Monday, September 22, 2014

History Question about THE STRAIN

My fabulous friend, entertainment correspondent Justine Browning, introduced me to the scary new series, The Strain.  The series airs on FX and comes from Guillermo del Toro, the filmmaker who gave us Pan's Labyrinth.  Remember this from Pan's Labyrinth?
That's the quality of supernatural monster you can expect to see on The Strain.  I have a question about a Holocaust symbol I believe I saw during a World War 2 flashback in one episode.

In a post 9/11 New York, members of the Center for Disease Control fight a virus detected onboard a ghost airliner.  A commercial airliner lands at JFK.  But everyone onboard appears to be dead.  Everyone.  Passengers and crew.  But they're not dead.  Their bodies now host a virus that turns people in vampire-like creatures who resemble zombies.  Just about all these creatures wind up having a bad hair day due to the terrible transformation.  When the human bodies are corrupted by the worm host and the people turn into monsters, they seek the ones they loved as humans to feed on them.

The strain has caused an epidemic of creatures in New York who live underground, like rats, and are destroyed by sunlight, like vampires.  They terrorize New York at night.
This is the masterwork of a Strigoi vampire.  This virus gets loose in New York and the medical team has to learn that it's not a human virus.  The team will need help from a mysterious old shopkeeper, an Armenian who knows all the secrets.

Corey Stoll played the bald party boy politician who goes into recovery on House of Cards.            
He plays the lead investigator from the Center for Diseases Control who learns the secrets from the old man, a vampire hunter.  Stoll's wig is one of the best special effects on The Strain.
The CDC investigator, like the politician on House of Cards, is in recovery to deal with a drinking problem.  He's divorced because he seemed to be more wedded to his job than to his wife, whom he still loves.  They have a sweet little boy.

David Bradley plays the old Armenian vampire hunter.  His longtime nemesis, a German with waxy skin, is played by Richard Sammel.
The German is not human.  He's looked middle-aged for over 50 years.  He and the Armenian have history.  He was the Nazi officer when the Armenian was young and in a concentration camp.  The prisoner was forced to do carpentry work for the Nazi officer.  That's when he learned that the officer was loyal, not only to Hitler, but also to the Strigoi vampire master.
I have a question about one of the episodes in which we see flashbacks of the Armenian carpenter's concentration camp days during the Holocaust.  In one scene, he and other male prisoners are ordered outside into the snow.  They are lined up.  You think they're about to be machine gunned down.

The prisoners are wearing striped uniforms, historically accurate for those Holocaust times.  You see the yellow 6-pointed stars the Nazis made Jews wear in the camps.  That was Nazi disrespect for the Star of David.  Did anyone notice that the young Armenian and some of the other men had soiled pink triangles over their Stars of David?  I'm pretty sure I saw triangles.

During the Holocaust, Nazis forced homosexual male prisoners to wear pink triangles.  That symbol was used defiantly by Act Up.  When angry gay men like playwright Larry Kramer and others grew impatient with our government not addressing the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, Act Up was formed and used the pink triangle in this slogan on posters, T-shirts and buttons:
Did I see the old Armenian Jew wearing a pink triangle in the flashback to his Holocaust prisoner days?  If so, that gives an added layer of depth to his tough character.
I've gotten addicted to The Strain.  It's creepy entertainment with a 1950s-1980s feel.  You've got all this science-fiction horror happening.  Educated, upscale white folks are told not to touch something or not to go outside.  They don't listen and get their asses chewed up by a monster while they scream for help at the top of their lungs.  The black folks?  After just one warning, we get in the car and floor it or run like track star Carl Lewis.  And no sci-fi monster, however large, is ever a match for a hot Puerto Rican or Mexican dude who's done jail time and has a baseball bat in his hand.  I love seeing a monster get a Latino beat down.




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