Friday, November 27, 2009

Cracking the Hundredth Mark

While I was watching Neighbours today (ahem), one of the ad breaks screened a compilation album called Forbidden: Songs of Love, Lust & Blood.

What does this have to do with vampires, praytell?

It was the angle being used to promote it. That's right, they were pitching a vampire connection!

The ad was too brief - and surprising - for me to have jotted down any notes (not that I sit in front of the telly with a notepad and pen in hand, mind you), so I'll hand you over to CD Online's spiel:
2 CDs for the lovers of all things vampire. The world has been swept up in the craze of Vampires, whether it be the romantic movies, tv series, books, actors etc, we can't get enough of this fantasy world. Disc 1 features Rock/Emo sounds with Vampire themes and Disc 2 features Acoustic/Indie focusing on love, lust & passion.
Some of the inclusions are certainly a bit...unusual. I mean, blink-182's "First Date"? 3 Doors Down's "Kryptonite"? Really?

Despite the (mostly American) acts present on the album, it's certainly an Aussie compilation in that it features a pretty decent amount of Australian acts, namely, The Living End, Short Stack, Kisschasy, Sia, Missy Higgins, Butterfly Boucher, Josh Pyke, The Audreys and Little Birdy.

It's quite obviously a cash-in on the recent release (November 19) of New Moon, but boy that cover looks pretty!

It's also interesting to see the romance (for want of a better word) angle being so prominently featured. Tragic love. That, I believe, is the drive behind the success of Meyer's books. Not vampires, per se, but the themes she explores in her series. The vampires, I think, are practically peripheral.

Now, as you may have noticed from the title of this entry, this is my hundredth post for this blog! So, after that previous ramble, I'll share some goodies with you to mark the occasion:
  • "Meet the Twlight Mums". Read this heartwarming (or, disturbing, if you prefer) story of a bunch of mums who got together to share their love over Meyer's books.
  • Martin V. Riccardo's "The Vampire as a Psychic Archetype", TAT Journal: The Forum for Awareness 2.3 (1979).
  • I was recently looking for a copy of Matthew Kratter's "Twilight of the Vampires: History and Myth of the Undead", Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture 5 (1998). I wound up contacting the journal's publisher, Michigan State University Press, only to be informed by its Order Fulfillment Manager that the article was...available for free as a download! Woohoo! You can access download it via this page. But, a word of warning: you'll need Adobe Acrobat (it's a pdf file) and you'll have to download the entire issue (c. 25mb) to have your own copy of the article.
  • Remember my entry on the (rather dubious) connection between porphyria and vampires a while back? Well, I've got something a bit more scientific for you: Ann M. Cox's "Porphyria and Vampirism: Another Myth in the Making", Postgraduate Medical Journal 71.841 (1995). You can download it through here, and yes, it'll be another pdf file.
  • Lastly, here's a stack of articles from Innana Arthen's "Rare Article Archive" from her webiste, By Light Unseen.
Well, that about wraps it up for now. Have fun kids!

I'd like to take the time to thank my readers, commentators, followers and even casual browsers of this blog. Wouldn't be much point without you!

I'd also like to give particular thanks to Niels K. Petersen and Andrew M. Boylan for some wonderful correspondence.

Thanks guys and keep up the good work!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Even Hackers Go Crazy for Twilight

You know you've made it big when even hackers exploit your popularity.

Here's "Hackers Put Bite on Fans" from the Thursday November 19, 2009 edition of mX (Melbourne), p. 5:
Cyber criminals are attempting to rob personal information of fans of the Twilight series.
Security software company PC Tools has identified a scheme that targets people who search online for author of the books, Stephenie Meyer.
When users click on to "Stephenie Meyer at", their computer is infected with malware that asks them to install phony antivirus software.
The Vampire Byte program then sucks out personal details.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vampires on Telly

Speaking of localised vampire interest, I was surprised to see vampires featured on Wednesday's The 7pm Project (Channel 10, 7pm-7:30pm) and via a crappy skit on Hungry Beast later that night (Channel 2, 9pm-9:30pm).

It's a lead-up to the cinematic release of New Moon, nationally, today.

On Friday the 13th, I was also sent an e-mail by Allison Bethurem, FutureWorks PR, who notified me about Stephenie Meyer's appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the same day. The show was listed as a Facebook event.

I never caught it as a) I was busy that day b) the screening times differ in my country c) Allison notified me by a Gmail account I rarely use.

But, still, it's the principle of the thing. We're talking about a vampire author on Oprah!

How often does that happen?

The world has gone vampire-mad!

More Chicken Soup

If you own a copy of Richard Greene and K. Silem Mohammad's philosophical anthology, The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless (2006), then you might be wondering about the content of Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy (2010).

After all, the same editors are involved and it's also going to be published by Open Court.

The question is, how much does it differ from the previous publication?

Is it a whole new anthology, or merely a rehashed, retitled reprint of the first book?

Here's what Open Court's description of the book has to say on the matter:
This is an expanded and re-titled edition of Open Court’s The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless. It includes two new chapters and a new introduction.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Localised Vampire Interest

Looks like there's other kindred spirits haunting the web.

Here's how Amy Gray - author of How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead (2009) - is described by Candlewick Press:

Amy Gray is a writer, photographer, and amateur vampirologist who has been fascinated with vampires, spooky art and literature, and the supernatural stories.
I had no idea she was a fellow Aussie until I read the rest of the description.

It's great to see such contributions being made by my fellow countrymen. And women. Ahem.

You probably weren't even aware such writings came from here. After all, did you know that
Ken Gelder (Reading the Vampire, 1994) and Gordon David Keyworth (Troublesome Corpses: Vampires & Revenants from Antiquity to the Present, 2007) are fellow Australians?

And, just like many other parts of the world, we've been bitten by the Twilight bug.

Martin V. Riccardo forwarded me two interesting articles that discuss the rise of vampire interest in my country, largely off the back of the success of Stephenie Meyer's series and its subsequent movie(s).

The first article talks about its success knocking another popular franchise off its block:
VAMPIRES have killed off boy wizards in the battle for the imaginations of Aussie kids.

The popularity of supernatural bloodsuckers has eclipsed old favourite Harry Potter, with children eagerly awaiting the release next Thursday of the second movie in the wildly successful Twilight series, New Moon.
The second article he sent talks about the rise of "VAMPIRE clubs, covens and lairs".

Now, I'm not saying that vampires have completely taken over our society, but it's interesting to see how much they've caught on. We don't exactly have a huge horror fanbase here. Hallowe'en is still generally regarded as an "American holiday".

That said, I'm not operating under any grand illusions with vampires' current popularity. I know that it's nothing more than a trend that'll pass soon enough, but it's also interesting to see just how deeply vampires have embedded themselves in mainstream popular culture.

I don't think vampires have ever been this popular.

So, for better or worse, hats off to Mrs. Meyer and her sparkly undead.

I can only hope that this current popularity will generate more scholarly writings on vampires in general. After all, there's more to 'em than Edward Cullen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gotta Draw the Line Somewhere

Ah, the price of fame.

Or, more importantly, the price of portraying a vampire that girls across the globe (and probably a few blokes, too) swoon over.

Rob Pattinson's concerns are voiced in "Crazed Twilight Fans 'Slice Open Necks'":

"I just don't want someone to have a needle and give me HIV and I don't want to get shot or stabbed."

Pattinson recalled one time where a group of girls approached him bleeding from scratches they had just opened up on their necks.

"They were like, 'We did this for you' … I didn't know what to say — 'Thank you, guys?'"

They do know he's a friggin' actor, right?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Coupla Follow-Ups

In "More Wishes", I openly wondered whether the April 20, 2010 release of Paul Barber's Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality was actually a new edition.

So, I decided to ask the author himself.

Barber confirmed that the book
isn't a second edition, but contains an updated introduction partly discussing the current Twilight craze. The index has also been re-jigged.

The book's publisher, Yale University Press, also apparently refers to the book as a "reissue".

If you've missed out on getting an original copy of Barber's 1988 work, then the reissue will do you a world of good. Plus, it's got this spiffy new cover!

Next up, we look at Brad Steiger's Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Other Creatures from the Darkside (2010). We'll be focusing on disputed page length, which was previously covered here.

As I mentioned, its Amazon listing credits it with 400 pages. As of this writing, it still does:

However, as I previously noted, I have a copy of this book and the pages only number up to 287.

So, I contacted the book's publisher, Visible Ink Press (VIP), about this discrepancy.

A representative confirmed that the book didn't have 400 pages, but 304 pages. Now, this makes sense, because the 287 figure I referred to was its page length in Arabic numerals. What I failed to take into account were the Roman numerals used for the intro, etc.

Nonetheless, this still takes it far below the 400 pages listed on its Amazon entry. The VIP's rep informed me he had contacted Amazon about the matter. But, as can be seen from the screencap, the page number's yet to be fixed.

Something else that bugged me about Steiger's book was the copyright date in its publication details. The book was quite clearly published in 2009. Amazon confirms this. Yet, the publication date is listed as 2010.

What's the deal there?

The VIP rep was able to give me the scoop on that, too: "in publishing, the copyright year generally starts in September, which is when Real Vampire [sic] was published."

That would also explain why Jay Stevenson's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires was published - and available - in late 2001, but has a copyright date of 2002.

Mystery solved!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

For Twilight Fans with a Sense of Humour

Ben Relles of sent me a link to a music video featured in one of his site's segments, "Key of Awesome":

It's called "Emo Vampire" and features a Draculaesque vampire lamenting the state vampires haven fallen into ("I've got nothing in common with the vampires of today / They gaze at girls and pout and brood and then just run away") since the Twilight boom.

Can't say I blame him!

Feeling a Bit Peckish

Even though this image comes from SpiritHalloween - an online Halloween costumes store - it wouldn't be out of place in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation:

You gotta dig the pinched skin between the bitemarks. Sure, it might not be as pretty as two little puncture wounds, but it's probably a helluva lot more accurate!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

Andrew recently wrote a review for Weird Vampire Tales (1992) after I recommended it to him, a little while ago.

It seems he enjoyed the anthology of pulp fiction vampire stories as much as I did.

However, his description of the stories all being taken from Weird Tales is slightly inaccurate: most of them were. But not all. This site shows which story came from which magazine.

Andrew's review also notes a couple of (now) standard vampire tropes, which may originally have been published in the pulps. For example:
In a visual medium, as far as I know, it was Dan Curtis who brought the concept of the reincarnated love into the vampire genre as a main theme in Dark Shadows. I, the Vampire by Henry Kutner is a much earlier written example of the concept being used – dating back to 1937.
And "William Tenn uses science, and a blood substitute, to enable vampires and humans to coexist, long before True Blood, in She Only Goes Out at Night."
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