Do dream catchers really work?

When I have a lot of things on my mind, that are bustling through my brain, caused from over thinking some things, under the others, exaggerating worries and creating concerns out of the tiniest seed of thought, my dream rate increases. Every-night I can expect vivid imagery and seemingly hallucinated story lines. This isn’t inception, its just my brain going into a frenzy, I don’t dislike dreaming but only when the story-line soothes me, it is appealing but obviously if it gets too weird, too scary, too intangible then I start to seriously consider the positive effects that a dream catcher might have. I don’t understand what they are ‘supposed’ to do, I remember a friend who had one when I was younger, she said it was meant to keep out the bad dreams and only let in the good ones…Do they really work? Because I’ll take two.

It has all started since I began reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (I’m on a reading mission to read classic books and tick them of my ‘must read’ list) At school we studied Frankenstein, it was a toss up between the two for our Gothic horror class in literature and teacher chose Frankenstein bypassing Dracula. Thank goodness, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it when I was that young. I don’t get scared watching horror films because the gore is just off putting, barely realistic and when its time for the rolling credits to roll, the film has very much ended and so has my thinking surrounding it. But when reading, you are alone with the words and characters, perhaps in a quiet room, with just the pages in-front to distract you.

Reading Dracula is such a powerful experience, I’ve had one or two dreams that concern vampires since, not the Twilight kind either, the scary Stoker kind. Having an effect over me, like a bitten victim of the Count’s canines, I awoke in the middle of the night confused disorientated and trying to recall my spooky dream. My cat has obviously been dreaming to, maybe its Halloween approaching, as twice she has woke me up by falling off the bed. At least I have her for company.

I won’t be sleeping tonight…

Yet, despite waking in a hot sweat and questioning ‘what the hell was that noise?’, I still  keep reading for more. Dracula is comprised of diary entries, telegrams and newspaper clippings from those who have experienced the vampire, Count Dracula, as I turn the pages I feel alone, flicking through personal accounts, my position as the reader is isolated and vulnerable. Reading these different private forms adds tension yet, even though it is fiction, from the style it adds factuality.  I yearn to know what the next entry is going to supply me with, how I’m going to respond, will this fear that Stoker installed remain until the final page?

One of my favourite things about reading is, when I carry on thinking about the plot and content once my bookmark is set in the page, when the narrative doesn’t end with a full stop and the tension translates.Which is exactly what a great novel does, it’s just, I didn’t expected to feel such a response from Dracula. I start to visualise my position as an onlooker in the story; I build and architect the scenes in my head, zoning out from the present, zoning into the realm of fiction. Exceeding my expectations and lingering all day long somewhere in the back of my head through the day and to my dreams at night. The supernatural element, unknowing and alien, causes me to devise realistic solutions, relating it to my everyday or to a world that I can familiarise with. I think this is affecting me more than other books because it is unworldly, incomprehensible to our reality.

I haven’t finished Dracula yet, and I hope I get to sleep tonight but this is my definite Halloween read. It comes with a warning, and if you are or prone to nightmares of ghouls, goblins and all things with oversized canines, make sure you have a dream catcher because I don’t think you will dream well.

What book has made you think above what you expected? Do you dream about a book you’re reading? Is Dracula really scary? Am I just a coward? Are vampires real?  Do dream catchers really work?


For the love of monochrome.

Black and white films are a deep love of mine. There is nothing quite like settling down to watch a good old black and white, with freshly made popcorn and shutting the curtains in an attempt to home cinematise your front room. They are antiques, when you watch one you can feel yourself getting drawn back to the past, the days of romantic chivalry and smart little day suits, or perhaps down haunted streets and mysterious stately homes. The lingering shadows in black and white films become light and dark, creating scenes of horror, lust or everyday love. The beautiful classic actors in black and white films effortlessly become storytellers, asking audience members to imagine their world. The big explosions and ‘Inception’ like CGI of today give way to skillful talents of the performers, luring our attentions in the duration of the film. Charming and classy they ask for more of their audience, as we sit intimately watching their story unfold. The films reel of their own accord, not afraid to pause or stare, the shadowy hues define their faces they let us understand the complexities of their emotions that come from behind their dark eyes.

With that all said and done, I recently watched Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, written by ‘And as for today’s’ favorite author of the moment, Daphne Du Maurier. The combination of Hitchcock and Du Maurier had excited me for a while now. I wanted to see how Hitchcock rafter my favorite book, he wasn’t on trial but if he didn’t do the book justice I would of got mad. Book vs film much? Not in this case. I don’t like to Vs them off each other, of course they are going to be different. The book, in brief, no spoiler alerts here is about a young nameless woman, who marries dashing Mr Maxim De Winter to escape being a paid companion to an old intolerable women. There are twists and turns with the book, Mrs De Winter fears she is in the shadow of Maxims previous wife Rebecca as she is slotted straight into married life, created and preserved from the first Mrs. De Winter, in their Manderley stately home.

Its dark, romantic in a desperate, deep longing, not the sloppy soppy type, there is suspicion and mystery, suspense and affection. The book sits perfectly in black and white, it is all about the emotions af feelings.
I love this film, I love this book, with the film I fell in love with the acting, bringing to life characters of the pages, Maxim De Winter played by the dashing Laurence Olivier and young Mrs De Winter played by porcelain beauty Jane Fontaine portray their characters with gusto and impeccable realistic, reliable and rare talent.

Beauties in a black and white wash.

A Brief Encounter 1945, directed by Noel Coward, is another reason I love black and white. I have left my best until last.

The film is short so there is no excuse to watch it, my emotions went on that steam train all the way. It is such an intimate film where we share the longings of a housewife, she tells the story in first person, we are there, “Laura I am listening” I confess as she speaks her solace and her want of escape and resurrection with another man.  She meets him, the other man at the train station, they stare, they stare some more, she contemplates and decides her fate. If this was in colour it wouldn’t feel the same, I don’t think I could read their eyes, their unspoken communications.

Staring, Staring, lots of staring.

I recommend both these films, there are plenty more in black and white that are incredible because of their monochrome tones. Take Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang in 192, this film is outstanding, so haunting and interesting because it is so anything but Inception-like. Naturally there are films made in black and white that would be a flop in any age. But the ones I have seen hold a special place in my favorite film repertoire.

What is your favorite B&W classic? If you watch mine, I’ll watch yours.