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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Emily Jane Brontë: "All hushed and still within the house" (A Poetry Comic by Nora Sawyer)


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Nora Sawyer: Emily Brontë (1818-1848): "All hushed and still within the house" (A Poetry Comic), from Nora Sawyer, 17 March 2013



Night of the Living Dead at Yonge-Dondas Square, Toronto: photo by Sasoriza (Bryan Chan), 12 September 2009


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Night of the Living Dead film poster (1968): image by Ionutzmovie, 24 November 2010

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Night of the Living Dead logo, from film poster: image by HINIYM, 7 December 2011

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Evans City, Pennsylvania cemetery, a location for the 1968 George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead: photo by Willjay, 2007

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Scriptwriter John A. Russo playing a zombie a zombie an uncredited cameo for Night of the Living Dead, a film that Russo co-wrote co-wrote with George A. Romero: image by Cropbot, 6 April 2011 


Newscaster: Reports, incredible as they may seem, are not the results of mass hysteria.
Harry: "Mass hysteria?" What do they think, we're imagining all this?
Ben: Shut up!

 
  
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Zombie dead live in a scene from George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 6 June 2007
  
Field Reporter: Are they slow-moving, chief?
Sheriff McClelland: Yeah, they're dead. They're all messed up.



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Bill Hinzman as the cemetery zombie from George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 6 June 2007

 
Ben: I'm telling you they can't get IN here!
Harry: And I'm telling you they turned over our car! We were damn lucky to get away at all! Now you're telling me these things can't get through a lousy pile of wood?



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Judith Ridley as Judy in George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 17 January


Harry: Did you hear me when I told you they turned over our car? 
Ben: Oh, hell! Any good five men could do that! 
Harry: That's my point! There's not going to be five, or even ten! There's going to be twenty, thirty, maybe a hundred of those things, and as soon as they find out we're here, this place'll be crawling with them!
Ben: Well, if there's that much, they'll probably get us wherever we are.



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Russell Streiner as Johnny in George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 17 January 2008

Johnny: Do you remember one time when we were small, we were out here? It was from right over there, I jumped out at you from behind the tree, and Grandpa got all excited, shook his fist at me and said "boy you'll be damned to hell!" [laughs] Remember that? Right over there. Boy, you used to really be scared here.
Barbara: Johnny! 
Johnny: Hey, you're still afraid, aren't ya? 
Barbara: Stop it, now! I mean it!
Johnny: [in a creepy voice] They're coming to get you, Barbara! 
Barbara: Stop it! You're ignorant!
Johnny: They're coming for you, Barbara! 
Barbara: Stop it! You're acting like a child!
Johnny: They're coming for you!
[points to the cemetery zombie] 
Johnny: Look, there comes one of them now! 
Barbara: He'll hear you!
Johnny: Here he comes now! I'm getting out of here!     



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Actor Duane Jones as Ben gives actress Judith O'Dea, playing Barbara, her slippers in a scene from the 1968 George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead: image by Jkelly, 14 July 2009



Ben: You know a place back down the road called Beekman's? Beekman's Diner? Anyhow, that's where I found that truck I have out there. There's a radio in the truck. I jumped in to listen, when a big gasoline truck came screaming right across the road! There must've been ten, fifteen of those things chasing after it, grabbing and holding on. Now, I didn't see them at first. I could just see that the truck was moving in a funny way. Those things were catching up to it. Truck went right across the road. I slammed on my breaks to keep from hitting it myself. It went right through the guard rail! I guess -- guess the driver must've cut off the road into that gas station by Beekman's Diner. It went right through the billboard, ripped over a gas pump, and never stopped moving! By now it was like a moving bonfire! Didn't know if the truck was going to explode or what. I still hear the man... screaming. These things, just backing away from it! I looked back at the diner to see if -- if there was anyone there who could help me. That's when I noticed that the entire place had been encircled. There wasn't a sign of life left, except... by now, there were no more screams. I realized that I was alone, with fifty or sixty of those things just... standing there, staring at me! I started to drive, I -- I just plowed right through them! They didn't move! They didn't run, or... they just stood there, staring at me! I just wanted to crush them! And they scattered through the air, like bugs.



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Actor Duane Jones in a scene from the 1968 George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead: image by Vearthy, 14 July 2009


Ben: Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, I'm boss up here!


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Karl Hardman as Harry Cooper in George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 17 January 2008


Ben: How long have guys you been down there? I could have used some help up here! Harry: That's the cellar. It's the safest place. 
Ben: You mean you didn't hear the racket I was making up here?
Harry: How were we supposed to know what was going on? Could have been those things for all we knew! 
Ben: That girl was screaming. Surely you know what a girl screaming sounds like. Those things don't make any noise. Anybody would know somebody needed help!



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Night of the Living Dead screenshot -- a young zombie (Kyra Schron) eating her victim (Karl Hardman): image byJkelly, 15 July 2006


Ben: That girl was screaming. Surely you know what a girl screaming sounds like. Those things don't make any noise. Anybody would know somebody needed help! 
Tom: Look, it's kind of hard to know what's going on from down there. 
Harry: We thought we could hear screams, but for all we knew, that have meant those things were in the house after her. 
Ben: And you wouldn't come up here and help? 
Tom: Well, if there were more of us... 
Harry: That racket sounded like the place was being ripped apart. How were we supposed to know what was going on? 
Ben: Now wait a minute. You just got finished saying you couldn't hear anything down there. Now you say it sounded like the place was being ripped apart. It would be nice if you get your story straight, man. 
Harry: All right, now you tell me! I'm not gonna take that kind of a chance when we've got a safe place! We lock into a safe place, and you're telling us we gotta risk our lives just because somebody might need help, huh? 
Ben: [disgusted] Yeah, something like that.



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Marilyn Eastman as Helen Cooper in George A. Romero's Night of The Living Dead (1968): image by Sugar Bear, 17 January 2008


Helen: We may not enjoy living together, but dying together isn't going to solve anything.
 

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Actress Judith O'Dea clutching grave in a scene from the 1968 George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead: image by Klow, 14 November 2007

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Night of the Living Dead 28-frame loop: image animation by Petrusbarbygere, 19 August 2005

 

Night of the Living Dead: animation cel created as part of the ongoing cartoon project at Gallery1988, Los Angeles, November/December 2012: image by jublin, 8 November 2012


Night of the Living Dead, Montreal: photo by croquembouche (Philippe M.), 5 April 2012

Dialogue from the script of Night of the Living Dead (originally titled Monster Flick), by John A. Russo and George A. Romero, 1967

9 comments:

TC said...

"This poem haunted me all week," Nora reports, "but I couldn’t quite put together images to go with it. Yesterday, I wasted my afternoon reading ‘true’ ghost stories online and stalking old friends on Facebook and avoiding the drawings I’d started. Finally... Zombies seemed like a good manifestation of memory as a sort of present absence, a clamorous sense of the past that obliterates the present-day."

More poems by Emily Brontë:

"The night is darkening round me"

Remembrance

The remarkable Brontë family is the subject of a fine 2003 BBC documentary. This is part one of six, the successive episodes following on in side links:

In Search of the Brontës

And too there is that little-known (only 8,345,876,000 hits to date) cinematic chronicle of the Descendants of the Brontës, which Nora has used as her image-source, here in its grisly entirety:

George Romero: Night of the Living Dead

Sandra said...

intense Bronté´s...!

TC said...

The liberty of removing the Brontë thematics to a Pennsylvania cemetery may jolt some. Others obviously could not care less. For myself, I thought the translation plausible enough.

That ill-intending ghosts and horrific zombies might be haunting the Yorkshire moors, no great stretch there.

The David Peace Red Riding series of novels brings this plot back home. Anybody familiar with that by any chance?

IFC films turned the series into a terrific five-hour movie trilogy a few years back.

Critic David Denby on the tone and atmospherics:

"West Yorkshire... featureless pale-green moors and, among them, small, rubbly towns with dead-looking brown houses... there are shadows of death everywhere: pale corpses, brutality and cynicism, and hints of perversion and obsession—a sense of violation fouling the terrain. ..a terrific sense of the uncanny, an atmosphere so spooked and suggestive that it becomes oddly attractive, like an enchanted forest in a children’s story. Flowers of evil are growing in the stony Yorkshire soil... the primal sin, which sets in motion the years of nasty behavior, is greed. In the first film, the fictional top inspectors of the West Yorkshire police have been bought by a powerful real-estate developer..."

So that's easy enough. The zombies are developers. Why are we not surprised.

Experience suggests that if each of the following exit links led to a plastic egg containing one billion thought-dollars, no one would bother to click.

All the same: the real fool is the one who takes the trouble for nobody.

Red Riding: 1974

Red Riding: 1980

Red Riding: 1983

Wooden Boy said...

From "Without - all wind and driving rain" to "Through rain and through the wailing rain".

The images from the film sit very well with the poem, especially the last frame: memory pressing up against the glass, ready to eat us all up.

"Are they slow-moving, Chief?"
"Yeah. They're dead. They're all messed up."

That's what I call dialogue.

TC said...

That's what I call how I feel most nights on earth any more.

While awaiting the spectres we took the Tour.

Emily's tiny-tiny manuscript books brought to mind Robert Walser's Microscripts.

And beyond Brontë house, a ghost-hunting tramp upon the Moors...

Nora said...

The crocheted bag holding (possibly) Charlotte Brontë's death mask in this video is oddly heartbreaking.

TC said...

There's an uncanny strangeness about death masks, the 19th century vogue for making them curiously symptomatic of the historicism of the period, an urge to locate spirit in the material artifact. Some mysterious category shift must be involved -- the impulse that would grasp at the material artifact in search of something like a soul.

The plaster remains, but what of the former animating principle. "The brain, that lighted chamber, that generating fire..." (Marguerite Yourcenar).

One of the few possessions that remain from the long forced trek of Angelica's parents round the world is a collection of photographs of death masks, printed in Berlin in 1929. Here the concept of "The Great Man" is brought to cold fruition in slabs of white plaster.

The contemporary artist Joanna Kane's The Somnambulists is a chilling collection of such images. In it we see the masks of "known" and "unknown" alike, and very like, having shed identities and in many cases also names.

Unknown Face (Blake: Proverbs of Hell)

The past, always with us, always out of reach.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Thanks to Nora’s comic, the photographs and the links leading me to the first five minutes of The Living Dead, last night I found myself in a dark room in a strange house, sitting on a sofa with my wife when I was suddenly attacked by one of them! I screamed and struggled to escape but to no avail; fortunately I was gently nudged awake by my wife and was saved from a fate worse than a living death—dying in the clutches of a deadly nightmare!

TC said...

Vassilis, what a way to speak of one's help-meet -- mistaken (even if but momentarily) for a zombie! Well I never!!