I Want Him To Suck My Blood; or Lilly Discusses Dracula at Length

I discuss everything at length, just to be clear/show my own self-awareness, but on with the blog!

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“I got ninety-nine problems but a bride ain’t one–it’s three.”

Dracula is a character that has tickled my fancy since I was far too young to even know about the Count. I was only six years old when my parents rented the VHS of 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and, thinking it would save my little brain from scarring, sat me in the other room to colour, leading only the noises of the Count’s adventures to reach my little ears. After a few nights of nightmares, my dad’s approach to my fears of what I had heard was to get a child’s version of the tale to read to me, and while it sounds like that would only make it worse, it cured me of nightmares and insensed in me a need to find more stories like that, with strange other worldly creatures and regal monsters and castles full of bats. What more could a little girl want from a story?

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Hot for (undead) Teacher

I broke into it all easy. Mona the Vampire, The Bailey School Kids (I never reached Dracula Doesn’t Rock and Roll, but wish I did since Mr.Drake was a favourite of mine, unsurprisingly), Scooby-Doo–all socially acceptable things for someone my age. Very quickly, however, I was not getting nearly enough from my pre-teen novels and needed more. Buffy, The Vampire Diaries, Angel? Yes, please.

Grade eight was a fantastic year for vampire literature, at least for me. It was then that Interview with the Vampire and Dead Until Dark came into my life, and Queen of the Damned was in theatres (with the amazing soundtrack that matched my Big Shiny Tunes tastes of the time). Vampires were tough, they were sexy, and they were, most importantly, accessible due to the surge making more and more authors and screenwriters come out of the woodwork to put forward their own creatures of the night.

Yes, this lead to Twilight, and I feel like apologizing for promoting the industry that produced that, but it’s not our fault, I swear. It’s not vampire literature, anyway; it’s YA romance. Different genre, move on.

Now, I’ve never been one to say “enough with the vampires, already!” or “no” to any version of Dracula (I allowed for Dracula 2000 in my life, I was that keen), however this fall, NBC is testing my patience. Just watch:

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Lightbulbs? What?

I understand, NBC. You have an American audience to work with, so making Dracula sound like he is from Pennsylvania rather than Transylvania works (Hannibal, however, can still sound European–I know, I know, “European” isn’t an accent, shut up–without problem since…why?) and maybe you need to add more intrigue with what looks like a sexy vampire hunter (Apparently Van Helsing isn’t sexy enough), and yes, let’s make him bring electricity to the town–wait, what. What.

Let me tell you why this all upsets me after all that talk of taking vampires any which way I can get them:

It takes something I love and yet again makes it “socially acceptable”. Insulting.

Since when was Dracula not allowed to sound vaguely foreign, be vaguely evil, and look vaguely terrifying even when he is supposed to be charming your pants off (before biting you, not wooing you, MINA).

Also, who said Mina and Dracula have a past? Why do they need a past? Why can’t he just hunt like the predator he is, like the hunter he proudly proclaims to be? It would be like taking a film like Alien and making it a television series in which the alien is the descendant of a bully from Ripley’s primary school days or maybe the second cousin of a prom date who jilted her, I don’t know. It’s ridiculous. Dracula doesn’t pick Mina Harker for any specific reason (Francis Ford Coppola, are you listening?) besides she’s a lady. Yep. That’s it. Not even that, she is the last lady that is young in the area, no less! She wasn’t even his first choice. What is all this Mina-hype? Come on. Come ON.

Anyway.

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“Hey you kid, get down off my clock!” more than “Prince of Darkness”.

The casting. I know there is a good deal of love for Rhys Meyers out there, and I did once admire him greatly (in a squealing teenage girl kind of way), but to me, he doesn’t have nearly enough presence in the trailer for the series to be the Count. Maybe the Count’s little brother or nephew, or his neighbour’s bratty kid, perhaps, but not Count Dracula himself. The Count is not the vampire next door, he is the mother fucking Count who you don’t want to mess with. Even when he is trying to charm those around him, there is still the air of “Back off” wafting off him. Yet no. No, he is all smiles, flirts, and cheeky grins. Don’t get me started on Renfield, either. And no, it’s not about race, it’s about why the Hell is he sane in the slightest? Nope. No, thank you.

I will admit I had some worries about Hannibal coming to the small screen, however the show has amazed me and has me eagerly awaiting each new episode, but my worries were that of a fan of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal–Mads Mikkelsen has completely won me over, so that’s that. My worries about NBC’s Dracula rebirth stem from being a fan of Dracula himself, and I don’t think they’ll be soothed by any amount of good characterization. Maybe I’ll be surprised or maybe I’ll be annoyed.

Knowing me, though…it’s going to be annoyed.

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I’ll sulk with Hannibal and that skull. Yorick is a mope.

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Grow Up; or Five Things Lilly Grew Up On

Having done the last post in a list format, I found I really liked it. Forcing my tastes on others is something I’ve always enjoyed, and doing so in an organized format makes it seem like I am being helpful and not pushy. Everyone wins. Well, I win, and you can suck it up. You’re here, so you might as well read this.

On that note, let’s get listing!

Nostalgic Piece #1: Wishbone

I love dogs. I love books. What, therefore, could be better for me as a nerdy little kid than PBS’ Wishbone, a weekly half-hour dose of a well-read Jack Russell Terrier introducing me to the great literary masterpieces such as Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, and Hound of the Baskervilles (the Holmes love started early, though that’s elaborated on later). The first copy of Frankenstein I owned was the Wishbone version, which included a tiny flip-art of Wishbone digging a hole in the upper right hand corner to please the reader who wanted more cartoon dogs in their Frankenstein.  To this day, when I think of Baskerville Hall, I think of the hall featured in the Wishbone version–though thank God I don’t think of the Holmes, as Wishbone himself put in for that starring role. Though, the scene at the end of the episode where Watson is scratching Holmes’ head would be pretty amazing to see done by Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.. I bet they’d nail it. Oscars for everyone!

Anyway, I loved this show. It gave me a passing knowledge of so many great stories while also having a cute dog in it. The only reason I read The Red Badge of Courage was because of that show, and let me tell you, it was worth it for the cartoon of Wishbone walking through a log in the top right corner. Literary gold. It was like a gateway drug to literature, and Wishbone was the pusher.

Nostalgic Piece #2: Zoboomafoo (with the Kratt Brothers!)

Before I start talking about this amazing show, I just want to point out that the youtube channel this is on is amazing–Are You Afraid of the Dark‘s theme song still scares me, and since it is late right now, I can’t even watch it without having nightmares–and you should watch everything on it, since they are all shows I watched growing up. Even Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (she wrote with her tail!)

Zoboomafoo was an amazing show for two reasons: one, it had a puppet monkey teaching children about animals using slapstick comedy and catchy tunes, and two, it starred (besides Zoboo) the very cute Kratt brothers, two attractive men who loved animals and were silly, something I could get behind as a young girl with aspirations to become a veterinarian someday. While my grade six self would be disappointed with my career choice, she would not be disappointed by my opinion that the Kratt brothers are still cute after all these years. I’d go back to Animal Junction with them, no problem.

Lilly: Pervving over children’s show hosts since 1988.

Also, I am pretty sure there is nothing cuter than a jaguar cub wrestling a puppet monkey. Pretty sure.

Nostalgic Piece #3: Tales from the Cryptkeeper

This show scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid, and yet I’d watch it whenever it was on. The one episode I remember the full plot of clearly was this one, the rest being only in clippit form in my mind. A doll who demanded she be shared. A girl with beauty products that attracted the dead. Something about basketball and ghosts? Anyway, only this episode really stuck, my mind even keeping hold of the fact that Prince Charming was really named Chuck. For some reason, the ending gave me nightmares for days–I can remember trying to sleep in our old place in Newport Station, but being unable to, as each time I would close my eyes, I would see Chuck and Steve at the end of the cartoon, and I would cry.  I watched the cartoon today, so here’s hoping that doesn’t hold true for tonight’s sleep, of course.

Shit.

Also in that line of television shows that made me have nightmares and yet I watched nevertheless were the above mentioned Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Freaky Stories, and Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids. I was pretty much a creepy little kid. I also watched The New Addams Family like it was going out of style–it was on every day on Global, and I was all over it. I actually loved the idea of having a husband like Gomez, even if I was clearly not his type. Morticia was super hot.

Nostalgic Piece #4: Muppets Tonight

You didn’t seriously think we’d get through this post without a Muppets mention, did you? Puppets in general played a big part in my childhood television tastes, and the Muppets were the kings and queens of puppets. Many tried to beat them–most notably Wimzie’s House, which was not Muppet-brand puppets, but certainly looked like them (making the Sesame Street people antsy, in fact)–but no one came close to the levels of amazing the Muppets reached.  Bear in the Big Blue House was for the daytime, and Muppets Tonight was what came on for late night Muppet fun.

I have no idea what it is  about the Muppets (and more specifically, Muppets Tonight) that appeals to me so much. Maybe it’s the parodies of everything from 2001:A Space Odyssey  to James Bond (featuring the Bond of the day himself). Or is it the covers of great artists from Bruce Springsteen to Billy Idol? Maybe it’s the Star Trek gags? Who knows. What I do know is that I have all of those episodes on my computer to watch whenever I want, and I want a lot. The Muppet Show was something I grew up watching reruns of, but The Muppets Tonight was my Muppets.

Nostalgic Piece #5: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century

Before I became a Holmes elitist, anxious over the idea of anyone taking my beloved Sherlock and bastardizing him, I was just a plan ol’ Holmes fan, loving mystery, intrigue, and British accents in any format given to me. This cartoon is exactly what it sounds like–Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. How, you may ask? Actually, I bet you’re asking “Why?” but whatever.

He was preserved (after death, obviously)  in honey. Okay, um, holy wow, Holmes fans would know why this is cool, but for those of you who aren’t all up in the Holmesian canon, here’s why:  in the story His Last Bow, it is revealed that Holmes retires to Sussex to keep–you guessed it–BEES! Come ON. That’s amazing. It made rewatching it a treat, anyway.

The show follows the plot lines (loosely, ever so loosely) of the stories, featuring big names like Hound of the Baskervilles (done on the moon!) and The Adventure of the Dancing Men (with computer hacking!).  It has a wonderfully depicted and voice-acted Holmes who goes from witty upon waking to frustrated due to the technology differences he faces, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t have his dear Watson any more–that is, until the descendant of Inspector Lestrade, a sassy girl detective, gives him a robot version of the good doctor to tote around. For serious. You get deduction, you get action, and you get a robot Watson. What more could you want?

So that’s the list. Honourable mention goes to Cybersix (a French crossdressing super cyborg, what!), Gargoyles (totally crushed on Goliath–I blame Beauty and the Beast as a gateway drug to my ability to fall for beasts), Reboot (when Bob came back from the net, dude was kickass), Digimon (Matt was my fav, though Angemon was the best Digimon–and man, that intro song is amazing) , What’s New, Scooby Doo? (Shaggy was who I aspired to be, scared-yet-beloved sidekick that he was), and Powerpuff Girls (I still watch this at times. And HIM was one weird twist on the devil, lemme tell you).

Next up on Lilly’s blog: The Hunt for Birdie. (Oh yes, Jillian, I have another blog coming soooooon).