Bump & Grind

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Jul 17th, 2011
Mel
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The other night, I was sitting out on my deck, staring up at the sky. It was a beautiful evening, and the moon was full and bright. I sat and stared at it, half expecting to hear one of the children of the night howl in the distance. Alas, there was no howl, and in its place, I took a picture of the moon with one of my iphone’s trendy apps, and posted it up on my facebook wall. I was feeling a bit smug after finishing up the casting of a film project, and a tad letdown over the lack of horrible creatures jumping out at me in the darkness. What had gone wrong?

I’m not sure when my obsession with vampires ended, but it did. They no longer scared me, and the prospect of living forever in a coffin of dirt from my homeland, sounded inviting. Sleep all day, play all night. Stay forever young, and have perfect skin and hair without ever showering. Maybe these fanged dudes weren’t so bad after all. How my deep red inner tattoo of vampire fear been erased? Time to reflect.

It all started with “Dark Shadows”. You may remember  that it aired every day after school on ABC, and was shot live to tape. (This translates as: People often knocked over the cheesy scenery, actors were sometimes missing props, and an occasional tech person showed up on screen.) Pegged as a gothic soap opera, “Dark Shadows” became a cult classic. I loved it, and even had my very own Barnabas Collins vampire ring, and a music box that played “Josette’s Theme”. Hell, I still remember the lyrics to the song!  And with fellow fans Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Madonna, and Quentin Tarantino as company, I am not at all ashamed to say that I would still, today, sit for hours, and watch this show. Perhaps some nice soul will purchase the series for me on DVD for Christmas 2011. (Hint.)

“Dark Shadows” was the “True Blood” of the 70’s. It had the drama, the affairs, the sex, albeit 1970’s soap opera sex, and transformed vampires, werewolves, and zombies into sex symbols. Jonathan Frid and David Selby were the shows heartthrobs. Looking back on it, David Selby was pretty hot, but Frid was pretty old, even for a vampire.

The show had a “Dracula goes to Maine” theme, and was so popular that  NBC Hollywood tried its hand at remaking the show back in 1991, with Ben Cross as B.C.. Unfortunately, the Gulf War came around and ruined the show. (Wars can be so disruptive.) But, fellow fans, do not despair. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are making their very own “Dark Shadows” movie, scheduled for 2012. I may actually find my way to a movie theater to see it on the big screen. I certainly hope that Tim insists on Danny Elfman keeping the theme music, and must have Johnny, er… Barnabas, agonize over the music box that plays Josette’s theme…

 

“Josette, dearest, please be my love.

I need you more than all others above.

Here I wait for your answer to me.

My heart, my soul, I give to thee.” 

Collinsport, Maine may have once caused me to shiver in fear, but now, it will be like going to a homecoming. Bring it on, Tim. Give it your best campy shot.

I became obsessed with horror movies watching cable tv. Chiller Theater, on WPIX New York, was a weekly must, which I was fortunate to continue enjoying, even as a college student in Boston, MA. I think that I have seen every vampire, werewolf, and sci-fi creature feature ever made before 1980. Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Abbott & Costello (very funny), and especially, Dracula, starring New York’s very own, Frank Langella. New Yorkers will remember his spectacular run on Broadway as the “fanged” one.  It was that particular movie version that made me start to wonder if being a vampire was not so bad. (So what if the guy underneath was really a disgusting, gross creature? Over time, aren’t we all?)

Of course, reading “Salem’s Lot” scared the crap out of me, and being that it also took place in Maine, I was not really keen on visiting the state.( One of my sisters actually lives there now, and after hearing some of the stories about the locals, I may just stay here in Metropolitan New York and breathe in the pollution.) Stephen King probably watched “Dark Shadows” too. Yes, he grew up in Bangor, and Maine is very creepy, but vampires and werewolves in Maine spell “DS”.

I became torn, as around the same time, Anne Rice’s “Interview With A Vampire” was published, and sexualized vampires became the norm. It was purely human nature that my young mind would be conflicted. Bad vampires – vs- Sexy vampires. Looking back on it, it was a no-brainer. Imagine how upset I was when they cast Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the lead roles. What a drag. Even Chris Sarandon managed to pull off a sexier, albeit campy,  Dracula in “Fright Night” (1985).

Today, it’s all about vampire sex. True Blood  and the Twilight Saga have turned vampires into soft-core porn stars. Those who know “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992), starring Gary Oldham, can appreciate how Francis Ford Coppola managed to create a movie that had its perverse sexual moments, yet managed to make me want to hurl once or twice.  TB and TS are BS, and I cannot waste my time watching them. Eroticism is created by more than an endless stream of naked bodies. I guess the producers never watched The Hunger? I don’t mean to bash these new franchises. They employ actors and make plenty of cash for the production companies, but they are not very creative.

In fact, I just can’t bear the thought of watching another “new” vampire movie. Vampires are creatures of the night that suck your blood, and turn you into one of the “un-dead”. They were created to frighten people, cause nightmares, and make a young girl with a wild imagination, sleep with the windows locked, and wear a cross around her neck – even when it was 90 degrees F outside. And while a nice, sexy vampire is pleasing to the eye (and we women know who you are), it’s the story that really matters. And every die-hard vampire affectionado knows that real vampires can’t actually have real sex, and certainly cannot procreate with one another – or anyone else. Ridonkulous!

Alas,  I am still careful who I invite into my home after dark, and it has only been 1 year since surgery required that I remove the cross from around my neck. (The clasp had mysteriously fused together and I had to break it to remove it. Believe me, I still cringe when I think about that day.) Yet, somehow, I am no longer in fear of  “things that go bump in the night”, and if Vlad happens to show up one night, I may invite him in for a drink.

Absinthe, anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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