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Showing posts tagged: Dracula click to see more stuff tagged with Dracula
Apr 3 2014 2:30pm

Vivisect the Director: Guillermo del Toro and Cronos (1993)

Over the past two decades, Guillermo del Toro has more than proven himself as a master of his craft. I’ve long been an outspoken fan of his and have made it a mission to introduce as many people as possible to his work. And while most know him for his action blockbusters, I wanted to shine a light on his earlier works as well.

It was 1993 when a then unknown Mexican filmmaker burst onto the scene with a low budget and most unusual take on the vampire mythos. Cronos enjoyed quite a lot of buzz at Cannes and won several critics’ choice awards but had a minimal release in the States. Even now, while many recognize del Toro’s name, it seems that few are familiar with his feature debut.

Cronos is a film that defies convention and expectations. Gone are the typical trappings of vampires. There are no castles or Victorian houses, no mysterious gentlemen in fancy evening wear or nubile ladies in revealing nightgowns. Rather, del Toro indulges in his uniquely distinctive aesthetics.

At the heart of the story is a mystical object created by an ancient alchemist, a golden scarab that houses delicate clockwork and a strange insect. When the device is activated and attached to a living person, the transformation into an immortal—and bloodthirsty—creature of the night begins…

[There's always a price to pay for immortality...]

Sep 17 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim NewmanAnno Dracula: Johnny Alucard (Anno Dracula 1976-1991) by Kim Newman is the fourth in an alt-history fantasy series following Dracula's fictional legacy, now including his son, would-be drug lord Johnny Alucard (available September 17, 2013).

The Anno Dracula series has always been a favorite of mine because of its radical reimagining of world history. What if Dracula had really existed? What if he hadn’t met his end at the hands of Van Helsing and Co.? Kim Newman has explored the impact this would have had on the Victorian, World War II, and mid-century eras in previous books: now he sets his sights on what could arguably be called the Cocaine Era of 1976-1991.

As 1976 dawns, the legendary Count Dracula is dead. One of his get, an undernourished young vampire named Ion Popescu, attaches himself to Francis Ford Coppola’s movie production of Dracula being filmed in Transylvania. A sympathetic Kate Reed, hired as consultant to the filming, befriends Ion and is warmed by his seemingly puppy-like determination to change his name to John and migrate to America. She muses:

Was this how Dracula had been when he first thought of moving to Great Britain, then the liveliest country in the world just as America was now? The Count had practised his English pronunciation in conversations with Jonathan [Harker], and memorised railway timetables, relishing the exotic names of St Pancras, King’s Cross and Euston. Had he rolled his anglicised name—Count DeVille—around his mouth, pleased with himself?

Of course, Dracula saw himself as a conqueror, the rightful ruler of all lands he rode over. Ion-John was more like the Irish and Italian emigrants who poured through Ellis Island at the beginning of the century, certain America was the land of opportunity and that each potato-picker or barber could become a self-made plutocrat.

[As innocent and bright-eyed as a Creature of the Night can be...]

Sep 14 2013 7:00pm

Set Your DVRs: Five New Crime TV Shows to Watch

According to TV Guide, there are fifty-seven new shows premiering this fall. Fifty-seven. That’s a lot of shows. Clearly, not all of them will succeed, but there are five new shows with criminal elements (ha) that I am excited about. So, I thought I’d share a bit about each one.

Here are my top five, in reverse order of interest (trailers included!):

5) Ironside

This is a remake of the late '60s, early seventies show starring Raymond Burr as Robert Ironside, a paraplegic chief of detectives who doesn’t mess around.  This version has been updated and features Blair Underwood (L.A. Law) as Ironside.  There has been some controversy, because a paraplegic actor was not given the Ironside role. Other stars include Brent Sexton (former Sheriff Hunter Mosely on Justified), Spenser Grammer, and Kenneth Choi.

Ironside premieres on NBC on October 2 at 10/9c.

[Rolling on...]

Oct 5 2012 1:00pm

Dracula Cha Cha Cha: New Excerpt

Kim Newman

Dracula Cha Cha Cha by Kim NewmanAn excerpt of Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in the Anno Dracula historical thriller series by Kim Newman (available October 9, 2012).

Rome. 1959. Count Dracula is about to marry the Moldavian Princess Asa Vajda—his sixth wife. Journalist Kate Reed flies into the city to visit the ailing Charles Beauregard and his vampire companion Geneviève. Finding herself caught up in the mystery of the Crimson Executioner who is bloodily dispatching vampire elders in the city, Kate discovers that she is not the only one on his trail.

Chapter 1

Alitalia offered a special class for vampires, at the front of the aeroplane. The windows were shrouded against the sun with black curtains. It added to the cost. The warm could pay a supplement and share the space—none did on this flight—but Kate couldn’t be seated in the main cabin at the lower fare. The airline assumed the undead were all too wealthy to care, which was not in her case true.

The flight departed an overcast Heathrow Airport in mid-afternoon and was scheduled to arrive in Rome at sunset. In the air, she read well into Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. She didn’t take personally the motto, ‘don’t let the bloodsuckers grind you down,’ and identified more with Arthur Seaton than with the vampires who ran the bicycle factory where he worked. Alan Sillitoe was using a metaphor, not stirring up hatred against her kind. That said, England had pockets of real intolerance: she’d been caught in the Notting Hill blood riots last year, and was fed up with the crucifix-waving teddy boys who hounded her in the launderette.

[Read the full excerpt of Dracula Cha Cha Cha by Kim Newman]

Apr 19 2012 10:30am

My First Undead Love: How I Fell for the Horror Genre

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale HeartEven as a very young child, I had a morbid sensibility.  This may have had something to do with my granddad on my father’s side; his idea of a good bedtime story for me and my sister at ages three and six (respectively) was The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.  Grandpa read with great flair, building up the tension of the story to a hair-raising degree.  I loved every minute of it. 

My cousins Mark and Amy (on my mom’s side of the family) were also expert storytellers, most notably ghost stories. I’d get Mark in trouble by begging him to tell me a spooky story and then have nightmares after the fact.  I loved every minute of it, even the nightmares.  My guilt over getting Cousin Mark in trouble was never strong enough to stop me from repeating the process. I had great persuasive powers as Mark never refused to tell me a scary story. Er . . . sorry, Cousin Mark! Amy, for some reason, never got in trouble for telling me tales like The Hookman, Squish-Thump, Bloody Mary, or the Scythe Killer. Go figure.

[Squish-Thump, squish-thump, squish-thump...]

Dec 15 2011 1:05pm

To Die By Your Side: A Sweet Afternoon Treat

Mourir Aupres de ToiThis is just a little movie to bring a bit of joy to your day. It’s a handmade homage to books and love and death in felt and embroidery stop-motion animation by Spike Jonze, Simon Cahn and Olympia Le-Tan. It’s called Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side), and we dare you not to enjoy it. You can find more information about the film on the Nowness website. And, if you want, you can even buy a special edition of the Bram Stoker Dracula from Olympia Le-Tan’s shop, created with the movie’s heroine on the front.