Monday, December 1, 2008

Zombies, Torture, Bloodsuckers

True Blood is not on right now, to the disappointment, not to say withdrawal symptoms, of the millions addicted to its veinous entertainment . HBO's vampire series is over for the season, not to return the Louisiana backwater where it's set until next June. Bill Compton, the "good" vampire who is in love with and tries to protect Sookie Stackhouse, the waitress who can extremely sporadically read people's minds, will have to wait six months to imbibe from her veins again. Meanwhile, the Stephanie Meyer vampire book and movie phenomenon, which is saving one publishing company and doing amazing box office with the movie "Twilight," is slaking popular culture's hemoglobin thirst very nicely.

I saw "Twilight" last weekend, in an audience on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a theater filled with teens and tweens, a few of whom looked with suspicion at the mature gentleman in their midst. But mainly they laughed at the movie. They weren't scared or filled with ardor for the boy vampire--they just thought the whole thing was hilarious. Made me proud to be a New Yorker--I really do wonder if the film met with the same bemusement in Indianapolis.

But what is with the vampire craze right now? The vogue for them has ebbed and flowed over the last century, but at the moment the ventricles seem all the way open. A friend of mine suggested that this fad may represent our culture's unconscious efforts to depict in metaphorical terms the financial greed that has sucked blood money from the body politic--especially the subprime mortgage fiasco that started it. "Mortgage" is derived from the Latin word for "death," after all.

I'm sure Film Studies courses everywhere and serious books about sociology and cinema and television have examined this theory in greater detail and with more erudition than I ever could. But all on my own over the last four or five decades I've noticed what seems to me a fascinating co-incidence between popular screen themes and deeper social concerns and crises. Zombies and triffids during the Cold War, with its fear of the Red menace. Westerns a little later in which automobiles and machine guns and cameras began to conflict with the American frontier's rough justice and primal way of life. In the nineties, a great number of movies came out that expressed anxiety about the growing influence of technology--"The Matrix," "Pleasantville, "The Truman Show," almost all the Schwarzenegger futuristic features, to name a few. Then came the "Saw" series--which is still going on--and "Hostel" and other brutal torture movies, which seemed to mirror uncannily the awful news about Abu Ghraib. And now we have vampires preying on the innocent and ignorant, at the same time that corporate bloodsuckers are doing their best to avoid the light of day and scrutiny.

Seems to me that movies are, however unknowingly, projections in more ways than one. If I were to guess what might be the next such cinematic manifestation of social anxiety, it would be--in light of neuroscientific discoveries--movies that call into question what most of us believe to be free will.

david menaker -huffington post

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quotes episodes 1, 2 and 3

Quotes Season 1 Episode 3 - Mine

Bill to Malcolm, Liam and Diane: Sookie is mine.

Sookie to Bill outside her house: Oh come on, Bill. I may look naïve but I am not and you need to remember that.

Bill to Sookie: We are all kept alive by magic, Sookie. My magic is just a little different from yours, that’s all.

Sookie: Why on earth would I continue seeing you.
Bill: Because you will never find a human man you could be your self with.

Malcolm to Bill: Honey, if we can’t kill people what’s the point of being a vampire?

Sam: Do you know who I would really wish to come to Marthaville? Buffy. Or Blade. Or anyone of those bad ass vampire killers to take care of mister Bill Compton.

Quotes Season 1 Episode 2 - The first taste

Tare to Lafayette on the phone: What do you mean if you get lucky? Your standards are so low, you always get lucky.

Sookie to Bill after he licked blood from her forehead: Do I taste different from other people?

Bill to Sookie: May I ask you a personal question?
Sookie: Bill, you were just licking blood out of my head, I don’t think it gets much more personal than that.

Sookie to Bill outside her house: You might want to remember for next that that tornados hop, they don’t just land in one place.

Bill to Sookie outside his house: I can smell the sunlight on your skin.

Diane to Sookie at Bill’s house: Well hey there, little human chick.

Quotes Season 1 Episode 1 - Strange Love

Arlene at Merlotte’s: Do you even know what’s between a woman’s legs, Lafayette?

Sam about Tru Blood at Merlotte’s: Would you be willing to pass up all your favourite foods and spend the rest of life drinking Slimfast?

Bill at the parking lot after Sookie wraps the silver chain around her neck: oh, but you have other very juice arteries, there is one in the groin that is a particular favorite of mine.

Bill at Merlotte’s: They are staring at us because I am a vampire and you are mortal.

Promo of 'True Blood' Season One On Demand

December 01, 2008 09:43:03 GMT

HBO releases the promo for subscribers who want to re-run the first season of 'True Blood' whenever they can.
While the second season is still literally months away, the first chapter of "" can be watched again through HBO's "On Demand". A new promo of the popular Vampire series has been put up by the network, aimed to introduce those subscribers who haven't watched the show over the Fall season.

Starring as a waitress named Sookie Stackhouse and as a vampire named Bill Compton who falls for Sookie, "True Blood" started off slow when it first hit the screen in September. It gained mere 1.44 million viewers on the first week, but steadily absorbs fans and caught up to 60 per cent increase in its viewing with 2.4million as the number for its season finale. The Associated Press marks the show as being watched by averagely 6.8 million people per week.

The second season will not arrive until the end of midseason 2009, reportedly in June since the filming will only take place in January. The DVD for first season will come out soon before the new chapter is aired on HBO.

The subscription for the first season is also picking up fast. Michael Lombardo, who acts as HBO's chief of West Coast operations said, "You see other networks putting on important programs on Sunday nights and you worry, 'can you bring them back?' What has been fantastic is to see the subscribers have been waiting for a Sunday night show they can make appointment viewing again."

True Blood Reveals Rules of Its Vampire Universe

By Jenna Wortham September 22, 2008

In HBO's popular new series True Blood, vampires have officially come out of the coffin. The fanged ones have confirmed their own existence, and are even pushing for equal rights.

The vamps' emergence raises a slew of questions about the creatures' powers, strengths and weaknesses in the True Blood universe.

Luckily for viewers, and for the show's mortal protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), answers are being revealed. The third episode of Alan Ball's series, which was recently picked up for a second season, dove deep into vampire mythology and lore Sunday.

In addition to True Blood's typical horror fare -- vampire brawling and bloodsucking -- viewers got clued in to a few things Sunday, including delicacies that tempt the undead palate, drug dealers that sell vampire blood, and the scientific construct behind the show's night-prowling population.

(Spoiler alert: Minor plot points follow.)

The science of bloodsuckers: What animates the undead? We don't have the full answer yet, but Sookie's pale-faced paramour, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer, pictured), lays out some specifics in Episode 3. Vampires have no brain waves, no heartbeat, no need to breathe and no electrical impulses whatsoever in their bodies. Unfortunately, that's about as specific as he gets. When Sookie presses him on the issue, asking him how he digests blood, he simply replies: "Magic."

Viral vulnerabilities: Within the True Blood universe, vampires can be plagued by such traditional banes as sunlight and silver. But they can also get sick: Vampires are susceptible to viral infection by a mutation of hepatitis, known as "Hep D." It's harmless to humans, but if transmitted to their night-walking counterparts, can weaken vampires for up to a month, leaving them vulnerable to being captured -- and possibly staked. Fearing unscrupulous humans might use this information to their advantage, vampires work to keep word of the virus out of the mainstream media.

Synthetic sustenance: The integration of vampires into human society in True Blood hinges upon one crucial element -- the breakthrough development of a synthetic blood substitute created by a team of scientists in Japan. Sold as a beverage called Tru Blood, the discovery is touted both by vampires and by humans who support the vampire rights movement as reason enough to legitimize the status of the undead. However, a comment made in Episode 3 by tattoo-sporting vamp Liam revealed a chilling detail: Tru Blood may not work as well as we've been led to believe, and is possibly not a sufficient substitute for human blood.

Underground drug trade: Forget smack and crack. Vampire blood is the latest underground narcotic to hit the streets. Viewers already got a glimpse of the seedy lengths to which some humans will go to capture and drain vampires to use and sell their blood; in Episode 3, audiences gleaned more information about the illicit substance after Sookie's brother Jason purchased a vial. Here's a quick rundown of what we know so far:

Generic name: Vampire blood
Street name: "V"
Street value: $600 for a quarter-ounce
Duration of high: Unknown
Dosage: 1-2 drops taken by mouth
Short-term effects: Heightened libido, awareness and senses; delirium
Long-term effects: Heightened aggression; increased chance of addiction (which results in severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings)

Bloody delicacies: Possibly the most gruesome detail unveiled in Sunday's episode were the delicate intricacies of a vampire's taste for various types of blood. It was revealed that the only treat more coveted than that of virgin human blood is the blood of babies.

Vampire hierarchies, powers and nests: In Episode 3, viewers got their first titillating glimpse inside a vampire nest: a lawless pleasure den inhabited by multiple vampires and, occasionally, a few subservient humans who provide a steady source of food. According to Bill, vampires who live in nests together tend to exhibit more vicious, cruel behavior than vampires who elect to live alone. Vampires can influence human will using a mind-controlling ability known as "glamoring." In addition to hypnotizing humans, vampires are also able to lay claim to humans in order to keep other vampires from feeding on them -- although vampires are more likely to only obey other bloodsuckers who outrank them in age and seniority.

Ryan Kwanten interview

Music from True Blood Episode 9 - Plaisir d’Amour

Episode 1.09 - Plaisir d’Amour

“Plaisir d’Amour” by Joan Baez

“Walking the Dog” by Rufus Thomas

“Swampblood” by The Legendary Shack Shakers

“A Fool In Love” by Ike & Tina Turner

“Kaki’s Song” by The Mother Truckers

“Lay Back Down” by Eric Lindell

Eric bathtub music , Sancto Erico

“The song Eric is listening to in the bath tub is called Sancto Erico and was composed and performed by me specifically for that scene. In addition to my own vocals, Lisbeth Scott sings as well who you may recognize as she sings ‘Take Me Home’ from the Pie Cry scene in Episode 6. Sancto Erico will be available on itunes in the next week or two for those who would be interested in purchasing it. As a point of interest, the lyrics are translated from an Old Swedish epic poem about a king named Eric - the writer of this episode Alexander Woo contacted a university professor who knows Old Swedish who recommended this particular text because of it’s focus on a king named Eric.”
from Nathan Barr
*as of december 1st its still not on itunes

TV INSIDER: 'True Blood's' Hunky Alex Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard knew he might be on to something special when he joined the team on Alan Ball's HBO vampire series, "True Blood." But, he didn't know just how successful the show had become until recently.

"I was in Europe for a month-and-a-half and it hadn't started airing when I left. When I came back, the buzz was amazing. People were coming up to me on the street. It's been kind of overwhelming," admits the handsome, 6-foot-5, 32-year-old actor from Stockholm, Sweden.

The son of esteemed actor Stellan Skarsgard (as in Bootstrap Bill Turner of "Pirates of the Caribbean" fame, "Mamma Mia," "Good Will Hunting" and dozens of other films), Alex has been a star in Sweden since childhood. He's reportedly been named the Sexiest Man in Sweden five times by media there. He has grown in the North American public consciousness in the past year, thanks to his memorable portrayal of Sgt Brad Colbert in HBO's "Generation Kill." And now, "True Blood," which concludes its first season with a bang Sunday (11/23). Only through a quirk of fate was he able to take on the series.

"I had met with Alan Ball two years ago and he told me about it," Alex recounts. "Then, I went to Africa to do 'Generation Kill' for seven months, in Maputo, Mozambique. It looked like I wouldn't be able to do 'True Blood.' But then, the writers' strike happened, and it pushed back the production. I was able to finish 'Generation Kill,' because all of our scripts had already been done, and then come back in time to start 'True Blood.' Ironically, the writers' strike helped me."

In fact, he had a little time to visit his mother, father and siblings last New Year's while prepping for "True Blood."

"As an actor, you can't ask for better than going from 'Generation Kill' to 'True Blood,'" he says. "I was inspired because the guy I played in 'Generation Kill' was entirely different from Eric in 'True Blood.'"

As for the challenges of playing a vampire king? "I wanted to find a level where he could be confident and a strong leader -- without being too confident, or arrogant," says Alex. "He's too old to play games." Having been around for a thousand years, that's for sure.

Skarsgard started reading Charlaine Harris' Suthern Vampire Mysteries, from which the series is drawn, after landing the role of Eric Northman -- the bar owner, sheriff and possible former Viking who shares a blood bond with Anna Paquin's character, telepath waitress Sookie Stackhouse. He considers Harris' world, wherein vampires can dwell amongst humans day and night thanks to the invention of synthetic blood, "fascinating. The idea of vampires in mainstream society opens up so many possibilities."

Skarsgard keeps homes in Stockholm and L.A., working in his homeland between Hollywood assignments. He especially likes working on low-budget projects with talented up-and-comers anxious to make their names in the film business. "I'm really glad to be able to do that. There are a lot of young, hungry filmmakers over there," he notes.

Skarsgard himself has directed. His film, "To Kill a Child," won the Grand Prix and Press Awards at the 2003 Danish Film Festival. He moves between continents with ease, a facility that is probably attributable to the fact, "We lived like a traveling circus when I was a kid," he says. Skarsgard began acting professionally at age seven, and became a child star in Scandinavia -- but he opted out of the business for a spell when he hit his teens. He credits a stint in an American school in Budapest -- and another in New York -- for helping him perfect his American accent.

Then, too, he notes, "Growing up in Sweden, we don't dub anything, unlike other countries like France and Italy. We'd watch Cartoon Network shows and other things and hear the English. Only nine million people in the world speak Swedish -- 0.1 per cent. We almost have no choice but to learn other languages."

Still, Skarsgard has put extra effort into his vocal intonation, including work with a dialect coach. He notes, "When I made the decision to move out here and take meetings to get work, I knew that European actors who have strong accents tend to either get cast as Russian bomb-makers or evil Nazis. I'm not saying I'd never play an evil Nazi -- it might be fun -- but I wanted to be able to be cast as an all-American football player."

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