Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha

Why are Kim Newman's Anno Dracula novels not being kept continually in print? They are brilliant, breezy great fun, continually inventive riffs on vampire folklore and pop culture. I am currently engrossed in Judgement Of Tears: Anno Dracula 1959. In this, the third volume in the series, Kate Reed (a character created by Bram Stoker but eventually excised from the final version of Dracula) journeys to Rome on personal business and, within hours, witnesses the brutal murder of Count Kernassy (from the movie The Playgirls and the Vampire) and Kernassy's niece, Malenka (from Malenka, The Niece Of The Vampire, aka Fangs Of The Living Dead) by The Crimson Executioner (from The Crimson Executioner aka The Bloody Pit Of Horror). Kate spared a similar fate by the briefest of appearances by Mater Lachrymarum, the Mother Of Tears (from Inferno and Mother Of Tears).

Of course Newman knows of what he writes: for years he has been a contributor to Tim Lucas's Video Watchdog magazine.

A scene that made me laugh out loud (not because it is a humorous scene) has Kate Reed meeting a fellow reporter, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni?), at a café. And with whom is Marcello conversing when Kate arrives? None other than Father Lankester Merrin, twelve years before his rendezvous with the demon Pazuzu in the Georgetown bedroom of little Regan MacNeil (this encounter is described in greater detail in the novel The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty and the subsequent film by William Friedkin.

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