The lovely folks at The Writers Bloc — great name for a collective! — asked me to tell them about ‘the book that …’ and of course I had to wax lyrical about Dracula. You’re about 16, there’s a storm outside your bedroom window, and the vampire is creeping down the castle wall … You can read more here, and see what these creative folks are up to in furthering the writers’ cause.
On Fiction Writing’s Michael Keyton donned his ninja garb and spirited me away to the Rack, where I spilled the beans on that horror thing, and found out that Sheri ties a good knot. You can read the interview here at the Rack.
Brisbane community radio 4ZZZ’s Book Club show is celebrating Dracula tomorrow night (3 May) at 7 o’clock. As part of the program, host Amy and I had a wee chat about Stoker’s magnificent creation and the impact the novel has had since. Fangstastic fun! This cover illo from a 1916 edition of the book illustrates one of the scenes we talked about. *shiver* The show is available on the net, too.
UPDATE: You can listen to the interview portion of the show here.
The timing was cool, because I’d just finished listening, albeit in a distracted fashion, to the novel read by Christopher Lee. Overall, an entertaining and atmospheric reading, enhanced by background music, with Lee investing himself in the telling. All those first-person narratives certainly come to the fore, and his link to the cinematic Dracula just adds to the glee.
I’ve scoured the Aussiecon4 program online and come up with these appearances at the convention, at Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, for those who might like to catch up (outside of the bar area):
Saturday, Sept 4, 5pm
If anyone has a dusty copy of The Darkness Within lying around they’d like signed (or maybe an anthology such as Dreaming Again), I’ll be in Room 201-02 with pen in hand. (I believe Guest of hHnour Kim Stanley Robinson, amongst others, is also signing at that time.)
Sunday, Sept 5, noon
A reading in Room 215
Presenting a chat (for teens only) about the evolution of the vampire from Dracula to now, in Room 218.
I’ll be joining some very cool people indeed to support the anthology Dreaming Again (probably my proudest publishing credit), in Room 211 (keep your eyes, or ears, peeled, as there *might* be an audio version of my story ‘Smoking, Waiting for the Dawn’, available during the con).
Monday, Sept 6, 1pm
Joining a discussion on the taboos in dark fantasy, again with some very cool people, in Room 211.
I’m very happy indeed to be able to support the worldcon through this participation, so I hope some folks can come along to any and all of these: the more input the better 🙂
Marianne de Pierres is scoping for readers’ (and viewers’) favourite vampires at her blog, while Nicole Adams has assembled a dubious top 14 vampire stories at hers. Good to see Dracula and Nosferatu made the Phlebotomy cut, despite their lack of supplementary cross-media tie-ins that seem to inform the rest of the selection. Nothing like a list to get tongues wagging, eh?
To whit, I’ve already listed my favourite vampire movies, so, riffing off MdP, here’s my pick of the screen vampires:
Bela Lugosi’s Dracula
Max Shreck’s Orlok
Klaus Kinski’s Orlok
Gary Oldman’s Dracula
Christopher Lee’s Dracula
Ingrid Pitt’s Carmilla
Near Dark’s vampire gang
Buffy’s Drusilla (and Spike, and Darla)
Catherine Deneuve’s Miriam
Willem Dafoe’s Shreck
Tom Cruise’s Lestat
Kirsten Dunst’s Claudia
Udo Keir’s Dracula
That’s 15 and quite a mouthful. I wonder if Kiefer Sutherland and David Boreanaz are unjustly omitted? And you know better than to mention Edward here, right?
So what is it about these screen portrayals that makes them stand out for me? Let’s see. Udo’s a maniac, Cruise excelled where no one expected him to. Shreck is impossible to forget and both Kinski and Dafoe paid amazing homage (Kinski in Vampire in Venice was also divine). Lugosi and Lee are likewise iconic. Near Dark is gritty and nihilistic. Dunst, Oldman, Deneuve and Pitt all offer nuances of characterisation you just don’t often get in a screen vampire. Buffy’s bunch are simply damn good fun, each in their own way. If there’s a theme running through these portrayals, it might be one of dealing with immortality – there’s a loneliness to these vampires, an otherness, that strikes deeper than the usual predator of the night depiction. They might be sexy, zany, insane, downright nasty, but all seem to suffer from the common malaise of being more-or-less alone in their timelessness. Maybe that’s part of why their performance lingers long after the credits have ended.