Last October I listed my ten favorite Halloween movies, so this time I decided to write about some Halloweeny films I’ve seen since then.
After visiting Cardiff I took the train back to England, and traveled north up to Newcastle, Northumberland.
After dropping my rucksack of at a hotel, I hopped on the bus out to Alnwick Castle.
I had traveled to this particular castle because this was the castle which had been used as the filming location for Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies, ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ and ‘The Chamber of Secrets’, and had as a result informed the look of Hogwarts in all subsequent films.
In the movies there were of course a lot added to the castle in post-production, mostly in height, but I did not mind. Hogwarts was a place I had wanted to visit ever since I devoured the books as a child.
While doing research for this post, I learned that the castle had been used to film many other things than just Harry Potter, but one of them made me really exited.
In February of 1983, Rowan Atkinson and his co-stars were filming around Alnwick Castle, as it would double as King Richard IV’s castle for the first Blackadder season, titled ‘The Black Adder’.
Blackadder is one of my favorite comedy shows, so I wish that I would have noticed that when I was there.
After I was done soaking in the Hogwartsian atmosphere, I took the bus back to my hotel.
And after a night in Newcastle, I started my journey southwards, to France!
‘Avengers: Infinity War’, the most recent film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was just released, and it was wonderful!
If you are someone who has not indulged in the Marvel films yet, this 10-year anniversary is not the best place to start, as it is somewhat of a naval-gazing celebration of the world that Marvel Studios have created over the years, and therefore a bit confusing to newcomers.
If you have time, you should see all the 18 movies that preceded ‘Infinity War’ before seeing it.
But if you don’t have that much time to spare, here are the four movies I think you need to see to get an appreciation for what people love about these films.
1 – The Avengers
This was the culmination of Iron Man 1 & 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
Despite being the sixth movie in a series, you can easily start here, as the film-makers anticipated a much bigger turnout for this film than the others, and therefore made it easily accessible for new viewers.
I would also still rank this as the best of the movies, but only barely as the latest films have all been incredible. By watching this one first, you can pretty quickly find out if this series is something for you or not.
2 – Guardians of the Galaxy
If you need some more Easter Crime suggestions here at the end of Easter, look no further than David Fincher!
From Seven (or Se7en), to Zodiac, to Gone Girl, to Mind Hunter, his film are a great fit for the Scandinavian tradition of Easter crime-fiction.
If my recommendation isn’t enough to sway you, maybe the video above, by Every Frame A Painting, will inspire you to look up some of his stuff.
But if it just made you want to watch more video essays, here’s a list of recommendations for that.
I watched the new Marvel-movie, Black Panther, a few days ago, and I must say that I absolutely loved it. Not as much as I loved ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, but that film had space-travel and monsters, so it had quite the advantage on me!
It is the first superhero-movie, to my knowledge, that is set in Africa, and features mostly african characters.
The main location of the movie, the fictional country of Wakanda, is a technological utopia built on the customs of african tribes.
That got me thinking about what superheroes inspired by other indigenous peoples from around the world would be like.
My thoughts immediately went to the indigenous peoples of my own country, the Sami people.
They reside in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and a little into Russia. In a fictional setting, who knows what sort of hidden ice-kingdoms could be hidden up there.
One of the really cool parts of the movie was how traditional african clothes were used as a basis for the “afrofuturistic” designs of the costumes. I would really like to see how the same costume-designers would take on the traditional garb of The Sami.
I’m not sure what the name or powers of a Sami superhero should be, but including their thousand-year old practice of reindeer-herding in some way could lead to some cool stand-out superhero stuff.
I’ll stop now, and let this idea sit where it is.
Making a hero like this should be up to the individuals that are actually from the people in question.
What other cultures could make some new and interesting superheroes?
I recently rediscovered one of my favorite musicians, Gavin Dunne, aka Miracle Of Sound.
I usually spend my listening-time on podcasts, but when I am in the mood for music, I like stuff that has lyrics worth paying attention to.
That often means comedy or musicals (e.g. Hamilton), but Miracle Of Sound also fits in that category.
Gavin Dunne often takes a video game, movie or tv-show, and makes a song based on it. The lyrics always reflects the events and spirit present in the works he draws on, in a very interesting way.
I like all his music, but I love the songs based on something I am familiar with the most, as those hit me in a way that the ones based on works I don’t know could not.
I have here tried to find my favorite song out of each of his main albums (the ones named “Level #”), while also trying to keep my choices as diverse as his various music styles.
If you like this stuff, you can buy his albums here!
Level 1: Sovngarde Song
“Level 1” has the most tracks out of all of these albums, so this was a very hard choice to make. ‘Sovngarde Song’ presents the awesomeness that is Skyrim, the fifth Elder Scrolls game.
This is a more recent remaster, but it is still the same song, so I felt that would be ok.
Level 2: Take It Back!
This was a song he got to make as promotion for Mass Effect 3, back before that game came out.
Such a good war-anthem, pumping you up to reclaim Earth from The Reapers!
Level 3: Dream Of The Sky
Listening to this song again is what gave me the idea to write this whole thing.
The song has so many aspects, just like Bioshock Infinite itself!
Level 4: Forever Blue
Both a deep dive into the psychology of the main character of Breaking Bad, Walter White, AND a pun on the color of the meth he makes.
Top 5 Songs from Level 4