Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Review of "Mama"

"Mama" is a Universal Pictures horror film made in 2013 by Andres Muschietti. I'm giving a review to this because I watched it properly this evening in the dark. This is not a film to watch IF you suffer from epilepsy (such as myself, I had to shield away from the flashes of light). The majority of the film is in deep shadow and darkness. Not sure if that's the way it is or it's me. Or my TV. My TV isn't dark set btw. Just I had difficulty seeing anything in the film and was puzzled about what was going on. I felt like I've missed a portion of it and went by the sounds and voices. I didn't like the way it was done, as it was too dark, and might as well of listened to it instead. Darkness aside, the story was basically a paranormal story. It goes like this:

The beginning was outside of a house with a car radio, and a father takes his two small daughters into the car for a trip. The eldest daughter Victoria asks him where they're going. Father puts the breaks on and speeds up along a narrow icy road. The daughter cries "you're going too fast". Father ignores her, and she says it again. He turns round and gives her a mouthful, not paying attention to his driving. The car skids across the ice and falls over a cliff. It lands somewhere below in a forest. All three are alive and uninjured, and they find a strange little house with musical windchimes. Here the father breaks down and picks up a gun, assuming he's about to do something terrible. Then he's attacked by an unseen force. Victoria, who was able to see clearly despite breaking her glasses, noticed a strange woman outside earlier on. The strange woman is the entity that gives the two children a warm fire and cherries to eat over the next five years.  Both girls and their dead father are missing to the outside world.

Victoria and sister Lilly are found in the house, wild and dirty. Lilly, who was a toddler five years earlier, has grown feral, but Victoria remembers her life from before the accident. She's visited by her uncle Lucas, brother of her dad, who's been killed by an entity five years before. He seeks custody of the children after they've been under the care of Doctor Gerald Greyfuss. But aunt Jean, who's the sister of the girls' mother, demands custody allowed only visiting rights on Thursdays. Lucas brings the girls to his new home and they meet his girlfriend, a heavy metal musician called Annabel, and Lilly called her "Mama". Now "Mama" is the name the girls often describe whoever was looking after them in the forest for the last five years when they were missing. Soon the doctor, Annabel and uncle Lucus are finding out that "Mama" is there with them and will never leave them. It's not even a nice spirit, who's own life from the Victorian era was very tragic.

The story doesn't present the mother figure very well. The mother of the two girls is missing (dead) from the beginning of the film, and their foster mother was a very creepy looking ghost, who turned nasty and almost killed Annabel who was looking after them while Lucus was in hospital after being attacked by "Mama". The blood relative aunt was almost uncaring and aloof, determined to call social services on the family just because she didn't want them living there with Lucus and Annabel. And because of the state of the wild children who were not yet fully adjusted to being in a normal life. "Mama" was a very dangerous spirit because all she wanted was to keep the two girls to replace a child she'd lost over 150 years before.

I couldn't physically bare to watch this film again as it was painful during a flash photography scene with Lucus taking pictures of the ghost "Mama". It was mostly filmed in pitch black, so I had to turn off all the lights to see something. The eerie grimness is the only thing that made it a nice creepy ghost fairytale.        

Official link

Monday, 17 August 2015

Update on Black Shuck dog

Last year I made a post about a dig that uncovered the burial remains of a 7 foot tall skeleton of a dog. To read that visit here.

It was found buried on the grounds of Leiston Abbey, the same regional area where the local legend of supernatural dogs appear. Seven miles from the abbey at Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh (a 10 minute drive away), the frightening apparition of Black Shuck appeared there in the year 1577. It caused a terrible storm and a bolt of lightning destroyed the church steeple, while the demonic dog killed two people. Terrified people tried to barricade themselves within the church as the dog scratched angrily on the wooden door, leaving blackened hot claw marks that remain there to this day. It was described as a 7 foot tall black dog with flaming red eyes. Nicknamed "Black Shuck". The discovery of a 7 foot tall dog in an unmarked grave at the side of another church sent everyone wondering if this is the true remains of Black Shuck.

Other interesting things about the discovery also. The dog's skeleton was found neatly placed under what was once a kitchen area of the monestery. Would anyone go through the hassle of carefully burying a fallen demonic beast? Or would they treat the body of a loving dog with consideration?

In 1536 all monastreries dissolved because Henry VIII changed everything, removing the assets and properties that once belonged to the Roman Catholic church. That abbey was sold to Lord Charles Brandon (1537-1551) who owned the property, and transformed it into a farm. The farm was built within the walls of the old monastery and likely that there were dogs. It scatters the idea of it being an evil Shuck.

A piece of the skeleton was sent to a lab in Florida, USA, for radiocarbon dating. The dog was the size of a large breed of dog that we would recognise in Great Danes or Mastiffs. It's also possible, loking at the bones and jaw of the dog, that it might've been elderly. It had worn teeth and athritis! Devil dogs have supernatural powers. The appearance of Black Shuck at Holy Trinity Church happened in 1577. Radiocarbon results shows that the dog lived in the mid or late 18th Century. Over two centuries after the Holy Trinity Church event. However, Black Shuck, as all other devil dogs and hell hounds, are immortal, atleast live a very long time, longer than the average earthly dog.

What do I think? Personally I don't believe this was Black Shuck at all. It was a household pet used to protect the farm and the home, who lived a long life, was well fed, and loved by its owners. The people living in the farm house understood the place as a farm, not what it used to be. In the 1920's, the farmhouse/abbey was purchased by Ellen Wrightson, who restored the building to it's original spiritual dwelling as Lady Chapel, a place of sanctuary and prayer. Today it's a ruin owned by Pro-Corda, and protected by English Heritage. The abbey is haunted and today it's still visited by ghostly monks, and not far away is the looming Sizewell nuclear power station, also said to be haunted.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Star shower

The Perseid meteor shower is going to be seen on display during this month, the most brightest visible in middle of August. Apparantly on the 14th August 2015, the meteor shower will be seen in a clear sky, predicted by weather forecasts. The ISS (International Space Station) will appear in the UK sky as it passes over. It would be during a new moon. In fact it's been seen in the sky throughout the summer holidays and will be less visible by late August. Best to see after 10.30 p.m. under a cloudless sky. Those living in areas with strong light pollution (as I am) would strain to catch anything but use a telescope or go pitch out in the countryside/park to see all the stars better. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The extinct island's wolves

The native British wolf has been extinct for 270 years. Growing at the size of a timber wolf, an adult British wolf was often darker in appearance, almost black in colour, with blazing fiery eyes.

The destruction of this British wild animal has been part of the islands since after the Roman occupation. King Athelstan, an Anglo Saxon warlord, demanded the brutal deaths of hundreds of wolves across the landscape every year so that their pelts could be given as a token of friendship to a Welsh king. Wolves were hunted periodically throughout the forests in Wales and the West of England.

The Normans favoured wolf tongues in law and punishment, offering criminals the chance to escape execution to hunt wolves instead. January was called "Wolf Month" in the Anglo Saxon chronicals, often linked with wolf hunts. However, wolf hunting became restricted to the nobility when lands were owned and occupied by the Normans.

For centuries, wolves were hunted throughout the British isles during hunting seasons, and sadly, wolf pups were also put to death cruelly. It turned into a pasttime and hobby among the rich, and various servants of landowners were trained to hunt wolves. King Edward I "Longshanks" wanted all wolves eradicated from his land.

All the counties of England and Wales were frequently killing wolves that there was few left by the 16th century. In Scotland, wolves were found in scattered areas, wolves were considered a menace. People buried their dead on hilltops and mountains to prevent wolves from reaching them.

Such a difficult place of burial is the towering Sea Stack column. Forests were cut down under the rule of James I and wolf habitat was flattened. Mary Queen of Scots hunted wolves as a hobby, but she only killed five of them. The Turdors were responsible for wiping out a load of British wildlife species, including birds and fish, because they regarded all of nature as "vermin".

 The last wolf to be killed in the british isles was in 1680. It coincides with the disappearance of the wild boar in Britain. Some argue that it's not known exactly when due to sightings of wolves in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even modern times are full of witnesses having seen large mysterious black wolflike beasts roaming around by themselves.

What happened to the wild British wolf was terrible and had a major devastating impact on the environment. An increase in deer, squirrels, mice, sheep, ect because of no natural predator, transformed the British Isles into a grass desert, making an increase of flooding, moisture, ice, wind and grey skies. Certain plants have become extinct also, and trees vulnerable to diseases.

Wolf's Tale (history of the wolf in Scotland)
Extinct English wolf
Hunting in Tudor England