Google is celebrating Bram Stoker's 165th birthday with a doodle featuring the infamous count and his brides facing off against Harker...
Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories (1914)
Published posthumously, this collection of Stoker short stories capitalized on the success of Stoker's novel Dracula. The story that makes this collection worth reading is the titular "Dracula's Guest." Intended to be the original first chapter of Dracula, it follows an unnamed Englishman (assumed to be Jonathan Harker) on his way to Dracula's castle when he makes a stop at a local graveyard. There he discovers the tomb of "Countess Dolingen of Gratz / in Styria / sought and found death / 1801" and inscribed on the back of her resting place the words "The dead travel fast." The Englishman is unsettled and falls into a swoon only to awake and find a wolf lapping at his neck. He is saved by Dracula's attendants who convey him to the castle. Stoker's Styrian countess is a reference to another literary vampire, the countess Mircalla Karnstein of Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla (1872). In Le Fanu's novella she is the title vampire who preys on the young daughter of a family in Styria. By referencing this undead countess, Stoker places Count Dracula in a tradition of vampires that extends back to Le Fanu and even Polidori's "Vampyre" (1819).
The Jewel of the Seven Stars (1903)
The basis for the Hammer horror film Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971), this novel follows an archaeologist's efforts to bring the ancient Egyptian mummy Queen Tera back from the dead. Click here for my review of the film and little more about the book.
The Lair of the White Worm, or The Garden of Evil (1911)
This novel is actually based on the folklore of the Lambton Worm. Legend says the lord of an estate went fishing on the Sabbath rather than go to church. He caught a lamprey-like creature, declared it to be the devil's spawn and disposed of it down a well. Like most good monsters, the worm came back to terrorize the countryside and was vanquished by the errant lord who put it in the well in the first place. Stoker's White Worm runs along the same lines of the myth with Adam Salton, the would be-heir of a country estate, coming into contact with a horrible worm-like creature with glowing green eyes. The creature lives in a well and is only destroyed after a thunderstorm ignites a charge of dynamite placed there by Adam.
Full-text works by Bram Stoker:
The Lady of the Shroud
The Jewel of the Seven Stars
The Lair of the White Worm
More Vampires on Monster Land:
The Year of the Vampire
Ten Unconventional Vampires
The everday horror of my life presented in horror gifs. When I give my students a pop quiz When I realize I brought the wrong hando...
When I give my students a pop quiz
This update of the 1960's show The Munsters revisits the monstrous clan of Lily, Herman, Eddie, Marilyn and Grandpa as they move into...
This update of the 1960's show The Munsters revisits the monstrous clan of Lily, Herman, Eddie, Marilyn and Grandpa as they move into the creepy "hobo-murder house" on a sunny street in quiet middle America. A lot of what you love about the campy original series survives including the stair trapdoor and the theme song.
The elements that do change are for the better. Marylin for instance is a lot creepier than I remember. Charity Wakefield plays her with a certain creepy innocence and despite her obvious handicap--sunny blond disposition and lack of obvious monstrosity--she is certainly a Munster through and through. Jerry O'Connell plays Herman like a modern version of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. He's a self-made monster with a bum ticker because he loves too hard. Finding Herman a replacement heart becomes one of the show's main conflicts.
Far and away, Edie Izzard steals the show as Grandpa. He rocks a version of Gary Oldman's imperial red robes in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula and bakes blood cookies that turn the neighbors into his slaves. I have been a fan of Izzard since his stand-up days and he brings the same comedy to this role. His character is a departure from the original goofy Grandpa and he plays grandpa "D" with a suave, biting humor.
For all it's charm, the episode did leave me wanting more. All the major action is resolved at the episode's end, but it felt more like a pilot that could have spawned more episodes, which is what it was originally intended to be, instead of a standalone piece. So much work and money ($10 million to be precise) went into the crafting the world of the show and I am disappointed that we won't be invited back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Or will we?
Watch the special on Hulu
Happy Turkey Day from Monster Land! I'll leave you today with some musings on the The Hunger Game s whose horrific re-interpretation ...
I'll leave you today with some musings on the The Hunger Games whose horrific re-interpretation of the cornucopia puts new twist on our ages-old horn of plenty.
The Hunger Games is a film adaptation of the wildly popular teen novel of the same name. Set in a futuristic version of the U.S., the country is divided into 12 districts ruled by the Panem. The Panem created the Hunger Games after a revolution that resulted in the destruction of the 13th district. A male and female tribute from each district are sent to compete in the Hunger Games, but only one will make it out alive. The winner's district will receive gifts of food and fuel for a single year while the other districts struggle to eke out a meager living. The plot is a cross between Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale as the tributes are trained to kill one another in the ultimate televised sporting event.
The cornucopia of The Hunger Games is a golden horn that contains food and weapons for tributes. Tributes have two options at the starting line: they can risk running to the golden horn and getting whacked by other tributes in a frenzied bloodbath or flee into the woods without a prayer.
May the odds be ever in your favor. The Hunger Games comes out March 2012
I am head over heels for these art prints by Dan Hillier . They are the perfect mix of Victorian style etchings showing polite scenes of fa...