I am ready for two weeks of fun playing in and with a genre I love in so many of its different interpretations.
Every year when I prep for this, I discover something new. Indeed, some of my letters always change as I make those wonderful “How did I not know about that!?” discoveries.
That said, Draculaura and I have, after much debate, landed on what we think are another 26 things of vampire note to feature that really show the depth, breadth and variety that exists in all things vampire.
So, getting right to it, A is for Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.
I feel it’s all kinds of wonderful to launch this year’s list with a Tim Burton movie. This one, from 2012, is based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2010 novel. Grahame-Smith is also known for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a similar retelling of that Jane Austen classic.
The premise of this one? A gander into the secret diary and life of the 16th President of the United States of America (1861-1865), who had a side gig protecting the country from the undead as a vampire hunter.
The film received mixed reviews – and I agree. Cool special effects, but it took itself a bit too seriously given the premise.
That said, it’s a fun evening if you like the genre.
B is for Bunnicula, James and Deborah Howe’s 1979 book for children aged 8-12.
Beware the Hare! It warns.
Indeed, with over 8 million copies in print, Bunnicula might just be the, well, cutest vampire of all time.
The story is about the Monroe family, who bring a new pet home from the movies one night — a suspicious looking bunny with unusual habits and, well, fangs.
The story is told by Harold, the Monroe’s family dog. He and Chester, their suspicious and very well-read cat, must find out the truth about Bunnicula.
Turns out bunny belonged to Dracula, and goes out at night to … hunt vegetables and drain them of their “blood.”
It’s a short read – the copy I picked up ran 72 pages with the introduction – and it’s well worth it! Funny and well written – and first in a series if you get through this one and want some more.
Perusing the reviews on Goodreads is also fun as you realize just how many adults remember this book fondly from childhood.
It was turned into an animated TV special in 1982,with some deviations from the original book in that Bunnicula was given vampiric powers. It then became an animated show in 2016. On September 9, 2016, the Cartoon Network and Boomerang renewed the series for a second season and it’s slated to begin in 2017.
C is for Carmilla, the classic vampire novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, who was a leading ghost-story writer in the 19th century and central to the development of the genre in the Victorian era. First published in 1872, Carmilla also predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 25 years, and influenced Stoker’s treatment of the myth in that rather famous book.
The story, set in rural central Europe, is narrated by Laura, a young woman who meets Carmilla when she is injured in a carriage accident. Carmilla’s mother must urgently carry on and so Carmilla is invited to stay with Laura and her father so she can properly recover.
The two girls become close friends, with much caressing and strong feelings of affection involved, making Carmilla the original prototype for the many female and lesbian vampires to follow.
That said, during that friendship Laura starts to feel ill and the neighbours start dying of a mysterious ailment. It is later revealed that Carmilla is (surprise!) a vampire.
If you want to know how it ends, it’s a short read and you can get the e-book free here.
However, most recently, Carmilla has also become a Canadian single-frame web series based on the novella. The series premiered on the YouTube channel Vervegirl on August 19, 2014. Taking place at the fictional Silas University in Styria, Austria, the story is told by first year student Laura, via a series of short vlogs.
Season one starts with the mysterious disappearance of her roommate and her being assigned a new roomie: Carmilla. Season 3 is currently underway.
As of January 2016, Carmilla had been viewed over 35 million times on YouTube, attracting over 150,000 fans worldwide.
In case the name looks familiar, that’s because in this tale the Van Helsing family has been hunting vampires ever since Dracula. Daphne, their 16-year-old daughter, hunts with mom and dad but yearns for a normal life that doesn’t involve a blur of motels and decapitating vampires for cash.
The story begins with the family arriving for a job in a coastal town in Maine. There, Daphne gets caught slaying (a no-no) and meets former child-star (and equally lonely) Kiki Crusher – her first potential BFF ever. She also has to deal with possible love interest Tyler Harker, son of a rival slayer family in town trying to steal their contract! Oh – and there is of course family drama in there as well.
All told? A fun twist on vampire fiction and well worth a read.
And with that? We are at the end of Day 1. Please join us again on Friday when we reveal the 2016 choices for letters E, F and G.