Friday, January 28, 2011

Episode ? "The Grand Guignol"

Short summary: everybody dies.

Longer summary:

So, when we last left off, it looked like Arlecchino had performed some sort of dark ritual to make Colombina live again. Except he's still performing the ritual when this episode starts and it doesn't seem to be working. He's getting pretty angry and finally he jumps down from the balcony to the center of the ballroom. He starts threatening everybody with a knife that appears in his hand, until he gets a good look at the Pale Prince, then he starts to run for the door.

But the door opens before he gets there and in walks Colombina, still covered in that weird string and wearing a dark wooden mask. "How?" he says.

"She is here for the end," the Herleking says. "The end of all of us, the end of life and living, the end of food and drink and dancing. When we follow her we will all be of the end."

"Then I shall not follow her!" Arlecchino says. "I shall follow me, as always, and kill her again!"

At that point, Colombina's arms reach out and the strings fly out and encircle Arlecchino's neck. They strangle him until his face turns red and then tighten until his head (believe it or not) pops off, blood spilling on the dance floor. "It has begun," the Herleking said



and suddenly it wasn't claymation anymore, it was live-action. Arlecchino's blood looked dark and real and Herleking had a look of sheer terror on his face and the Pale Prince...he was there one moment and then suddenly he wasn't. I didn't get a good glimpse because the whole episode becoming live-action was quite a shock.

Then suddenly we see Colombina again and she's walking forward toward the camera and all the strings around her skin are moving and curling and you can see a little of them behind that wooden mask. It's just so fucking scary. Then strings starts bursting through the floor and all the dancers and revellers get entangled and strangled and die. And the Herleking steps forward and bows his head towards Colombina and he stabs himself before the strings surround him.

And then and then and then the strings all rise up, pulling all the dead bodies up like puppets, and the strings make them dance in a sort of perversion of their previous dance. And Colombina stands in the middle, still and silent.

Analysis: fuck that. I'm never sleeping again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Episode ? "The Last Masque"

Short summary: a bunch of dancing, a lot more weirdness, a lot more creepiness, and a dark ritual.

Longer summary:

So, when we last left off, Arlecchino was placed in "Bedlam Hospital," a mental institution. There, he's regularly beaten and starved (which is pretty much what he deserves after what he did to Colombina), but he also finds some sort of book of witchcraft or something (it's very vague - at one point, the book just seems to appear on the frame).

The Harlequinade has started now and the Herleking is walking around with one of those foreign dignitaries called the Pale Prince (a very creepy faceless figure in what looks like a suit). At least, I think his name is the Pale Prince - the others call him by a variety of names. "Oh pale prince," they say, "oh faceless friend of fire and forest! We are humbled by your visit to our territory." What is creepier is that the Pale Prince doesn't say anything to them at all - he doesn't even talk.

At this point, Arlecchino uses black magic to escape Bedlam Hospital (I think - he disappears and reappers, like a jump cut). Later, the dancing starts and the Herleking proclaims that since "she is rising" this will be their "last masque." In the balcony above the dancing, Arlecchino appears and starts some sort of dark ritual.

And then we cut to Colombina's dead body on a wooden slab. There's like a chorus of dark figures in the background singing this creepy song. It goes like: "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle with your snout. They eat your heart, they eat your soul, they eat you up and leave a hole."

As this creepy song is being sung, these weird strings rise up around Colombine's body and wrap themselves around her. They cover every inch of her flesh. Then she starts to move.

No credits again.

Analysis: I really do not know where to begin (and, frankly, I don't want to). But, for some reason, it's kind of fascinating watching it. I'm sort of hooked on how just plain weird it is.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Episode ? "Harlequinade"

Short summary: Tim Burton crossed with David Lynch. Uh, yeah.

Longer summary:

Made with some sort of bizarre claymation-type animation, this was actually pretty short. Thirty minutes, more or less. It's just that it was thirty minutes of weird creepiness (sort of like watching a claymation version of Eraserhead).

So the plot is this: Arlecchino and Colombina are puppet operators. In fact, they operate the Punch and Judy puppets seen at the end of the last episode (weirdly, actual Punch and Judy puppets are shown when Arlecchino and Colombina control them - a weird mixture of media). They are both getting ready for the Harlequinade, a big gathering that will have food and booze and dancing and, of course, a Punch and Judy show.

Both are nervous about the Harlequinade because the Herleking will be there along with some foreign dignitaries (believe me, I'm paraphrasing - I could barely hear them whisper something about a prince). Also complicating things is that Arlecchino and Colombina are married and Arlecchino is fiercly jealous and suspects her of cheating. (I looked these names up later and they are, in fact, from Commedia dell'arte.)

Finally, at the end, Colombina messes up a line of dialogue and Arlecchino starts beating her. I mean brutally beating - even though they were claymation, I could practically see her pain. And then Arlecchino strangles her with the Judy puppet's strings and kills her (yeah, he's a great guy). The very last scene is him being dragged away and placed in "Bedlam Hospital," a mental institution.

No credits.

Analysis: I even want to attempt to analyze this? It's so grotesque, it's would be funny if it wasn't so creepy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Bizarre Sort of Easter Egg

So, my curiousity finally got the better of me, and I put the DVD back in my DVD player. I watched that ending scene again (still freaking creepy) and then moved on to the next episode, "Nightmares."

Except, while the main screen said it was "Nightmares," the episode screen stated that it was an episode called "Harlequinade."

So I checked the next episode, "Out of Mind, Out of Sight": this one had been replaced by "The Last Masque."

The season finale "Prophecy Girl"? Was now "The Grand Guignol."

Are just the titles changed? I was a bit creeped out, but tomorrow I'll try watching the first one and see if it's any different.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Episode 9 "The Puppet Show" has been delayed

So this is my favorite episode. I was really looking forward to watching this and analyzing it for whatever readers I have. It is one of my absolute favorite episodes of television.

Most of the episode was fine. Barely glitched at all. Then, the very last scene, when Buffy, Xander, and Willow have to do that scene from Oedipus... something weird happened. It looked like a scene from another show was spliced in. Some sort of weird puppet show (yeah, I know what it sounds like).

Anyway, the screen had just turned to black and then another scene came on. Same red curtains as last time, only this time they opened up to reveal an actual puppet theater - complete with Punch and Judy puppets dancing around on strings. It was sort of silly looking at first and then it became weird. The Punch puppet was beating on the Judy puppet and there was fake blood coming out of her nose.

Then they both stopped and started singing. "Have you heard? Have you heard? Heard the word! Heard the word!"

"I heard it from the Herleking," the Judy puppet said. "I heard him cry and sing."

"Cry and sing!" the Punch puppet said and hit her. "Cut your string!"

"Can you hear the drumming, drumming?" they both chanted. "She is coming, she is coming!"

The whole puppet theater than began to shake like there was an earthquake, then the whole thing went crashing down. The curtains closed and the screen went black again.

I...really don't know what to make of this. Did someone film this bizarre scene and place it in this one DVD (meaning they must have been there when it was being made)? Is that one this DVD set has been glitching? What would be the point of that though?

And what was the point of the Punch and Judy show?