Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)



Valerie and Her Week of Wonders is a fantastic surreal fairy tale (Grimm style) in which nasty priests prey and the sexual awakening of thirteen(!) year old Valerie blooms. A strange combination of menstruation and a pair of earrings allows the young protagonist to see the world as it really is.

This is a whimsical, lyrical and horrific film. And it’s got vampires. It’s one of those films where you’re best off only half paying attention to the subtitles, as it would be a shame to miss any of the glorious imagery.

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Visual art

Edward Gorey (1925-2000)

Illustration (detail) from The Gashlycrumb Tinies, 1963
Illustration (detail) from The Gashlycrumb Tinies, 1963

I don’t remember not loving Edward Gorey, creator of such books as The Lost Lions; or, Having Opened the Wrong Envelope, The Iron Tonic; or, a Winter Afternoon in a Lonely Valley and of course, The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

As well as creating his own books, Gorey also designed covers for Doubleday, illustrated calendars and designed costumes. Somehow, although always dark and mildly disturbing, his work uplifts me and I find it has a certain sweetness to it. So, here are some Gorey goodies for you!


But it’s the books and poems he did on his own that are his best work. There are panels from “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” an alphabet book about children who died terrible deaths—”A is for Amy who fell down the stairs” and “N is for Neville who died of ennui,”—as well as “The Doubtful Guest” and “The Object-Lesson,” in which “on the shore a bat, or possibly an umbrella/disengaged from the shrubbery/causing those nearby to recollect the miseries of childhood,” which perfectly encapsulate his grim wit and characteristic drawing style. – Time Out


In case you’re wondering, my Gashlycrumb letter is: J is for James who took lye by mistake. I’m a Jay, not a James, but it amuses me that my Gorey death is a mistake. Not an attack or something out of my control (like Kate who was struck with an axe), but a silly mistake of my own doing!


You can read The Gashlycrumb Tinies here by the way. I’m very jealous if you have one of the names used in the book. Let me know in the comments how you’re going to die! That will cheer me up 🙂