Friday, January 22, 2010

What An Angel

During the eighties, we saw resurgence in fascination with angels. Not sure why. Perhaps given the tensions between the Soviets and the Reagan administration at the time, it made some sense. Also, if I'm not mistaken, there was much discussion about organized religion and the religious, with the Moral Majority up and coming. That being said, some folk saw angels everywhere and felt their presence at all times. It's as though each person was assigned some supernatural guardian to watch over him or her. To each his own.

Things seems to have shifted though, and continue to shift. In the nineties, I remember seeing a film called "The Prophecy",which, while it may not have been a great work, was at least intriguing.

The concept was that the angels have been war, that two factions have turned against one another over the issue of jealousy for God's affection for the human race. Perhaps the most memorable moment was Viggo Mortenson's turn as Satan as he attempts to put an end to the battle because, after all, the angels are intruding on his territory. Watch this scene, a bit dark and a bit long, but Mortenson is deliciously creepy.

A couple years back Keanu Reeve appeared as Constantine, a demon hunter who also finds himself in a battle between angels and demons and has a face to face with The Dark One. Feel free to watch the below scene, again, a bit long, but I do enjoy this interpretation of Satan.

More recently, the under-rated television series "Supernatural" has effectively dealt with this theme. Two brothers, or hunters, who take on all manner of monster and demon, eventually, through the last several seasons of the series, find themselves in the middle of the Apocalypse and through their actions and interactions with angels and demons, find themselves dealing with Lucifer himself. Some of the creative forces behind this series were responsible for "The X Files" and they in plotting the story arc of the show, they did something "X-Files" creator Chris Carter never seemed to be able to do, keep a together a tightly woven and consistent mythos. Of course, when one has the Christian and other religious mythos to work from, the job is mostly done for them. Still, although it felt like "Supernatural" started out as a horror version of "90210", it became something unique and often brilliant and witty.

And now, the angels are coming again in the form of "Legion", a motion picture which is described in this manner: " When God loses faith in Mankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity's only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner and the Archangel Michael. (Sony Pictures)"

Really? I don't know about this one. When Hollywood releases a film in the dead of January, it's always a bad sign. When the producers refuse to give it an advance screening for's a worse sign. I'm afraid that much of what I've heard about "Legion" confirms my fears.

However, I still think there is something here. Folk have asked "What do we do after the vampires and zombies have played out?" I think the answer is in angels. As we approach 2012 and as talk of apocalyptic misery increases, so will the appeal and appearance of divine creatures, coming to both torture mankind and save him.

Me? After I finish my next zombie novel, tentatively called "The Horde", I'm writing me some angels. But they won't be all fuzzy and pink, and not one of them will be named Clarence.


Sullivan McPig said...

Legion doesn't sound too good I must say.
And thanks for posting the Viggo clip. I really liked the Prophecy and I still think Satan is Viggo's best role sofar.

As for angels: the best books about angel I've read sofar are the Samaria series by Sharon Shinn. Especially 'Jovah's Angel' is a great story.

Oh: and Neil Gaiman's 'The Sandman: Seasons of Mists' offcourse.

stu said...

Just when I think that I've wandered into an area that no one else is doing...

Genie of the Shell said...

Me, I'm placing my bet on what's coming after Angels. Vampires, zombies, angels/demons... _____? Evil, undead, afterlife...?

What happens after the year 2012 passes (oh, and I do plan on having a great big Apocalypse Party in December of that year) and the End Times yet again don't happen?

Metamythology! It's fun to write, even if I'm wrong and it isn't the next big thing.

Anonymous said...

The trailer for Legion intrigued me. There are few things that terrify me as much as a sweet old lady who can dislocate her jaw in order to devour people.

I'll wait and see what Rotten Tomatoes says. Or maybe not. The RT critics gave Daybreakers a 71.

I did enjoy the art of film and the way it was stylized. I also enjoyed the concept, although it was somewhat convoluted. However, the dialogue was a fail and there were a few things that made me go WTF. Like a little bite on the hand making a guys arm fly off.

I wonder if the complex concept was a shot at doing something new in vampire.

As for my thoughts on what should come after vampires and zombies--zombies and vampires, perhaps? If it ain't broke...

willow said...

Uh-oh, not the every-time-you-hear-a-bell-ring kind of angels?

Stewart Sternberg said...

Sully, I will check out the Samaria series. Thanks kindly for the heads up

stu...there are only so many plots, its what we do with it that matters and what matters more are the characters we create. You're still at the head of the class in the area in my book. make an interesting point. Metamythology. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a return to the prototypical archetypes, the heros on a Ulysseus level.

Christine, I think you're right about vampires...they will always remain a hit. I think that we'll see the teenpire fade and our old nemesis, the truly feral and savage, evil creature will probably make a return.

Willow....and here I thought it was "every time you hear a scream..."

Charles Gramlich said...

Hurray for Michael. I liked the prophecy very much

Sullivan McPig said...

@Steward: I dare bet when you write about angels they'd be a lot creeper then Sharon Shinn's angels though :-p

SQT said...

I can't wait to see what you do with angels Stu. That sounds like a match made in heaven. Okay, just my version of heaven. But still..

Stewart Sternberg said...

Actually, SQT, I wrote a novel about ten years ago and put it aside. It never worked. Now, with the idea of angels, I can pick it up again and it should be a quick delivery. I don't want to give the title here, but I was quite pleased with where and what it was at the time. Hopefully, this new thematic twist will make it publishable.

Bernita said...

"they won't be all fuzzy and pink"
I sincerely hope not!
I tend to think of angels as "terrible in their beauty."

L.A. Mitchell said...

If this is what the angels look like in your world, I am SO there ;)