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  • Surprised there's no mention of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, a novel about a fictional veterinary student's time in a traveling circus. A circus that hedges far closer to the exploitative end of the spectrum. Headed by an unscrupulous (and alcoholic) owner that will track down failing competitors and swoop in to buy up all the loose "assets" the moment they fail, in a pattern the book itself describes as being "like a vulture". A man who has to be argued with to not feed spoiled meat to the big cats...and who is entirely okay with feeding some of the "lesser" circus animals to said big cats if the situation calls for it. Indulgences are heaped on the upper management (like the owner and the equestrian director), while the common workers get barely anything and are constantly in danger of getting kicked out...including on a moving train. That equestrian director, by the way, is a psychopath, responsible for multiple injuries and probably murders, that is allowed to go unpunished because the owner doesn't give a damn. The circus is a disfunctional operation, held together by elbow grease, compromises (read: moral), and a healthy dose of economic parasitism.

    In short, exactly the sort of outfit the Wyrm would dig itself into and never leave.

    The book has a film adaptation, though I haven't seen it.


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    • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
      Surprised there's no mention of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants,
      I knew there was something big I had overlooked. Thanks for reminding me.


      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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      • Midnight Circus addendum

        In addition to Water for Elephants, another bit I forgot to mention was wax museums. Normally, these are more stand alone attractions than part of a carnival. However, I am a long time fan of the 80s fantasy-horror series Friday the 13th: The Series, and the seventh episode of the second season, "Wax Magic", involves a small scale chamber of horrors (the subsection of many wax museums devoted to figures of infamy and terror) as part of a traveling carnival. And, following the show's formula, murder ensues. While the two film versions of House of Wax (1953 and 2005) have the idea of the wax displays being real bodies of murder victims, my all time favorite concept for the idea comes from the 1988 movie Waxwork, in which the the displays suck victims into their scenarios and result in their deaths at the hands of the monsters and villains. (The movie is deeply weird, not least of which for the first 10 minutes or so, in which the protagonist - Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame - seems to be totally out of character compared to the rest of the film, and the final climax rivals Blazing Saddles in it's abrupt left turn from the previous film. But David Warner's turn as the villain is fun, and John Rhys-Davies has a bit part as one of the wax exhibit monsters. And the actual evil plot - bringing back 18 of the most evil people to have ever lived by sacrificing victims via this elaborate magical set up - is kind of cool, and I could see being part of the Circus).
        I'll also throw out the 1999 version of House on Haunted Hill, for its use of some of the work of Honore Fragonard, an 18th century sculptor and anatomist famous for his "flayed figures" of humans and animals. He's been featured on Ripley's Believe it or Not also, and his work is very WoD appropriate.
        Last edited by No One of Consequence; 09-04-2019, 11:06 PM.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

        Comment

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