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This is a post where I get annoyingly obsessive about Dracula.

1 Oct

October 1, 2014

Hey, you read the title. You’ve been warned.

I’m really annoyed by the marketing campaign for the upcoming movie Dracula Untold. It claims to be the true origin story of Dracula. Of course, it is all nonsense.

Dracula-Untold-lee von count

The character we know as Dracula is a fictional vampire created in 1897 by Bram Stoker. In the novel, which takes place in the 19th century, Dracula has been a vampire for a great many years, yet little is revealed about his past. Through the passage of time, the character has become linked to the real-life tyrant Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, who took that name “Dracul” when he joined a satanic order in the 1400’s.

There is no basis for this link at all. None is provided in the book.

However, Bram Stoker became passingly familiar with the Tepes legend as he wrote his book and used a version of his name (“Dracul” became “Dracula,” and in fact a branch of the Tepes family uses a variation of that name) for his creation.

And that’s it.

In fact, the original name of the character was going to be the laughable “Count Wampyr.” (As you can guess, “wampyr” means “vampire” in German. So we were spared from Count Vampire.)

Now this movie comes along and I have nothing against it, other than it stars yet another pretty-boy, bare-chested, tormented vampire designed to appeal to the Twilight crowd. But this movie claims to provide the link between Vlad Tepes and the vampire Dracula.

I need to tell you right up front that this is fiction and they can do whatever they want. Dracula (character and book) are public domain and anyone can make any variation of the legend they so desire. I’m fine with that.

But Vlad Tepes is such an amazing historical personage (hey, he didn’t get the name The Impaler for nothing, he earned it) that any movie based on his life can skip anything having to do with vampires. This guy once invited his enemies to dinner to talk peace, then locked them in and set fire to the building. So he was a bad ass without having to wear fangs. He was as brutal and bloodthirsty as any fictional vampire, and he didn’t have to turn into a bat or sleep in a coffin.

I guess what it comes down to is that if the movie is a hit with the brain cell-challenged Twilight crowd, this is going to define the “origin” and “history” of Count Dracula for years to come. It is going to taint the legends of Vlad Tepes and muddy the Stoker tale. Dumb kids will think this shirtless angst-ridden dude is what Count Dracula was and is, when in fact, just for example, both the fictional Count and the real-life Impaler were much older men. And attractive? Read the section where Stoker described the Count’s hairy palms and unibrow.

I just don’t want this teenage fantasy to become Dracula. I want Dracula to stay Dracula.

If you stuck with me to the end, sorry for being so annoying.

 

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I Predicted This: How Hollywood Russell Predated The New Stonehenge Discovery

29 Sep

September 29, 2014

Did you see this headline last week? This story made news around the world.

henge

Turns out the Stonehenge is really huge, much bigger than we thought. Basically, researchers had been walking around, over, on top of, all kinds of crazy structures and objects, and not all of them were buried. A lot of the hills and mounds turned out to be hiding structures right in plain sight. Scientists were basically having picnics on top of those pretty hills and never realized what was going on right below.

This is why I should have been a Stonehenge researcher, because I would have discovered those mounds and buried objects ages ago. You see, I already had that theory 30 years back.

It was the late 80’s/early 90’s, somewhere in that area, and my friend and I were hanging out at Kings Plaza, Brooklyn’s version of a shopping center, working on various ideas for stories that we’d never write. Both of us were interested in Old Time Radio and most of our ideas tended to fit in the horror or detective genre. Sometimes both.

We had an idea for a show called The Corpse. It would be about a crime-solving corpse. (We put the emphasis on solving to differentiate it from all the other crime-committing corpses.) Basically, a bunch of Scooby Gang types would ride around with a dead man in the back of their car and they’d communicate with it by Ouija board.

JOE: Quick corpse, tell me, who’s behind the big bank robbery?
PETE: I’m getting something now. “B-I-G-B-R-U-C-E-F-R-E-E-D-K-I-N.” It’s Big Bruce Freedkin!
JOE: There’s something else coming through!
PETE: “D-U-C-K.” Duck? What’s that mean?
(SOUND OF A SHOTGUN BLAST)
JOE: They’re shooting at us! That’s what it means! Duck!

We also had an idea for a show called The Adventures of Seamus O’Reilly. Seamus was a sheep and his owner, Mother O’Reilly, was knitting him a sweater because he looked cold. She was knitting him a sweater out of his own wool. See why it never got made?

There was also someone called Stoop Nagle, but for the life of me I can’t remember if he did anything more than sit on a stoop.

All this brings me back to Stonehenge and the unlikely first adventure of Hollywood Russell.

In Hollywood’s first adventure, the plan was that he’d been tracking either smugglers or Nazi spies (or both) who were using a small plane to fly in and out of Coney Island unseen. Eventually the bad guys, fearing that Hollywood was getting too close, buried the plane under the Coney Island beach sand. From ground level you couldn’t see anything but some large dunes. Families would climb on them, kids would play on them, and no one could tell there was a plane below. Only when Hollywood went to the top of the parachute jump and got an aerial view could he see the outline of the plane buried below, kind of like the famous Nazca lines down in South America.

For some reason we found that idea farfetched (wonder what those Stonehenge guys would think?) and changed the story so that the plane was buried under the parachute jump during its construction. But that was even more ridiculous, especially considering that the boardwalk was between the beach and the attraction. Then things got worse from there.

And there you have seven degrees separation between Stonehenge and Hollywood Russell.

 

 

 

MURDERCHIMP!

26 Sep

September 26, 2014

Sometimes when I’m writing I have no idea when inspiration will strike. Remember my awesome TV pitch, President Hobo? That would make ABC millions! If only they answer my phone calls. And my movie treatment for Hamsterus! would have made DreamWorks a fortune, if it wasn’t for that restraining order Spielberg put on me.

Well I’ve done it again. There I was, wasting time on some stupid Hollywood Russell story and I realized what an idiot I was. Some guy from the last century named Hollywood? C’mon, his big claim to fame is that he wears a trench coat. Big deal, so did Winston Churchill at the Yalta Conference. Big whoop. I’ve been wasting my time. The public doesn’t want some old mystery dude, they want something new, something modern.

They want MURDERCHIMP!

I haven’t really figured out what a Murderchimp is, but trust me, this is the next BIG THING! I’m so sure it’ll be big that I’ve already written the back cover blurbs to what I know is going to be my bestselling idea. And it may not even be a book! I have no idea, but this has to be good, I can feel it!

MURDERCHIMP!

WHO is MURDERCHIMP?
WHAT is MURDERCHIMP?
WHEN is MURDERCHIMP?
WHERE is MURDERCHIMP?
WHY is MURDERCHIMP?
HOW is MURDERCHIMP?

435lancelotlink

MURDERCHIMP is the international assassin for hire. He works only for the highest bidders of the highest bidders who can bid even higher!

MURDERCHIMP is the high-flying, tuxedo-wearing, blood-letting, roller-skate traveling, internationally known assassin loved by women the world over and feared by men the world over!

MURDERCHIMP can scale walls, climb trees, eat bananas, and make love in 347 different positions!

MURDERCHIMP! The only chimp/assassin/jet-setter/Blaxploitation hero you’ll ever need!

MURDERCHIMP! Is always capitalized and never marginalized!

CELEBRITY KUDOS FOR MURDERCHIMP!

“It was Murderchimp, Sam!” – Jack Klugman

“I’ll never forget Murderchimp.” – Mohammed Ali

“If only we had Murderchimp to stop ISIL.” – President Obama, before Congress

This is going to be awesome! So what if Jack Klugman is dead, he’d LOVE MURDERCHIMP! So whatever MURDERCHIMP turns out to be- a book, bedsheets, contraceptive, whatever- rush out and buy seven or eight! Trust me, you’ll love it, and I’ll love the cash!

 

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