Ghost Weddings – article

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In Chinese tradition, a ghost marriage (Chinese: 冥婚; pinyin: mínghūn; literally: “spirit marriage”) is a marriage in which one or both parties are deceased. Other forms of ghost marriage are practiced worldwide, from Sudan, to India, to France since 1959. The origins of Chinese ghost marriage are largely unknown, though reports of it being practiced in the present day have become more frequent. Whilst Sudanese and French ‘posthumous’ marriage largely revolves around a bereaved widow marrying one of the groom’s brothers or a partner killed in war, the Chinese variant regularly sees the joining in matrimony of a living person and a corpse.

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Chinese ghost marriage was usually set up by the family of the deceased and performed for a number of reasons, including the marriage of an engaged couple before one member’s death, to integrate an unmarried daughter into a patrilineage, to ensure the family line is continued…

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Stelvio Cipriani – composer

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Stelvio Cipriani – born 20th August 1937, in Rome – is an Italian composer, mostly of movie soundtracks, many of which were for genre films, including, horror, gialli thrillers and crime films. Cipriani is still active, performing both live and recorded works, his output totalling over 200 scores. He has occasionally worked using the pseudonym Steve Powder.

cipriani2 Cipriani grew up in a decidedly un-musical household, the catalyst for expressing his musical talent actually coming from hearing the local church organ. The priest encouraged this interest and alerted his family to his passion and quick progress in learning to both read music and play keyboards. Although he covered all bases by initially becoming an accountant after school, he had followed the more traditional path for Italian composers and had enrolled at a Santa Cecilia music conservatory aged fourteen, studying piano and harmony. At this stage, it had become the pattern among many Italian composers…

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They Live

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“Obey”

They Live is a 1988 American science fiction film written and directed by John Carpenter (Halloween; The Fog; The Thing). The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster. It follows a nameless drifter referred to as “Nada”, who discovers the ruling class are in fact aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. Many consider it the defining film commentating on Reagan-era consumerism and corporate greed.

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Unemployed drifter, Nada (wrestling star, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Hell Comes to Frogtown) lives in 1980’s America, a place where free-thinking is discouraged and those outside the system are forced to make ends meet however they can. After taking a job as a casual labourer on a building site, he befriends the similarly disaffected Frank Armitage (Keith David; The Thing; Pitch Black

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Distant Voices, Part One – The Ouija Board

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There are essentially three things required to contact the dead; a dead person; a living person to whom they are acquainted (or would like to be); a very open mind. Of course, over the years tools have been introduced to facilitate this, allowing both highly-tuned mediums and amateur inquisitors to speak to those in the realm beyond. Perhaps the most famous of these, despite being one of the most basic, is the Ouija board.

ouija2 The ouija (/ˈwiːdʒə/ WEE-jə), also known as a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words “yes”, “no”, “hello” (occasionally), and “goodbye”, along with various symbols and graphics. It uses a planchette (a small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to facilitate the communication of the spirit’s message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. Participants…

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Slaughter High

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‘Where the student body is going to pieces.’

Slaughter Highis a 1986 American/British independent slasher film written and directed by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra and Peter Litten. It closely follows the tropes of many other slasher films of the period and is mostly notable for the casting of Caroline Munro in the lead female role and the distinctive jester’s mask worn by the killer.

slaughterhigh2 In an American high school populated by the usual jocks, hot girls and outcasts, Marty Rantzen (Simon Scudamore, misspelled on the credits with an extra ‘d’ – sloppy!) is most firmly the latter, the atypical, bespectacled nerd, good at complicated sums, not so good on basic human interaction. Come April Fool’s Day, Marty can’t believe his luck as he is lured by school sex siren, Carol (Munro) into the girls’ locker room for a baptism of shower-based sex. Alas, this is not the case and…

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Robert le Diable – opera

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Robert le Diable (translation: “Robert the Devil”) is an 1831 opera in five acts composed by Giacomo Meyerbeer from a libretto written by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne. Robert le Diable is regarded as one of the first grand operas at the Paris Opéra. It derives some of its development from the medieval legend of Robert the Devil, a tale which was written in 13th Century France.

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The opera introduces Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of a union between Bertha and Bertram, a disciple of Satan, perhaps even a demon himself. In Normandy, alongside several other knights, he attempts to win favour with the beautiful Princess Isabelle. A minstrel, Raimbaut, inadvertently singing a song that referred to Robert as a devil is imprisoned by the enraged Robert but is granted forgiveness when Robert realises his fiancée is his foster-sister, Alice. Under the influence of a disguised Bertram, whom…

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Dan O’Bannon – screenwriter, director, actor

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Daniel Thomas “Dan” O’Bannon (September 30, 1946 – December 17, 2009) was an American motion-picture screenwriter, director and occasional actor, usually in the science fiction and horror genres. Although his name is still unknown by many, his influence on genre films cannot be overestimated.

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O’Bannon was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Bertha (née Lowenthal) and Thomas Sidney O’Bannon, a carpenter. He attended the art school of Washington University in St. Louis, where he performed stand-up comedy routines, did make-up for campus theatre productions and provided illustrations for Student Life, the student newspaper. While there he roomed with Michael Shamberg, later the producer of Django Unchained, Skeleton Key, Pulp Fiction and many other movies, and Donald Friedman, the author, most notably of The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers. O’Bannon moved home briefly after his stint at Washington University and attended Florissant Valley…

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