Speak! Speak!

Speak! Speak!
1895, Sir John Everett Millais

The meaning of this painting was felt generally to be obscure and the story as related by Millais’s son J.G. Millais, locates the scene in Ancient Rome: ‘It is that of a young Roman who has been reading through the night the letters of his lost love; and at dawn, behold, the curtains of his bed are parted, and there before him stands, in spirit or in truth, the lady herself, decked as on her bridal night, and gazing upon him with sad but loving eyes’ (Millais, II, p.304). The critic of the Art Journal described “Speak! Speak!” as ‘a powerful canvas, broadly handled and eloquently telling its tale’ (Art Journal, 1895, pp.164-6). In fact, the identity of the female figure at the foot of the bed caused some consternation, an effect which Millais had fully intended, as Millais’s biographer M.H. Spielmann recorded: ‘When I remarked that I could not tell whether the luminous apparition was a spirit or a woman he was pleased: “That’s just what I want”, he said; “I don’t know either, nor”, he added, pointing to the picture, “does he” ‘ (quoted in Flint, p.261).

Painting and background information from the Tate gallery, UK.

Horror Comedy Trivia: Gremlins (1984)

Did you know that there are many connections to executive producer Steven Spielberg’s popular movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) in Gremlins?

One of the Gremlins says “phone home,” there is a stuffed E.T., and, at the beginning, one of the movies on the marquee is “A Boy’s Life,” which was the fake name under which E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was shipped to theaters.

More facts about Gremlins at IMDb Trivia: Gremlins (1984).

Horror Cinema: Sea Fever

The overall feeling that Sea Fever left me with was of humans as prey, and the film did a great job of telling a captivating story of a small group of people facing the challenge of a deep-sea predator. Throughout the movie, I was convinced by the science and the characters’ slow realization of what was happening to them, which made the story believable and more frightening. Add the element of body horror to that with how the creature found its way into the bodies of the crew, and you’ve got a great creepy movie!

My favorite aspect of the narrative was the superstition of the sailors, which provided ominous foreshadowing as the story unfolded. I also loved the deep-sea creature and how it was shown. It certainly put the limited power of the humans into perspective.

Hardiman, Neasa. Sea Fever, Signature Entertainment, 2019.