Thursday, November 30, 2006

Edgar Allan's Foe

I like Edgar Allan Poe. A lot. Well, I don't know him personally or anything, and he's not my friend on MySpace. I'm mostly talking about his writing, which was frequently dark and beautiful.

It was with another kind of horror that I read this story from Yahoo! News:

"Horror master Clive Barker is developing a young-adult thriller centered on the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. The film will revolve around a group of teenagers who attempt to uncover what happened during the last two weeks of Poe's life. They inadvertently trigger a curse that unlocks Poe's nightmares from which they must escape."

No. No, no, no, no, no. Seriously: No.

"'I think we might have a chance with this project to bring the character of Poe alive for a new audience and weave his shadowy existence into the dark enchantments of his stories so that for our protagonist, and for our audience, it will be difficult to be sure where one finishes and the other takes flight,' Barker said."

The character of Edgar Allan Poe? He was, um, real. Again, I say thee nay. Poe suffered enough.

I like Edgar Allan Poe. A lot. Clive Barker, not so much. The article also said Barker's gonna get to this just as soon as he finishes directing a remake of Hellraiser.

A remake of Hellraiser.

There is a rich history within all sorts of arts of being inspired by Poe. Phil Ochs made "The Bells" into a decent folk song. Lou Reed even did his life as a series of songs a few years back, not to mention the hordes of authors and filmmakers who owe something to his writings. Most of these people avoid making him the antagonist in a Scooby Doo cartoon, though. Perhaps at the end of Barker's book, it will be revealed that "Poe" is none other than Old Man McGuillicutty, who was trying to drive visitors away from the old amusement park.

"And I would have made it, too," he'll say, "if it weren't for those meddling kids. And that damn incessant beating of that hideous heart under the floorboards. That stuff, and the moaning and the groaning of the bells. But mostly those meddling kids."

And the whole gang will laugh at some idiot joke about how Scooby is always hungry, and then hop back into the Mystery Machine to investigate sightings of a spectral Abraham Lincoln at the old saw mill.

Blogreaders, go out and read yourself some Poe. Before it's too late.

12 comments:

CC2383 said...

It does sound like an episode of Scooby Doo. It will probably be a very silly movie. But maybe it will inspire a new generation of kids to go out and read his works. You never know!

The Simpsons also did a short about the Raven. I enjoyed it. I think they had an episode based on the Tell Tale Heart as well... :)

The Moon Topples said...

Yeah, "The Raven" on the Simpsons was surprisingly good. James Earl Jones helped a lot, though.

I think new generations of kids will continue to find him with or without Mr. Barker. It's sort of a requirement of moody teenagerism, isn't it?

Sebastien said...

Oh man, this does sound like a bad idea. I haven't read Poe in a long time, I need to get around to reading him again. Do you have any particular favorites among his stories or poems?

The Moon Topples said...

Sebastien: I'd recommend starting with the big ones. Most of them got the attention they did deservedly. For poems, "The Bells" and "The Raven" always cause lightning when I read them. Prose: "Murders at the Rue Morgue" scared the living shit out of me when I first read it in 5th grade, for reasons that are lost to me now. "Telltale Heart" and "Pit and the Pendulum" are both stories a lot of people know, but the writing itself is still worth a gander. I used to have a copy of Peter Lorre reading "The Black Cat" which was an awful lot of fun as well.

My guess is that if you pick up any of the various Poe anthologies available, you'll find a few things within that you'll like. Also, many of his stories are available online, at various places including yeoldelibrary.com.

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Julia Buckley said...

Sounds brilliant. I can hardly contain my anticipation.

He Who Does Not Subscribe said...

Oh lordy.

I had a seventh grade science teacher named Mr. Samples and he read "The Telltale Heart" to his unassuming class. It scared me to no end and also thrilled me. It helped that Mr. Samples was friggin creepy.

But Clive Barker doing this scares me even more.

The Moon Topples said...

Jokey: we'll see...

Julia: Ah, that dry British wit.

HWDNS: I wish Mr. Samples was my teacher. If nothing else, that's a truly delightful name which I intend to steal in my next fictional effort.

Sebastien said...

Hey thanks for the recommendations, I do have an anthology right here, I should just start reading it.

The Moon Topples said...

No problem, Sebastien, enjoy it. It'll be hard to find a crappy story of his, so whatever you have should just whet your appetite to rush out and pick up one of the "Complete Works" things that are floating around out there.

Ian said...

With each swing of the grandfather clock, I get closer to rereading Poe. I find impetus in that ticking of time, the slow descending progression, sounding that my days are numbered. Yes, you remind me I must return to some of these literary legacies whether to glean sadness or inspiration.

The Moon Topples said...

Ian: um.