Night of the Vampire Puppets
Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer was a 2010 graphic novel, with a sequel in the works. The title makes a weird kind of sense, given that the titular hero is in effect a living weapon against the undead. But another thought comes to mind almost immediately.
Would Pinocchio have to fight vampires who were also puppets?
Surprisingly, there are a fair number of targets if the answer to that question is “Yes.” The most obvious example would be none other than Sesame Street’s beloved Count von Count, he of the suitably mysterious castle and his bats (among them Grisha, Sasha, Titiana, etc.). More he has at least two lady friends who seem as Transylvanian as himself–Countess von Backwards as well as Countess Dahling von Dahling (methinks he needs one more to make the traditional three brides). And then there are the Count’s relatives, a brother and mother at least. Wow. A whole coven of undead creatures of the “lamia statua” genus! (This is a totally unofficial designation that invented on-the-spot for the subject of this essay–feel free to use or abuse as you will)
Other dens of these wooden/fabric nosferatu can be found if one only takes the time to look. One even has something of a hit song! Arguably the most famous element to come out of the motion picture “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is the song “Dracula’s Lament“, from the (so far) unproduced rock puppet musical “A Taste for Blood.” Actor/director/writer Jason Segel performed the song in two versions–once for the film and again for the 1000th episode of Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show (hosted, not inappropriately, by the puppets which are Ferguson’s equivalent of sidekicks and/or backup performers). Segel also admits the idea of “A Taste for Blood” is a real one, a dream he had early in his career. Does this make him a pawn of some lamia statua, the equivalent of a Renfield? Who can say? But at the end of the film we saw more than a few of the creatures on stage (but also hunted by a puppet-like Van Helsing).
Look also to some regrettably short-lived television shows. “The Middleman” featured one of the most powerful puppet vampires yet chronicled. None other than Vlad the Impaler himself, incarnated into a faithfully rendered wooden version in the episode appropriately titled “The Vampire Puppet Lamentation”. Mind you, the story in question really involved ventriloquist’s dummies, but that is close enough for our purposes. As part of Vlad’s nefarious scheme, he took over a human being who donned said puppet/dummy–even transforming into a puppet bat and flying away, human thrall dangling in the air after him! Likewise “Greg The Bunny” took place in a world where puppets have civil rights and act independent of any puppet-master. On the children’s show at the heart of the sitcom was a character named Count Blah–an actual Romanian who did indeed have fangs and donned a familiar-seeming cape.
Perhaps the most famous of all vampire puppets (at least up to the present) is none other than Angel from the show of the same name. “Smile Time” in the fifth season not only features Angel the Vampire-With-A-Soul temporarily and memorably transmogrified into fabric, but offers some hint of the origins of the entire lamia statua clan! A magic spell was used to allow demons entry into our world but in the form of puppets (in this instance, to hide in plain sight on staff at a children’s show). Could some variation of this explain the otherwise-bizarre existence of this subspecies of nosferatu? Maybe. Of course we’re still looking for an explanation of vampire ducks a la Count Duckula…
At least one further example of the type can also be found n the web series “Transylvania Television” in which the Count LeShoc (bearing some resemblance to the lead in F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu”) dwells in a spooky castle, surrounded by other monsters various and sundry and puppety. Puppetish? Puppet-esque? Whichever sounds right…