Sunday, February 11, 2007

Top Five Fave Paranormal Movies & TV Shows

Like with the book list, this is such an easy topic for me. I love books, love writing 'em, love reading 'em, but my second favorite thing in this world would be a really well-done movie. I've always preferred fantasy-land over the real thing, I suppose.
My top faves, in no particular order (and I know I'm going to be leaving out a whole lot, but these are what came to me off the top of my head):
Practical Magic
What is not to like about girl-next-door Sandra Bullock and gorgeous Nicole Kidman as a pair of sister-witches descended from a long line of natural witches whose family suffers beneath the weight of a curse placed upon them from one of their very own? The crazy Victorian house filled with antiques, the seaside village, the garden and yard surrounded by white picket fences, the book of shadows thick with centuries of magical words and remedies, the hippy-chic clothes and hair extensions. Oh, and Aidan Quinn, in one of his most charming roles ever. There is something very quiet and steady and reassuring about his character here.
The scene at left is probably my favorite in the whole movie, for atmostphere and for the way magic is shown as just being a natural part of Sally/Sandra's existence. She has a nagging feeling, then hears her daughters and sister calling for her on the wind. I just love it. I even love the soundtrack.
A doctor loses his pregnant wife, an M.D., while she is on a Red Cross mission to a South American country. She is presumed dead, but he never recovers her body, a fact that haunts him through the vast depths of his grief. Suddenly this man of science begins hearing and experiencing things that are at odds with his aetheistic non-beliefs. Is Emily haunting him for not accompanying her? Is she reaching out to him from beyond the grave because she wants him there with her? Or is he just going mad?
I loved this movie. Loved it for its atmosphere, for its sensitive rendering of the emotions a person suffers after a loved one passes over, but mostly for the questions it raises about human consciousness. Kevin Costner and Linda Hunt (as a Catholic nun who got into trouble for investigating near death experiences) are both wonderful, as is Susanna Thompson as his late wife.
The Mists of Avalon
This made-for-TV miniseries is based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley and tells the King Arthur story from the viewpoint of one of the most reviled women of the original versions, Morgaine Le Fey. The opening scene, with Morgaine parting the mists is gorgeous.
The movie suffered in a few places from overacting (or was it the script?) and from non-movie-quality sets, but it was fascinating and beautiful, nevertheless. It also has a gorgeous soundtrack, sometimes airy, sometimes ominous, sometimes both at the same time as it follows the tale of treachery, deceit, and the longings of the human heart.
John Edward Cross Country
Actually I don't consider this paranormal, but I know there are lots of people out there who would put it in the realm of fantasy and the paranormal, so I will include it here. From my standpoint, John Edward is amazing. He has done more to bring the paranormal and communication from the other side to the skeptical masses than anyone else I can think of, and he does it with a kindness and sense of humor that keeps him accessible. The man is a phenomena in and of himself. I sense things from him that I don't get from all of the TV self-proclaimed psychics. I think he's the real deal. What do you think?
Dracula 2000
Stop laughing. Yes, I will include this B-movie gore-fest spectacle on my lists of favorites. Why? Well, I can assure you, it had nothing to do with the wonder that is Gerard Butler.

Yes, that's him...

Seriously, forget the bad script, forget the writhing vamp vixens who couldn't act their way out of a shoebox, forget the less-than-spectacular-or-original descent into gratuitous blood and gore. Beyond all of that was a truly original theory behind the Dracula myth and what made him into this being that he is. Had the film focused on that and hired real screenwriters (with talent, I might add), this movie had the potential to do something great, to perhaps even become a classic in Dracula moviemaking history.

Besides, if you saw *him* coming at you out of the mists, would you run away? LOL.

Co-star Christopher Plummer said that Gerard Butler had a stillness about him that made him amazing to watch.I wholeheartedly concur. Heh.

Oh, and speaking of Gerard Butler:

Phantom of the Opera

I know, I know. The Opera Ghost isn't reeeeeeally a ghost. But just to humor me, let's pretend that he is, because that gives me the opportunity to display this:

Seriously. The movie is fantastic. Fabulous sets, talented actors, a gorgeous production. I even bought the soundtrack, and after two years of wearing it out, I still can’t listen to the CD set without tears. The emotional honesty of the premier voices never fails to amaze me. Emmy Rossum’s haunting soprano blends seamlessly with Patrick Wilson’s quietly accomplished Raoul, and the circle is completed by the raw energy and heartstopping pathos in Gerard Butler’s appealing baritone--sometimes rough-edged, sometimes smooth and pure, but always, always compelling with sheer masculine power. If you have somehow managed to miss this, do whatever it takes to get your hands on it. You’ll never forget it.

So he's not really a ghost. He could be.

"Come to me, my Angel of Music..."

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}


Dana said...

Hi Mad - I just ordered your books on Amazon. Dolores Stewart Riccio recommended you. Looking forward to a good read!

And on your subject of shows - do you get BBC America and have you seen the show "Hex". It was entertaining at the very least - but not a favorite.

I used to work in book publishing for Dell in PR (early 90s) and got to speak with Diana Gabaldon on the phone once. Very exciting. Unfortunately I left the company and the world of low-paying book publishing before her next book came out and I never got to work on a tour with her. darn.

Anyway - Can't wait for your books to arrive :-)

Michelle said...

Hi Mads!!!
I'm going to have to book mark your blog! It is so strange but when I read your comments about Dracula 2000, it felt like I was reading my own thoughts on the matter. Janie and I have had many conversations about this and how perfectly the logic made sense and that it is one of the most redeeming things about this film. Brillant acutally. Not to mention The Butler, of course.

Anyway, just wanted to drop by, and say hello!!!

Samantha Reynolds aka
Michelle Bailey

Madelyn Alt said...

Hi Dana,

Oh, I wish I did get the BBC channel! I saw an advertisement for Hex before the show originally aired, but no such luck here in the cornfields. :)

That would have been VERY exciting to watch Gabaldon's career grow with an inside view! Do you still do PR away from publishing, or are you in another field now?

And... Michelle!!! How great to see you here! Oh, I know(!), about the Drac2K motivation. Why did they not see this was the true hidden jewel with this movie???? That, and Gerard Butler should have been given much more emphasis and importance in his role as The Man Himself. Why-oh-why-oh-why???

I love it when some brilliant person blends history with mythology and/or fantasy to come up with a perfectly plausible and logical explanation that gives the myth new relevance. On this note, if you're a fan of the King Arthur legends, have you ever read The Forever King? OMG. This is one book that will stay with me forever, I think.

Mad {madly!}

Dana said...

Mad - nope not in PR anymore. I am a web designer now. I bet you will be able to buy the Hex show on DVD on BBC's site or maybe rent it from Netflix.

I will look into your book recommendation. I have read tons of Arthurian books. Was just about to get all of Mary Stewart's books out of the library for a re-read.

Just started your first book a night or two ago - loving it so far! With 2 year old twins I do not get to read much - so it might take me a month to finish it :-)

Anonymous said...

I knew I would find Michelle here when I saw Gerry Butler in your posts! LOL!!!!!!!! On a few days till 300!

I loved the movie Dragon Fly. It's the one movie that actually gave me this good feeling about dying. All those layers....of life and death...mingling, etc.

The rest of the movies aren't bad either. Dracula 2000 was really a good story.

Adding your blog!

And good luck on the books! Go girl!