Sunday, March 09, 2014
Designed by: Melissa Martin-Ellis
Artwork: Rik Levins, Richard Pace and Frank Turner
First published: 1991, 2009 trade pb
The blurb: Nosferatu
A chilly draft from doomsday…
The vile plague of Baron Orlock, The Nosferatu, stretches across history from Dark Ages Europe to modern day Manhattan in this compelling prelude and sequel to the legendary F. W. Murnau film Nosferatu, A symphony of Horrors.
No vampiric figure is more iconic or terrifyingly memorable than Nosferatu… a cadaverous monster with a calculating glint of utter evil in his hellish eyes who feasts not just upon human blood but upon human souls.
The review: In the introduction to this volume, author Mark Ellis made it his stated aim to extricate the Orlock character from the Dracula character that birthed him and I would say he pretty much does that. He also wanted a vampire that epitomised evil and was no Goth fanboy and I think he was successful in this too – though as I’ll explain I think the comic could have withstood a longer run and a deeper inquiry into the Orlock character.
In Modern day Brooklyn corpses are found, killed by bubonic plague. One has a book, the journal of a Knight called William Longsword. Returning from the crusades his squire manages to unleash the evil that is Orlock. Orlock bites the knight but, for reasons never fully explained, Longsword does not turn. He becomes immortal and the vampire’s nemesis – though it is not until the Raj that they face each other again and once again in Vietnam. Longsword is not your atypical good guy either, he is willing to kill the innocent for the greater good.
The story works well but I would have liked more, more exploration of Orlock, more moments between the 11th century and the Raj – though, of course, the Longsword character wasn’t privy to those moments in time. However we are where we are, story wise, this is a fairly old comic given new life as a trade paperback.
The artwork is functional throughout, occasionally lovely. Sometimes the character of Orlock seems a little too comic book, which is the best way I can describe it and I think I expected a more timeless element to the character’s design. Unfortunately I found that some of the printed pages were perhaps a little less crisp than others. However it didn’t detract from the overall experience. 7.5 out of 10.
Friday, March 07, 2014
So why is this film an honourable mention?
Well it starts with a trailer, one could call it (though later we discover that it is meant to represent a full film). In the green screen produced film we see Van (Yuri Lowenthal, Dear Dracula) fighting evil in his native land of Dickay and that evil is a vampire menace – thus we get plenty of fangs flashing. When the film comes to an end we see a riot in an anime convention and the cast and crew that have created the film leg it.
|Yuri Lowenthal as Van|
So vampires only at the head and it is a spoof film within a spoof documentary. The actual film is definitely too long but was an interesting idea. The imdb page is here.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
First aired: 2011
It is a bad sign when I record an episode for review and it takes me over two years to get around to that review. You see I never watched the series Merlin – Merlin (Colin Morgan) as a young man seemed a strange concept to me, having grown with a more classical view of how Merlin should look and I always thought it to be more a “bright and shiny” BBC production than the gritty realism I would have liked to have seen.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked such sword and sorcery extravaganzas as Xena but this one never attracted me. Having watched the episode, I was right… It just isn’t my cup of tea. When they take the character Percival (Tom Hopper) and put him in sleeveless chainmail I inwardly groan at the all too modern nod at “yoof” which would have left the knight as armless as a character in a Monty Python film.
|drain with a kiss|
The episode's imdb page is here.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
The idea of taking Rymer’s Varney the Vampire, making him real, making him pigged-off that Stoker stole his thunder and thus he should be the famous one (not Dracula) is great fun. The kickstarter page has a video that will introduce the concept, and as I hope you will watch the video, I will say that Scott Massino, the author, isn’t quite accurate when he says Varney (in Rymer's work) can shapeshift. In the book his running gait is described as almost wolf-like at one point, but he hasn’t actually changed shape, and one victim dreams that she is attacked by a wolf and wakes up to see the human Varney. There is no actual shapeshifting.
That said, the original book is so full of inconsistencies that it almost seems appropriate that new abilities are added – the Varney purist in me does hope that the regenerative powers of the moon are maintained. The art looks fabulous, the story wickedly fun and I urge you to take a look at the project. The kickstarter page is here.
EDIT: Having just posted the above, Scott Massino has let me know that there is a referral system and so if you pledge then make the comment "Andy Boylan sent me" in the pledge's comments section. I am also adding the kickstarter video below and would ask you to note that the book is a Rated M Horror-Comedy for Thrillbent for print, drawn by DC artist Scott Kolins..
Posted by Taliesin_ttlg at 9:25 AM
Monday, March 03, 2014
Dumas was a prolific author and dramatist and he did contribute to the genre both with the story The Pale Lady and with the play Le Vampire based upon Polidori’s The Vampyre: A Tale - the play has been translated into English and released by Blackcoat Press as The Return of Lord Ruthven. Indeed Dumas was a protégé of Charles Nodier who had also adapted The Vampyre for the stage in 1820 (the script of which can be found in Lord Ruthven the Vampire.
As you can see, Dumas has a vampire genre pedigree. In Count of Monte Cristo, which preceded the Pale Lady by a few years, he invokes the shadow of Lord Ruthven in a scene between the Countess G— and Baron Franz d'Épinay where they look over at a mysterious stranger in the theatre. The Countess suggests that he “seems to me as though he had just been dug up; he looks more like a corpse permitted by some friendly grave-digger to quit his tomb for a while, and revisit this earth of ours, than anything human. How ghastly pale he is!” Of course, the pallor would be a trait he carried forward to the Pale Lady, a mark not only of the vampire (other than the rosiness after feeding) but any surviving victim. When Franz suggests the stranger is always that complexion the Countess wonders whether he is a vampire and then suggests, “Why, that he is no other than Lord Ruthven himself in a living form.”
Franz does not believe in vampires – though the stranger, he admits, could change that opinion. The Countess then namedrops Byron when she says, “Byron had the most perfect belief in the existence of vampires, and even assured me that he had seen them. The description he gave me perfectly corresponds with the features and character of the man before us. Oh, he is the exact personification of what I have been led to expect! The coal-black hair, large bright, glittering eyes, in which a wild, unearthly fire seems burning,— the same ghastly paleness.” She accuses his female companion of also being of that “same horrible race”.
It transpires, of course, that the stranger is the Count of Monte Cristo.
And there you have it; vampires, by passing mention, get into one of the most famous novels in French literature and not just any vampire but Lord Ruthven himself.