So here we are. Welcome to the last day of our third annual macabre stroll through the alphabet as we explore all things vampires!
I do hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far.
But we are not done. Today we give you our last four selections for the 2016 Vampire A to Z here on Baby Gates Down.
Happy Halloween and here goes!
W is for What We do in the Shadows, the rather brilliant 2014 New Zealand mockumentary about Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr, four vampire roommates who share a flat in a Wellington suburb.
Although the first three are all centuries old, they have retained human appearance, but 8000-year-old Petyr looks like Count Orlok from Nosferatu and pretty much acts accordingly. They fight about roommate stuff, accidentally turn Deacon’s human servant’s ex-boyfriend Nick into a vampire, have to deal with a vampire hunter, go to a fancy dance, and let a documentary crew capture it all!
Xoe lives in a small town with her single mom and has never known her father. She lives a pretty normal life with high school and two close friends Lucy and Allison. Then, one day a new guy shows up in her small town. Before you can say, “Werewolf,” life is turned upside down and vampires are real.
It all starts with that standard high school “new guy enters cafeteria scene” (think Twilight, think Heathers, think a few Buffy episodes…). Allison invites new guy Dan to join them and life is suddenly way more exciting.
It’s the teenage dream.
Unfamiliar with cafeteria scene? Here’s a quick collage. Let me know if there are any iconic ones you love and I might just redo this at some stage.
But getting back to Xoe, a fast paced story follows filled with vampires, werewolves and demons. As an adult, I felt like I’d read it before. But it’s aimed for those younger than me. And as a young teen, I would have enjoyed it. If you are a Twi-hard, this is likely also something you’d enjoy.
Y is for Ysabeau.
Apparently, this year on the A to Z is about moms. Ysabeau de Clermont is Matthew Clairmont’s mother in Deborah Harkness’ the All Souls Trilogy.
She’s also a vampire. She was married to Philippe, and Matthew also has several brothers. All vampires. Not brothers by birth, mind you. But rather brought into this vampire family. Ysabeau knew Matthew from birth as he worked as a stonemason for her husband. One day, Matthew falls from a scaffold. Rather than watch him die, Ysabeau offers him eternal life. He accepts and she becomes mom.
She also has a strong hatred for witches, which is awkward, given Matthew is in love with one.
Ysabeau is introduced when Matthew brings Diana Bishop (the witch) to the family home of Sept-Tours in France to escape danger in Oxford. At the beginning of their stay, Ysabeau is cold to Diana and tries to discourage her relationship with her son, but as time goes on, she comes around and eventually becomes one of her protectors.
Z is for Zoophagy, the condition suffered by Renfield in Dracula. Incarcerated in Dr. Seward’s asylum, he eats flies and spiders and begs for a kitten. What he truly seeks, of course, is human blood.
In the original novel, it is revealed that Renfield’s compulsion for eating living beings derives from his association with Count Dracula, whom he serves, and his resulting belief that he can extend his life by draining the life force of others.
My brief reading on the character, who has always left me a little uncomfortable, leaves me with the impression that part of his role in the book is to serve as a counterbalance to the dark and suave Count Dracula. Vampires might look cool, but then there’s Renfield, the embodiment of “here’s what it can also look like and please read the fine print”. I found a good read on this idea here.
Renfield has appeared in a number of different ways in film. In the 1931 version with Bela Lugosi, he takes the role of Jonathan Harker as the real estate agent who sells Dracula the abbey in which he will dwell, visiting his castle in Transylvania, and becoming Dracula’s first English victim. He has since sometimes been cast as Jonathan Harker’s boss or predecessor before going mad, and a variety of actors have hammed it up and devoured insects in the role. Here’s the comic effort of Peter MacNicol in the role in 1995’s Dracula: Dead and Loving It:
And with that, it is time to bring this year’s Vampire A to Z to an end. Here is the complete 2016 list:
I hope you have enjoyed the past two weeks of vampire fun. Happy Halloween!