Welcome to Day 5 of the third annual Vampire A to Z.
I hope you have been enjoying this year’s list as much as Draculaura and I have been.
As always, if we have missed something you think should be included, please let us know!
That said, we’ve got four more letters to get through today, so let’s get right to it!
The cartoon is based on the 1983 German children’s book Die Schule der kleinen Vampire by Jackie Niebisch and the cartoon originally aired in German and Italian from 2006 – 2010.
The series follows Oskar and his vampire friends who cause mischief in school and try to protect the vampire secret from Paulus Polidori, a vampire hunter.
Oskar, a good and kind-hearted little guy, has a challenge in that he’s hemophobic (allergic to blood). But otherwise he has most of the qualities of other vampires: sleeps in a coffin, weakness to garlic, sunlight BAD, transforms into a bat and has no reflection.
Here’s a clip to give you a bit of the flavour.
P is for Peeps, Scott Westerfeld’s 2005 teen vampire book.
First off? I need to admit until a recent Google, I didn’t know Scott Westerfeld, who I fell in love with for his Uglies series, had written a vampire book.
Turns out there are two in the series.
Peeps, are “parasite-positives” – aka, those infected with vampirism – in this world.
Narrator Cal was a college freshmen last year, when he met and had a one-night stand with exotic goth Morgan, who infected him with a parasite that then caused all his subsequent girlfriends to become vampire-like ghouls known as peeps.
How’s that for the world’s worst STD?
Cal is a carrier without symptoms. These rare folk end up working for something called the Night Watch, a centuries old bureaucracy that keeps the less fortunate peeps … contained.
Let’s take a moment to examine this recurring theme in teen vampire fiction: sex is bad.
In case you think I’m making this up, here’s a super fun video summing up said theme as explored on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off show Angel:
But getting back to Peeps, Cal gets curious when victims start showing more sanity. Then he meets pretty Lacey, who he likes – and it turns out she gets infected by his cuddly cat, which is just, well, unfair. That said, all’s well that ends well and she adjusts to life as a fellow guardian in the battle to save the human race.
Quackula made his debut in September 1979 and starred in his own segment of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle for one season.
Voiced by Frank Welker (best known as the voice of Megatron in Transformers and Fred in Scooby Doo), Quackula slept by day in a white egg-shaped coffin, in the basement of a bear named Theodore.
Each night he rose to try to terrify Theodore and others, but would never really succeed. His antics tended to be more comical than frightening. Also, Theodore would come up with one plan after another to rid himself of Quackula, but always fail to do so.
R is for Lord Ruthven, one of the first vampires in English literature.
Byron was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts and numerous love affairs with both men and women. Lady Caroline Lamb, who famously had an affair with him in 1812, is credited with giving him his lasting epitaph when she described him as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
Later in life he fought for the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence.
And he died young – at 36 – of a fever contracted while abroad.
So clearly he’s a vampire.
That said, the first fictional Lord Ruthven, who appeared in the 1816 Gothic novel Glenarvon by Lady Caroline Lamb was not a vampire. The rakish character was instead simply an unflattering depiction of her ex-lover.
It was his personal physician John Polidori who made him a vampire. The story of how is quite famous.
In 1816, Lord Byron and Polidori spent the summer at a villa by Lake Geneva with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley where one evening they famously challenged each other to a ghost story writing competition. The end result for Mary Shelley was Frankenstein, published in 1818. Lord Byron wrote a story about the mysterious fate of an aristocrat while travelling in the Orient. This story, and Byron’s own wild life, were then the basis for Polidori’s short story The Vampyre, which, published in 1819, tells the tale of Aubrey, a young Englishman, who meets Lord Ruthven, a vampire of mysterious origins who enters London society. There’s travel, intrigue, and lots of death by blood loss.
Lord Ruthven’s character is typical of the gothic genre and vampires as they have sometimes come to be portrayed: namely as alluring and sexual, but also linked with horror and supernatural terror. Indeed, Polidori’s work influenced many others including Bram Stoker’s Dracula and eventually the whole vampire genre. Alexandre Dumas even has a reference to Lord Ruthven in The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) stating that one of his characters had been personally acquainted with Lord Ruthven. Today, there is also the Lord Ruthven Award, which is presented annually by the Lord Ruthven Assembly, a group of academic scholars specialising in vampire literature.
And with that, today’s post comes to an end. Join us again on Saturday for letters S through V!