We have arrived at Day 3 of our annual trek through the alphabet.
On Wednesday, we featured a hero, a faker and a mom.
Today we start off with a bit of faith.
Really, they had me at Amish vampires.
Anyway, Katie is on the verge of Rumspringa, that time in Amish life when teenagers get a taste of the real world, when a vampire epidemic strikes and wipes out the outside world. The Amish are protected if they stay on their land because given their faith, they are on hallowed ground. Rumours surface of other similar areas: the Vatican, a Wiccan compound… belief protects you.
One day, Katie finds Alex, an injured outsider at the boundary of their land. She hides him in the barn as he heals. They are eventually discovered and she is forced to leave with him into the big bad vampire-infested world.
But she has protection – a Himmelsbrief – given to her by Herr Stoltz, the village Hexenmeister, who still practices the old ways. A Himmelsbrief, in Pennsylvania German folk tradition, contains Bible verses and other charms to protect the owner from death, injury or misfortune.
Because Laura wears this, she is protected from the vampires.
Alex is also protected.
Why? Well, he got drunk one night and had a big Celtic cross tattooed onto his chest.
I love this story for the idea that it is faith, and not necessarily of one specific persuasion, that can guard us from evil.
I is for I Am Legend, Richard Matheson’s 1954 horror novel that went on to inspire the zombie genre of fiction.
The story centres on Robert Neville, the last living man on Earth. Everyone else has become a vampire. By day he hunts, and by night he barricades himself in his home.
The 2007 version gives us the tweak that Robert Neville is a US Army virologist. The story is set in New York City after the virus, which was originally created to cure cancer, has wiped out most of mankind, leaving Neville as the last human in New York. Immune to the virus, he works tirelessly to develop a cure while defending himself against the vampires.
He lives with his dog, and plays a lot of Bob Marley.
A later scene in the movie explains the Marley obsession. After rescuing the first human he’s scene in ages, he brings her back to the house and plays it for her. She has never heard of Bob Marley. So Neville explains:
[Bob Marley] had this idea. Kind of a virologist idea.
He believed that you can cure racism and hate; literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people’s lives.
One day when he was scheduled to preform at a peace rally, a gun man came to his house and shot him down.
Two days later he walked on stage and sang.
Somebody asked him, “Why?”
He said, “The people who are trying to make the world worse are not taking a day off. How can I?
Light Up The Darkness!”
I know, I know, Colin Farrell is the 2011 REMAKE Jerry Dandrige. But I think he did a fabulous job with the role, originally played by Chris Sarandon in the 1985 original.
Quick summary: Jerry Dandrige moves in next door to teenage Charley Brewster and his divorced mother. Charley begins to suspect Dandrige is a killer after seeing a news report about a murdered woman whom Charley had seen in Dandrige’s house. But it’s worse, he later figures out Dandrige is a vampire. Mayhem ensues, people die, Charley saves the day.
But back to who played it better? In last year’s A to Z I posted this Original vs Remake video when I featured Peter Vincent. However, this video below speaks nicely to my preferred candidate while … so perfectly summing up what this sort of vampire is bringing to the genre:
For those wondering about that … um … ridiculous(ly perfect) song? That would be by Internet celebrity Chris Crocker who became famous in 2007 for his “Leave Britney Alone” YouTube video where he tearfully defended Britney Spears’ comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. His video received million of views in two days, which he quickly used to launch a career in the entertainment industry. But getting back to vampires, the video gives you a good look at this year’s selection for the letter J.
K is for Kurt Barlow, another classic of the horror genre. From Stephen King’s 1975 novel ‘Salem’s Lot, he is the master vampire who moves into and then terrorizes the small Maine town of Jerusalem’s Lot.
The book is one of those “keep you up at night” reads I’d recommend to anyone who loves the genre. That said, if you are more the movie type, it was turned into a miniseries/TV movie in 1979 and starred Reggie Nalder (that nice fellow to the right) as Kurt Barlow.
It was more recently adapted again for television in 2004 and starred Rob Lowe as protagonist Ben Mears, Samantha Mathis (who I have loved since Pump up the Volume) as Susan Norton and Rutger Hauer as Mr. Barlow.
While that version received a primetime Emmy nomination, Nalder’s Mr. Barlow is so much scarier. So I leave you with him:
That brings us to the end of today’s post. Join us again on Tuesday for letters L to N.