Friday, June 26, 2009

E09: Romeo and Juliet vs The Living Dead

A fog had descended upon the streets of Edinburgh that, with wet and cold, pricked at your skin randomly like a hyperactive child who had finally convinced his parents that he was ready to learn how to sew. Against this weather there was no defense. People who walked up and down the Royal Mile carried umbrellas, apparently blissfully ignorant to the fact that they were still receiving the same awkward kisses that plagued those without. The weather came not from above, nor even from the sides, as with all manner of storms. No, tonight the weather was all around us, wrapping the city in its misguided embrace.

Needless to say, my rain jacked did nothing.

I walked the streets towards the castle, giving up, and recognizing that I would be uncomfortably moist, and now due to my rain jacket, I would also be somewhat warmer than need be. The mists made for excellent ambiance, and I envied the tourists following the man in long black coat, three point hat, cane in hand. Tonight would be a great night for a ghost walk.

The street lights diffused their way through the air, casting a glow to fall on all that surrounded. This was the kind of near-candle light that almost anyone looks good in, and just like people, cities are no different. High above, the castle pressed its way through the darkness, calling out to those below past the car parks, and the chain link fences, and the falling rock signs in place to prevent the wary from attempting to scale the side of the cliff on which the great monument was built.

Many pictures were taken, at unusable ISOs in order to trap enough light to capture the scene with some degree of accuracy.

Though there was little time, I stopped far more often than I should have to take these underexposed shots as I walked towards The Film House.

Certainly, tonight would be a good night for a ghost walk, but it would be an even better one to watch the living dead take Fair Verona under their grasp of terror in Romeo and Juliet vs The Living Dead.

Arriving at The Film House I fought through a crowd of people standing on the steps leading in. They had either just come from a show, were just going to a show, or – cameras ready – were hoping to spot the likes of Sean Connery, and other celebrities. Inside the theatre was hot and clammy – even more so than the night outside – and we would soon be told that the air conditioning was broken; we would soon be told there was nothing to be done. But that didn't matter for those of us in attendance. We were here for one reason, and one reason only: Zombies!

The festival made for an interesting punctuation in my trip. Here I was watching the world premier of a movie, the first movie, by the director. If he ever went on to do anything else, this would be a story of, “I remember back when.” And I do so like collecting stories.

The production company of Third Star films, which set the tone for me. I'm hard pressed not to love anything that alludes to Peter Pan, and Wendy Moira Angela Darling. It opened with a somewhat long poem that wanted desperately, but failed, to be a sonnet. It told of how the Montague family had been turned into Zombies by a passing comet, and how the Capulets were a most beloved family.

Many times throughout the film they played on the idea, and the line, that Juliet was, “not yet fourteen,” despite her obviously older casting. And some sections of the play were placed out of order, such as the beginning of the Queen Mab speech in the final moments of the film.

Despite the vastly divergent ending, which I shan't spoil for anyone, the film very closely followed the Shakespearean tale, as much as any tale could full of zombies, and the like. It might be worth tracking down a copy of, later in life, in order to teach it along side the original work, in order to highlight adaptation, parody, and – you know – zombies.

As the film ended the walk home began. I distinctly remember walking uphill on the way to The Film House, yet here I was clearly walking uphill home. Edinburgh can be like that, I'm noticing, despite all logic, everything was in the vague direction of up.

Passing drunken louts, and the sort, as bars closed I caught the scent of their vinegar covered chips. What better food to soak up the vestages of alcohol, in an attempt to stave off a hangover, they must have thought. It was not long before I was overcome by the strong desire for this food, and found myself in a small kitchen that served nothing but deep friend treats.

To be sure they had the usual sort such as chips, and fish, but they also had treats such as deep fried hamburgers, and for those for whom that would not be quite heart attack causing enough, deep friend beef patties surronding an inner layer of cheese.

I stuck with the chips, and a deep friend Mars Bar, thank you very much. What heaven I had never known!

Then, as the final bites were taken, it was around the corner, down the alley, and home to rest for the night, to sleep – to sleep to dream.

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