Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dracula, The Legend Endures

Saving the best for Halloween. Dracula Rocks, he's the King of the Damned, the Father of them all. 

Vampire lore may have been with us for centuries. Maybe not.

One thing I do know for sure is this: Dracula, by Bram Stoker, was the first introduction to the Vampire as a beloved monster icon for most people.  We had to read the story for high school literature.  We read about Jonathan Harker, Mina, and Lucy. We were introduced to the idea of a remote village in Transylvania where peasant folk feared the ruling lord in the castle and spoke in whispers about the pervading evil there.

It all started out so simply:  mysterious, reclusive nobleman in a dark castle.  A visitor from England. Some shady dealings, suspicious happenings, and we were hooked. We felt for Jonathan, being kept prisoner at the count's castle. We worried over Mina, and wondered about crazy old Renfield.  It was a great story. And what came in the century after might just make the original Dracula cry tears of blood.

We had some good vamp movies, and lots of bad ones. Seems in the 70's an0th d beyond, everyone was doing a vamp movie, even doing them badly.  The parodies came, with Hollywood trying to make Dracula, or his legend, into a buffon, a clown, a villain.  Eek!  Poor Drac didn't get a lot of respect in the late 20th Century.  There was Jim Carey as the high school kid vamp in Once Bitten. We had goofy, vamps with  Leslie Neilson and George Hamilton. It was bad, people, really bad.

The was another spoof movie called Modern Vampires that makes me cringe to this day. If you missed it, good for you! Don't go there.

Bram Stoker's Dracula Movie Gary Oldman

But things turned around for our beloved legend. Things took a more serious turn. We had a few Noble attempts to restore Drac's dignity after the bruising he took in the 70's and 80's and even the bad movies of 1990's. Interview with the Vampire and Bram Stoker's Dracula did a lot to restore the dark vampire legend after too much silliness. Yes, they were different from the book versions--they always are! A director, be he theater director or movie director, interprets a book or play with his own perceptions, and that's what comes out in the final product. Sometimes we like his or her interpretation, sometimes we don't. Just remember the fiasco recently with scripting   a 'BLONDE' to play the infamous red head, Anne of Green Gables, and you know the disasters that can come from Hollywood's reinterpretation of a cultural legend.

Stoker's book is loosely based on legends of this dude, Vlad the Impaler
In essence, Dracula was a scary legend, with a germ of historical fact that Bram Stoker used to create a very compelling supernatural story in his day. I won't go into the legend of Vlad the Impaler, you know it. Stoker researched vampire lore in Romania and drew some from Vlad's notoriety.  Stoker wrote his novel in The Victorian Era, when it was rumored that people were sexually repressed (not really, but it's a cultural myth we accept today). In the story we have a guy who is dangerous, going out stalking virginal women by sneaking into their bedroom at night and penetrating them with his fangs, drawing blood and turning them into his love slave forever.

No, not one iota of sexual tension or allusion in that plot premise! 

Dracula represents many things to many people. We have a subculture of Goths, who like to play at being 'undead', play at being a Vampire like other people play at being Star Trek Characters.  Dracula has survived a century of incarnations, and well he should, he's the most dashing, the most cultured and attractive monster among them. I'm a vampire lover. Dracula has always been my favorite of the monsters.  He's cool, he's wise, and precise. A very strong, intelligent predator, not a gnoshing groaning zombie in tattered rags, or a Frankenstein with brain damage.

What is the appeal? Just that. Dracula can glamour us. He can hypnotize his prey. He is attractive when hunting. He's handsome, charismatic, and seems to be everything you ever wanted. He draws you in, to quote the Twilight dialogue. We can't resist his charm, it's part of his gift as a predator to lure in his prey. He lives forever, so there is the ancient wisdom appeal. He's lived through centuries and has witnessed the future outcome of situations that we can only guess at going into them. Hence the accumulated wisdom, and part of the appeal.

One thing I do hold to in my vampire affections. Dracula is a serious man. I want my Dracula to be a sexy, scary predator, not a clown or a buffoon. I was so disgusted with the earlier parodies of the vampire legend that I held off even seeing the new Johnny Depp/Tim Burton Dark Shadows movie. I was afraid it would be a huge disappointment. It wasn't bad. I liked the the movie. It' s not my favorite, but as I am a huge Depp/Burton fan, I finally broke down and watched it. A year later.  Still, Johnny's Vamp was a little too cute and precious for my tastes. I'll take serious and scary every time. I like a brooding vamp.  

 So, today, when those cute little vampires come to your door asking for treats, remember Bram Stoker and his incarnation, Dracula, that started it all.  Thanks Bram, Really. Thank You.  I love your monster. We all wish someone like Garret from Twilight or Lestat from Interview would come knocking on our door late one night, sweep us off our feet, and give us the promise of eternal life--without sickness, pain or aging.

To quote the byline from the movie "The Lost Boys":  It's fun to be a vampire, Sleep all day, party all night, never grow old, and never die! 
Yes, isn't that the ultimate appeal? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Team Eric or Team Bill, the True Blood Dilemma




Okay, the Twilight Manipulation of Team Jacob or Team Edward was a set up. The fans were set up to fail, because if you read all the books, you knew Bella would end up with Edward. Still, the marketers pushed the Team thing, letting innocent girls hope that Jacob would actually get the girl in the end.  Bad press. 


 But, if you are over twenty five, you probably don't care, right? Bella is a high school kid. She'll have lots of boyfriends before she meets the one, or she should ....... really. Who gets married at 18 anymore? 

Now, then, for all of the adult women in the room, we have a similar dilemma. Do we want Sookie (ourselves) to go with Eric or Bill?  Okay some might argue that it's a moot issue as she's been with Alicide for a while, on and off, too. Me, I'm not into the  werewolf lover thing. To quote the movie Van Helsing, "Why does it smell like wet dog in here?"  Enough said, you get my point. 

Now, who do you think is the better man for Sookie?

Bill is, or was, a gentleman. He plays by the rules and has a really, really strong sense of honor. He's a great romantic hero, as he'll always do the right thing.  He's really quite sexy, and sensitive. 

 To be honest, I was really disappointed when Bill and Sookie broke up. I liked him. But I think that viewers might have felt Bill was just too tame.  Yeah, really. He comes from a long line of planters, and is a civil war veteran. He was married, and had kids. He was born in America, in the 19th century. Yeah, interesting, but not edgy and dangerous. Not really Louis, and certainly no Lestat.


And if you want to spice things up a little, well, just bring in a 1000 year old Viking Vampire.  

 Eric Northman is not constrained by the Christian set of rules that Bill was. He was made long before Christianity made its mark on society.  He's a ruthless Viking at heart. He'll do what he must to get the job done.  You can see the immediate appeal of a bad boy like Eric.   He is Scary, with a captial S. You don't want to get on his bad side.  Eric was the vampire sheriff of area 5, at the beginning of the series. He ran a vampire club called Fangtasia.  Things have changed since the first season, and so had Eric's character. Oh, he's still nasty, but he's got a thing for Sookie now. And she's kind of in love with him, too.

I guess you can tell which side I tend to lean toward. Eric, of course. Eric is the dangerous bad boy we want to tame. He's the Dark Hero. Yes, Hero! In spite of all his nastiness and evil, he does become the hero for Sookie, for a season. He's saved her butt so many times, and you'd think if he was just so badass he'd drink her fey blood and drain her dry. He can't. He's in love with her, you see.   He, like Bill, feels this compelling need to protect Sookie.  Kind of reminds you of Jacob and Edward, doesn't it. But this one is for adults, not high school girls.   True Blood has lots of sexy scenes, with the vamps and humans having ........actual ...... cough .....SEX.  Yep,  Twilight is for the kiddies. True Blood is for Adults. 

Here's an adult treat for you on Halloween. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bite me, Please--Vampires, What is the Appeal?



In the last post, I didn't write a lot. I simply wanted to give my readers and vampire lovers everywhere a visual treat for Halloween. And wow, was it a treat.   Vampire hotties forever.  


 Even if you hated Twilight, you have to admit that the vampire lover fantasy is something that just won't go away. 


My first love on the Vampire line up might have been Bela Lugosi, but my second one is even stronger than the first.  


Louis, from Interveiw with the Vampire.  I read the book when I was sixteen. I loved it, and loved the angst ridden Louis who kept mourning the loss of his humanity.  


Anne Rice did a great job in that book, she humanized the monster. Those of us who actually loved the whole Dracula story felt a deep sadness when Dracula's undead existence was ended. It just didn't seem fair, so brilliant, so ancient a creature, so extraordinary, and all we are left with is "kill the monster!" 

Thank you, Anne, for making it possible to embrace the monster.  

Poor Louis, don't you just want to hug him?

 Louis dosen't want to kill. He tries to live on rats because he cannot bring himself to feed on humans  He's the perfect vampire, hot, sexy, and a vegetarian, sort of.  We feel his pain, and that is the appeal. Poor Louis, like Pinnochio, just wants to be human. 


But, if your tastes fall on the  darker side, there is always Lestat.  He's not sorry to be a vamp, he's proud. He's embraced the darkness, and takes pleasure in playing with his food before he eats it. If you prefer a more edgy, dangerous sort of vampire, Lestat might make you swoon a little more than Louis, the reluctant vampire. 

Lestat would have no qualms about killing you, or turning you....

Anne Rice confessed once that Lestat was her god, her hero, her lover, and her demon. I can understand. My charactetrs do that to me, too.  Lucky for us, Anne was not finished with Lestat when she finished the "Interview" manuscript. She wrote more books with Lestat featured in them. He enjoyed the center stage, literally, in Queen of the Damned.  Stuart Townsend did a wonderful job portraying Lestat, and the movie gives us a lot more of his history, making us empathsize with him a little more. In 'Interview', he was the villain, Louis' adversary. In 'Queen', he becomes the hero. He falls for Jessie, and then saves her from death, takes her as his immortal lover. The dark hero redeemed--yes, I love dark heroes, hence the name of one of my own books, Dark Hero.  

Townsend as the violin playing, angst ridden, lonely vampire Lestat


I think that is part of the appeal of these bad boys. Yes, they are really hot, and eternity with a hot immortal is always compelling for a girl. But underneath, they are just tormented, lonely men who need a woman to complete them. They need a woman make them whole again, to make their undead existence 'sparkle' again after centuries of being alone.

Jessie and Lestat

We are attracted to bad boys, like Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester, Eric Northman, and the like. We want to redeem them. 


Not every bad boy can be redeemed.  But when it comes to fantasy, and loving our monsters, we can dream a little, right? 


Who would be your choice in between these two. Are you Team Louis or Team Lestat? 

Lestat turns Jesse in the end
  So, we have a happily ever after, sort of, for Lestat. At least in the movie. He turns Jesse and together they walk into the darkness, holding hands.  It's a better ending than most for our Vamp heroes!  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Undead Sexy; No tricks, Just a Special Treat this Halloween


 I've been a lover of vampires forever. I'm a grandmother, so you'll forgive me if I mention my first vampire love as being Bela Lugosi, Yes, the original screen version of Dracula. (Not Nosforatu!) 

As a woman in mid-life who writes historical romance with a paranormal twist, I simply adore a well dressed monster. And no tattered rags if you come to my door or disgusting goo dripping from your face or fangs, please!

Bela Lugosi's vampire is classy, well dressed in formal attire for an evening of fine dining by candlelight. Never mind that you might be the special vintage he's seeking to slack his thirst. Dracula in this flick was very attractive for his day. His hair was slicked back, but it was the era, ladies, so forgive him. That foriegn accent was dead sexy! 

Hey, you can have the unkempt zombies, I'll take Drac or one of his incarnations in a heartbeat.  I was a teenager in the 1970's when I discovered this bad boy dressed in elegant black on late night TV.  And he gets better as the decades past.  

The Bela Lugosi version is from the silver screen era but the image endures as a classic vampire icon today. We'll skip over the bad movies made in the 1960's and 1970's, the cheap  B-Movie vamps that were cheesy and the storyline just plain 'sucked', if you'll forgive my word choice here.   So, fast forward to the 1980's, please, so Drac can keep his dignity.

Jason Patric as Michael


In the eighties, we had The Lost Boys.  True, a little bit punk, but still very sexy for the era.

This one is still a classic with my family. The comedy mixed in with the horror and the teenage angst is just too good to ignore. 

I won't tell you the story, you can watch it for yourself and see what you think. It has odd characters, funny lines, and romance, undead romance.

 If the whole teenage heartthrob vamp love story is not your thing, I understand. I'm not into teen vamp lovers myself. But there is plenty of Adult Vampire Sexy-Brooding-Steaminess  to go around. I opened at the top with the two gorgeous vamp dudes who starred in the 1994 movie, "Interveiw with the Vampire" for a reason. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt (photo on top of page)---it doesn't get much better than this, girls..... or does it? 

For your veiwing pleasure, we have  the most recent incarnations of the vampire lover on TV and the big screen:


Lestat, from Queen of the Damned, a brooding rock star vamp


There is Mick from the one season series  Moonlight: a modern private detective Vamp in a black leather jacket: 

Loved the show, it was cancelled after one season!

 And the popular series True Blood gives us a lot to admire and dream about. Would you prefer Vampire Bill or Eric Northman?  Sookie has trouble deciding, and seems to be in love with both men. Can you blame her? It's a tought choice, as they both are far too sexy for a woman's own good. 

Don't you wish you had Sookie's dilemma; which one to choose?

And that is the appeal of the vampire for women, the ultimate bad boy. An elegant masculine figure, handsome, wise, dangerous, and forbidden territory. Sexy, sensual, and sort of predatory . . . mmmm. Yes, please. 



I used to lament the lack of a good vampire movies, as the features from the seventies and eighties were very badly done. Cheesy, and the Vamp was always bad and was killed in the end. But, thgings have improved immensly for vampire lovers with the new century. 

If you like to read vampire stories, by the way, romance novels have featured the good vamp trophe for a long time, meaning the vampire as a the hero, not the villain. Christine Feehan's The Carpathians Series, is a good one to check out if you love vampire romance. The Carpathians in her story are brooding vamp males just waiting for their life mate to come to complete them. If they don't find their life mate, they go mad and become the terrorizing vampire who slaughters the innocent in a demented search for blood--the typical legend vampire. Feehan's books portray a rare race of beings living in the area of Romania, a twist on the vampire legends since the old Dracula novel by Bram Stoker.

And speaking of Bram Stoker,  Good Goddess! How could I have forgotten the Bram Stoker movie of the 90's?  Well, yes, you might not like the director's retelling of the classic novel in that particular movie version, and you can argue all you want about how you disliked the movie. But not here. Here we are discussing the sexiness of the vampire male, not whether a particular vampire movie was good or bad.  So, here it is, a very..... um.......super sexy Vlad Dracul for you....... Gary Oldman as a dashing Victorian Vamp! 

Ah, the longing in his eyes as he gazes at Mina . . . its enough to melt your heart!

As vampire lovers, we have to admit to the success of Twilight in bringing the Vampire as Romance Hero back into vogue.  It doesn't matter if you loved the movie or hated it, (Them, as there are five). There is not much you can do when it's gone viral and has fans all over the world. Stephanie Meyers played on our love for the classic brooding, wounded vampire and reinvented him in her own fashion, giving him different attributes that show her creativity. She delved into the female psyche and helped revive the vampire as a romance hero, so let's not knock the woman's creative genius. She's had her books made into movies, that have sort of taken on a life of their own, and captured the hearts of a generation.  Several generations, in fact, if you consider that women in their 30's, 40's and 50's were rushing out to buy the books and then see the movies, too. 

No, it wasn't for the reason you might be thinking, darned, old perv ladies! No, no, no! It's not about Robert Pattinson as a 17 year old vamp, it's about the classic vampire/human love story we as women seem to crave. And you have to admit, even Twilight had some very attractive Vampire men to set your heart aflame. 




Oh, and then there's what's his name ?????  

                                                                                Oh, yes,  Edward!

So, that's the treat for you this Halloween, a bunch of lovely men to admire..... vampire heroes to make you swoon.  

Question, ladies?  What do all these men have in common?  

It's the brood factor! Every one has that pensive, dark, brooding look in their eyes. And it's something many women find hard to resist. That, and the promise of immortal life....... I'm just sayin'! 

Happy Halloween Everyone. May all your nightmares be as lovely as these undead creatures who have stolen our hearts! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Haunted Romance

Halloween is in the air!  

Hey, it's time for scary movies, and chilling stories of hauntings.  



Add to that a little undead romance, and it's all good. 

Yes, I'm a romantic.  


One of my all time favorite movies, is the 1990 hit, "Ghost" with Patrick Swayze. You may have missed this one. 

It's about a pair of lovers, Sam and Molly.  They are in love. 


 All seems wonderful, and then one night, Sam is shot. 

He dies, leaving her behind to mourn him.

But Molly is in danger. The same people who murdered Sam may be after her. What does this stalwart hero do, but try to save his lady love. Patrick Swayze does an impeccable job as the hero in this tragic romance. He comes back and tries to save his love, Molly, (played by Demi Moore).  If you have never seen this movie, I beg you, do yourself a favor. It is SOoooo romantic and sensual. There are some great scenes that will steal your breath away.  

  One famous scene, pictured above, shows Molly and Sam making out in front of the pottery wheel while he is still alive. It's hot, it's touching, and the music in this scene is enough to make you swoon, even if Patrick doesn't do that for you. This is one movie you should not miss if you are an incurable romantic like me. It's full of tears, angst, yearning, love, comedy, danger, all the stuff that makes a Shakespeare play so timeless.

 After Sam dies, there is a similar scene, where Molly is up late, can't sleep. She is at the wheel, and Sam again cuddles up to her to hold her as he did when alive, only she can't feel him. It's touching and sad. 

But, this movie and these timeless lovers will warm your soul on this cold October evening. They remind us that love is eternal. Halloween, it's a great time of year to enjoy these classic movies about undead romance. There is also Whoopi Goldberg in an early role. She adds some zing to the story and a break to all that romantic angst with her funny portrayal of a psychic/con woman who is enlisted, somewhat against her wishes, to help Sam contact Molly from the other side.

Here's a Halloween Treat, view this trailer from the movie via youtube, and whet your appetite for a good old classic Ghost story with a romantic twist. 


NEXT TIME........Monster Love!  Plenty of that to go around this month.