Tuesday, April 22, 2014
First Published: 2011
The blurb: Long lost to the public in out-of-print pulp magazines, dusty Victorian anthologies, and the pages of now defunct newspapers—these vintage vampire stories have truly proved immortal. Resurrected now for the year 2011, this is a stunning collection of nineteenth-century vampire stories by heavyweights such as Sabine Baring-Gould and Bram Stoker. These rare stories are arranged in chronological order from 1846 to 1913 and are compiled by two of the world’s leading vampire anthologists and experts. Also included are rare images of Bram Stoker’s handwritten manuscript pages for Count Vampire (1890) courtesy of the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia.
The review: I am really torn over this one. It does contain some very important early vampire stories – indeed I specifically featured the Vampire; or, Pedro Pacheco and the Bruxa (1863) and the Blood Drinking Corpse (1679). As such I would be straying towards this being essential, but there are problems.
Putting in a handful of Stoker’s notes does not make for them being a story in their own right, for instance, and whilst interesting for some, for other readers I can imagine they were just padding. More so for those of us who have the facsimile of all the notes. The story A Kiss of Judas (1893) by Julian Osgood Field was, debatably, not actually a vampire story – though it did carry some tropes. Equally the story Herself (1894) by Mary Elizabeth Braddon had some aspects that might have equated to energy vampirism but would definitely need a ‘Vamp or Not?’ That said I could see arguments as to why they both deserved inclusion.
What was unforgivable, however, was the endless parade of typos that stood glaringly from the page. Typos happen, I understand, but the editing process was clearly slipshod, and if the book is going to be of use to a student of the media vampire then accuracy should have been strived for. That pushes the score down, I’m afraid, to 5 out of 10. Get the volume, I say, to get these rare stories together. But beware the typos and, if the editors read this, you need to do a second edition with a decent proofreading process.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The imdb page is here.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Release Date: 2013
Director Bret Wood was the man behind the magnificent Indie flick Psychopathia Sexualis and, indeed, I interviewed him about that film. So when I was contacted by him and told he had a new film, it was based on Carmilla and would I like to view it… Well, let us just say I almost gave myself whiplash replying in the affirmative.
Of course the level of excitement I felt, as the film began to play, could have left me disappointed once the film was over – it didn’t. Rather it left me, with a smile playing across my lips, cogitating about a very fresh take on the Carmilla story. It also left me knowing that I had to write these two first paragraphs as a preamble, thus warning you that I am somewhat taken by the Unwanted.
|Christen Orr as Carmilla|
|Troy denies knowledge|
|Hannah Fierman as Laura|
|Tell me my life is about to begin...|
|blood is involved|
|in the field|
|Kylie Brown as Mircalla|
The imdb page is here.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
First Published: 2013
The Blurb: There's a murderer loose in Greystones, a small estuary village tucked against the wintry, wooded trails of O'Halloran Hill. The gory body count begins to rise, sending the media into an all-out feeding frenzy. The village is swamped with police and onlookers, and everybody wants to catch 'The Vampire Killer'.
While the hunt is on James Stixx and his partner-in-crime, Faye Burns discover that beneath the surface is a whole different story, a mystery that goes back decades. The teenagers find everyone has something to lose, or secrets to bury.
And all the while the vampire is waiting ... choosing its moment to strike...
The review: You should never judge a book by its cover, so they say, but can we take a moment to revel in the glory that is the cover of Stixx. A cracking piece of cover art that totally sells the book to me.
The book itself is a piece of crime fiction set in the English countryside, a rural landscape that is haunted by lumbering shells of derelict buildings as sepulchre as a tomb. Winter beaches, uninviting woodlands and fields on which there is no place to hide. In this bleak, winter scene we are witness to a double murder and the killer seems to be a vampire. This is not the suave vampire flitted out of some City goth club and wintering out in the sticks. Nor is it a cloaked member of the gentry, using his mesmeric gaze to trap the fluttering heart of a damsel. The vampire is naked and a ruthless killer and the police can’t seem to catch him.
In this village lives Stixx and he has just met Faye Burns who has recently moved to the village (and has a boyfriend overseas). They begin to try and investigate the attacks but what was great about the primary characters was just how damaged they all were. Stixx works a dead end job (though he may have just lost it), is known to the police due to a bad habit he used to have of setting fires and is a small time drug dealer. Faye has massive psychiatric issues – stemming from her dad having a psychotic break and cutting her twin sister into pieces. Porter writes a great character as they are damaged, sometimes petty, but you still sympathise with them.
Is it a vampire – now that really is a spoiler too far though certainly there is belief that a vampire is out there. I will say that there is a deeper plot aspect, a dark mystery at the heart of village life that, if I had a complaint, seemed just a tad convoluted. However that is a minor issue as the story certainly did keep me with it, but it is those characters that really hook you.
Not a heartthrob vampire, a Count or an angst-ridden vampire in sight, rather a ruthless monster and a novel that is definitely worth your time. 8 out of 10.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Director: Hollingsworth Morse
First aired: 1965
I must admit that I was unaware of the series McHale’s Navy. As I settled down to watch this vampire orientated episode from the third season that fact left me at somewhat of a disadvantage, I think, and I came away with the impression that it was essentially Bilko at sea (or at a naval base at the very least). I wasn’t far wrong.
From what I gather McHale’s Navy started off as a drama (with comedic elements) in its original pilot form with Ernest Borgnine playing Lt. Commander Quinton McHale one of 18 survivors of a Japanese attack during World War 2 and their struggle against a Lieutenant parachuted in to get them up and running as a fighting force, as they had gone native and were content to just try and survive the rest of the war on the island. However, when it became a syndicated series it was under the producer, Edward J. Montagne, who had been behind the Phil Silver’s Show - making it Bilko in the navy (but in war rather than peacetime).
|Benson and Parker|
|Ernest Borgnine is McHale|
|our fake Vampire|
|plus Mummy too|
The episode’s imdb page is here.