And legend to the right, we all have been in that setting; we all have had grander then life dreams and imaginations. For me it started when some British bloke brought a new level of fear to the cinema (Alien), it could be the American that made us afraid to go swimming (Jaws), yet for the most we all have had that moment. For some reason that feeling got awake again with the setting of Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel, directed by William Eubank. I am talking about the movie Underwater. I am trying to make sure that I am not giving away the plot, because the movie is well worth watching. We all have made fun of Kristen Steward, not because of the girl, but because of the franchise. I have nothing against the franchise and even as I have never read the works of the writer, I get the feeling that she is well worth reading, I got that sense when I saw the movie the Host. Anyway, I got the limited Twilight edition of Charlie’s Angels (one additional romantic scene, ha ha ha) and that was that. But she shines like a well cut diamond in Underwater, the cast is awesome and the movie is a lot better then anyone realises, because in my case Underwater took me back to the original feeling of unease that Jaws and Alien instilled, I actually missed that feeling and it got me thinking. We all look at the Middle East, we all saw Aladdin, but there is a lot more than the proverbial Argo. What if we dispense with the musical dreaded scene of the room in the dark, what if the dark becomes a much larger stage, a stage where you will not sleep, never ever again with the lights off?
That was the setting I contemplated, but it never gave me the idea, the idea was already there, yet in this case the idea altered a little. I am talking about the concept of the Ifrit. Then today (yesterday as well) when I was replaying AC Origins, I stumbled upon the idea again, it was when (in the game) I entered the city of Letopolis (and the story behind it) and it gave me the idea in more degrees. Yet I was contemplating the city of Per-Amun and the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC). A stage where we see the confrontation of Egypt and the Achaemenid Empire. Now consider that an Ifrit was held captive in Per-Anum, it was taken and moved to the western province of their domain in the city of Gerrha, in a secret tomb under houses the prison of the Ifrit was kept and lost when the caretakers fell ill and it was forgotten, that prison is found after 2500 years by a western teacher exploring his connection to Islam and he is filled with the rage of a demon held captive for 3000 years. We now have a stage where Islamic doctrine might hold a solution, but the wielder is in doubt of his faith and in the mean time the rage of the Ifrit takes on a turn of another nature. When we consider that the larger stage of the Achaemenid Empire is now Iran, Gerrha is (now) in Saudi Arabia and we are confronted with a demon, not merely in thirst of blood, but also a stage of intrigue setting up a war of Saudi Arabia against Iran we get a new stage, one never seen (as far as I know). We look at horror, but what if horror is set (drenched) in political settings, as well as religious ones? Especially when we consider “In the latter account, the “ifrit among the jinn” threatens Muhammad with a fiery presence, whereupon the archangel Gabriel taught Muhammad a Du’a (Islamic prayer) to defeat it.” A stage which we get from ‘Heavenly Journeys, Earthly Concerns: The Legacy of the Mi’raj in the Formation of Islam Routledge, 2004’ by Brooke Olson Vuckovic. We have all the markings of what could be an awesome franchise, yet as far as I can tell, no one looked in that directions, I wonder why.
5 large streaming houses, a dozen large studio’s and no one looked or contemplated this direction of ideas? I merely watch movies, I am not (and never really had the notion of becoming) a movie director, I am for the most a storyteller and an analyst. Yet the idea of creating something totally new (not the first time) is both appealing and overwhelming. So as I (and others too) consider looking to the left hoping we have created a new franchise, we also look towards the right hoping to see the shimmer of the ‘legendary label’ in this all storytellers are the same, we love the idea of any new story we create, but to create one that becomes legendary as other great storyteller did before us is always in the back of all our minds, we all want to become the next Rowling, Tolkien, Hubbart, Sheckley or Clarke. We always want to measure how close we got to our idols, as far as I can tell, there is no exception to that rule and every storyteller has his or her own idol, the achieved person that drives us. All that and the thought of knowing the person who overhauled the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis and whatever they found under there is always the wink towards the unknown. Some merely see the “outstanding example of an ancient Roman burial ground”, yet what if this happened before and what if we ignore the old saying to keep buried what was buried? What happens when you open the door to someone who can traverse the seven stages of the Jahannam? And what happens when someone figures out that there is more to The Remorse of Orestes?
We see overlaps and connections in Islamic stories that connects to Christianity (Gabriel) and Greek (Furies), what if this is not a casual link? You see most film makers never seemingly looked deeper into that side of things, why not? If they are more becoming about streaming and franchises, I think the Middle East has a whole range of stories that open up more and optionally also a larger audience.