T Frohock is a wonderful author and a great person all around, which is why I was thrilled to be part of the blog tour for her new novella, In Midnight’s Silence. As part of the blog tour, she was good enough to write a guest post for Bibliotropic, talking about her favourite fallen angel.
Gosh, and I have to pick just one …
This is a difficult exercise, because whenever I’m asked about fallen angels, I generally whip out one of my copies of Paradise Lost, then I get utterly lost in the beauty of Milton’s language. Then I revert to The Book of Enoch and become overwhelmed by the sheer number and functions of the angels. Now two hours have passed and I still haven’t written a blog post. So in the end, I switch over to the Internet and plug a random search, and today’s winner is …
… [drum roll please] …
We’re going to go with my favorite fallen angel on film and that is Michael Piccirilli’s Asmodeus in the Australian movie, Gabriel. The story is rather simple: the fallen angels and the heavenly angels fight over the souls trapped within purgatory, which is portrayed as an urban hell filled with abandoned buildings, decrepit trailer parks, and soup kitchens where some of the homeless are actually angels hiding from the fallen. In order to move through the city, the angels have to take mortal form. You can tell the fallen angels from the Heavenly angels by the colors of their eyes.
The entire film is shot at night. There is a lot of fighting, because both Michael and Gabriel were warriors, so the narrative fits. You will endure some moralizing over free will and the right to choose one’s destiny, but not so much as to interfere with the fighting and dark urban fantasy feel of the flick. It’s a gritty [grimdark, if you will] take on angels and death, much like The Prophecy, which I also loved, because, hey, Christopher Walken.
In Gabriel, Asmodeus runs a brothel where he enslaves other angels and mortals, who he forces into prostitution. Piccirilli gives a chilling performance as Asmodeus, turning the fallen angel into a psychopath with a cunning tongue. Asmodeus is incredibly vain, and he chooses to live as one of the fallen in order to satisfy his carnal desires.
One of the best scenes in the movie has Asmodeus unwrapping bandages from a woman’s face. Asmodeus has been performing plastic surgery on her to make her look like him. The narcissism of his experiment lies in his argument that everyone should have free will, yet he—like God—intends to recreate mortals in his image. It was a brilliant flip on the narrative, and one of the creepiest scenes I’ve seen on film.
The Asmodeus of legend, though, wasn’t really a fallen angel. He was a demon, who appeared in the Book of Tobit, which is part of the Catholic and Orthodox Biblical canon. In the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus was in love with Raguel’s daughter Sarah, who was a bit hard to marry off, because on her wedding night, Asmodeus would appear and murder her prospective husband before the marriage could be consummated. The angel Raphael helped Tobias drive Asmodeus away so that he could consummate his marriage with Sarah.
Although the line between demon and fallen angel gets blurred, I had no trouble setting that aside to watch Gabriel, and Piccirilli’s performance really makes it worthwhile. I also loved Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) as the angel Gabriel. If you’re into eighties and nineties urban fantasy flicks, you’ll probably enjoy Gabriel. Then you can come back here and tell me about your favorite fallen angel.
T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and horror into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. Her other publications include everything from novelettes to short stories. She is also the author of the novel, Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is coming from Harper Voyager Impulse and debuts in June 2015 with the novella, In Midnight’s Silence. She can be found on her website and on Twitter.
Many thanks, T, for the guest post, and the really interesting look at a movie that I now want to watch!
For the record, my favourite fallen angels are Semjaza (whose name popped into my head as a teenager; I didn’t learn for years that it was the name of a fallen angel), and Penemue (He taught men to understand writing, and the use of ink and paper). Fallen angels have fascinated me for a long time, which is one of the reasons I was so eager to ask for a post about fallen angels for the blog tour.
Stay tuned for a review of In Midnight’s Silence, coming later today!