Friday, November 11, 2011

The Blackwoods Guide to Faeries

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark was released in theatres not too long ago. But it was met with mediocre response and a lackluster number of movie-goers. That isn't to say it is bad. And that is odd for me to say. I mean I would have easily shrugged it off and not given it another glance. The trailers did not do it justice, hardly playing up the elements that I found the most enjoyable. But as a horror fan, I reluctantly gave it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised. Being a remake of a rather obscure TV movie, and a trailer that left me with no clues as to its plot (I seriously went in thinking this was some lame haunted house type fare). Instead I got a rather well thought out and darkly atmospheric fantasy horror story. What I assumed as a house troubled with ghosts and unseen demons, was actually overwhelmed by the dark creatures of ancient legend. That's right faeries.
Now I have had many conversations with people trying explain that in original myths and legends, faeries were far from the minute winged naked women that we all think of. They were dark abhorent creatures of the wild world unhappy to be intruded upon by the foul presence of humanity. This film is about those faeries.
But really, I didn't decide to write this because of the movie. It was great fun, and that's worthy of praise as it isn't often I enjoy a new horror film anymore. But what I actually wanted to draw attention to was a book. The movie isn't adapted from it, nor is it merely a retelling of the movie's plot. This is a prequel of sorts and does a great job of setting up the dark world surrounding the film. It is a journal of sorts. And reminded me of the fieldguide in Tony DiTerlizzi's Spiderwick Chronicles. It is a collection of documents and observations of the strange creatures that inhabit our world. I can tell that producer Guillermo del Toro, took a lot of pride in this project. And though he didn't direct, his influence is felt in the film and especially in this book. Though I would have loved to have seen del Toro's illustrations gracing these pages (if you haven't seen the man's drawings I suggest checking them out), the work of Troy Nixey, beautifully add to the strangeness of the book.
With its fancier binding, nice illustrations, and tattered edge pages, the book is a bit on the pricey side. I found it in stores for $25 (a bit much for a small book that isn't quite a fully realized novel). Online it can be found for about $16 or $10 for the ebook (which was the version I ultimately purchased for myself). If you want a unique little book of dark creatures, or something to go with the film if you or are thinking of seeing the film, I recommend it. If nothing else, check out the movie and support half decent horror that isn't unimaginative torture porn or lame pg-13 remakes of lesser films (yes sounds hypocritical I know since this too is a remake, but you know what I mean).

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