by Sasha Soren
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In Random Magic, our heroes (Winnie and Henry) spend an uncomfortable night at a vampire castle, in the company of the charmingly sinister De Morgues.
Much like the gracious and elegant host (Count Dracula) of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, the De Morgues are scrupulously accommodating and pleasant to their guests.
Indeed, for all we know, Count Dracula and the De Morgues could very well be unearthly cousins, connected by some supernatural family tree.
In any case, also like that gothic gentleman, the De Morgues can be just as cordial as may be -- they’re still creatures of the night.
And, like most creatures of the night, they’re quiet, secretive, and potentially lethal…
In celebration of Halloween, we’d like to treat you to an excerpt from Random Magic about this particular family of the vamps, and some interesting tidbits about vampires and their wicked ways.
If that isn’t enough to sate your appetite for the undead, grab some popcorn and get cozy for a feature documentary about the most famous blood-swiller of all: Count Dracula.
Ready, oh, children of the night? Let us partake of this toothsome repast of all things vampirical. Quick, quick! Make haste, friend, for the moonlit revelry begins -- but we must needs be safe abed before sunrise…
* Vampires are traditionally nocturnal and fear the sun, hiding away in their crypts, coffins, or other secluded places, until nightfall.
* Depending on the source of the myth, vampires either can’t endure daylight at all (and burst into flames or dust if exposed to the rising sun), or they can endure daylight, but in a severely weakened state, unable to travel far from their selected lairs.
* Like witches or warlocks, vampires often have familiars -- a guardian in the form of a dog, wolf, cat, or other animal -- or caretakers to protect them while they sleep.
* Vampires have superhuman strength and the ability to read minds or to hypnotize the unwary.
* Due to their immense lifespans (eternity, unless they meet with a wooden stake), vamps acquire years of knowledge about the ways of the world -- they’re cunning and very wise, making them tricky and dangerous opponents.
* Modern-day vamps are usually depicted as suave, intense, charismatic and alluring, even hypnotic.
* A vampire casts no shadow, and doesn’t show any reflection of face or figure in a mirror.
* Bats are associated with vampires -- in the book Random Magic, at least one character travels in the form of a bat. It’s faster!
Random Magic excerpt: The De Morgues
The Count De Morgue floated suavely at the bottom of the main stairs. He’d come to meet them personally.
“Winnie, precious child,” he emoted, “how very nice to see you.”
He leaned over, and kissed Winnie’s hand. She bowed awkwardly.
“And you’ve brought your charming friend…”
“Such a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Henry.”
The count smiled, his heavy-lidded hazel eyes gleaming with the prospect of unexpected diversion…Fresh blood was exactly what they required…
Henry smiled nervously, unsure of what to say. The heavy metal door slammed closed behind them, which didn’t improve his mental trickle of unease.
Count De Morgue nodded briefly at Mort, who swept past them and lurched ahead into the dining salon.
“And Lady De Morgue?” Winnie inquired politely.
“She’s not -- herself,” the Count said, looking even more melancholy…
“Ah,” he said, his hypnotic amber gaze flicking towards the stairs. “My beloved.”
Henry followed his stare. A slender woman in stygian green brocade had materialized soundlessly at the head of the stairs, her face in shadow.
Lady De Morgue wafted down towards them, looking pale and preoccupied. Her veil was slightly off kilter, and she’d forgotten her ever-present brooch, a sentimental gift from the count.
Her glossy ash-dark hair looked hastily brushed, tucked into a chignon that bordered on inelegant.
The planes of her face were almost overly refined, as if they’d been carved in miniature, in valuable old ivory…Like a set of matching funereal angels, Lady De Morgue was as beautiful to look at as the count, and doubly gloomy.
She looks deathly ill, Henry decided. Maybe she’s an invalid.
Lady De Morgue paused briefly at the foot of the stairs, and pressed a hand against her chest, as if her heart pained her so much that she couldn’t take another step.
“Oh,” she said sadly. “We have guests.” (More)
Book trailer: Random Magic by Sasha Soren
Summary: When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes.
Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is.
Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Strüths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time. More: Random Magic
Vampire Film Feature: In Search of Dracula
Bram Stoker penned a grimly luxurious tale of unearthly visitors and dark deeds, in his 1897 novel, Dracula.
But where did Stoker find inspiration for his well-mannered but bloodthirsty prince of darkness -- was Count Dracula based on a real person? And what did the world know of vampires before his 1897 novel and afterwards?
For example, writer John Polidori introduced a romanticized version of the aristocratic vampire to generations of future readers with his 1816 creation, Lord Ruthven.
Polidori’s short story, featuring the dastardly Ruthven, The Vampyre, was published in 1819, decades before Stoker -- but Polidori’s dark tale has roots that go even further back in time, stemming from a summer spent with writer friends Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Shelley’s future wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.
The friends shared collected tales of folklore and read each other ghost stories -- then challenged each of their friends to create their own tales of thrilling melodrama.
Polidori wrote The Vampyre. Mary Shelley (born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) is, of course, the creator of another perennial Halloween favorite: Frankenstein.
Before Stoker’s Dracula and Polidori’s Ruthven, then, there were already existing stories about men and women who returned from the dead, to feed on the living. Where did some of these eerie tales originate, and were there possible historical models for Dracula’s bloodlust and quiet savagery?
on the cast of characters
for his 1897 novel, Dracula
In Search of Dracula explores these and other vampy questions, narrated by one of the most famous screen vamps of all -- the legendary Christopher Lee, who starred in Hammer Films’ wildly popular and totally campy string of Dracula films in the late 1960s.
Lee starred in Hammer Films’ Dracula (1958), a.k.a. Horror of Dracula (U.S.), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1965), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969), and Scars of Dracula> (1970).
Lee was already fed up with playing the infernal Count by his second film for Hammer, though -- after his debut in Horror of Dracula (1958), he took center stage again in Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1965, but was reportedly so annoyed with the flimsy film script that he stubbornly resorted to hissing all of his lines. Inevitably, perhaps, Lee’s Dracula films were destined to become cult classics -- of course, that’s just what happened.
So, to sum up the drive-in movie feature presented for your perusal on this All Hallows Eve (All-Hallows’-Even’, or All Saints’ Evening, which later became All Hallows’ Eve, All Hallows Eve or All Hallows’ E’en, then, finally, Halloween), on that most popular night of all for masked Vampire Balls, ghostly flitterings and slithering shades:
It’s vampy. It’s campy. Got popcorn? Let’s go!
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula
Watch: In Search of Dracula
(Alternate link for readers outside the U.S.)
If you’d like to read more about the De Morgues -- and find out if Winnie and Henry survive their night in a nest of vamps -- you can find Random Magic on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
Thanks for stopping by to enjoy some vampy revels, and Happy Halloween!
Vamps! post created for October Trix-n-Treatz by Sasha Soren
© 2010. All rights reserved.
by Sasha Soren
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Oct 24 - Nov 2, 2010
and win something wicked ;-D
* image sources, castle, Lady De Morgue, the bite, the note, the cape