Oh, nothing much; obsessively watching silent films from various eras, crocheting….that’s about it, actually. I present the most recent fruit of my labours:
This design was a challenge to myself to see how big a head on how tiny a body/legs I could get. I say I can get a greater ratio yet! I’ll make a head so big and a body so tiny it will destroy them all!!! And the noses are colored in because I hadn’t bought pom-poms.
On a whim I searched my library system for silent films, and was rewarded with a plethora of Buster Keaton’s work, a large body of Harold Lloyds, the Stan Brakhage Criterion collection, Decasia, and most wonderous, two of Louis Feuillade’s serials. He was an extremely prolific fellow, having created over 200 shorts, feature-lengths and serials in France at the turn of the century, and is most famous for his series ‘Fantômas’ and ‘Les Vampires’.
I was super-suprised to find ‘Judex’ and ‘Les Vampires’, because TCM had just released the former, lesser known series in joint venture, and I hadn’t been able to find the latter anywhere. Both were wildly popular in their day, much to the consternation of ‘naturalist’ filmmakers who derided their implausible plotting and melodramatic characters. ‘Les Vampires’ in particular was a favorite of the surrealists, who loved the random, occasionally nonsensical use of locations, and the distinct impression(a true one, actually) that it was made up as it went along. One apt summary(with pictures!) reads as follows:
Paris is in the grip of an unseen, nameless, terror, against which the police are powerless to act. A criminal organisation known as the Vampires create fear and mayhem, killing, looting, abducting – no crime is too daring, or too despicable. Little is known about the gang of villains except that they are led by the Grand Vampire and his seductive partner, Irma Vep. A journalist, Philippe Guerande, investigating the murder of a government official soon runs up against the Vampires, and so begins his long crusade to rid Paris of this evil scourge…
The main villainess, Irma Vep(shown to be an anagram of ‘Vampire’ in crude animation) is immediately familiar to any modern-day Edward Gorey fan; with her khol-rimmed eyes and sinister glare, she’s popped up a number of times, most notably as Victoria Scone in ‘The Other Statue’. Also familiar is the bat ballet ‘Les Vampires’ performed in episode 2, ‘The Ring That Kills’:
Unfortunately the library only had the first half, so now I have to scrounge around for the second. They were ever-so-much fun to watch, what with the blatent villainy and bizarre murder weapons(there’s a literal poison pen involved with ink ‘deadly to the touch’). I most highly recommend them. I’ve only watched the first few episodes of ‘Judex’, but it seems to follow suit, albeit in a proto-’Batman’ sort of way. He’s a self-made detective spurred by the death of his father who uses theatrics and a hidden laboratory, with his brother acting as a loyal assistant. Rather familiar, eh? More on this when I’ve watched further.