Monday, 14 May 2007

Letters from....Somewhere

22 comments:

robartin said...

I was wondering where the mailbag got to today...

Lord Goldaming said...

Clever bastard! I suggest we check Budapest next.

Shellhead said...

I am currently reading Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed, by Patricia Cornwell. She makes a fairly persuasive case that artist Walter Sickert was the real Jack. At the very least, she proved that Sickert certainly wrote most of the Ripper letters that taunted the investigators of Scotland Yard.

Anyway, thinking about taunting letters from Jack and then reading this post made me wonder if the Ripper murders were major influence on Bram Stoker's Dracula, along with the traditional vampire folklore.

Ken B. said...

There is something about that "killer who can never be captured" vibe that sparks the imagination. It's probably easier to imagine that the Ripper had some sort of supernatural abilities, than to think a normal man could get away with such crimes.

I liked "From Hell" but I'm not sure I buy much of its theory.

Michael Barnes said...

I keep telling you guys, he's in Cagliari but you won't listen...guess what, I bet he left a vampire there too...let's send Van Helsing, Goldaming- get to Genoa, what this mission needs is some salami.

Did you guys hear about the latest Ripper suspect, that South African guy? Interesting idea, makes sense in a lot of ways...

You know, the most interesting thing about FROM HELL to me was how it ultimately becomes unimportant as to who Jack was, it's what he means that is the more important thing...Moore did a great job putting together all the facts and researching, well, everything and I like the Gull hypothesis but I think the real triumph is in finding historical, cultural, and metaphysical contexts for the Ripper murders.

I still think it's bizarre that MR. JACK is a cutesy-poo Euro with sweetie pie art yet it's still ultimately about a guy cutting the kidneys out of hookers.

Stoker/Ripper connection- even if he didn't intend for it to be there, it's there. Even if it's just a cultural awareness, it still flavored DRACULA.

TheRankO said...

...even if he didn't intend for it to be there, it's there.

It wouldn't even have to be a cultural "awareness," per se. Both are products of "fin de si├Ęcle" culture, so some connection between them makes sense, even if that connection is made in hindsight.

Jack Hill said...

There is another Jack the Ripper game by the designer of Junta. Odd 2 player game where you play cards to influence the press and public. When the Ripper decides to strike, you set up a deduction game that works a lot like a more complex version of the more recent Mr. Jack.

It also is missing "Ms. Stealthy". I like Mr. Jack, but that bit just seems like they gave up on the theming.

As to who the Ripper was: Aaron Kosminski seems the most likely. He was a Polish immigrant who was locked in an asylum about the time the murders stopped.

He was seen by a witness at one of the scenes, a few police at the time were convinced he was the murderer.

Mike said...

I stick by the theory that says Jack the Ripper was actually "Nessie", the Loch Ness Monster.

robartin said...

"Bullshit or not?"

Shellhead said...

I want to find a way to sneak that Dracula note into the draw deck, just for a surprise laugh the next time we play. I don't want to deface any of the actual cards, so maybe I could just scan the back of one of the existing cards and then print that off on blank label paper and slap it on to a generic playing card of the right size.

Ken B. said...

I'm just trying to figure out what the "Newspaper Reports" in the game are actually like:


Local Man Spots Suspicious Intruder

It seemed like a normal night, but upon arrival at his home, Zeb Rustovich knew something was amiss.

"Yeah, I reckon I knowed something was fishy when I seen the barn door open," said Zeb. "I grabbed my shotgun from the truck and went out to see what I could see."

He wasn't prepared for what he saw next, though.

"There was some sort of man-sized critter just a'feedin' away at one of my horses," Zeb said, choking back angry tears. "I loved that horse like no other. I fired at it but it just smiled at me, said 'Blah!' and with a whiff it was gone."

An investigation is ongoing; local authorities are offering a reward to anyone who has any information on this case.

Shellhead said...

Ken,

Didn't you read the original Dracula book? There were newspaper reports in the story regarding various missing children and also the mysterious "Bloofer Lady."

ubarose said...

Jack the Ripper is that entity that possesses Scottie in "The Wolf in the Fold."

Ken B. said...

Shellhead--yah man, just a bit of parody there. I'm a big fan of the novel. We just think it's funny how "deus ex machina" it seems when parts of Drac's trail are revealed in the game..."oh look, honey, Drac made the newspaper again, that rapscallion!" with a picture of Drac wearing sunshades standing near some landmark in France.

Hey, since we're in a threadjack already in progress, am I the world's only fan of the 1992 Dracula flick? I'm a big-time fan of that adaptation...despite its flaws, it really nails the story, and even the bits with Mina could have technically happened in the novel (note in the movie, she is seen throwing bits of her journal over into the water, indicating why they didn't make the novel--a nice touch.)

Muzza said...

The film could only have been improved if Mina was played by Alex Winter (aka Bill). They could have called it 'Bill & Ted's Transylvanian Adventure'.

"totally bitchin castle dude!"

Matt Thrower said...

At the very least, she proved that Sickert certainly wrote most of the Ripper letters that taunted the investigators of Scotland Yard.

Not so - the DNA used was mitochondrial DNA which presents a much smaller level of variation than nuclear DNA. It's quite possible that up to 10% of the population share sequences of mDNA. Couple that with the number of people that must have handled the sample over the years and you're left with very little proof at all.

Shellhead said...

Ah, Ken, when I post from work, I am sometimes functioning in a perfect flow state where I am completely oblivious to irony. An occupational hazard. "Bloofer Lady" always sounded hilarious and more than a little dirty to me.

Michael Barnes said...

Hey, since we're in a threadjack already in progress, am I the world's only fan of the 1992 Dracula flick?

I'd call myself a fan, but I think there's a lot that really went wrong with it. I think Coppola missed the point of gothicism, that it's not over the top, expressionism...it's refined, restrained, and all of the nastiness is really sublimated, threatening to burst out at any time and offer a lot of inconvenience to Victorian gentlemen and gentlewomen.

What I _do_ like, and like a lot, is that the film has a scope and an epic character that is _rarely_ seen in horror...I like the fidelity to the story, I like Oldman (although the costume design is terrible), and Hopkins as a half-mad Van Helsing is a good note. The atomsphere is great, the tone is great...Tom Waits as Renfield? Inspired.

Where it really goes wrong is on focusing too closely on what amounts to a romance novel "love through the ages" plot. That was really, really lame. It's just another element that Coppola went WAY too far over the top with.

I'd love to see a BRAVEHEART-style historical epic based on Vlad Tepes.

Pat H said...

The fact that most of the outdoor scenes were shot in a studio ala Corman had a really nice effect.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, Coppola was obviously trying to imitate Corman (and Terence Fisher for that matter)...I'm a big fan of sets, I think they work a charm in horror pictures since you have complete control over it.

Damn you all, we're turning into Aint It Cool News here!

*Sigh* all this "noise" here, I miss the days when friendly avatars talked about board games...

Harry Knowles said...

ME WANTS MOVIES AND SAMMICHES

harry knowles said...

AND STEAMY PICTURES OF CHRISTIAN BALE!!