Thursday, 10 March 2011

Let the Right One In

I had a nightmare last night about the Other Mother from Neil Gaiman's Coraline... I love both the movie and the book, but apparently my subconscious is less impressed. In the dark of night, a creature with needles for fingers that makes itself look like someone you love so that it can sew buttons into your eyes is somewhat creepy. D-:

I was really pleased with all the lovely responses to my little outfit post yesterday; thanks so much, you wonderfully kind people! <3 Unfortunately you have let yourselves in for it now as I will be posting pics of my outfits a lot more often.

Now, on with the show:

Parajunkee's View Vampire Reading Challenge Review #3: Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Warning: may contain spoilers

Apologies to those of you getting heartily sick of vampires; I have only recently discovered the allure of the black-clad and bloodthirsty so I'm afraid it hasn't worn thin on me yet (I'm planning a vampire dinner party for my nearest, dearest and weirdest for my birthday party, oh yes). Plus, I do actually intend to complete this challenge. So, vampires it is...

Source: Google Images
Let the Right One In was a giant step away from cutesy paranormal romance and well-dressed, gentlemanly demons; Lindqvist's vampire Eli is a ravenous creature forever trapped in the frail body of a child. It wasn't the vampire itself which I found horrifying in this story, but the increasingly gory and depraved happenings occuring as direct consequences of the child vampire arriving in the dreary town of Blackeburg.

Twelve-year-old misfit Oskar is bullied severely at school, mollycoddled by his mother and largely ignored by his alcoholic absentee father. He collects newspaper clippings of violent serial killings and spends his spare time fantasising about wreaking bloody revenge on his tormentors. When the horrific murder and bloodletting of a local child occurs, Blackeburg residents are shocked and terrified - except Oskar, who is enthralled.

Eli has just moved to Blackeburg with Hakan, who functions as Eli's guardian and servant, bound to the vampire by loyalty and perverted desire. Eli is too weak to satisfy the blood craving, and forces Hakan to kill on 'her' behalf (Eli dresses and behaves as a girl but is physically a boy).

Oskar meets Eli in the local park and an innocent romance begins to blossom between them, with Oskar unaware of Eli's dark secret despite the vampire's uncanny habits and behaviour.

As the violence escalates, with both the antics of Oskar's bullies and Eli as 'she' becomes stronger and hungrier, getting seriously out of control, events become darker, grimmer, and infinitely more disturbing, leading inexorably towards the eventual, grisly climax.

The last third of this book is by far the most horrific; I was freaked out in no small way by what happens to Hakan and the monstrous thing he becomes, and the subplot following Lacke, Virginia and other residents of Blackeburg affected in increasingly horrible ways by the vampire in their midst also came to a catastrophic end.

It's easy to see why a story like this can have no real happy ending - none of the characters could believably be redeemed or recover from what they had to experience. Even Oskar, whom the reader pities and comes to care about, is obviously a little bit... disturbed, and developing a close relationship with a murderous creature does nothing for his equilibrium, although he probably fares better than most of the other characters.

The book has inspired not one but two movies - Let the Right One In and the more recent Let Me In, neither of which I have seen. I may do so on a day when I am feeling considerably more sound in constitution - I am a big wuss at the best of times, and the matter-of-fact, detailed way in which Lindqvist describes the most revolting events turned my stomach a little at times, most notably during the scenes where undead, acid-burned Hakan has Eli trapped in the basement. Yikes.

Certainly an interesting read, but I would only recommend to older readers with strong stomachs.

Listening to: A Forest - The Cure


Duvessa said...

I <3 Coraline! Never seen nightmares about the other mother but then again I don't really see nightmares at all :D

Dr Blood said...

You should definitely watch the "Let the Right One In" movie but not the remake. There's nothing particularly gory in the Swedish film until the swimming pool scene which the remake ruined completely (in spite of amping up the gore and action everywhere else!).

I wrote a review of it here:

The Green Fairy said...

I adored the Swedish film, I'll have to read the book!

+.Flor.+ said...

Hello! I have that book! :) I admit it's a strong story, but it is entertaining and does a vampire much more original, "real" and solid compared to the current literature, of course.
About the movie, I tell you I saw the original, and is wonderful, the performances of the children deserve an applause, so I recommend it. And about the remake I can not say that I have not seen yet.
I love your blog:) It has become my daily reading! I send you a kiss!

Ashlee said...

I'll have to read that book. I enjoy unhappy endings - there are so many happy ones! It gets annoying, sometimes. Sometimes you just want to see the bad guy win.

Lyn said...

I should read this book, but it seems a bit more intensely scary that whimpy me can take.
The Swedish movie was fantastic though. I liked it a lot.
Haven't seen the remake of it though.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching a movie called Let The Right One In. I also saw Let Me In (which is in english.) I liked those movies.

Melanie~"Fangirl"~Light said...

Let's just say I never really and properly read an adult novel, so the mature themes half-educated and half-scarred me a bit. Still, I love the book.

As far as the movies go, 'Let the Right One In' is slower paced, but not to the point of being boring. I enjoyed it greatly because of how refreshing it felt. Meanwhile, I constantly stared at a clock as I watched 'Let Me In.' It feels slow for different reasons. Maybe there is just some really lame execution in most of the scenes, but I don't get why I disliked it so much.

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