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The Mighty Castle

A World of Fantasy, Horror and Mystic Stories

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: the Reunion

Everyone who grow up in the 90’ must have watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer; this TV series is one of the best memories of my childhood! I remember watching it with my brother and my best friend and we loved everything about it, the atmosphere, the story, the locations and all the characters. So I was very excited when I found out that recently the cast has made a reunion after twenty years!

Series creator Joss Whedon talks in an interview about the series, how much this reunion means to him and how Buffy the Vampire Slayer influenced positively teenagers around the world. Buffy, Willow, Angel, Spike, Xander, Rupert, and Tara, everyone reunited to remember the series and make a gift to every fan around the world. Unfortunately, Giles was not present. 😦

But, maybe this reunion means something else is coming up?

I’ll link some images of the meeting.

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In the Heart of the Sea

The story of Moby Dick first published by Herman Melville in 1851 inspired another book written by Nathaniel Philbrick in modern times; In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex won the National Book Award in the year 2000.

From this epic tale Ron Howard decided to produce a very interesting film in 2015 starring Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson and Benjamin Walker among others.

The movie tells the story about Herman Melville visiting Thomas, the last survivor of the sinking of the whaleship Essex, wanting to write down the story of how the tragedy really happened. The man doesn’t think he’s ready to speak, but after a while he narrates to the author how everything went. The story is set in the beautiful Nantucket, where a very young Thomas decides to follow the adventure of the whaleship Essex signing on as a cabin boy. In 1820, in fact, the whale oil trade was very gainful. Herman Melville could not believe what he heard Thomas narrate about, because this is for sure the most amazing adventure he has ever heard about.

If you love adventures, deserted islands, ships and storms, you have to watch this movie. In my opinion the film wants to focus on how difficult it was for every member of the ship to leave behind their life and their families, to sail in the ocean and risk their life every day to provide a living for them and their loved one, and how much ambition man has, and how many sacrifices they have to make, because in the end they really don’t have a choice. They even think they will die of starvation at one point.

One of the most interesting fact I found during my research on this movie is that the actors were really on a highly restricted diet during the shooting, they had to spend four weeks in the open ocean on a ship and they did an incredible real physical transformation.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third Harry Potter novel that follows Harry, Ron and Hermione during their third year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is one of my favorites. I think that’s because it begins with the belief that a terrible criminal, Sirius Black, has escaped from the scary magic prison of Azkaban, and then, at the end, nothing is at it seems to everyone; the book ends in a very surprising way. J. K. Rowling describes as usual everything with her unique, ironic and captivating way that makes you want to continue reading page after page without stopping. Here we meet for the first time the eccentric professor Remus Lupin, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor that turns out to be a werewolf;

Also, Harry has to deal with the Dementors, dark creatures that have the capability of sucking happiness from people, and during one of his loved Quiddich matches, he faints and fall off his broomstick. He will find a way to find back thanks to Professor Lupin.

As the title of the book let us know, this is the first time the prison of Azkaban is introduced: what’s the story of this dark prison?

Azkaban was built on an island in the North Sea and at the beginning the place never appeared on any map, Muggle or wizarding, and it is believed to have been created by magical means. Azkaban is considered to be the prison of the darkest and worst criminals of the wizarding world, but also home of the Dementors.

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The Real Story Behind the Blair Witch Project

I’ve already written about the movie The Blair Witch project, one of my favorite horror movies based on the legend of a witch and three student filmmakers that wants to find out how much of the story is real and film a documentary in mystic woods in Maryland in 1994. (If you’ve not read it yet, here is the link to the article).

The Blair Witch Project

But, what’s the real story behind the film? Let’s find out.

The Blair Witch Project was filmed in 1999 in Burkittsville, a little city with only 75 houses, a church and a post office. There were actually local legends around there, in the little mystic cemetery; it is said that Civil War Soldier Ghosts wander around there, and apparently there is also a legend about a mythical dragon that laid an egg in the hills.

 But, what about legends of witches? There is a very creepy place there called Spook Hill, in the woods you can find an old house, where it is said the real Blair Witch lived. Many that camped nearby says they have witnessed several paranormal activities, such as strange glowing lights and, absurd but true, if you happen to be on a road trip there, on the road of Spook Hill into the woods, your car will roll backwards up the hill! We don’t know if it’s an illusion or there is a scientific explanation to this, but something is really happening, and for sure it’s strange.

After the great success of The Blair Witch Project the major of Burkittsville spoke out saying that it was crazy there, and people with cameras were everywhere.

Anyway, a spooky fact of the movie was that they finished shooting it at Halloween Night, and the actor Michael C. Williams said that there was an incredible surreal atmosphere that night in the woods.

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The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

A beautiful story of a friendship between a boy called Angus and a legendary sea creature, this fantasy movie is a must-see for everyone who is interested in the Scottish legend of the monster of Loch Ness, or interested in history. In fact, the film begins with an old Angus telling the story of the Loch Ness monster to a young couple in a Scottish pub near the lake. When he was a little boy, Angus found a strange egg with beautiful pearl-water blue colors; from the egg came a little sea monster that he called Crusoe and that at a certain point he has to free into the lake, because it will be bigger and bigger, and no one can know this secret.

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The story is set during World War II, precisely in 1942; Angus is living in a beautiful mansion on the Loch Ness shores with his mom and his sister, but one day troops of the Royal Artillery arrive at the house and an artillery battery is set up near the lake for protecting the area from possible attacking from German U-Bots.

The major themes of the movie are the atrocity of war and the constant fear people lived in, risking their lives every day, the relationship between man and animal, that can be a beautiful friendship in the case of Angus, but the film focus also on how man destroy nature and betray the trust of all other creatures.

The Water Horse is produced by Jay Russell and is based on a fantasy children novel with the same name written by Dick King Smith, the English writer of the famous The Sheep-Pig, or Babe the Gallant Pig, that was adapted as the movie Babe in 1995 (one of my childhood favorite movies, loved it).

The actors are amazing in this film; among others we have the great Emily Watson in the role of Angus’ mother, the soundtracks of the film are beautiful in my opinion, you can hear all typical Scottish Celtic music during the movie, and the setting is astonishing. Scotland is wonderful.

Plus, the visual effects were made by the same New Zealand based companies Weta Digital and Weta Workshop that made also the visual effects of all The Chronicles of Narnia films.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

The only novel written by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray is part of the Irish literature culture worldwide. First published in 1890, this novel faces philosophical mayor themes, like the human duplicity, fading beauty and decadence.

It’s strange to think that a novel that will become one of the most famous and iconic books worldwide, was initially only considered an indecent work, not fitting into the social frame of mind. In fact, the book was censored and several parts were never published (as many great works at that time).

Dorian is a handsome man that has a hedonistic world view, thinking that beauty is the only thing worth pursuing in life; the novel in fact begins with an artist, Basil Hallward, that paints a portrait of Dorian Gray, considered his muse.

Dorian will experiment every human vice possible, while his portrait become more and more horrible. At a certain point, the artist of the portrait is only able to identify it as his work by his signature.

One of the major hidden meanings of the book is the analyze of how important it was to fit into the Victorian Age Society, but that no one was as he seemed and people had secret lives that they were too ashamed of reveal. Everyone was ashamed of being what they truly were! But not Dorian.

The degeneration of the portrait symbolizes the degeneration of Dorian’s soul. Outside he was really beautiful, but he could do nothing to not let the portrait transform day after day;

This work has several interpretations, and Wilde himself made textual revisions and expanded the text, so you can find censored editions, and editions with passages added to the novel.

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The Spooky Story of Sauer Castle

Let’s continue the journey into spooky mansions and castles around the world. Sauer Castle, in Kansas City, has an incredible history worth telling.

Sauer Castle is a mansion that was for the first time a residence back in 1858, when a business man called Anton Sauer decided to live there after the death due to tuberculosis of his beloved wife, after they moved to America from Vienna, Austria. He would not expect what was going to happen there, and apparently the mansion had some sort of evil spell, that would have lasted for generations. In fact, after marrying another woman, Maria, in 1869, they had together five children, and one of them dramatically died during infancy inside the mansion.

Consequently, both Anton Sauer and Maria died in the same house in horrifying circumstances; Anton was found dead in the second floor master bedroom, and Maria committed suicide by hanging.

Their children decided anyway to continue living in the mansion, but horror was not over. In fact, Eve, one of the Sauer’s daughters, married a man in the mansion, William, that also committed suicide in the house, with a handgun. You would say that this is it, it could not be possible that in the same mansion something else happened after all these horrible things. That’s wrong; generation after generation, something extremely dramatic continued to happen, like a girl drown in the swimming pool of the house and other mysterious deaths.

From the year 1930 many ghost stories about the mansion were told and everyone was scared of this place.

Anyway, in 1987 the mansion was sold to a man called Bud Wyman, that hoped to turn the location into a bed and breakfast, but the plan didn’t go as planned.

Someone suppose there have also been murders inside the house (but historically there is no proof of that), someone else think you can find treasures and secret hidden passages inside the mansion, and secret tunnels. Obviously, the most common rumor is that of the presence of the ghost of all the people that suffered inside this mansion, since its construction.

Nowadays, neighbors and the community have reported several paranormal activities, such as crying, laughter and shouting that have been heard coming from the house, lights have mysteriously appeared in the tower, and in the same tower, on Halloween, two apparitions have been inexplicably seen dancing.

Here is the link to a video of Sauer Castle, where you can see how it is.

A Series of Unfortunate Events top 5 Funniest Characters

Based on the first book of the famous series by Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events is a huge Netflix success right now.

The story tells the strange and incredible adventures of the Baudelaire children after a mysterious fire that kills their parents, as they try to escape from the claws of a distant relative, Count Olaf, that is only interested in their inheritance, and will stalk them wherever they go.

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I love the fact that this black comedy tells a story not in an ordinary way. If I have to think about just one word that can describe this series, the first word that comes to my mind is tragicomic. This is exactly how this entire series is! A mix of unfortunate events, told in a strange and ironic way.  Here are my 5 funniest characters.

 

The White Faced Women

  • I don’t know how they found someone so perfect for their role, but these two are just hilarious! 🙂  The amazing Jaqueline and Joyce Robbins play the role of two white faced twins, member of Count Olaf’s theater troupe. They always speak a few words, and they talk always at the same time, and move at the same time. The funniest thing about them is that they pop up in different situations and scenes very inexplicably.

 

Arthur Poe

  • The banker in charge of the Baudelaire children is played by Kenneth Todd Freeman. Mr. Poe is amusingly unaware of deliver the children every time to a disguised Count Olaf and he is distinguished by a cough, that appears in the strangest situations.

 

Count Olaf

  • Neil Patrick Harris did a great work portraying the unscrupulous Count Olaf. The funniest part about the Count Olaf is that he always disguises himself, but it’s always clear that it’s him, and the children always find out about it immediately. And, he has some problems with grammar sometimes. 🙂 

 

Aunt Josephine

  • Another distant relative to the Baudelaire children; she lives in an isolated old house on a steep cliff surrounded by the ocean. Aunt Josephine is played by Alfre Woodard, one of the best American actresses at the moment (she has been nominated for different roles for the Academy Award, the Grammy Award, and 18 times for the Emmy Awards, winning four of them, and she has also won a Golden Globe!). Aunt Josephine is hypochondriac and she has many irrational fears, she eats only cold food because she is afraid of lighting the stove and never turns on candles in the house. The fun fact about her is that she is obsessed with correct grammar and tend to correct everyone who’s talking and is spelling something the wrong way.

 

Phil

  • Phil is a hilarious and extremely optimistic and friendly worker at the Lucky Smells Lumbermill; he will help the Baudelaire children during their stay there. He is portrayed by the English-born Canadian actor Christopher Gautier. When he’ll have an accident that injures his leg, he’ll continue being optimistic and he’ll say: “Oh Boy, half-price pedicures for life!”.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs did a great work writing the New York Times best seller book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and I can’t imagine someone else but Tim Burton as director of the film with the same name.

Jake is a boy that has a very close relationship with his grandpa, that used to tell him wonderful and scary goodnight stories about his childhood during World War II; grandpa Abe told Jake about a place where everyone could be themselves, a place for peculiar children, children with paranormal abilities, run by the wise and good Miss Peregrine, a woman with the peculiarity of being able to transmute in a beautiful bird, and also, she can manipulate time!  But, he also told Jake about horrific monsters that chased them, so they could not live a peaceful life.

Unfortunately, grandpa Abe dies in mysterious ways and Jake cannot get over it. So he decides, with the help of his psychologist, to make the trip that will change his life, the travels to Wales with his dad to investigate and find out more about the children’s home. Maybe, it wasn’t only goodnight stories his grandpa told him?

Once again Eva Green did a great work playing the role of Miss Peregrine; but, there is also other amazing actors in this movie, like Samuel L. Jackson, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for peculiar Children is one of the most seen movies in 2016 worldwide.

This is a movie with lots of hidden meanings, and I loved all the locations. The beautiful Wales landscapes and the wonderful castle – home for children, with its magic green garden.

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