Posts Tagged ‘mesmerism’

“The Third Circle” by Amanda Quick

Leona Hewitt has secret­ly made her way into Lord Delbridge’s pri­vate muse­um to retrieve a rel­ic stolen from her fam­i­ly. But some­one else is in the dim­ly lit gallery on the same errand: a tall, black cloaked man whose very voice is enough to cause her to fall into a trance.

Thad­deus Ware, a mes­merist with psy­chic gifts, is accus­tomed to fear­ful reac­tions from others—women, in par­tic­u­lar. After all, a man who can con­trol the minds of oth­ers could rob a lady of her virtue—completely unbe­knownst to her. But Leona shows no trace of hys­te­ria in his pres­ence. A gift­ed crys­tal work­er, she exerts a rather hyp­not­ic pow­er over the hyp­no­tist him­self. And she is deter­mined to keep the cov­et­ed crys­tal they man­age to recov­er by giv­ing him the slip at a run-down Lon­don inn.

Thad­deus, on assign­ment for the Arcane Soci­ety, knows the men­ace Leona is court­ing by abscond­ing with the crys­tal. A source of remark­able ener­gy, it holds the poten­tial for great destruc­tion. Lord Del­bridge has already killed to acquire the crys­tal, his key to mem­ber­ship in the elite, shad­owy group known as the Third Cir­cle. And, with the help of a ruth­less hunter of preter­nat­ur­al skill — dubbed the Mid­night Mon­ster by the press — Del­bridge intends to find Leona. With the stolen crys­tal in their pos­ses­sion, the dan­ger is only beginning.

Two very dri­ven indi­vid­u­als, both with agen­das that set them against each oth­er, both with pas­sions that draw them together.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Third Cir­cle” by Aman­da Quick”

“Slightly Shady”, “Don’t Look Back” and “Late for the Wedding” by Amanda Quick

As if a head for busi­ness and a nose for trou­ble aren’t enough to dis­tin­guish fierce­ly inde­pen­dent Lavinia Lake from the oth­er women of London’s fash­ion­able Clare­mont Lane, there is one more fea­ture to set her apart. Lavinia is also well versed in the prac­tice of mes­merism, an extra­or­di­nary gift that far sur­pass­es mere charm and phys­i­cal appeal. Nobody knows this bet­ter than the usu­al­ly cool­head­ed Tobias March, who seems to have fall­en hope­less­ly under her spell. For­tu­nate­ly for all, how­ev­er, Lavinia uses her pow­ers for good. And ever since a tragedy involv­ing one of her sub­jects, she has even retired them in favor of her work with Lake and March, a joint ven­ture pro­vid­ing “discreet pri­vate inquiries for indi­vid­u­als of quality.”

Mrs. Lake and Mr. March have a rocky first encounter: he is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly ram­pag­ing through the tiny shop Mrs. Lake and her niece oper­ate, all in an attempt to force them to leave and thus remove them from impend­ing dan­ger. Nev­er­the­less, they find rea­sons to con­tin­ue their rela­tion­ship, despite the fric­tion of their equal­ly strong per­son­al­i­ties. As these are romance nov­els, their rela­tion­ship also con­tin­ues to be fraught with unre­solved passion.

Part of that pas­sion and that fric­tion is due to the fact that Mrs. Lake is a tal­ent­ed mes­merist, although Mr. March is quite hes­i­tant to allow him­self to be placed under her mag­net­ic influ­ence for med­i­c­i­nal pur­pos­es, even though he is quick­ly falling under her cap­ti­vat­ing spell as much as she is falling under his. How­ev­er, in her new occu­pa­tion per­form­ing pri­vate inquiries, Mrs. Lake finds his com­pa­ny and her mes­mer­ic pow­ers advan­ta­geous, and not always in the expect­ed manner.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““Slight­ly Shady”, “Don’t Look Back” and “Late for the Wed­ding” by Aman­da Quick”

“The Harvest of Time” by Alastair Reynolds (2013) — Doctor Who


Mys­te­ri­ous events involv­ing dis­ap­pear­ing oil rigs and a secret Defense Min­istry project attract UNIT’s atten­tion, espe­cial­ly when the Master’s involve­ment becomes appar­ent. The Mas­ter is being used as a con­sul­tant by a Min­istry of Defense com­mu­ni­ca­tions project but in real­i­ty he is using them to broad­cast a tachy­on res­cue sig­nal to his past and future selves. How­ev­er, the rapa­cious alien race of the Sild inter­cept the sig­nal and use it to pluck var­i­ous incar­na­tions of the Mas­ter out of time, start­ing to erase him from exis­tence. Then the alien inva­sion begins, whose object is to cap­ture the Mas­ter him­self as the Mas­ter Stroke of their Mas­ter Plan of cre­at­ing the Mas­ter Com­put­er, built of all the incar­na­tions of the Mas­ter they were col­lect­ing. 1 They don’t find him, thanks to the inter­fer­ence of the Doc­tor who came to res­cue him, which only leads to the aliens cap­tur­ing him any­way in the far-flung future. But that is exact­ly what the Mas­ter wants, because the Mas­ter is in con­trol of the com­put­er, not the Sild, as they discover.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Har­vest of Time” by Alas­tair Reynolds (2013) — Doc­tor Who”

“The Devil’s Night” — David Jacobs

[amtap book:isbn=0425178609]

They only come out at night

Cloth tear­ing, she spread-eagled her arms and legs, taut­ening the leath­ery folds of swelling batwings. The wings were part of arms, grow­ing out of the shoul­ders, attached to the long thin­ning skele­tal arms and legs with scal­loped leath­ery black bat membranes. 

Batwings beat the air fran­ti­cal­ly, try­ing to stop or at least slow the fall. 

Among the Undead, only the most pow­er­ful vam­pires can muster the occult force need­ed for shapeshift­ing, to become a giant bat, a wolf, or mist that can drift through sol­id walls. 

Such a queen vam­pire was Marya Zaleska. 

Count­ess Marya Zales­ka, Drac­u­la’s Daughter. 

The Uni­ver­sal Mon­sters: Drac­u­la, Franken­stein’s Mon­ster, the Wolf­man, Drac­u­la’s Daugh­ter. All return­ing, just as they returned in so many Uni­ver­sal hor­ror movies, this time in fic­tion­al form. 

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Devil’s Night” — David Jacobs”

“The Brides of Fu Manchu” (1966)


The mas­ter of evil takes a harem of horror! 

Would-be world con­queror Fu Manchu returns, hold­ing the beau­ti­ful daugh­ters (are there ever any oth­ers?) of impor­tant sci­en­tists in order to black­mail their fathers. With their help, he is able to con­struct a device capa­ble of trans­mit­ting destruc­tive ener­gy from his moun­tain strong­hold any­where in the world. How­ev­er, his eter­nal foe, Sir Den­nis Nay­land Smith, is always ready to con­test the sin­is­ter Man­dar­in’s plot. 

The hyp­not­ic action starts imme­di­ate­ly: sci­en­tist Otto Lentz is brought before Fu Manchu and his sin­is­ter daugh­ter Lin Tang (played by Tsai Chin: it is obvi­ous that she is sup­posed to be Fah Lo Suee.) in a throne room lined with the placid forms of a multi­na­tion­al group of young women, all the “brides” of Fu Manchu. There, he is ordered to coop­er­ate. When he refus­es, his beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Marie is brought forth, look­ing equal­ly as placid, is if drugged. She is led before Lin Tang, who takes the girl’s head in her hands and clos­es the girl’s eyes with her thumbs. When released, Marie opens her eyes to stare direct­ly in the eyes of her cap­tor. Just that eas­i­ly, Marie is under the con­trol of Lin Tang and Fu Manchu. At their direc­tion, she sends anoth­er of the “brides” to her death, and her father is black­mailed with the threat of awak­en­ing her with the full knowl­edge of her action. Only then does the audi­ence get an idea of what the sin­is­ter Man­dar­in’s plot is: the sci­en­tists have all been work­ing on parts of a device that will trans­mit destruc­tive radio waves to any­where in the world. With it, he plans to destroy an upcom­ing arms con­fer­ence, sow­ing dis­or­der and chaos in the West. 

Sir Den­nis Nay­land Smith, how­ev­er, is always there to oppose the sin­is­ter Man­darin, and through his inves­ti­ga­tion into the dis­ap­pear­ances of the “brides” is try­ing to pre­vent the next dis­ap­pear­ance. To that end, he employs the help of Franz Bauer, Marie’s fiancee, and arranges for him to be tak­en in place of the next sci­en­tist on Fu Manchu’s list. Lack­ing the aid of the sci­en­tist, and with Nay­land Smith clos­ing in on both the Lon­don hide­out and Fu Manchu’s hid­den lair, the final assault on the con­fer­ence goes ter­ri­bly awry, as the trans­mit­ter is over­loaded and the entire instal­la­tion destroyed. Befit­ting their sta­tus, Fu Manchu and Lin Tang escape through a secret pas­sage and sur­vive the destruc­tion, in order to return in the next movie. 

There are three oth­er hyp­not­ic scenes: the first, when Lin Tang enters the din­ing room with all of the “brides” to take Otto Lentz away; the sec­ond, when anoth­er of the “brides” is brought before Fu Manchu; and the last is dur­ing the riot when the “brides” attempt to escape. There is also a brief moment at the end of the movie, after all of the “brides” were res­cued and Fu Manchu’s lair destroyed, when they all pause, turn and stare blankly back at the ruin, as if hear­ing the voice of Fu Manchu com­mand­ing them one last time. 

  • In the first, Lentz and Marie are say­ing good­bye when Lin Tang enters the room: at that moment, all of the girls stand and are entranced. Marie, even, is com­plete­ly obliv­i­ous to her father, see­ing and hear­ing only Ling Tang. 
  • In the sec­ond, the bride is ter­ri­fied by the sight of a pit full of snakes, then, in her ter­ri­fied state, is mes­mer­ized by Fu Manchu himself. 
  • In the last, dur­ing the riot as the “brides” are bat­tling the guards. Into that chaos strides Lin Tang, who takes one of the women by the shoul­ders and stares into her eyes, entranc­ing her. How­ev­er, anoth­er of the “brides” sees that and knocks Lin Tang uncon­scious. Not so when the impe­ri­ous Fu Manchu enters, as which point every one of the “brides” falls back into their placid trance state. 

The above clip is actu­al­ly from two dif­fer­ent movies of this series: the first half is from the third movie, “The Vengeance of Fu Manchu”, while the sec­ond half, start­ing at about 0:53, is from this movie, and is a longer and bet­ter ver­sion of the scene shown pre­vi­ous­ly. It also speaks of Marie being “pre­pared” which tends to con­firm that she is some­how drugged. Just ignore the ran­dom clip insert­ed some­how in the middle. 

Com­men­tary: The sec­ond of five Fu Manchu movies star­ring Christo­pher Lee in the title role. “The Brides of Fu Manchu”, a sequel to The Face of Fu Manchu” of the pre­vi­ous year. It has noth­ing to do with the nov­el “The Bride of Fu Manchu”, which is about 

It should be not­ed that this is the first time that Fah Lo Suee (or what­ev­er she is named in the movies) was played by a true Asian actress: before this, the char­ac­ter was always por­trayed by a West­ern actress, includ­ing Myr­na Loy.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: For sheer his­tor­i­cal val­ue, I would rec­om­mend the movie, if it can be found. Christo­pher Lee has a cer­tain amount of sedate fun in this movie, which I believe is the best of the five of this series, and pos­si­bly of all the lat­er Fu Manchu movies, which is not real­ly say­ing much. 

Note: For years, I thought these were Ham­mer films, what with Christo­pher Lee star­ring in them: the look was so sim­i­lar to the Ham­mer style it was pret­ty easy to con­fuse the two, as direc­tor Don Sharp also direct­ed such Ham­mer clas­sics as Rasputin: The Mad Monk” and The Kiss of the Vam­pire” , as well as a num­ber of “Avengers” TV episodes and an episode of the “Ham­mer House of Hor­ror” anthol­o­gy TV series. The “Avengers” con­nec­tion also car­ries over to his Direc­tor oh Pho­tog­ra­phy, Ernest Stew­ard who also worked the series. 

Triv­ia: If you watch care­ful­ly, you will see a some­what famil­iar face: one of the guards, Feng, was played by Burt Kwouk, who is famous for play­ing Cato on the Peter Sell­ers “Pink Pan­ther” movies. Kwouk has a very long act­ing  resumé, includ­ing oth­er Fu Manchu films, and is still work­ing today.

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