Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ANNO DRACULA

I've been reading a lot of Dracula-related material in preparation for mine and John Peter's Lionheart of Her Majesty's Secret Service; after reading Stoker's masterwork I dove right into Kim Newman's Anno Dracula and found myself as enthralled by Newman's work as I was by Stoker's—and that's saying a lot.

Anno Dracula is impressive not only for being an exciting tale filled with action, adventure, mystery and horror, but also for name-checking every single vampire from fiction, films, and television. And I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE; nary a vampire goes without at least a fleeting mention; most are used as supporting or background characters. I was floored when, nearing the climax, I finally recognized the vampire named Iorga was in fact Count Yorga from Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) and The Return Of Count Yorga (1971).

As well as every vampire, at least one of the most famous vampire killers (so far as I am concerned) gets a singularly slick-as-hell cameo, to wit;

An angry little American in a rumpled white suit and a straw hat from the last decade was holding the mouth- and ear-pieces of the apparatus [a telephone] and yelling at an unseen editor.

"I'm telling you," he shouted, loud enough to render the miracle of modern science superfluous, "I've a dozen witnesses who swear [Jack the Ripper] is a werewolf."

The man at the other end shouted, giving the exasperated reporter a chance to draw breath. "Anthony," he said, "this is news. We work for a newspaper, we are supposed to print news!"

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