Daily Archives: October 22, 2011

Top 10 Halloween Films #10 Interview with the Vampire


“God kills indiscriminately. And so shall we.”

And so we begin with the top 10 Halloween movies….

Interview with the Vampire is a classic film of vampires. And although I think this did begin some of the trends of having whiny sparkling vampires. But the morose vampires that Louis and Armand are still not the spineless wimps vampires have become. They may be honing their brooding skills to a fine art (of course as a precursor to Angel they’re amateurs at brooding) but they can also engage in vicious acts of hatred and destruction. These are still vampires that can kill and will do so. Pitt’s Louis does so out of need and vengeance and can be very cold about it. Banderas’ Armand even more horrifically does it because he finds it an amusement to put on shows because he’s bored with his near eternal life.

Evil with a capital E

And of course there is Lestat. In this version (the Lestat of book The Vampire Lestat is a very different character) Lestat is something you very seldom see in literature: evil for the sake of evil. He’s not a psychotic or a psychopath who doesn’t quite grasp the difference between good and evil. He’s not a sociopath who just doesn’t care. He’s not on a vengeance kick feeling that if he has to suffer then everyone has to suffer. He’s not even really bored. No, he knows he’s evil, he knows good from evil, and it’s not that he doesn’t care; it’s that he delights in being evil. Iago, Ledger’s Joker, Dracula (in the original novel and The Historian), it’s a short list. Knowingly willing evil for the sake of evil. It’s a horrific thought and thankfully something I’m convinced exists only in fiction. But an instructive one to show us what we are not and should not be. It’s all of our worst qualities stripped of all our best qualities, our egos given free reign of madness and evil. Few things are as frightening. (Although even Cruise’s Lestat falls short sometimes of the pure villainy with which Louis imaged him, as when he mentions it’s easier to kill the guilty and his constant complaining about having not being given a choice when he became a vampire).

And I believe I have mentioned this before but it bears repeating—stories about those who are immortal help clarify the fear of death. The normal person doesn’t fear death as much because they know it is an inevitable fact…the fictional construct of the immortal vampire is far more afraid of death, partly because they trade in it, they’re already half in the grave, and they are afraid of what is not a fact for them. If the fear of death is the fear of the unknown for the average mortal…how much more an unknown is it to someone who doesn’t have to die. You see this mostly clearly when Louis returns to New Orleans and sees Lestat huddled in the corner of a house, afraid to move, afraid to find how the world has evolved; afraid to be himself for fear that he may not be able to survive.

Something else came to mind while watching this movie; you could never get it made today. This movie was made before being PC came into its full stride culturally so I think it got away with things you probably couldn’t now as today people read slights to special interest groups where there are none (while strangely letting real threats to society go without a word). The fact that there are some pretty clear homoerotic overtones between Lestat and Louis, and Louis and Armand coupled with the fact that Lestat is evil and Armand is just short of evil you would probably have numerous groups complaining about how the movie is showing gays in a poor light. This of course would be missing the point that the story was showing all the vampires to just be hedonistically decadent and willing to get hedonistic pleasures anyway they could get it, it has nothing to with orientation, it has to do with a lack of ethics (in just the same way a guy who sleeps around with hundreds of women without any meaning is unethical). And these would ironically be the same people who have next to nothing to say about the fact that actors who come out as gay will often find fewer jobs after coming out. Have to love double standards. Gives you moment’s pause at how many other films haven’t been made because of a fear of being called PC.

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Misconceptions about New Agers: That we believe in a lot of gods

So apparently some people believe New Agers believe in no God (which I dealt with). We do. Some people believe we worship Satan (which I’m not even going to dignify with a full blog). We don’t. And then some people believe New Agers are a bunch of polytheists worshiping an insane number of gods. This is incorrect…but at least I understand where they get this from.

Let me start with a comparison. Catholics worship only one God. That is a given. But they pray to a whole mess of Angels and Saints. Why? Because if you believe in angels,  archangels and saints, you believe that God does use intermediaries that can specialize in certain skills for certain needs and certain problems. Why? Because sometimes grasping the infinite concept of God is a bit much for our brain, especially when we’re under stress…i.e., when we’re praying for help. It is a great help to be able to see an intermediary, someone that looks more human, is more relatable and can be more understanding of what our problems are. Yes, we can pray directly to God, and should, but should you need something more relatable in a time of need you have saints and angels to pray to. (And I apologize if I didn’t get the exact details of Catholic dogma, I did try to be correct in the broad strokes).

Now over to New Agers. Pretty much the same thing with us. We believe in angels and saints. We believe that a Saint from any religion can help us because they have reached a level of enlightenment much higher than the average person at present and will not care about such petty things as what name you attribute to God. If you call on them they will come, be you Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, agnostic or New Ager. It doesn’t matter, you called for help they will come and do what they can (understand however it’s more of a whispering in your ear to see the opportunities to earn what you want or to get out of the situation you want to get out of, or at least to calm or strengthen you as the situation and request may call for). (More along the lines of what you saw in the movie City of Angels than in It’s A Wonderful Life).

However, New Agers don’t just call on saints and angels. We tend to have a much wider base of enlightened souls to call upon. And I don’t just mean Buddha, Krishna, Christ and Lao-Tzu. No we tend to take a lot of the old Pagan deities as well. Do we actually believe in the stories of Mount Olympus or of the Vedas? Not really. But we do believe that there was likely some enlightened soul behind that story, a truth that gave birth to the myth, and that is the person we’re calling upon. Further, I know some New Agers call up figures who were clearly fictional (I’m not going to name names so as not to embarrass anyone). Are they asking for help from no one and getting no help because they didn’t use the right name? No. New Agers tend to believe that the Heaven and all its beings are bright enough to know what we’re asking for even if we get the name wrong. There really was no Saint Christopher in history, but I’m sure some angel or enlightened being who did specialize in helping those in need of protection or guidance during journeys responded to all the calls for Saint Christopher…and if this enlightened being ever needed to reveal itself to someone (an exceedingly rare experience, but moments of revelation are not completely unheard of) it might even identify itself with that name just so as to help the person it was coming to understand what it was there for.   Now in a lot of cases we do refer to the enlightened souls as deities or gods, but more out of respect for the other religions we took them from, not because we really equate them with God.  Although you might hear a New Ager use the term Ascended Master as a catch all for all of these enlightened souls.

So do we call upon a lot of saints, angels, and gods (lower case g…who were likely just enlightened souls from very long ago) for help, and pray to them? Yes we do. But we don’t worship them. No. We understand that they are intermediaries who can better understand our problems and what me may need (although honestly angels are a bit detached as well—absolutely no understanding of how time works, if you’re praying to angels for help be sure to be very specific in terms of when and where). I think it’s safe to say that most New Agers believe there is only one God who uses a very large task force of intermediaries to help us.

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