Tag Archives: Ghosts

When The Light The Peony Lantern is …

12 Sep

The Peony Lantern | 牡丹燈籠 — INTREPID THEATREBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Victoria Fringe Festival

Showtimes:
Sept 10 to 16th

Streaming Online
Tickets can be bought online.

Botan Dōrō (牡丹燈籠, The Peony Lantern) is a classic Japanese ghost story that can easily deliver chills when adapted to the silver screen. It’s been made and remade since coming into publication circa 17th Century. One of its earliest incarnations was a 1910 silent film production from which I feel The Yokohama Theatre Group took inspiration from. There’s a German Expressionist design—intentional or not—which I recognize. The angles the two huge projection screens intersect are very reminiscent of how two walls in The Cabinet of Caligari bend towards Francis (with one foot bound to a chain) as though it’s laying pressure, holding him down.

The visual motifs are very clear in the theatrical adaptation. Here, the team creates a fantastic illusion of movement. One example is how the rickshaw seems to come alive when in front of a moving video. It carries a new arrival. A lone traveller, Islay Vogel (Nora Beryll), arrives by boat to Japan and he doesn’t have a place to stay until his cab gets lost, introduces a wandering spirit, and finally makes its way to a hostel. There, he encounters an attractive female, O-Tsuyu (May Sera), even though his landlady seems unaware of, and the young adults fall in love. 

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Presenting The Haunted Village in Full & Ashcroft, BC’s Haunted History

28 Jul

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On the Paranormal Network on YouTube

The second episode of The Haunted Village is here and it fills in the details I’ve mentioned in my first article. Barbara Roden, Mayor of Ashcroft, British Columbia, sums it up with even more information and those reminders of old times are well represented in all the heritage buildings that still stand. One spirit who regularly manifests is dubbed ‘The Dark Haired Man.’ He alerts people to his presence by turning on the water taps, and it’s up to Peter Renn, Jason Hewlett and crew to try and find him.

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Video

From Art to Music with Millennium Parade’s Debut Album!

12 Feb

Image result for Millennium parade

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Not everyone will know of Millennium Parade, an arts collective from Japan whose music can’t be easily pigeon-holed. They are led by Daiki Tsuneta, frontman of J-Pop band King Gnu, and can be categorized as New Wave or Trip Hop. The debut self-titled album is a fresh exhilarating experience for me, and their sound is similar to but not quite like the sound from the virtual band’s Gorillaz. But anime fans will know them because they’re the composers of the opening song, “Fly with Me” for Netflix’s Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045.

This work draws from Japanese folklore, and this supernatural world has modern tonality embedded in the lyrics. The songs take ideas from Hyakki Yagyo – The Night of One Hundred Demons and transform the images, stories and lore from this Asiatic world into evocative melodies that’s both a meditative and a clubbing experience. On the cover, a “Tezutsu Hanabi” (the oldest form of Japanese fireworks, encased in bamboo and held by hand) which was traditionally used to protect from evil spirits, and was also used to pray for a good harvest, is held by Ebisu (one of the 7 Gods of Fortune).

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VFFOnline: Navigating Nobuhiko Ōbayashi’s Labyrinth of Cinema

8 Feb

Labyrinth of Cinema (2019) poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Streaming Online
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here.
All films begin Feb 5th, 2021

Note: Geo-locked to residents in British Columbia

Spoiler Alert

Nobuhiko Ōbayashi‘s Labyrinth of Cinema is not only a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood but also an anti-war film. The many genres this era introduced helped define the shape of entertainment still to come, and its fondly honoured. We see a bit of everything in this film, from animation to comedy to sci-fi, and there’s even a splash of horror offered after a few musical moments. The best bits are with the romances, though.

The films of today are a lot more sophisticated in terms of realism. This filmmaker went old school to make this movie, and he wanted his performers to overact. They are in on the joke. He uses those techniques to emphasize why the modern (nuclear) age is terrible. The realism is just that, and the fiction is in technicolour. Unlike Ishirō Honda‘s intent in Gojira (1954), this work makes a different commentary about why going to war is bad (from the eyes of one side in the conflict). Also included is the fear of where humanity is headed–whether or not any future conflicts to come will destroy humanity. Ultimately, his goal is to show us why engaging in the art of war (and not in the Sun Tzu sense) is bad.

Ōbayashi makes use of humour to hammer in the point. He also broke a lot of rules from movie making 101 when he was in post-production, namely the editing of Labyrinth of Cinema. I was taught to avoid jump cuts in my newsroom videos, but he’s gratuitous in using this technique. The plot here is non-linear, and he purposely micro-budgeted the set design in some of this film’s best romantic moments to make it picturesque, like it’s from a painting. More green screen sets were used to distinguish the many realities explored. My guess is that the only proper place was a movie theatre and everything else was digitally created.

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Image

Where to find Krampus Around The World (Part Two)

5 Dec

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Krampus is certainly a very famous creature for the early holiday season! On December 5th, he has to visit a lot of homes throughout Germany to identify who the wicked children are.

But in order for him to get around, even he needs help! Saint Nicholas can only do so much, and perhaps all that’s needed is a wormhole so he can jump around. Realistically, he just needs other people who serve the same purpose as him to punish those who had been bad in the past year.

Some folks say he’s the one and only original. All others pale. Fortunately, this statement is not true. Although Krampus has been around since circa 4th Century AD, a few other figures have popped up in later centuries to help out or serve a similar purpose as him in other countries.

On this list includes a top ten (approximately):

In Hungary, St. Mikulás is basically Saint Nicholas without Krampus tagging along. He has full honours. The representative forces of good and evil who tag along is a generic angel and devil. The dentist may well replace the latter because any child who consumed all the sweets in a day may well have cavities!

In other parts of Germany, three legends have a sixth sense for identifying the naughty.

The Belsnickel hail from the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. He’s special because he was directly brought to America by immigrants who landed in the east coast to form the Pennsylvania Dutch colonies. But his influence is not limited to this region. Some have brought this figure to be recognized in Canada. Alternative names include Kriskinkle, Beltznickle, Pelsnichol, and the Christmas woman.

Like Mikulás, he visits alone instead of accompanying his compatriots.

Frau Perchta is better known in Austria and Southern Germany. Stories of her dates from the 13th Century and are often varied. In what ties her to this season is in how families can maintain order. More specifically, for the lady of the house to have finished spinning that flax into threads for use as linen. If it’s not done by the Twelfth Night (January 6th), she’ll know and thrash that house! And yes, she’ll punish the woman of the house instead of the kids.

She’ll slice open the stomachs of those who have been bad. This gruesome fate can be avoided by families who make Perchtenmilch (a porridge) and offer it to her. They have a taste as though it’s to represent stuffing themselves with garlic to spoil the meat.

Haling from the northern territories is Knecht Ruprecht and he’s truly a wild man of the woods.

He didn’t come into prominence until the 17th Century. One account of his origin describes him as a human whom Saint Nicholas saved. Because of his size and strength, he did all the heavy lifting. He didn’t appear in literature until the late Middle Ages.

The confusion of whether the Krampus-like figure is man or beast is interesting. There’s no solid reason he must be furry and horned.

In France, Hans Trapp (Hans von Trotha) was a knight of ill repute. His infamy came because of his feud with the Order of Benedictine monks at Weissenburg Abbey and after death, he became a supernatural figure (because of his imposing height) to which many say appear in December, accompanying Saint Nicholas, in his sojourn to reward children.

The kids who weren’t got to hear about his legend, and the hope is that they will change their ways (akin to a certain Charles Dickens story) so they don’t end up like him.

Only two stories (one 12th Century piece and another 16th) exist to identify who Père Fouettard once was.

He committed murders and for some strange reason, was redeemed. He mended his ways after witnessing one of Saint Nicholas miracles and vowed to help. When considering this tale contains notes of cannibalism, the judicial system of France (more like the saint) is very lenient!

However, the other tale which saw the war with the Holy Roman Empire grow very inhospitable, just what he represents is not very well explained. Tanners took what they witnessed and created a new version of this figure. His purpose was to be the bad cop to the good cop that Père Noël represents.

His sphere of influence is in the North and Eastern regions of France, South of Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland.

Further north, in the Netherlands, lives Zwarte Piet (aka Black Peter). His time may well be up when considering today’s socially correct climate.

In 1850, he was introduced to the modern world as a dark-skinned servant from the Moors who would help Saint Nicholas out on December 5th. He’s less about punishing, but more about why many social classes exist. In parades, his role is to distribute gifts to those his superior has found to be good and not admonish anyone who admitted has done wrong in the past year.

In Italy,, La Befana is not as widely known. Some folklorists believe she’s a modern creation to reveal how good deeds are often rewarded. Those who helped received a gift, and those who ignored her got a thwack of her broom.

This concept came from how she helped the Three Wise Men. They came to her abode seeking rest one night, and she gave them a place to stay. They invited her to join, but she declined (a decision she would later regret). When she realized she’s missing out in history, her pilgrimage became the stuff of legend and she’s forever looking for baby Christ.

But the list doesn’t end there. Three fantastical monsters exist.

Over in Iceland Grýla has been around since the 13th century and she’s an ogre. This Christmas witch didn’t get this label until the 19th Century.

In this country, Yule is celebrated and has similarities to Halloween. The supernatural can wander the mortal realm and do what they like! This matriarch of beasts hunts down naughty boys so she can make soup out of them! Her kids, the Jólasveinar (Yule Lads) have the duty to scare children to behave when even she has a tough go (or is busy preparing the soup base).

When they aren’t tough enough, the Jólakötturinn (Yule Cat) comes out. He can only be placated by seeing kids wear new clothes. The poem the latter exists in is told by parents to encourage their kids to work hard year round!

Ultimately, these creations are similar such that they are to frighten or punish those miscreants. The hope is for them to change their ways, otherwise where they end up is often at the end of a stick or in the stomach of one of these beasts. No child wants that!

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