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Draculaura_buttonWelcome to Day 5 in our Happy Halloween Vampire A to Z here at Baby Gates Down.

For anyone joining late, I’ve been having a blast so far highlighting some of my favourite vampires and vampire related fun.

I hope you enjoy today’s post. It is the first of two where I actually went out and bought new (to me) vampire fiction in order to properly research my choices. I think it was worth it.

With that said, Draculaura and I are pleased to give you today’s pickings!

Santanico_Pandemonium_ButtonP is for Santanico Pandemonium from Quentin Tarantino’s fantastic film (and two sequels) and subsequent television series: From Dusk Till Dawn.

The original film came out in 1996 starring George Clooney and Tarantino as the Geckos – two bank robbing brothers on the run who end up taking a family in a motor home hostage as they race across the Mexican border. They stop in a bar – called the Titty Twister – which one of the brothers’ contacts has chosen as a meet up place because “one place’s just as good as another“.  Turns out it’s a somewhat less friendly version of Fangtasia.

I have always loved this movie for the plot twist. Everything is chugging along nicely and then – whoops – everyone around you is a vampire!

Then earlier this year, Netflix delightfully turned it into a television series which has been renewed for another season!

But getting back to Ms. Pandemonium here, she’s the Vampire Queen and main attraction at the Titty Twister. Among other things, she did this rather memorable dance:

However, in my humble opinion, my next choice is the true Vampire Queen.

Akasha_ButtonQ is for Akasha, Queen of the Damned.

She is the original vampire in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. The one Marius, from yesterday’s post, was busy guarding for all those centuries.

Born over 6000 years ago, she marries Enkil, the King of Kemet, which would later become Egypt.

She becomes a vampire when she is mortally wounded and her soul leaves her body and fuses with an evil spirit who has been pestering the Queen and her court on behalf of two witch sisters whom she has mistreated.

She saves her dying husband by turning him into a vampire as well. Over time Akasha and Enkil become like statues. Certain vampire elders guard and protect them until one elder, in anger, leaves them out in the sun. Most of the world’s vampires spontaneously combust and the eldest are severely burned as a result.

About this time, Marius takes over guardianship and everything goes swimmingly until Lestat comes along, drinks from the Queen first stirring her, and then later waking her with his rock band.

I could go on – but then there would be no reason to read the books or watch the  2002 film version starring Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend. I already showed a clip previously of Lestat’s raise the dead rock and roll, but I thought I’d include this one here as a nice match with Santanico’s performance. I don’t know about you, but I think they’d be besties. And for anyone keeping track? Here’s this tale’s version of a vampire bar:

Really, these places should just be avoided. Because if this is your idea of a vampire?

vampire_flowersEven if you make it out alive, you are going to be disappointed.

Vampire_Academy_ButtonShifting gears firmly back into the realm of teen fiction for my next pick R is for Rose Hathaway, the protagonist from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.

Published between 2007 and 2010, the series is composed of six books which tell the tale of Rose, a teen Dhampir (half human/half vampire) who is training to be her best friend’s guardian. Her best friend is a Moroi princess. Moroi are mortal vampires from Romanian folklore. In the series, these vampires also tend to have magical powers, need to avoid sunlight, and need to drink human blood.

And they must be protected, by their Dhampir guardians, from the evil Strigoi, immortal vampires also from Romanian folklore, and avoid becoming Strigoi.

In the tale, Rose and Lissa, the Moroi princess, attend St. Vladimir’s Academy.

The series is quite successful. As of 2013, it has sold 8 million copies in 35 different countries and earlier this year, the first book was made into a film.

I’m about halfway through the first book and it was a bit of a slow start, but it’s growing on me. They give Rose a hinted sexualized overtone, chalking it up to Dhampir nature, and I’m not quite sure yet what I think about that – ie: if it ultimately empowering/feeds the idea of a strong confident female character or if it’s simply a gimmick and ultimately unempowering as it leads young female readers to the conclusion that if you aren’t sexy you are somehow less successfully female.

Either way, that brings me to the end of my selections for today.

For those keeping track, here’s who we’ve covered to date:

Vampire A_Zlist5

Until tomorrow, if you are looking for more vampire fun, something exciting hit bookstores yesterday.

It’s been a long time coming, but Anne Rice’s next installment in the Vampire Chronicles – Prince Lestat – was released.

This sums up my views on this quite nicely:

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Todays photo credits: Santanico from here. Akasha comes to us from good old Fanpop. The Vampire Academy picture is from Wikipedia/one of the prints of the first novel’s cover. Stephan with the flowers I first found on Tumblr here.