequence was famous enough that when PBS redesigned all the titles for the Masterpiece programs (of which Mystery! is now a part) they kept a few brief glimpses of the original Gorey drawings, the implication being that his work is so recognizable a part of the personality and atmosphere of the series it couldn’t quite be eliminated. Continue reading

Our Obsession with Vampires



Our culture is fascinated by the undead, but it is not a new obsession. Early interest in vampires began in the 1800’s and a French author wrote Carmilla, the first full length novel. Then Bram Stoker’s Dracula hit the presses, a startling tale of evil but also a symbolic reflection on the Victorian era’s chauvinism, rise in abortion, feminism, fascination with the occult, and departure from traditional moral values. Holy wafers and water, relics, and crosses warded off and defeated vampires. As the stories changed with modern secular writers, the emphasis on faith and religious icons lost their power and were eventually abandoned. Many modern vampires are unaffected by such things, indicating our culture’s secularism. Even sunlight loses its impact and now gives vampires headaches, destroys them, or makes them sparkle. Continue reading

Ask Lydia



When I was young, Izzie used to visit and we made mud pies together. I’ve been in love with her ever since. She’s not scared of me even when she has reason to be. She accepts me the way I am even though she’s normal and I’m not. I love how she says “Hello Biceps!” to greet me. I make her laugh and we like spending time together; we have a lot in common. I’m her best friend and yesterday she told me she loved me. Continue reading

A Strange, Surreal World



Imagine a fantastical world of magic, wonder, and even a little intrigue, a world where a select few can change the events of history with a single spell or fight evil with a snap of a finger. Coming from several centuries of magical history, two individuals trained in this fantastical study become rivals and unravel the deepest, darkest secrets about the science and study of magic. This may sound like a new Harry Potter book but alas, that series ended with seven novels. Imagine if Jane Austen had written the Harry Potter series and you’ll be in for a real treat. Continue reading




Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast, right? A beautiful young woman agrees to live as a monster’s prisoner in order to save her father’s life, and an unlikely friendship blossoms into a transformative romance. Today perhaps the best-known version of Beauty and the Beast is the 1991 Walt Disney animated film. While it is an undeniable cinematic masterpiece and provided countless young women with a bookish, intelligent Disney princess, if one looks no farther than this animated classic you run the risk of missing the rich literary history the tale has to offer and has inspired authors such as Robin McKinley to revisit and make their own. Continue reading

Dracula’s Memoirs



As much as I despise the provincial term “a dark and stormy night,” the evening could be justly described as very little else when I first stepped from the carriage to attend a dinner given in my honor. Such a foolish man, Dr. Seward, always chomping away with those annoying jaws, devouring everything in sight. Were it not for his enchanting daughter, Lucy, I might have considered draining the man of his life force whilst in his home merely to be rid of him. But alas, I am given to flights of attraction to the human female, and Lucy’s stunning and acute suspicion of me only served to draw me in closer. How utterly amusing to watch her repugnance tinged with interest, particularly since I knew her interest would only extend itself the longer I stayed in her company. She was utterly predictable in that respect. If only her little friend Mina Van Helsing were as interesting. Instead, she merely stared with insipid eyes, yearning for a man, any man, to attend her. Poor creature, in such ill health. Truly, my visit to her that evening might have been deemed a godsend, if I believed in such a One. Continue reading

The Wee Folk



What I love most about make believe creatures is that we can take at times dramatic liberties in our interpretation of them. Vampires and werewolves used to be in horror stories but now are featured in teen romances. Zombies are walking corpses but the mention of the word is somewhat comical, bringing to mind a silly creature featured in fun video games, silly movies, and a rework of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, the new version titled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Continue reading

Twilight (Con): A Bite Out of Your Fantasy



I am not an expert on vampire and werewolf lore. I have never picked up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one of the premiere monster novels of literature, or watched or read anything monstrous from either historical fiction or modern non-fiction. To be honest, I keep away from stories containing supernatural creatures like vampires and werewolves because I have always found them to be dark and scary. As a girl who reads Shakespeare for fun and watches Sense and Sensibility when feeling down, I’m really not the type who likes being “thrilled” or frightened.

So how I ended up picking up Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight Saga and reading it is beyond my comprehension. I don’t remember how I first heard about the series or what enticed me into borrowing the books from the library, but I did. However, I do remember reading Twilight for the first time. The sense of being “thrilled” was a strange feeling for me and I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or not. But I thought the story was interesting so I began the second book… and the third…  then the fourth. After I was finished, I moved onto the next series that grabbed my interest. I liked reading the books, but the story was so different and unnerving I didn’t want to linger too long. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s love story was passionate and intense, like a raging fire at times, instead of the glowing embers that I was used to from books like Pride and Prejudice, or A Walk to Remember. Continue reading