Which came first? Nightmares, or my love of horror? I haven’t decided yet. But when quite young I used to feed the beast by reading Crypt Tales comic books and watching scary television shows. I remember scooting up to the old tube television set and watching, gasp, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. It was one of my favorites. Today that old series seems pretty tame, or maybe even lame. But I submit, given the non-computer generated special effects (the word cheesy comes to mind) the storylines were pretty funny before some of them just got plain spooky.
For those not in the know, Carl Kolchak was a rumpled intrepid reporter with a nose for supernatural news. To me, Carl was more lovable than say, the popular Columbo. Carl Kolchak wasn’t a Buffy or a Winchester, but if he could send a monster, vampire, or creature back to Hell, then he was going to do it – perhaps while running away and with some skid marks in his dingy briefs!
Each episode began with light theme music…
Poor, rumpled Carl practically skips into the empty newsroom, whistling. He’s got a story in mind, and it might be a juicy one. He plops at his desk and rolls paper into his typewriter (yes, a typewriter). But too soon darkness encroaches. There’s something in that darkness. By now the theme music has turned sinister. Suddenly, Carl has a look on his face that tells us he knows something hideous is creeping up on him. He spins around. His face is frozen with fear.
Fade to commercial.
It’s a great setup for the episode. As a budding horror writer, I appreciated the time it took to build up that sense of horror. Note to writer: don’t flaunt the horror, instead let the reader’s imagination do your work for you. Hopefully, I’ve learned this lesson well. You have to tell me.
My husband travels. I’m always anxious until he comes home. Just this morning he left me alone for another business trip. I’m not afraid, I tell myself. This house is old and creaky, that’s all.
When he showed up a few hours later, I was so glad that his trip was cut short. I don’t think things went well because he wouldn’t talk. He just came inside and sat down in his favorite chair. After trying to coax a conversation out of him, I give up. When he’s ready to tell me what happened, then he will share. So without any more attempts at conversation, we decide to go to bed.
I turn on the television in the bedroom, and set the television’s timer. I just can’t sleep in total darkness. There are things in the darkness. My husband is accustomed to this bit of silliness, but I can’t deny what I feel.
I fall asleep, but it’s fitful. The bedroom is silent and black when I awaken. I feel odd, like there’s something wrong. Then I hear it, our dog, the diva is still in the backyard. My beloved pooch is barking her head off. Our neighbors will burn us in effigy if I don’t let her in, and soon.
I still feel edgy though. I move sluggishly under heavy quilts. My hubby’s arms are wrapped around me, but a little too tightly. I’m surprised Mr. Stoic didn’t wake up first. He’s usually such a light sleeper. The phone on my nightstand rings, and I squint to read the clock on the DVR. Only 9:30? Seems later than that. I pick up the phone.
“Hey, Babe. You asleep? Aw, I didn’t think you’d go to bed this early. My flight got delayed to Boston. I tried to call you on the house phone but the line was dead. Glad I could get you on the cell. I didn’t want you to be worried…"
My heart stops.
Diva is outside pitching a fit. She knows what I now know.
If my husband is in Boston, then what is in the bed with me wearing his face?
Why do we love vampires? Because they promise eternal life (or youth)? Maybe. They're sexy despite (or because of) that whole drinking blood thing, but only if they turn you. Plus, they have some pretty awesome superpowers like getting mortals to submit to their will. Just think how useful that would be at, say, a bank.
I’m a book reviewer who opts to review anything paranormal, but specifically vampire novels. Part of the reason I love to review books is because they are free, and also because it’s so hard for good writers to get reviews (hint).
The vampire books I review are generally quite good. Some are even impressively awesome. Also, there have been a few that weren’t digestible. When I stumble upon a magnificent find, I usually wonder how long those saucy tales have been stewing around in the authors’ brains.
Mine? A few years before I fleshed out my beloved demon.
Which brings me to the reason for this blog. I have a very unscientific observation about these authors. Have you noticed how vampire books written by men tend to create a scenario where mortals are just blood in bags of skin? According to this narrative, people only good for one thing, as a food source. But the contemporary vampire books written by women are different, they tend to be sexually charged. Their narratives tend to have the endearing innocent tossing aside her inhibitions for an ultimate bad-boy and then descending into a lust-fueled relationship.
My unscientific example? How about Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot versus Charlaine Harris’ True Blood. So I ask you. Which do you prefer? Food or lover?