The Saga of Darren Shan, made into a film… wow. That was all I could think about when the previews first started popping up all over the place. I first started reading the novels way back in 2000, when the first came out. I never actually finished the series, because I’m one of those unfortunate people who have to either forget about the pain of waiting for a new novel in a series, or just go insane for a year. Currently, I’ve been experiencing some severe dementia on account of having to wait a whole two more weeks for the new Kim Harrison novel, and then another couple of months before the new Sookie Stackhouse novel.
One of the great things about the Darren Shan Saga is not having to wait; it’s my personal goal to collect all 12 of the novels once more, and re-read. A little bit more information on the books; they’re not exactly girly vampire novels. Actually, these books were kind of written for a male audience. There’s fighting, grossness, –it’s like a more adventurous, horror-filled Harry Potter series. Except that despite all the sub-par press, Darren Shan came before all the Twilight hype, and before the big vampire media craze to begin with.
I expect that when someone actually offered to purchase the rights to the books for filming purposes, the author, real name Darren O’Shaughnessy aka Darren Shan, or D.B. Shan, probably didn’t see it coming. After all, he’d been writing for over a decade about vampires, and other horror fantasy and teen thrillers. Why now? Well, so that the studios could cash in on some more vampire trend stuff, most likely. The thing is, there’s just so much more going on in these novels. The romance isn’t as stifling and melodramatic, and the adventure is keyed up.
So, the books, –fabulous, always something new, and they’re short. You can probably read a book from the series in one sitting. And once again, I have to stress a unisex appeal, –the girls go for vampires, and the guys go for the lack of romantic drama, and the action overdose. Darren Shan, a normal teen, starts out in an easily identifiable situation, –a suburban robot cycle that seems to go on forever. He has an asshole for friend, –and plenty of us have asshole friends. So it’s easy to relate to this aspect too.
The rest of the story unfolds when Cirque du Freak rolls into town. The characters in the book are just as colorful as those on the big screen. Less sparkly attractive, more grotesque and strange. The werewolves in this film don’t show off their pecs. They scratch their balls, and bite off body parts… that subsequently, grow back. The freaks are freakish, and absolutely hilarious. The vampires were led by John C. Reilly, and Willem Dafoe, –who seemed to be pretty busy in the vampire genre last year, what with his roles in both Cirque du Freak, and the Spierig Brother’s Daybreakers.
In all reality, the cast was fairly star-spangled, as it also included the bearded, but beautiful psychic, Madame Truska, played Salma Hayek, the hilarious and incredibly rude Alexander Ribs, played by Orlando Jones, Ken Watanabe as Mr. Hibernius Tall, and Patrick Fugit as the shedding, but sweet, Evra Von. The film, one could fairly say, is for a fact, good fun for all ages. Adults will get the subtle jokes, and kids will get the not-so-subtle, and the tween girls will get their vampire fix while we wait for the next Twilight film.
My Valentine’s wish is, that you guys will grab the movie at some point over the upcoming few weeks, –it’s available for Netflix on the 23rd, –and see the movie if you haven’t already. Try to experience it with a no expectations mindframe, –don’t expect the vampires to be lame, or the characters to be depressing. Reilly and Dafoe perform beautifully, –Dafoe is always absurdly enchanting, known for his tendency to pad his part and overact to the best of his ability, –you won’t be disappointed by anything other than his short time on the screen. Reilly on the other hand, performs his best since 2002’s ‘Chicago’. So please, just.. get in the coffin, see the movie, and you know… all that jazz.