Archive for the Book Reviews Category

The Vampire Archive

Posted in Book Reviews, Fun Stuff, Manga and Anime reviews, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by Sahkmet

Here is my annual update on all the Vampire related things I own. 🙂

I was cleaning my room so, what the heck!

Photos:

Bela Lugosi greeting Ms. Lucy from Dracula 1931

Bela Lugosi sucking the blood from Ms. Lucy from Dracula 1931

Christopher Lee and his victim from one of his many Dracula Hammer films.

Two little snip-shots of Bela from the Redford Theatre.

LaserDics: *Basically giant DVDs*

Son of Dracula, 1943 starring Lon Chaney Jr. *Not that great of a movie*

Special Edition Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992. Starring Gary Oldman. *I have not seen the film on this laserdisc and hope to keep it that way, in its pretty sleeve for collector’s value. Got it on a pile of Lasedisc dad got on Ebay about two or less years ago*

Vampire’s Kiss, 1988. Starring Nicolas Cage. *Haven’t seen it yet but I do wish to.*

Not Shown: Kiss of the Vampire, Hammer film. *An interesting movie, with alot of love for the score. The composer wrote the featured concerto JUST for this film!*

VHS:

Nosferatu 1979, English dub. *Not so good to have the dub*

Return of the Vampire, 1944 starring Bela Lugosi. *bought cheap from a fellow Bela-collector last year*

Vampire Hunter D, 1985 anime film. *got in a bundle of bad vampire films, lucky me!*

A Return to Salem’s Lot, 1987 sequel. *not seen yet, because I need to see the first film!*

Dracula 2000, starring Gerard Butler. *I secretly watched this two years ago, as it has an R rating. Okay, not too good film. Interesting Dracula concept*

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992 starring Gary Oldman. *not my favorite but definitely an artsy, awesome movie. Perfect for those who love a Dracula/Mina romance, and Gary Oldman*

NOT PICTURED: Dusk Till Dawn, Ankle Biters, American Vampyre, Hollywood Vampire and Razor Blade Smile. *The last one is a horrible 1998 movie, but at the same time a bit interesting. Has some commentary on the 90’s Goths before 2000 hit big time with the pure invention of modern Emos and Twilight*

DVDs:

Vampire Hunter D, 2001. Anime movie. *This rocked my world in 2007!

*The Bela Lugosi Collection: *five films*Dracula, a collection of films including the original Nosferatu, The Vampire Bat, Messiah of Evil, Satanic Rites of Dracula * Christopher Lee hammer Dracula film*, Grave of the Vampire and The Thirsty Dead.

Count Dracula 1973 directed by Jess Franco. *poor movie, but Lee took initiative to finally do a proper Dracula film than the hash he was doing for Hammer*

Dracula 1979 starring Frank Langella. *Very lovely film, but not 1005 the best*

Dracula the BBC miniseries 1976 starring Louis Jourdan. *This is udnerappreciated! Its the closet to the book in EVERYTHING!*

Van Helsing 2004 starring Richard Roxburgh. *I had a huge crush on Roxula here, that’s what got me into vampires in the first place, the winter of 2006.*

The Complete Trinity Blood Boxset. *A very nice anime, especially the music. Sadly I’m sure it pales in comparison with the original novels, and definitly to the manga I’ve read!*

Books: *in no particular order. In * marks are notes on where I got it from and memories attached to it*

The Ultimate Dracula: Collection of short stories with stories by Anne Rice, Dan Simmons…1991 *Used bookstore in Chicago, 2007. Really nice chilling reads*

Lust for Blood: The Continuing Story of Vampires by Olga Hoyt 1984. *from a friend of the theatre. Scared the hell out of me with the account on Batharoy in school!*

Vampire: The Complete Guide to the World of the Undead by Manuela Dunn Mascetti 1992. *Used bookstore 2 years ago. Very ncie coffeetable book.*

The Vampyre by John Polidori, and the original idea’s fragment by Lord Byron. Dover publishing with two other early gothic novels, originally 1966 now plastic reprint. *This was also from the same bookstore in Ferndale, MI. I couldn’t pass up on reading the first Gothic novels!*

The Vampire: In Legend and Fact by Basil Cooper 1973. *This book basically from a time before the 90’s and right before the Anne Rice craze has ALOT of information on the Twilight-like craze associated with the show Dark Shadows. Very informative, a piece of history. From a friend of the theatre about last year.*

Vampires, Wine and Roses short story collection 1997. *I haven’t finished this yet, its a lovely book. From the Ferndale bookstore nearly two years ago.*

Blood Thirst: 100 Years of Vampire Fiction short story collection. Also introduction and edited by historian Leonard Wolf. 1997. *This is another good collection of fine pre-2000’s vampire stories. Chicago bookstore as well, 3 years ago.*

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. *I read this before the hype, and I still didn’t like it. I thought it was a boring urban fantasy*

Fangoria Vampires: Collection of Interviews 1996. *Great historical content on Fangoria magazine interviews of vampire films late 80’s till mid 90’s. Includes insight on The Lost Boys, Innocent Blood, From Dusk till Dawn, The Two Vampire Orphans, etc.*

American Vampires. Fans, Victims, Practitioners by Norine Dresser. 1989. *The author talks about people who really think they are vampires and a bit about the vampire in the media. An updated version of Basil Cooper’s historical-modern accounts of vampire-media basically, but with more focus on the vamp-goths as they arose into the 90’s. Interesting but still a poor read. From the theatre friend as well last year.*

100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories collection of lesser-known-author’s vamp stories. 1995. *This was from Chicago 3 years ago. I read this at my grandparent’s house. Its a great nostalgic book for me, with that old yellowing musty old book smell. Tear in the top corner of the paper cover.*

A Dream of Dracula: In Search of the Living Dead by then-younger Dracula historian Leonard Wolf. 1972 first edition hardcover. *Some people are lucky to have this. I think this is an AMAZING book by the amazing renowned professor on his observations, like the ‘American Vampire’ book by Norine, of real vampire people and the vamps in media. However this is a time fresh from the 60’s! Its amazing to read and a treasure to have this book. I spent many a month, two years ago, looking at it in the Ferndale bookstore before finally getting it*

The Mammoth Book of Vampires New Edition of 2004. Edited by Stephen Jones. *Another large collection of standard and hidden, marvelous 90’s gems of short stories. Includes stuff from Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman as well. Also from the Chicago bookstore 3 years ago.*

Dracula: Prince of Many Faces by Radu R. Florescu and Baymond T. McNally. 1989 paperback first edition.  *THIS IS A MUST HAVE for ALL DRACULA HISTORIANS. They have charted and talked of his life and times, the Real Vlad the Impaler. This was one of the first Dracula books I got beginning my craze early 2007.*

The Vampire Chronicles: Interview with the Vampire, The vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned in one large book, by Anne Rice. 1976, 1985, and 1988. Book edition 2003. *Anne Rice’s books have a peculiar lovely style and stories to tell that are good reads, however they are unique and have their own set of opinions. Many don’t like to read them, which is quite fine. I  infact got so bored and moved on I haven’t read the other Vampire books she’s written nor even the 4th in the series yet! But I will, some day.*

The Essential Dracula by Bram Stoker, annotated by Leonard Wolf. 1975, book edition 2004. *For those who want to delve deeper into the original novel, this is the annotated version with surprising wonderful notes on sentences, origins etc. for the Stoker-aholic. I recommend if ye be studying the novel deeper with the help of the wonderful Leonard. Got from the Science Fiction Book club last year*

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. 2005, paperback. *This was a book recommended by my old-friend’s mother. Its world acclaimed and a good novel, and stems in the line of a deeper Vlad the Impaler-related mystery like the ‘Da Vinci Code’ with secret societies and such. Great novel, very intelligent.*

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, 1975. This edition 1999. *Good Stephen-esque horror story, dealing with my favorite subject of ‘small towns of America being haunted by something’. But still, ‘IT’ is a way better ‘version’ of this. I haven’t read much King yet. This was a birthday gift, from the Ferndale store, by my best friend Kitleigh. Read it over the Blue Lake music camp summer 2010*

The Vampire Archives: The Most Complete volume of Vampire Tales ever Published.2006. *This is a BIG PAPERBACK and I’m still reading it. It has classics from the 1800’s and beyond. Wonderful, the world needs a book like this to help collect things from our vampire history.*

The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman. 1995. *Great novel, Chicago bookstore 2007. Alternate take on World War 1, in a world ruled by vampires*

The Vampire: A Study by Montague Summers. Edition 1991, study unknown. *This book bored me *got it 3 years ago from the Ferndale bookstore* because its a detailed indepth giant thesis on every bit of ancient history of all culture’s of vampires! A certain good read of information for the in-depth vampireologist.*

Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe. 2009. *This book I got recently from the Scifi club. Its a nice story but I didn’t like it, even if the Urban Fantasy is set in 1971, and even if it mentions a ‘YES’ song! However enjoy if you will if you like a modern-book on a time of vampires that was populated with Hammer films*

The Society Of S by Susan Hubbard. 2007. *This is an okay-story, got it almost 3 years ago from the Scifi club. The story of a girl who’s really a vampire, a very moody book. But the writing didn’t give the main character or her family much depth. I didn’t like the style, too empty. Reminded me of Bella.*

Bloodline and Bloodline: The Reckoning by Kate Cary -who also wrote the ‘Warriors’ series about cats- 2005 and 2007. *I got these 3 years ago as well, Chicago. These are far better sequels to the original novel than the official one that came out last year! FAR better, only problem it lacks Dracula. These are perfect sequels, written in the diary-style of the original. Read these instead of Ian Holt’s version*

Dracula The Un-Dead by Ian Holt and Dacre Stoker. 2009. *This is a very bad book. Poor writing and horrible movie-like plot. Even in the notes by Ian he WANTED this book to be written FIRST before they plan on a hollywood blockbuster of this ‘official’ sequel. A pity this story contradicts itself and does a double-insane-backflip and middle-fingering up the asses of Dracula lovers. I’m glad that the initial press has died and let the book go rot and wither. Its a sad waste of writing and my time*

The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice. Hardcover 1992. *I haven’t read this yet: Got out of my Anne Rice phase too soon. Got this from The Dawn Treader bookshop, Ann Arbor, a few years ago. The fourth and sequel to ‘Queen of the Damned’. Book’s in very good condition! Except the plastic cover*

Dracula by Bram Stoker. Magnum Books Easy-Eye paperback, 1970. *This was my dad’s novel during college. Then I read it in early 2007. Now its falling apart. I will treasure this always, reading it in the car in Royal Oak in the February air…*

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. 1976. *This particular book was also from Chicago, and this small, 70’s puke-yellow covered book was the first I read of this classic revolutionary vampire story.*

Vittorio The Vampire by Anne Rice. 1999 hardcover. *This is another Anne Rice vampire story, I got this and the next selection from the Royal Oak Salvation Army two years ago, I think in spring or summer. I know my dad was there on that shopping trip, probably getting his dress shirts. Anyways have yet to read it, but definitely will when another Anne Rice phase comes up. Relatively good condition.*

Pandora by Anne Rice. 1998 *From the Salvation Army, also in good condition. Never read by me.*

The Vampire Companion: The Official Guide to Anne Rice’s ‘The Vampire Chronicles’1993 edition, large hardcover. *Mind you this was written before the previous two above! This was also dedicated to a lady named Aurelia, as it was her ‘Happy Birthday! Love, Mom’ October 14, 1993. I don’t remember where the hell I got this book. I don’t even really need it until I get into Anne Rice again.*

Vampire Hunter D books 1-10 by Hideyuki Kikuchi. From the 80’s, Borders Book’s editions 2006-present. *These are very great books of a vampire-post-apocalyptic future of horrible monsters and everything. Under appreciated novels to Western vampire scholars, as they sit collecting dust in the manga section unfairly next to ‘Vampire Kisses’ and ‘Vampire Knight’. These are wonderful book s that I’ve made my mission to buy them*expensive though* instead of renting from any library*

The Lord Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden.  *Very good story and illustrations by Hellboy creator*

NOT PICTURED: Vampireology, the pop-up book.

Comics:

Vampire Hunter D Manga 1 and 2 adapted manga versions of the original novels, manga by Saiko Takaki. *These are okay mangas, the style is very nice but very Manga in execution of the themes. It lacks alot of the darkness and mello, gloomy themes and styles from the novel’s main original illustrator. But after all, this IS a manga, not some artsy graphic novel version of the first 2 novels.*

Assorted Vampire Princess Miyu comics 90’s, Iron Cat comics. *A random mix from ebay my dad got me 3 years ago. Very nice bits and pieces of the running comic-book-style manga series.*

The Tomb of Dracula issue 2 by Rodi, Tolagson, and Palmer. Marvel comics. 2005, monthly issue. *Got this last month at the Midnight Vault comic books store in Ann Arbor. It reminds me of the modern genre like ‘Blade’ and ‘Dracula 2000’ of modern action movies and plots, guns and cool weapons, with Dracula rising from the dead. However good points is that it appears the vampires have a god: Varnae. -sound familiar? Its from the vampire character Varney in the 1800’s French Penny Dreadful story. HOW AWESOME IS THAT-*

Vlad the Impaler: Dracula. Part 4, no. 10 1993. British, Dark Horse comics. *This is a very accurate-style Dracula comic on the rise of Dracula from the grave. Includes alot of historical references that, frankly, are really fact: the name of his second wife, his kids, Vlad the Monk….holy SH*T. Recently got for cheap at the Ann Arbor comic store from above as well.*

Batman: Vampire DC collection of three multiverse Batman comics. *Now this is a dang good comic series. Real dark and everything I wanted in a Batman comic, plus alot of gothic inquiry.*

Misc

Dracula 1931 clips on a 35 mm film reel.A little ‘Count Chocula’ picture from a cereal box two years ago.

A Personal Review of ‘Dracula The Un-Dead’.

Posted in Book Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2009 by Sahkmet

My review of the ‘sequel’ to the famous novel  Dracula.

To better understand this review, it is best to have read the book first, as the title says, I’m going to be basing from my perspective towards open-minded.


Our book that has garnered my attention for today is the official sequel to Dracula, known as Dracula The Un-Dead. Written by the great-grandnephew of Stoker himself Dacre and horror-enthusiast (and had originally garnered the idea of an official sequel back in the 90’s) Ian Holt. This novel is designated as official because it has been endorsed by the Stoker family.

However upon finishing this reading, I have come to the sad conclusion that it has not satisfied me as much as I wanted in an official, pure sequel to the original novel. It definitely supports the idea of an ‘official sequel’ in the constant add-ins of homages to people and characters associated with the universe of all things sufficiently and proper Dracula of the family’s specifications, while even including Bram Stoker himself and the first novel inside this story! As such this book is plagued with the anguish of the Stoker’s history; The Stokers have had much dismay at how the world of Dracula has been left out of their hands and become a cultural icon constantly re-arranged and exploited. Thus this novel to become part of the original cannon is abundant in subliminal ‘righteous’ things, and by doing so a sequel to garner more respect for the Stoker name and the original that is Dracula, even as far to name this book the original title Dracula was to be.

Another attention that caught my eye was the co-writer Ian Holt. Apparently his story is he is a horror and Dracula enthusiast, and for many years was hounding the Stoker family to pitch the ideas of an official Dracula sequel. Finally the younger generation came about with Dacre Stoker, and so he latched on with this good well-meaning idea, and thus the novel here was penned. If only this book didn’t so change the cannon of the original story, I would have been well pleased. Alas I am pure and I found little of what I thought was to be in this augmentation of Stoker’s Dracula world.

Before I continue, let it be known that I am at this time 17 years old, my view if my opinion and this is my attempt to logically explain myself, and that I have read only some short reviews prior.

So now let us discuss the bad and the good things for the sake of pointing out in detail, because I’m feeling nitpicky and frustrated with the book, to show to light what has made me the feeling of frustration.

1. The Writing Style.

What disappointment! I was quite expecting of course, that the novel would now be in the style of the original: of letters, journals, diaries etc. of the character’s point of view of the plot. However I had higher hopes that it would be, possibly, be written in the style of Stoker and the period of the original. To be a compelling Gothic horror of the Victorian period, and as the original to not go into compelling detail of the sexual and gore symbols and aspects, instead to remain intriguing and an intelligent read with mystery. This book lacks it, and instead becomes a modern quick-and-action style of realism, violence, detail and modern ‘eloquence’. This I really didn’t want in a sequel to a novel that is NOT that. This book is not heavily romanticized in that way at all, and in the way it is written it certainly appeals to the modern generation to write this way. The gap has proven to be too large in this.

2. Countess Batharoy and her relationship with Dracula.

Our original Dracula was a pretty straight-forward plot with our main villain Count Dracula, seductive and evil. However here in DtUD, we find that the original plot of Dracula is actually not in the original true story, because Dracula is read from different points of views, not of the ‘real’ reason why Dracula was there in London, that an omnipresent narrator would explain better if Stoker was to make Dracula NOT the true villain. Once you realize this, it definitely sets up frustration and shock at this change of continuity. If you were to really take this sequel to heart as official, all the decades of Dracula-exploitation, movies, films and other works are wrong. Perhaps this was a secret Stoker agenda…?

Moving on with this, in the sequel (spoilers) it turns out that Dracula was originally going to London in the first novel to combat his former-lover-blood relation the Bloody Countess Batharoy, as he considers himself a hero and is really the good guy. In Dracula he falls really in love with Mina and the blithering band of heros drive him back to Transylvania, where he is ‘killed’ and unable to finish his work to destroy the REAL evil vampire Batharoy. In DtUD we find some dates are changed from the earlier novel to match Dracula arriving in London around the time the Jack the Ripper murders were occurring, which in fact were not caused by him but crazy lesbian Batharoy. Dracula was actually trying to stop her, not himself rise to the pedestal as supreme evil. Because of this naturally you might feel terrible, that the powerful erotic bad-boy figure of Dracula is now remarked as not bad-boy but just erotic, a tragic figure. He already was tragic in a way but he was still a villain. In this sequel I really wanted to enjoy the villain returning but alas I was mistaken, for, as ‘official’ designates, he never was a true villain at all. My womanly heart that thirsts for his type of character with lust and intrigue has been drained and stabbed with the iron stake of Tragic Hero, not Tragic Evil (one hot mutha ‘ucker!).

Bathroy’s type of character is the first of my little frustrating pet-peeves in literary works and film; she is a vicious bitchy lesbian psychotic vampire, who is extremely bitchy, ludicrisiouly evil and her plot she enacts creates all sorts of pet-peeves for me, to be mentioned down the list. I dislike the cliché of an Evil Eve fighting a powerful lawful evil/or good figure. Then comes the idea of why include a not-very related vampiric figure with the world of Dracula? The authors’ justification is that since Bram created this Count Dracula from the real Prince Dracula, perhaps it was also right to create this vampire Countess from the real Countess, as their historic-figure histories (and even some blood relations between these two families) were similar in terms of massacre, blood fetish and cruelty.  Another smaller concept is to also add more space and depth to DtUD in plot.

It should be noted that in general media, manga, anime, movies and books that linking the Countess with Dracula is not un-common, and even I in my first series of literary works back in the young days of 2007-08, had linked other vampiric female characters in my (terrible written) fanfic in a similar way this plot of DtUD has done! This makes the spotlight of leading villains even more shared here. My personal preferences was for Dracula at the center, but instead I got a vicious woman as the perpetrator of the crimes in both novels. That, was the killer of my attitude.

In a disturbing moment too was the fact that Batharoy relished torturing Mina Harker who Dracula consummated love with, and even violated her. However the interesting details shall be covered under ‘Good’ plot nit-picks. However the fact of her sharing the evil spotlight is still under annoyance.

3. Continuity.

Already a problem discussed was the ‘fact’ that Dracula was not the real villain in the original story. It turns out that the book this ‘sequel’ is from is a book present and published inside the story of DtUD. Indeed Bram Stoker, his theatre, and real historical events are here in this novel, and that Bram published a novel Dracula based on what he interpreted from the rambles of a drunk Van Helsing, to not be real. Thus in the plot the real Dracula and people he wrote (this novel here is the same Dracula we have here today) come back to haunt him and suffer him a stroke, as Dracula points out the errors in that novel.  Simply put, the Dracula we know shouldn’t be so easily taken for granted and that this ‘sequel’ is needed to fill in the gaps of Dracula’s and bitch Countess’s POV from the first book. Even more gaps is that Dracula does not explicitly mention that Mina actually made love to Dracula; we as fans and readers have interpreted the symbolism and implied to say so. This again justifies why Dacre and Ian wrote in this point of view, as letters and diaries apparently are too hard to get the ‘plot holes’ across to the reader.

If the inserting-Bram-and-the-novel-into-DtUD part doesn’t make you even bat an eye, I must be missing something. I felt this was exploitative and unnecessary to my enjoyment of Bram’s original Dracula universe. My opinion feels it was very odd to do so and any plot-points leading to that idea…alas that the novel needed more assurance that our original beloved Dracula is incredibly flawed, so by putting Mr. Stoker in there with our flawed Dracula seemed needed to get this across and support it. I dang well didn’t like it, for it mixed too much reality and created a novel that wasn’t in the vein of the original that I wanted. Perhaps you wanted it, and that is your preferences, but it is not mine.

Once again, I have come across the support of the preference of what the Dracula universe means to me. Again this nitpicking shows that this is not in a same vein of the original novel’s universe, but is an expansion and widening the possibilities that the original can create. It’s not a truly bad thing, but it is based off of your opinion of what you expected and want.

4. Why was this ‘sequel’ written this way?

Indeed, see above for most of this to be explained.

I believe that the sequel was written to:

  1. Give more say and perhaps if you think, a revenge(?) of the Dracula world that Bram originally created. By writing this book under a Stoker namesake, it definitely gains respect and adds to the original story that has created thousands of Dracula-titles. A show of power that has long been denied from the Stokers since 1931.
  2. In a better light in fact, to expand the universe and create more from the holes that original had; We certainly read not the Dracula POV in Dracula, now did we? This has left room for creativity and interpretation left for the official and unofficial sequels thus created henceforth. And now we have DtUD, which is another prime example of interpretation.

And so I leave you to interpret for yourself. Perhaps comment and add more things I may have missed; I have been writing alot about this and my brain can only take so much at the moment.

5. My little pet peeves.

I am always frustrated at when, with three points of views i.e. in a work, that each point-of-view of the action just…well, it’s complicated. One side knows only this part of the plot, and you read in horror as they collide that with the other people that has the answer and knows other parts as well…as such though it’s complicated and makes the novel not as simple and straightforward but artistically complex. And my own little mind’s eye is annoyed, but you probably don’t suffer this problem unlike I. Truthfully I’m frustrated by extensive writing of these things, especially since I know the plot of the first novel, while the bumbling police don’t. It hurts my brain, and for most people it doesn’t. Sad to say, it freaking annoys me. Really. Didn’t I already say that?

Another is the cliche Quincy Harker has been trapped in. He becomes enraged with cliche young-ruffian reasoning and can’t see logic, plus he knows only parts of the plot, thus in horrible-written anger he is a raging fool throughout the book. In the end it only ruins the book and is not delightful literary tension, instead its a sad type of characterization so used in many works of writing and film. As I keep saying, I wished this novel was intelligently written and thought out, and certainly thebrashness of Quincy should have been better written or hopefully found a way out. It is detestable because of how overused it is.

And now on to the good!

I have to say sadly that the good things that I liked are not as strong to the plot as the ‘bad’ opinions. But these littler things do count in my enjoyment and combat with frustration.

1. Bathroy’s character is a constant theme in many of Stoker’s books.

Bram’s literature often has the theme of the fascination and the terrifying qualities of women. In The Lair of the White Worm our vicious woman is certainly evil and having horrible monster qualities. In Dracula Lucy is persecuted with death and sinful vampirism for being a wild vibrant woman participating in Victorian society,  while Mina is saved by the virtues of being quiet and modest, saved from damnation of being Dracula’s vivacious harlot. Even then Mina to Bram is a strong character fighting against the constraints of Victorian society; she learns to type on a typewriter in a subliminal effort to express her assertiveness as a person while still existing as a conservative weak girl, as so expected for her by men. This view of her feminism is delightfully explored in DtUD; tainted by Dracula’s passion she has the heart of a powerful tiger, but in response to Harker and to choose the ‘good life’ she lives dressed as a modest housewife. In the end it completely unravels. As with Bathroy, she plays the part of certainly the terrifying aspects of women. She is not only cruel and challenging the society boundaries of what a woman is, but she even is more challenging in being a crazy lesbian, truly terrifying in that time. I applaud these consistencies of Stoker-ish thematic development, even if the character exploration is not Stoker-style in writing.

2. Quincy Harker’s relationship with Basarab is similar to Bram’s relationship with Wilde and Irving.

A subtle thing that delighted me was that, in a way, young Harker’s fascination with the powerful actor Basarab was quite a sort of fascination that Bram Stoker had of the also powerful actor Henry Irving and writer Oscar Wilde. Bram, as Harker too, looked up to Irving-Wilde/Basarab to try to learn, compete and benefit from their teachings and ways. I applaud.

3. The Rape of Mina Harker.

There are two ways to go about this. First is Purist thought, then there is Revised reasoning. Let’s start with Purist.

In the Purist way of dealing with this interesting thing, be known the Purist is: Dracula slightly seduced and raped with blood-exchange and/or physical sex, with Mina Harker, in the original Dracula, founding him on true villain grounds. Thus when we read in DtUD Bathroy lesbian raping Mina and a blood exchange, these events are pararel.  To deal with an inconstancy present in DtUD, Mina obviously in this sequel fell in love with Dracula, and the rape from Dracula became seduction to after-sex consent, and not a real honest ‘rape’.

In a Revised reasoning let if be known that: Dracula seduced Mina, however Mina really loved him and wanted the blood exchange and/or sex, and so consented. Thus when Batharoy violates Mina, in this view Bathroy finds herself the villain, and not Dracula. She does an opposite of the sacred sexual exchange Mina had done with Dracula. I prefer the Purist view however since the original plot has steeped itself into my head so long. Choose what you will, for I find both views to be excellent motifs…however much I never wanted any Bathroy and heavy HEAVY lesbian connotations to be so manifest in my preferred Dracula sequel…

4. The addendum of more historical facts to Count Dracula.

I was happy to find more information of Prince Dracula to our Count. I highly believe as our DtUD writers determined that if Bram had done more research he certainly would have added more correct Prince Dracula facts to Count Dracula. DtUD beautifully fixes that somewhat, but in another bout of nitpicky-ness the constant references of calling our dear Count ‘Prince’ feels inconsistent with the original book. But then again, in DtUD the original Dracula we have all read is quite ‘wrong’, so it shouldn’t be considered inconsistent…but mentally in our heads at first, it does bother me a little. It’s a fact truthfully that’s hard to get used to…or you could ignore that fact, because this sequel is really an interpretation. 😀

5. The consummation of Mina and Dracula.

I felt so enthralled and moved by the writing of Mina and Dracula. I believed in the moment, I needed no explicit porn of their lovemaking near the end of the reading, to give the sense of sex and romanticism. Oh, how happy I was of finally a new sequence of Dracula’s sexual relationship with Mina. In fact the only character I truly loved of DtUD was Mina, for she stayed ever the amazing as in Dracula and expanded wonderfully in DtUD. That I give points to Dacre and Ian for.

6. Louis Jourdan reference.

Louis Jourdan played the part of Dracula in a BBC miniseries of Dracula in 1977.  That two-part adaption is often over-looked, but as many fans would agree it is one of the closet to the original source novel. I love his role, his charisma, the elegance, romance and the retaination of the novel’s atmosphere. Well-done Dacre, for recognizing his role!

Final words.

All in all, I have come to realize that this is an interpretation and, because of how the original Dracula so has been part of our culture and my influence, it is hard for me to accept that this sequel has made things of the original Dracula world official wrong and right. Therefore I am inclined to reject much of DtUD’s reality and desperately cling to Gothic, sexual horror that is Dracula. In closing I should also note that this sequel lacks the Gothic atmosphere and instead plays heavily in drama, police mystery, shock-horror and perhaps revolting sexual eroticism that I found not lustfully-intriguing but instead curious-intriguing. DtUd has propelled Dracula into the modern era of the 1900’s and our modern world of novel style.  Sadly I dislike our ‘official sequel’. My hope for something hearkening back to those days of the second-period 1800’s vampire-craze perhaps might never be returned to. The key is ‘perhaps’, for I would one day love to contribute and change ‘perhaps’ into reality in my lifetime.

With that I leave you with links and your own opinion to formulate. I highly suggest, my Dracula friends, to purchase or download this book because since its ‘official’ you can expect some changes around here in the future, probably small. At least formulate your opinion of this long-awaited (if you really wanted a sequel) sequel, as this book has in fact thrilled readers while others not. It thrilled me, but my liking of it was affected. Even waiting for the paperback or to rent from the library is good enough. You must read this; you must.

My personal reccomendations.

I have been delighted by a small series of sequels to the original Dracula called Bloodlines, written by Kate Cary. Its only pull-back for me anyways is in the two books I have read so far Dracula is actually dead and NOT returning; instead the sage of Dracula continues with his son, plots of vampire intrigue and very wonderful other plot points that entertained me, despite lack of Count Dracula. Another aspect is how it was written in the style of the original Dracula: letter, journals and diaries. What a homage! Another known good book (I have yet to read) is a prequel known as The Dracula Archives by Raymond Rudorff, which is the events that take place before the Dracula novel. Finally I recommend an alternate-universe of Dracula, whereupon Dracula (in an alternate sequel-like formate) and the vampires of the world create a new world order where vampires and humans coexist…not so peacefully. This would be the Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman. I have only read the second which is The Bloody Red Baron, an alternate vampire-world version of WWI. So far so good, very nice writing and a compelling Dracula-universe, but certainly not to be meant as the answer to a Dracula sequel.

Links.

Dracula the Un-Dead’s official website.

goodread’s review page of Dracula the Un-Dead.

An edition of Dracula with reviews on amazon.com.

My edition of Dracula the Un-Dead for sale on amazon.com.

Information on Bram Stoker’s life, articles of his works, and etc.

Analysis of Dracula at notable source Sparknotes.

Biography of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Bloodlines at Amazon.com.

The Dracula Archives.

The Anno Dracula series, inifo at wikipedia.org.

A clip of Louis Jourdan’s role in the 1977 Count Dracula.


The Psychology of Edward Cullen

Posted in Book Reviews, Fun Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2009 by Sahkmet

Oh what have we found…

My Realm of Fantasy magazine for December 2009 came yesterday, and so I eagerly looked to my most favorite column, the Folkroots section now written by SatyrPhil Brucato. This month’s installment was about the archetype in literature and psychological functions of the ‘Demon Lover’, the bad-boy, the temptress, the evil powerful supernatural lover character of tales and reality.

My particular attention came to the paragraphs describing a particular type of Demon Lover that has become immensely popular, and that type is, in its example it talked about, Edward Cullen of Twilight fame.

Due to copyright, I will not post the entire paragraphs word-for-word because that is Brucato’s work (duh) and if you want, buy that issue, because Realms of Fantasy has just switched owners and it needs the money because the ads and work in these new magazines needs serious mental help and money for better staff. 😛 Luckily the stories are still quality.

A demon lover is generally a ‘bad’ one, a representational character of things morally not right or what we ourselves wouldn’t do, which makes them whether a seductive villain or villianess attractive to many persons, including myself. Their power to dominate, to go against society rules, to be an outcast and see a different perspective *whether good or bad* to be supernatural and stronger in many cases…this is what characterizes a Demon Lover.

However we are here to discuss what Brucato has helped to explain why multitudes of young teenager girls and other age groups of women have so flocked to the realm of Twilight. In my previous opinionated musings in my head, I had come across the idea that perhaps Edward’s ‘whiney-emo’ status was attractive because the style is Emo and Scene, and the genre that has been emerging in vampire-media has been known as the Vampires in the modern school social scene genre. I was close but I had yet to fully feel confidant in why so many people, that are yet not even that shallow-minded or that into popular culture, still flock to him.

You see, not everyone falls in love with a Demon Lover. There are still a healthy population of people that fall in love with the Heroic character, the Good Boys, the powerful that are moral and golden, Prince Charmings. But the reasoning with Edward Cullen is that he is a little blur of the Good vs. Bad lovers. Edward, that sparkling vampire, is a Demon Lover who goes against his nature for the sake of his chosen innocent girl Bella Swan. This type is unusual in the past of literature but has come up more and more as a popular form of Lover in our media. As Brucato writes;

“Maybe its because, like all archetypes, this immortal figure shifts to accommodate his time and culture. And perhaps, in an age of rape drugs and porn sites, celebricults and pro-anorexia propaganda, our whole world has become a Demon Lover…and in that world, the real transgression is to care.”

This provides the basis of why these characters, viewed as ‘whining emos’ or ’emotional tragic’ Lovers are now on the rise in our society. We have advanced to accept not just black and white in the power division but of gray-matter; more and more nations with their people are advancing to individualism and intelligence in each person, our capitalist market and internet reach the world over. More people believe in the attraction of Edward because he is sacrificing what he is to become someone better through love, into considering the social cultural setting. This is what has come-up in explaining why, and defending, Edward Cullen.

I hoped I have made the most wild of Twilight-haters, those reading, to consider a form of logical respect for his popular existence, however much they generally do not like in the fantasized Lover. Now that I have taken the time to analyze and write this out, I have discovered that indeed Edward’s archetype is past-attractive type for me. When I wrote the draft of my story S.W.A.N. my villain, Radu, was conflicted within himself to change himself for the reasons of love for female-lead Valerie. This was also not quite but still similar, an idea presented to another story villain Alexander in Rosa von das Roten Tod. However my villains in the end refused or could not actually change their attitude and natural ways of Demon Lover and villain to accommodate their chosen mate. This is where I find the lack-of interest personally for Edward Cullen, not counting the writing style and setting of the entire book series. However these are my preferences and explanation why I am not drooling over Edward. (another is my dislike how the author makes vampires sparkle. The sparkiliness however enhances his sacrificial-for-good qualities however, but still it mess with my preferences in what a vampire is)

I hope you have learned from and enjoyed my rambling of the Twilight explanation.

American Vampires: Fans, Victims and Practitioners: A little Review

Posted in Book Reviews, Fun Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by Sahkmet

Ahh the days of 1989…

I have finished a book from  1989, about vampires in America. All aspects on the vampire view.

American Vampires: Fans, Victims, Practitioners by Norine Dresser is a book talking about vampires in media and the world of American till whenever it was stopped writing. Past 1987 I know that. Reading this book you become aware of the vampire craze before the 90’s boom and the Twilight mess. Here, people didn’t obsess of Edward Cullen but over Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows. Here is discussed with the panic of linking vampires with porphyria disease in the middle 80’s. Here are the accounts of people absorbing vampire culture in the world at an early age, how Dracula has infiltrated candy and commercials, and people actually ritualistically drinking blood. What an interesting read from the past! Before the 90’s, and before the 2000’s! A perfect vampire history lesson.