Friday, March 23, 2018

Vampire Skeletons

Like, honestly, who wouldn't click on a title like that? Vampire. Skeletons.

A documentary about a recent archaeological find of a medieval burial in Ireland where the unfortunate people were mutilated in an effort to keep them from returning as vampires, Vampire Skeletons features footage of archaeological digs and grisly stories of the undead. Oh yeah, and startling images of unearthed graves containing skulls with large stones shoved in the jaws.

Scientists give explanations of how corpses can sometime explode underground due to gasses, and how they make a popping noise above ground. Also, the bodies can also contort wildly in their graves, which give the suggestion the corpses became reanimated. The stones could have been used to keep a soul from reentering the body, becoming undead, and haunting the living.

Through body mutilation, other forms of deviant burials and grisly, lurid folktales, the idea of the undead was actually fostered by the early church, where they allowed villagers to believe souls could escape the horrors of purgatory, climb back into their rotting corpses, and terrorize the living. For instance, a story of recently deceased men who wandered around the countryside carrying their own coffins on their backs was retold. Revenants were heard lurked outside homes calling out to villagers, and then the villagers coincidently died mysteriously of plague some time later. Dead villagers were sometimes tried for crimes supposedly committed after death. The hearts of those rumored to be able to return from the dead were being torn out of their corpses, and when the hearts were burned, ravens allegedly flew up out of the smoke. And lastly, there was a story of a witch sewn up in a stag skin, placed in a stone sarcophagus, wrapped in chains, and having incantations said over her grave for three days. Unfortunately, the Beast rode in on a black horse and swept her away from her grave, which caused the witch to return and haunt the village forever.

Histories of the legend of the vampire are told, complete with accounts of staking, burning, beheading, and other gruesome attempts to keep the undead at bay.

Naturally, the documentary recounts the modern legend of the vampire, with brief footage of Nosferatu and a visit to Whitby Castle, the setting for the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. Vampire Skeletons is a surprisingly horrific documentary, and it's pretty cool.

Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a trailer, but the full documentary is on Amazon Prime.

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