Archive for Solomon Kane

Robert E. Howard Monday: Nerdrage

Posted in movies with tags , , on September 15, 2009 by bradellison

So the trailer for the new Solomon Kane movie is out.

And I am not well pleased.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s never going to be a faithful adaptation of Red Shadows directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Michael Wincott, and I’ve had months now to try and come to grips with the nonsensical origin story they’ve cooked up for my favorite pulp hero, but even so I’d hoped for better than the Black Prince from A Knight’s Tale dressed up like Hugh Jackman from Van Helsing, swinging two cutlasses around in slow motion, and fighting the Golem boss from Castlevania.

Speaking of Van Helsing, I see from the Youtube comments, that endless black abyss of stupidity that God Almighty has forsaken and left to fester, that this movie has already given rise to the first generation of unreflective jerk-offs to whom Solomon Kane will be nothing but a crappy knock-off of an already-crappy knock-off.  For the record, anyone who says anything to me about Solomon Kane being a Van Helsing ripoff had best do it from a distance, or I will stab them right in the damn eye.

I can see exactly how this happened.  I have a blueprint detailing how this almost certainly happened, because I would bet real money that it’s pretty much the same process that turned Kull the Conqueror.  I strongly suspect that somewhere along the line, someone wanted to make an actual Solomon Kane movie, and then the project went into the studio sausage factory, with a sampling of the unrecognizable end result being this trailer.

I think I’ve given up hope for a Solomon Kane movie better than this:

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Robert E. Howard Monday: The One Black Stain

Posted in Words with tags , , , on March 3, 2009 by bradellison

Solomon Kane may be Howard’s greatest character, although he’s overshadowed by Conan the Cimmerian.  I’ve got no love for Puritans as a general thing, but Kane is a Puritan swashbuckler, a man roams the Earth from his home soil of Britain through Europe to China and into the deepest and darkest parts of Africa, seeking adventure and evil to vanquish.  A man who grapples the spirits of the restless dead with his bare hands, and pits cold steel against pirates, harpies, vampires and wizards.  A man who sailed with Sir Richard Grenville on the last voyage of the Revenge, when she was laid low by no fewer than fifty-three Spanish vessels in one of the most epic naval battles in history.  And, as we see here, he sailed with Francis Drake.

(Sir Thomas Doughty, executed at St. Julian’s Bay, 1578)

They carried him out on the barren sand
where the rebel captains died;
Where the grim gray rotting gibbets stand
as Magellan reared them on the strand,
And the gulls that haunt the lonesome land
wail to the lonely tide.

Drake faced them all like a lion at bay,
with his lion head upflung:
“Dare ye my word of law defy,
to say this traitor shall not die?”
And his captains dared not meet his eye
but each man held his tongue.

Solomon Kane stood forth alone,
grim man of a somber race:
“Worthy of death he may well be,
but the trial ye held was mockery,
“Ye hid your spite in a travesty
where justice hid her face.

“More of the man had ye been, on deck
Your sword to cleanly draw
“In forthright fury from its sheath
and openly cleave him to the teeth-
“Rather than slink and hide beneath
a hollow word of the law.”

Hell rose in the eyes of Francis Drake.
“Puritan knave!” swore he.
“Headsman! Give him the axe instead!
He shall strike off yon traitor’s head!”
Solomon folded his arms and said,
darkly and somberly:

“I am no slave for your butcher’s work.”
“Bind him with triple strands!”
Drake roared and the men obeyed,
Hesitantly, as if afraid,
But Kane moved not as they took his blade
and pinioned his iron hands.

They bent the doomed man over to his knees,
the man who was to die;
They saw his lips in a strange smile bend,
one last long look they saw him send,
At Drake his judge and his one time friend
who dared not meet his eye.

The axe flashed silver in the sun,
a red arch slashed the sand;
A voice cried out as the head fell clear,
and the watchers flinched in sudden fear,
Though ’twas but a sea bird wheeling near
above the lonely strand.

“This be every traitor’s end!” Drake cried,
and yet again.
Slowly his captains turned and went
and the admiral’s stare was elsewhere bent
Than where the cold scorn with anger blent
in the eyes of Solomon Kane.

Night fell on the crawling waves;
the admiral’s door was closed;
Solomon lay in the stenching hold;
his irons clashed as the ship rolled.
And his guard, grown weary and overbold,
lay down his pipe and dozed.

He woke with a hand at his corded throat
that gripped him like a vise;
Trembling he yielded up the key,
and the somber Puritan stood free,
His cold eyes gleaming murderously
with the wrath that is slow to rise.

Unseen, to the admiral’s door,
went Solomon Kane from the guard,
Through the night and silence of the ship,
the guard’s keen dagger in his grip;
No man of the dull crew saw him slip
through the door unbarred.

Drake at the table sat alone,
his face sunk in his hands;
He looked up, as from sleeping –
but his eyes were blank with weeping
As if he saw not, creeping,
death’s swiftly flowing sands.

He reached no hand for gun or blade
to halt the hand of Kane,
Nor even seemed to hear or see,
lost in black mists of memory,
Love turned to hate and treachery,
and bitter, cankering pain.

A moment Solomon Kane stood there,
the dagger poised before,
As a condor stoops above a bird,
and Francis Drake spoke not nor stirred
And Kane went forth without a word
and closed the cabin door.

Sir Thomas Doughty is nothing more than a footnote in history now.  Look him up.  His legacy is this poem, and a rather odd play about his last dinner with Francis Drake, who had been his friend.