Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thoroughly Modern Prometheus.

(From my sketchbook) Mary Shelley was twenty when she wrote Frankenstein.  It is an astonishing accomplishment for a man or a woman of any age from any age and is the very definition of catching lightning in a bottle or even fiery wisdom from The Gods in the Promethean sense. A novel of such enduring fame it reaches a new generation and continues to haunt our shelves as few others have. Frankenstein, the original punk scientist, the man who rebelled against the very forces that shape life, a continuing metaphor for intellectual hubris and the suffering that seemingly follows in its wake. A friend lent me an amazing DVD of a 1977 BBC television series called Supernatural. These are eight stories of old school gothic melodrama and terror all wondrously told by Robert Muller. Lavishly produced and worth watching over and over again. There is one story in particular that gave me goose bumps called Night Of The Marionettes. A snow bound tale that explores the dark origins of Frankenstein and the fertile haunted feverish imagination that spawned it. It stars Gordon Jackson(in a white fright wig) and features a remarkable turn by an actor called Vladek Sheybal which will linger in the minds eye long after seeing. The marionettes of the title are absolutely terrifying and the whole production has a quality that is just absent in modern productions.
               The opening and closing credits act as crimson curtains on eight supernatural delights that have never been repeated on the BBC since their first airing. The BFI released them last November 2013 and would sit comfortably in any collection that celebrates the macabre.