April 10, 2011 |
Sometimes inspiration comes in the unlikeliest places. While vacationing in Puerto Vallarta in fall 2008, USC professor Deborah Harkness, a historian of science, was consumed with the upcoming bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth, but the rest of the world, including the airport in the Mexican resort city, was gripped by a madness spread by vampires: The last of Stephenie Meyer's four "Twilight" novels had just been published. "To walk through the airport was to be hit with vampires, witches, ghosts and demons at every angle in the bookstores," says Harkness, a good-humored and enthusiastic woman of 46, over a cappuccino in Pasadena.
November 15, 1992 |
Authors strive to create immortal characters; movie actors long to play them. And what film character achieves immortality quite like Count Dracula, Transylvania's venerable, life-seeking, blood-drinking Lord of the Undead? Ever since 1922, when Max Schreck first gave him silent life in F. W. Murnau's German classic, "Nosferatu," Dracula has been through one cinematic resurrection after another.
January 14, 2010 |
An Australian billboard showing the physical deterioration of a pretty young woman over two years of drug abuse inspired "Daybreakers" creature designer Steven Boyle to give the film's badly mutated "Subsiders" vampires similar characteristics. "When people see the Subsiders, I wanted them to feel pity and disgust before they felt fear," Boyle said. While some of the vampires got away with minimal makeup, performer Bryan Probets had to wear a full-body foam latex suit. Everything was covered except for the inside of his ears and the soles of his feet.
September 5, 2008 |
THE BEST thing about Alan Ball's new vampire series "True Blood," which premieres on HBO Sunday, is the opening credits. The jittery compilation of unnerving images -- prayer meetings and road kill, ghostly children and swamp scenery -- is creepy, evocative and tantalizing. Unfortunately, it is also utterly unconnected to the show that follows. For reasons known only to himself, Ball decided to take Charlaine Harris' light, fun series of Southern Vampire Mysteries and turn it into a heavy-handed political fable with vampires, recently rendered "safe" by the creation of the synthetic Tru Blood as stand-ins for the disenfranchised.
July 29, 2012 |
Shadow of Night A Novel Deborah Harkness Viking: 584 pp., $28.95 Writing second installments of planned trilogies is harder than you think. There has to be enough background from the first novel - but not too much - to give newcomers a grasp of the story while advancing the plot for readers eagerly anticipating the challenges of the new book. Deborah Harkness laid the foundation of her "All Souls Trilogy" with "A Discovery of Witches," which introduces historian Diana Bishop, a witch not fully aware of her powers.
March 3, 2011
The Official Twilight Convention: Finally, somebody starts paying attention to little Stephenie Meyer's fantasies of repressed teen desire filtered through the prism of bloodthirsty but sort of ethical vampires. There will be something for every fanatic at this conference celebrating Meyer's series of books and movies, including a panel on bloodsucker lexicon, a karaoke party with Tinsel Korey and Julia Jones, and a vampire ball where you should be able to strut in your finest velvet and high collar.
August 19, 2013 |
Mysterious faerie/vampire Warlow (Rob Kazinsky) reveals his monstrous self -- and eventually gets staked in the heart -- on “Radioactive,” the sexy, gory, action-packed Season 6 finale of HBO's “True Blood.” Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) breaks the news to Warlow that she's not ready to go vampire and spend eternity together. Her vamp friends are safe, no longer needing Warlow's sun-resistant blood, so maybe dating is better than nuptials. As for her undead friends, they're dancing in the daylight, stripping off their Vamp Camp prison garb and engaging in orgiastic sex. They also want to play croquet and volleyball.
October 25, 1994 |
A neck-biting nobleman dispatched by 19th-Century literature to haunt this wind-swept outreach of Transylvania has stirred to life in the post-Communist era as the embodiment of a culture clash between patriotic Romanians and Hollywood. Romanians, only recently acquainted with the Western version of Dracula, are spurning the caped count of Irishman Bram Stoker's 1897 novel. That's because they fear the fictional vampire--and his celluloid successors--may taint the reputation of a real-life hero.