Make Your Own Buffy

Sometimes I’m amazed at what people think to do — and can do. Check this out:


That’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, made out of paper. Somebody did that.


You can too, if you want. You can download the images, print ’em out, cut ’em out, and put ’em together for your very own. Just go here.

Me, I’m just going to watch in admiration.

Let The Right Subs In, aka Power to the People

lettherightonein
Last week, I watched the Swedish independent horror film Let The Right One In. It’s an unusually smart little film, particularly for the horror genre these days, and it’s probably the best vampire film I’ve seen since Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos (1993). Or maybe Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark (1987). Its approach to horror is to come at us through character rather than through gore or trickery (which is not to say it doesn’t have some of those too), and in ways it reminds me of the works of Val Lewton in the 1940s.

I recommend it highly. But that’s not the point of this entry.

No, the point of it is, turns out I was fortunate to see the movie on the original Swedish screener DVD. The US release of the film on DVD/Blu-Ray last week turns out to have been something even more scary than the movie itself: a dumbed down version of the movie itself. Continue reading

Fake Cheese and Dracula

The last time I was at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of shredded cheddar for various uses like sprinkling on chili or scrambling with eggs, but when I pulled the bag out to use I noticed it wasn’t actually cheddar at all. It was something called “Cheddar Melt Topping,” with the description “Shredded Imitation Cheddar Cheese” in smaller print. It tastes like some sort of packing material that’s been left in a moldy basement a while.

Imitation cheddar cheese my ass.

Which makes me think of Dracula.

Why does this make me think of the vampire king? It makes me think of him because I happen to be reading a novel called Seance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen, which is one of the books in his Dracula series. Years ago, I read Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tapes(which retold Bram Stoker’s story from the count’s point of view, and predated Anne Rice’s tape-recording-a-vampire book by a year), The Holmes-Dracula Files (which, as you’d expect, tells a tale involving the count and Sherlock Holmes, and is told in alternating chapters by Dr. Watson and Dracula), and An Old Friend of the Family (which brought Dracula to modern day Chicago). I loved these books, and always intended to read the remaining books in the series.

Saberhagen was (and I just found out the “was”, alas, is appropriate, as he died in 2007) a damn fine writer. Seance is excellent so far, and is another Dracula/Holmes adventure. So, how does fake cheese come into the picture?

The cover of Seance identifies Saberhagen as the “coauthor of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie novelization.” That there’s some serious fake cheese. For one thing, the movie called Bram Stoker’s Dracula was anything but. It was pretty darn cool, if I recall correctly (though I mostly remember a backlit Winona Ryder stumbling around in a nightdress), but it changed Stoker’s story a good deal for a movie claiming his authorship. And a novelization of a movie based (liberally) on the Stoker novel…Fake cheese.

 In a just universe, there would be no such thing as a novelization of a movie made from a novel. Movie novelizations are more often than not a waste of trees, anyway, and to publish one that actually, by design, is intended to replace an original book is an atrocious idea. It disrespects the original author, and it disrespects every reader who picks up the novelization instead of the original.

I’m sure the fact that Stoker’s book is in the public domain, and available widely in editions that wouldn’t make the licensee any money, had something to do with the decision to produce such an abomination. And maybe financial need led a fine writer like Saberhagen to accept such hack work.

For my part, the book could objectively be the best damned novel ever written in the English language and I still wouldn’t let it in the house. It can stay out there with all the fake cheese I’ll be meticulously not buying from now on.

It Takes a Graveyard to Raise a Child

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

graveyard

So begins The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman’s latest dark wonder, in which he kind of retells Kipling’s Jungle Book, but has the orphaned boy raised not in a jungle by wild things, but in a cemetery by things that go bump in the night.

It works. Gaiman is a master, and this book is pure Gaiman, spooky and clever and wry, written with a simple grace that belies its artful complexity. It’s one of those books that’s like drinking eggnog; it’s so good, you gulp it down, finishing it fast then immediately wishing you had more. (Plus, Gaiman’s book has no calories, so it won’t add to your gut).

The Graveyard Book is a fine book, and a great read for anyone over ten.

Interested readers should also check out Gaiman’s blog at http://journal.neilgaiman.com.

Buffy Vs. Twilight

Alan Gratz (a really good writer, whose books you should read) has a blog post envisioning what a crossover betwixt Twilight and Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be like:

Following up on the tip from Oz’s werewolf contacts, Buffy climbs in the window of recent Sunnydale High transfer student BELLA SWAN to discover EDWARD CULLEN, a vampire, watching the girl as she sleeps. Edward, apparent-age 17, is impossibly beautiful, with angular features and marble-like skin that sparkles.

BUFFY: Whoa. Turn it down there, Tinkerbell.

EDWARD: Shhh! You’ll wake my darling Isabella!

BUFFY: Right. Sorry. It’s just you really ought to take the batteries out. Somebody might mistake you for a Christmas tree.

EDWARD: I’m sorry. It’s my vampire skin. It sparkles in the sun or the bright light of the moon.

BUFFY: Uh-huh.

It’s great fun, and can be read at http://gratzindustries.blogspot.com/2008/12/edward-vs-buffy.html

Cry Little Sister Revisited

Okay, after having sat through Lost Boys 2, I felt compelled to revisit the original to see if it still lives up to my memory of it. It does.

It’s one of those Joel Schumacher movies that’s actually not only worth viewing, but really truly works. It’s visually sweet, dynamically told, and full of witty touches (like Grandpa’s taxidermy). The cast is uniformly fun, especially Kiefer Sutherland (though Jason Patric’s performance is sort of a non-burning brood for most of the pic).

It’s nice to revisit something you enjoyed in your youth and find it still maintains all its charms. We made our way through the Back to the Future trilogy recently, and it, too, has lost nothing over the years.