CC: The Valdemar Legacy 1 & 2

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Friday, December 6, 2013

CC: The Valdemar Legacy 1 & 2

As I got deeper into the research for these two films the more I discovered any information I was going to get would be in Spanish, and since I don’t speak Spanish I was forced to rely upon Google Translate.  Please be tolerant of the odd grammar and phrasings, I think you can still understand what was being written and I have tried to clean it up as best as I can.

Valdemar Inheritance is a film Spanish directed by José Luis Alemán, this being his debut and also a posthumous film actor Paul Naschy,  is based on the fictional universe of H. P.  Lovecraft (known as The Cthulhu Mythos").  On one side is an unusual case in the Spanish film to have been produced without any subsidy in January but otherwise has received many negative reviews.  One of the hardest has been to Javier Ocaña, the daily El Pais.

The heredity Valdemar was shot in 2009, mostly in the small town of Comillas (Cantabria), the home of English and the Sobrellano palace, and was released in Spain on January 22, 2010.  That year José Luis Alemán shot a second part, The Valdemar II heritage: The Forbidden Shadow, released on January 28, 2011.

The director explained that "H. P. Lovecraft was very difficult to adapt, and that he filled his pages with descriptions, with little dialogue or characters.  What we have done is to capture the essence of his books and create a script ourselves, so we adapt events and characters Historic to give the story more credibility”.  Alemán wanted to get away from the terror that is currently done by describing it as "crude, exaggerated and strong."  For this reason, it has created a world of fear "soft and romantic".

The film is produced by José Luis Alemán, without any subsidy, with a budget of 13 million Euros, which was seeking its own funding.  Filming lasted 19 weeks that make up the two parts of the movie, an idea that initially did not want its director, but observing the success of the Matrix or The Lord of the Rings, and studies, finally accepted, but later criticized the public.  Some actors spoke about the film as Daniele Liotti, who would shoot It has been an "incredible experience" and has been given the opportunity to return to Spain after participating in Juana la Loca, embodies Lazarus Valdemar.  Italian actor could experience an "almost nonexistent" gender in their country and stressed the "lucky" to work with Paul Naschy.  Laia Marull embodies the woman Lazarus says the film is a love story of the nineteenth century.  Francisco Maestre embodied in the film to Aleister Crowley, recalling that his character was real and there was therefore stressed that it was "a great responsibility" and "dangerous" because it still has followers.  Jaenada acts just because you have more importance in the second half.

The Valdemar Legacy (2010)

  • Original Title: La herencia Valdemar
  • Genre: Horror – Mystery
  • Directed: José Luis Alemán
  • Produced:
    • José Luis Alemán  
    • Miguel Ángel González  
    • Íñigo Marco
  • Written:
    • H.P. Lovecraft (Inspiration)  
    • José Luis Alemán (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Daniele Liotti, Óscar Jaenada, Laia Marull, Silvia Abascal, Rodolfo Sancho, Ana Risueño, Norma Ruíz, Santi Prego, José Luis Torrijo, Jesús Olmedo, Francisco Maestre
  • Music: Arnau Bataller
  • Cinematography: David Azcano
  • Editing: Frank Gutiérrez
  • Studio:
    • La Cruzada Entertainment 
    • Origen Producciones Cinematograficas S.A.
  • Distributed: Universal Pictures International
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 22 January 2010 (Spain)
  • Running Time: 104 minutes
  • Country: Spain
  • Language: Spanish

The main story is the background of the Valdemar estate and how it became the way it did.  The story is paced out slower than most horror movies, and yes it is deliberately done this way.  The film is all about the build up and the payoff at the end.  I know that most new horror fans these days are used to something big happening every seven minutes (thanks Michael Bay for that) yet with this one there is one fast paced scene about 20 minutes into the movie and then the rest of the film is a build up for the end.  While everything is explained, it never once makes the viewer feel stupid or dumb.  This is probably one of the smarter horror movies I've seen.  And yes, even though the film starts out in modern times, the main story plays out in the past giving the background of the house and how it came to have it's reputation.  This might seem boring, yet to me this just added to the story and made you care for the main characters but it also helps sets up the story for part two.

While the story is the main reason to see the film, it would have failed if the acting wasn't up to the same level. Thankfully the main actors were all good in their roles for the most part except for Paco Maestre as Aleister Crowley.  Something just seemed off to me about the character, excluding that Crowley was a scary and weird man to begin with.  Yes, he seems like he is in complete control of all situations, though him coming and almost begging to use the Valdemar house just doesn't seem right for some reason.  Another character that I had a problem with was the Bram Stoker character.  Yes, in real life Stoker had a interest in the occult, mesmerism specifically, yet I don't see the man as being shy and quiet.  I know these might seem like I'm being nit-picky, but I just couldn't get these two things really out of my head after each was introduced.  One of acting highlights was Jose Luis Torrijo as Damaso.  Though he seems nice to begin with, as more is shown of him, he starts to give out a more sinister presence in the small screen time he is giving.  Also look for a very good final performance by Paul Naschy as the caring family butler in the past.

Luisa Llorente, an expert on taxation assessment of old properties, had recently gone to the Victorian mansion Valdemar to conduct an inventory of property ownership.  After she mysteriously disappeared, Maximilian, president of her company, engaged the services of a private detective to help find her.  But soon they will discover that hers is not the first disappearance at Valdemar mansion.

How is all this relevant to Lovecraft, you may ask?  Well, it seems that amongst the items set for inventory is a certain volume known to all dabblers in Lovecraftian lore — an ancient grimoire written by the Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred, a book known as the Necronomicon.

As everything is in Spanish, it’s hard to elucidate the details, but it’s clear that being “inspired by the Universe of H.P. Lovecraft” and featuring an old ancestral house, mysterious disappearances, the dead rising and the Necronomicon, sooner or later the Great Old Ones will be putting in an appearance.  Meanwhile, the character list alone is suggestive.  It includes such real-world luminaries as Lizzie Borden (New England’s most notorious alleged female hatchet killer), Aleister Crowley (the infamous occultist and ceremonial magician) and Bram Stoker (author of the novel Dracula).

One thing leads to another and the result is Part 2 or La herencia Valdemar II: La Sombra Prohibida [aka The Valdemar Legacy II: The Forbidden Shadow], in which an Old Friend arises.

 

The Valdemar Legacy II: The Forbidden Shadow (2010)

  • Original Title: La herencia Valdemar II: La sombra prohibida
  • Genre: Horror – Mystery
  • Directed: José Luis Alemán
  • Produced:
    • José Luis Alemán 
    • Miguel Ángel González 
    • Íñigo Marco
  • Written:
    • H.P. Lovecraft (Inspiration)  
    • José Luis Alemán (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Daniele Liotti, Óscar Jaenada, Laia Marull, Silvia Abascal, Rodolfo Sancho, Ana Risueño, Norma Ruíz, Santi Prego, José Luis Torrijo, Jesús Olmedo
  • Music: Arnau Bataller
  • Cinematography: David Azcano
  • Editing: Frank Gutiérrez
  • Studio: La Cruzada Entertainment
  • Distributed:
    • Universal Pictures International  
    • Condor Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date: 28 January 2011 (Spain)
  • Running Time: 92 minutes
  • Country: Spain
  • Language: Spanish

Part 2 is a direct continuation of The Valdemar Legacy, with Lovecraftian tendencies reaching climactic proportions, as obsession with the Book takes over, causing Cthulhu to rise and finally put his foot down.

Eduardo and Ana are trying to find their colleague Luisa, who went missing after a visit to the lonesome Valdemar mansion.  Teaming with detective Nicolas, the two encounter all manner of clichés, including psychopaths Santiago and Damaso, a gypsy woman, power-hungry Maximilian, old manuscripts and Cthulhu, an impressively rendered digimonster.  Atmospherics are fine, but otherwise it’s grave-turning risibility all the way, courtesy of a plot that hurtles forward at the expense of character and credibility.

In the first "La Herencia Valdemar" movie, the entire runtime was spent on giving a back story to the house and its owner, Lázaro Valdemar, who becomes obsessed with the world of the occult after a séance results in the passing of his wife.  Nothing else.  Nothing remotely of interest happens; it's all about explaining, in excruciating detail, the back story of the Valdemar mansion and what would be a side character in the second film.

So what is "La Herencia Valdemar 2" about?  Well, it's about explaining, in excruciating detail, the back story of why all of our protagonists -- our would be sacrifices of a cult ritual -- are at the house from the first movie.  Then we get a resolution that wraps up both movies in 5 minutes.

The "La Herencia Valdemar" movies should be used in any filmmaking/screen writing class as what not to do.  It took two movies with a combined running time of 196 minutes to tell a single story that could have, and should have been told over the course of one movie.  At no point does José Luis Alemán trust the audience and let them fill in the gaps of a story.  Instead he holds our hand and tells us every single detail of the movie to make sure we understand the characters and what is going on.  Because of this, nothing ever actually happens in the movie. Instead it is literally scene after scene of exposition and he never shows anything -- it's all told to us.  By that I mean, they never let a scene or an action from a character speak about what's going on.  Instead, if something happens, we have a character who comes in and explains, before and after, what just happened and why.

 

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