Thursday, January 10, 2008

Divine Secrets of the Ia! Ia! Sisterhood

I've often found myself enjoying Lovecraftian works in various stories, from episodes of He-Man and Justice League to All-New Atom storylines and Hellboy, but I've never really read any actual Lovecraft pieces. I mean, I read "Call of Cthulhu" late one night a few years back, but I don't remember much of it (I read "The Yellow Wallpaper" right before, and it was pretty late. One stuck, one didn't). But, after describing "The Mist" (the recent Stephen King film) as "Lovecraftian," I decided I ought to read a bit of the man's oeuvre so I'm not just talking out of my ass.

So, I bought a Lovecraft anthology (with the majority of the key Cthulhu Mythos stories in it) and I read "Dagon" online the other night. I'm digging it so far, but it's awakened a hunger from the depths of my psyche, for more good horror and monster stories. For some reason, I have a specific hankering for good vampire stories. I've read a few, and I'd like to check out "30 Days of Night" at some point, but I realized that I have no idea where to find a decent vampire story. I've seen enough adaptations of Stoker to know that I don't really want to start there, and I've heard enough about Anne Rice's stuff to know that they're probably not up my alley.

So, I'm putting out the call to you, loyal readers: what are some good horror stories, specifically ones involving vampires? Prose, graphic novel, film--advise me.


Bill S. said...

I recently started reading the Lovecraft anthologies that Penguin put out, myself, and found myself enjoying them a lot. I don't really have any recommendations, though, since I tend to steer clear of a lot of horror.

Anonymous said...

I've always been partial to the Hammer films, but your mileage may vary.

Richard said...

I wouldn't say it's the kind of horror you're looking for -- I'd say it isn't -- but no discussion of vampire fiction would be complete without a mention of The Vampire Tapestry which is my favorite novel on the subject.

LurkerWithout said...

Ok Vamp horror lets see.

FILM: "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (the one with Gary Oldman) so you don't have to bother with the book. "Near Dark" (some very goofy bits near the end, but a nasty group of travelling vamps). For camp value, "From Dusk 'Til Dawn" and "Monster Squad" and "Vampire in Brooklyn". For 80s nostalgia "Lost Boys". Actually scary? "Lair of the White Worm" maybe. I try to avoid REAL scary movies being a big wuss. No wait, the original "Salem's Lot".

BOOKS: And of course the book version of "Salem's Lot". Agyar by Steven Brust. Sonja Blue series by Nancy Collins. Johnatan Barrett: Gentleman Vampire AND the Vampire Files by P.N Elrod (and her I, Strahd if you like D&D/Ravenloft or even if you don't.) Tanya Huff's Blood Books/Victoria Nelson series. Kim Newman's Dracula books (starting with Anno-Dracula)...

COMICS: 30 Days of Night makes for a quick fun read. Not a very deep story. I think theres an Essential Dracula from Marvel now. Thinking of a decent vamp comic is hard actually...

TELEVISION: You could track down episodes of "Forever Night" or "Dark Shadows". And Buffy and Angel of course. While both had some good, creepy episdoes "Angel" had more vampire ones...

Anonymous said...

The Necroscope series by Brian Lumley. Best vampire stories I've ever read.

Make sure to start with the original run, as unfortunately the more recent reboots and such aren't that great.

Will Staples said...

If you like "Dagon," you should read The Shadow Over Innsmouth. It's a broader extrapolation of the ideas Lovecraft used in "Dagon," and one of his few stories that are genuinely scary. It's overtly racist, though, which I won't defend.

The other great Lovecraft story I would recommend is "The Shadow Out of Time," a sci-fi/horror novella that I think of as his opus.

As for vampires... I can't help you there. I have a long-standing belief that vampires are overrated. (I've been enjoying Breakfast of the Gods, which includes a vampire, but I don't think that's the kind of story you're looking for...)

Alainadragon said...

Ah Lovecraft. Thats good stuff.

Haven't read much vampire stuff. But a decent vampire story in my opinion would be Patricia Briggs "Blood Bound". It has your vampires and some werewolves and even some fey. It is the second in the series, first being "Moon Called" but that focuses more on werewolves, but does introduce the characters and world.

Your Obedient Serpent said...

My favorite vampire book has to be Stephen King's Salem's Lot.

Jack Norris said...

I'll second lurkerwithout's recommendation of Kim Newman's "Anno Dracula" books. The premise is that Dracula won at the end of the Stoker novel, married Queen Victoria and took over England, resulting in an alternate history where vampires are all "out" and part of mainstream society.
The real appeal for me is that it mixes in almost every imaginable fictional character and real historical person from the era in which each book is set, predating League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
There are mentions of Sherlock Holmes being in a concentration camp under the vampire controlled regime in the first book "Anno Dracula", Herbert West and Dr. Moreau make an appearance in the WW1-set "the Bloody Red Baron" and (a vampirised) James Bond and (the Talented Mr.) Ripley appear in the early-60s set "Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha". That barely scratches the surface of the supporting roles and cameos by figures from literature, pulp fiction and real life that pop up in the books.
A short story in the series, "Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula" has Coppola filming a Dracula film just as he did in "our universe" (what a geek I am), but as he's dramatizing history, it's much more like his experiences filming "Apocalypse Now" except his arduous attempt to get his film made happens in Romania instead of the Phillipines.

Unknown said...

A collection of short stories that had an influence on Lovecraft, called The King in Yellow, is well worth a read- only a couple of the stories are in a similar cosmic horror vein, but it is a good read. And for free!

As for vampire fiction, its never been my cup of tea. But Christopher Moore did write a goofy vampire romance which is worth checking out, called Blood Sucking Fiends; there is a recent sequel that I can't remember the name of, and I haven't read.

Also, what little I read of Marvel's Tomb of Dracula comic from the 70s was really freaking good. Don't let the fact that its where Blade came from put you off; I promise that the comics are a tense, suspenseful tale.

(And Anne Rice's vampires are so self absorbed, its not funny. If you want to read about teen angst lasting some 200+ years, be my guest...)

Unknown said...

If you're already reading a Penguin anthology, why not try their vampire one?

The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories is a pretty good read. There's some of the "original" vampire stories in there, all the way back to 1816. Also some background info on each story from the editor.

Tomorrow Sucks and Under the Fang are also two anthologies that I own. Like most anthologies they're a mixed bag, but still pretty entertaining.

I'll definitely have to check out the other suggestions here.

You should also check out the campy (but fun!) vampire movies Love at First Bite and My Best Friend is a Vampire.

There's lots of vampire anime also. I like Vampire Hunter D and the sequel Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust myself.

Anonymous said...

northernplainsSalem's Lot was written by steven king(by the way)

Lovecraft is a master horror man, I would recommend the case of charles Dexter Ward as a starting point. A great example of this type of horror.

I would also recommend a book called "The Talisman."