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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Constantine's Supernatural Adventures Part 3

We visited Wales because we wanted to visit Portmoiron, the seaside resort where the 1960s TV series "The Prisoner" was filmed. We stayed in Llandudno because we wanted to explore Conwy Castle. We visited Holy Trinity Church because it was a beautiful church, and because it was raining so hard that Sunday that driving somewhere else didn't make sense. Now, having learned about Saint Asaph from an episode of "Constantine," we have another reason to visit Wales in the future. 

Taking Jesus down from the cross
on the wooden angel carved by Handel Edwards
in Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno.

At it's best, Constantine inspires and educates me. Unfortunately, the TV series has sometimes treated the supernatural lightly, focusing on spectacle over substance. Some episodes have focused on ratcheting up the action and inter-team, while retaining high levels of danger and graphic violence. They've stylized the colorful aspects of voodoo practices, and portrayed its practitioners like the stylish drug lord in "Miami Vice." We've seen John's incantations result in spectral explosions, his companion Zed's highly visual but unexplained visions, and silly team-up acts like John and his Voodoo opposite breaking into a vault in a graveyard. While they steal a body from a graveyard in full daylight (and no one says, "Hey, don't do that!"), in the next scene they are preparing to ritually burn the corpse in the dead of night. Such antics may look exciting, dramatic, and stylish onscreen, but they sap my interest in the series.

If you believe in positive aspects of the supernatural, such as God, then it naturally follows that you must believe in the accompanying negative aspects as well, such as the Devil and demons. These subjects should be treated carefully, with the seriousness and respect they deserve. They're not cool or fun, silly or inconsequential. As John himself reminds us, dabbling in these areas can significantly injure us and others. 

So, as in all aspects of life, while I like the show, I also dislike some of the things it does. At least I have my cardboard print to remind me of what I like most about Constantine. Framing it presented some problems, as it measured-out at 10"x13." I finally found an inexpensive 13"x13" plastic frame with a 1' interior depth designed for displaying T-shirts. As eight screws spaced along the interior of its four sides connect the front to the back, I had to cut small holes for the screws on the top and bottom edges. Still, it doesn't look too bad on the wall, and when I grow tired of the print, I can unscrew the case and display one of my T-shirts. Perhaps one of my T-shirts featuring Rocket Raccoon.

In the meantime, this lively, colorful poster relates to a current interest of mine, of delving more into what makes Horror literature popular. Its imagery reminds me that any important story that resonates with a large number of people must combine seriousness with fun, spectacle with substance, and levity and inspiration. As in our lives, it's getting the mix right that remains the challenge, regardless of the medium in which the story is told. Otherwise, regardless of its initial popularity, stands a good chance of being shunted into an early grave by the constant flood of stories crafted by more talented storytellers.

Dragon Dave

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