Credit Where Credit Is Due
I saw this thing the other day, a post on social media offering best wishes to Anne Rice on her birthday. (Happy belated, Anne!) The poster mentioned something about how INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE was the most important book since DRACULA to the vampire genre, because it reinvented the vampire as a sympathetic character. And then there is this article from SyFy WIRE. It’s deceptive, because it makes it sound like Dacre Stoker, author of DRACUL (check out my review here), which is, in my opinion, a superior book to INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (sorry, Anne), is going to be working on the upcoming THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES Hulu series. He isn’t. He simply offers his thoughts on the series. Oh, and he, like the birthday wish offer-er, happens to be wrong. (Sorry, Dacre.)
Says Dacre: “[INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE] opened the doors up to a new type of vampire, a sort of vampire with a conscience.” Which is false. Perhaps one could argue that the term “opened the doors” could be interpreted metaphorically, thus the statement is not entirely incorrect, but the concept of the sympathetic vampire, the “vampire with a conscience,” did NOT originate with Ms. Rice. Not at all. The Penny Dreadful VARNEY THE VAMPIRE experimented with the subject decades before the publication of DRACULA, even. But the vampire who firmly established the sympathetic vampire as a staple, the character that changed the genre forever and turned the vampire from villain into antihero, was NOT Varney and it was NOT one of Anne Rice’s creations. It was Barnabas Collins, portrayed by Jonathan Frid on DARK SHADOWS. Barnabas Collins is the one who truly “opened the doors up to a new type of vampire.” And ironically—as all DARK SHADOWS fans already know—it happened by accident!
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!