Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Who will go in the Bram Stoker vampire vault?

Dead Sexy.
The nominees for the "Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century" have been assembled and there are some very big and unglittery names on the list. The novels were chosen by a jury of scholars and writers who are well versed in the field. The jury is headed by Leslie S. Klinger, a leading authority on Dracula. Other members include James Dorr, Linda Addison, Ron Breznay, and Jo Fletcher.

They narrowed their choices down to a slim, but impressive, six. The winner will be announced March 31, 2012 at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City and we will also repost the results here on Texas Lipstick Massacre. 
[mediabistroStokers 2012

Previous winners of various Bram Stoker awards include: J.K. Rowling, Clive Barker, Harlan Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman.

Who do you think should win? Or is there anyone they left off?

The Nominees:
The Soft Whisper of the Dead by Charles L. Grant
Published in 1983, this is the first novel of a trilogy by Charles L. Grant. The novel takes place in Grant's hometown of Oxrun, Connecticut where Ned Stockton comes face to face with the vampire Count Gregor Brastov who is attempting to take over the town of Oxrun. It's a quiet novel in the vein of hammer horror, where fog and shadows rule over gore and carnage.

Excerpt from his 1997 novel Symphony:
“The cover was pebbled black leather, the pages onionskin, and he opened it carefully. It was his first Bible, the one his mother had given him, the one that had taken its time showing him what he was supposed to do with his life, his size, that voice of his. It was the one used for his ordination, and when he had buried his mother on a autumn hillside in Tennesee five years ago. King James. He didn't care about the scholars or the accuracy or the bringing of his church into whatever century they claimed it was these days; he cared about the poetry, and about the comfort it brought to those who needed to hear it.”

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
In 1975, this was Stephen King's second full length novel. Taking place in Jerusalem's Lot, a small New England town, Ben Mears returns to his hometown to find something undead plaguing his town. Stephen King wrote it as an homage to Dracula, and like Dracula did for Bram Stoker, it really put King on the map as a horror writer. Salem's Lot was turned into a movie by Tobe Hooper in 1979 and also a television series starring Rob Lowe in 2004. Stephen King received the Bram Stoker's lifetime achievement award from the Horror Writer's Association in 2002.

Excerpt from Salem's Lot:
“Before drifting away entirely, he found himself reflecting---not for the first time---on the peculiarity of adults. Thet took laxatives, liquor, or sleeping pills to drive away their terrors so that sleep would come, and their terrors were so tame and domestic: the job, the money, what the teacher will think if I can't get Jennie nicer clothes, does my wife still love me, who are my friends. They were pallid compared to the fears every child lies cheek and jowl with in his dark bed, with no one to confess to in hope of perfect understanding but another child. There is no group therapy or psychiatry or community social services for the child who must cope with the thing under the bed or in the cellar every night, the thing which leers and capers and threatens just beyond the point where vision will reach. The same lonely battle must be fought night after night and the only cure is the eventual ossification of the imaginary faculties, and this is called adulthood.”

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
One of the greatest horror writer's of all time is most widely recognized for his 1954 novel I am Legend. In the novel, Robert Neville is the last man on earth, but he is not alone, because the human race has been mostly annihilated by vampires. By day, he hunts out their hiding places, killing them when they are at their most vulnerable state, by night he barricades himself in his house, hoping that he makes it to see another day.

Richard Matheson wrote many episodes for The Twilight Zone including the famous Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (originally a short story called Alone by Night, 1961) which starred William Shatner as a passenger who sees something on the wing. I Am Legend has been turned into a film 3 times beginning in 1964 with the Vincent Price film The Last Man on Earth, 1971 with Charleton Heston in The Omega Man, and in 2007 starring Will Smith in I Am Legend. A forth film was made, a direct to dvd film by the name of I am Omega was made in 2007, but the film does not credit Richard Matheson as source material. Matheson received the the Bram Stoker's lifetime achievement award in 1990.

There's a Shatner in my seat.

Excerpt from I Am Legend:
“In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming. Horror he had adjusted to. But monotony was the greater obstacle, and he realized it now, understood it at long last. And understanding it seemed to give him a sort of quiet peace, a sense of having spread all the cards on his mental table, examined them, and settled conclusively on the desired hand.”

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Published in 1992, this novel has everything. Taking place in a sprawling fictional world in which Dracula defeated Van Helsing, instead of the other way around. He then goes on to marry Queen Victoria imposing a vampire police state on the United Kingdom. All the while, Jack the Ripper is murdering vampire prostitutes. The first in a series, Anno Dracula contains cameos by over 40 characters from literature and film as well as many historical figures, including Sherlock Holmes, Fu Manchu, and Count Orlok from Nosferatu.

Anno Dracula has not been turned into a movie, but if it was, it surely would have to be a miniseries.

This guy knows a lot about a lot. 

Excerpt from Anno Dracula:
“There will never be slaves in Britain,' Godalming continued, 'but those who stay warm will naturally serve us, as the excellent Bessie has just served me. Have a care, lest you wind up the equivalent of some damned regimental water-bearer.'

In India, I knew a water-bearer who was a better man than most.”

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
First published in 1976, Interview with the Vampire became an immediate bestseller and has since sold more than 8 million copies. The novel is framed by an interview that is happening between Louis and a journalist Daniel Molloy (who is only mentioned as the boy). Louis tells the story of how he became a vampire meeting a vampire by the name of Lestat in 1791. The two then travel to Paris where they terrorize high society and Louis begins to learn the full meaning of what it is to be a vampire.

The novel was turned into a film in 1994 starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater, Antonio Banderas, and Kirsten Dunst who won a nomination for a Golden Globe in 1995 for her portrayal of the young vampire Claudia. River Phoenix was supposed to play the reporter, but died weeks before filming began. Anne Rice initially wanted the actor Julian Sands to play the major role of Lestat, but later saw that Tom Cruise was perfect in the part.

Anne Rice was given the Bram Stoker's lifetime achievement award by the Horror Writers Association in 2003. She was the second woman to ever win this award. Joyce Carol Oates was the first woman to win in 1996 for her novel Zombie.

Ain't so melancholy now. 

Excerpt from Interview with the Vampire:
“The great adventure of our lives. What does it mean to die when you can live until the end of the world? and what is 'the end of the world' except a phrase, because who knows even what is the world itself? I had now lived in two centuries, seen the illusions of one shattered by the other, been eternally young and eternally ancient, possessing no illusions, living moment to moment in a way that made me picture a silver clock ticking in a void: the painted face, the delicately carved hands looked upon by no one, looking out at no one, illuminated by a light which was not a light, like the light by which god made the world before He had made light. Ticking, ticking, ticking, the precision of the clock, in a room as vast as the universe.”

Published in 1978, it is the first of a continuing series of books starring the vampire Le Comte de Saint-Germain. The character of Le Comte de Saint-Germain is based on a real life historical figure. This particular novel follows Le Comte de Saint-Germain as he falls in love with a young lady by the name of Madeline, but he is not the only one who has taken notice of the girl, as a group of noblemen and evil sorcerers plan to use her in a ceremony of the black arts.

There is an animated film being released in 2012 under the name Hotel Transylvania, but it has no relation to this novel.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was awarded the Bram Stoker's lifetime achievement award by the Horror Writers Association in 2009. She was the third woman to ever win the award. She was also the first female president of the Horror Writer's Association. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro publishes an average of 3-4 novels a year under various pseudonyms.

Excerpt from Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's novel The Palace:
“Art goes into the world unarmed, vulnerable to every quirk of fate, and it must survive only by its power to move men not to destroy it.”

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