Posts Tagged ‘vampires’

Book Review: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
'Salem's Lot‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can you really say about “Salem’s Lot” that hasn’t already been said? I realize it’s rather futile to review books that have been out for 30 years, but this is for my own satisfaction as much as potential readers. The book is arguably the breakthrough hit of Stephen King, the book that launched his career behind the success of “Carrie” and made him an icon in the Horror community.

Salem’s Lot is two parts Brahm Stoker’s Dracula, two parts Comic Book Vampire, and all Stephen King. Fans of King will know this means lots of characters, New England settings and a slow and steady build of tension and dread that will leave you wishing you could read faster before the sun goes down. Barlow and Straker make a perfect combination of Master and Apprentice of Evil. Ben Mears, Mark Petrie and Doc Cody make a great combination of completely unlikely heroes who do what they have to do, not at all because they have heroic ambitions, but because sometimes terrible things just happen.

The book is a great study in the forms or evil and good. Evil with a capital “E” in the form of Hubie Marsten or Barlow, and evil with a little “e” in the form of a mother that beats her child, the wife that cheats on her husband, or the cowardly town constable. All manner of “little e” evils creep into the characters of the book, giving Barlow plenty of opportunity to work his spell over the selfish and often petty and stupid townsfolk of Jerusalem’s lot. The powers of Good struggle mightily to gain a foothold and fight back against the growing darkness in the town and often fails spectacularly. King has written in other works that the hallmark of a horror novel is good characters making bad decisions, and that is definitely the case here. By the end you’ll be ready to sharpen some stakes and grab your cross and holy water to go help out these characters – or at the very least shout at them “NO! Don’t go in there!”

The Good: Brilliant homage to Stoker’s Dracula, tension build is great, villain that almost makes you sad he’s gone at the end (or is he?), some great characters and dialog, wonderful prose in general and very easy to read.

The Bad: Not much. Minor complaints about a few unnecessary characters, there are a lot to keep track of but that’s a staple of most King novels so I know what I’m in for. I also had a minor complaint about the use of the clock as a plot device. As a writer, I get why he does this to build tension; as a reader and a resident of a small town, it tears at the believability in places. If you set your story in a town of 2000 people and you’re going to have it take an hour for the characters to get from one side of town to the other, you better have a darn good explanation – it’s not NYC, you’re talking 7 or 8 blocks tops. Last minor complaint is that King actual broke his own canon to advance the plot – SPOILER: Barlow breaks through the window in the Petrie house and enters the kitchen without being invited while Mark is there with Father Callahan – and I find that slightly annoying.

Summary: If you like King, Vampires, or horror in general this book is a must read in the genre. Being set in the seventies puts the novel a little out of date, but the story loses nothing with the test of time. Classic King and wonderfully chilling novel. No sparkly empathic vampires in this tale, hallelujah.

View all my reviews

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Spike TV Deadliest Warrior’s Vampires vs Zombies: Aftermath

So I blogged last time about this show and my prediction for what this fight would really look like. After watching the show on Spike TV, I was pleasantly surprised. They kept it fun and cool and didn’t get too uptight about that fact that we’re talking about purely hypothetical creatures here. They have some pretty awesome clips available as well…see below.

If they decide to keep going with the series and pit the Loch Ness Monster vs Bigfoot, then I’ll complain. [Sasquatch would totally take that biatch]

First up…who helped them set the standards?

Zombie corner:
Max Brooks (World War Z)
Matt Mogk (founder of the Zombie Research Society) @mattmogk

Vampire corner:
Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) @steveniles
Scott Bowen (Vampire Survival Guide)

Ok…everything after this is SPOILER. STOP READING if you haven’t watched the show!

Enjoy a clip while you scroll…

Still here? Then let’s find out who won…

First up, the mea culpa from me. I’ve never seen 30 Days of Night or read the source material so I was a little surprised by what they came up with. I appreciate that they made the vamps bad ass apex predators. Needless to say, the movie and comic are now on my to-do list.

Second, let me say that I thought Max and Matt were fantastic advocates for our beloved zombies. Excellent work guys. Make sure you go buy Matt’s new book and follow the Zombie Research Society on Twitter. @zombieresearch

The other piece that I didn’t get right in my original article is the dead/undead nature of the Vampires. In the Niles/Bowen model the vampires have a functioning circulatory system with live blood. This would make the vampires a legitimate target for zombie attacks. The ER Doc on the show also kept stating over and over that it was *possible* for the vampires to contract the zombie virus. If this is true, then the whole battle is moot because they had the vamps biting zombie brains. You couldn’t get infected any quicker unless you had intravenous zombie blood transfusion.

My initial estimate on the required ratio of Vampires to Zombies was either 50:1 or 100:1. After the board breaking expert set the ratio, I was quite pleased with the 63:1 ratio. That seems more than fair. I also loved that zombies are the only warrior EVER to get a perfect 100 in Endurance.

The simulation was fun and I would have killed to be one of those zombie actors. It looked like a good time. 3 vampires in a abandoned factory taking on 180 zombies. The outcome was close but the winner: Vampires.

Honestly, I agree with the outcome but the premise is flawed. The flaw is in the very nature of the show. Deadliest Warrior. Zombies aren’t warriors, they don’t go to “war”. They don’t fight for ideology or land or gold or even glory. They consume to replicate, to spread, to reproduce. It’s the philosophical equivalent of pitting the Orkin man against locusts.

Regardless of how many battles Vampires win one on one or one on a hundred versus Zombies, ultimately the war is lost. Zombies will consume all of the Vampires’ natural food supply and starve them out in the end. Hey! Kinda like locusts. Imagine that.

Make sure if you’re watching the show to stay all the way to the very end…that one I won’t spoil.

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Zombies versus Vampires

Yeah, you read that right chump…battle royale featuring Zombies versus Vampires.

Here’s the scoop.  This week, Deadliest Warrior on Spike TV is doing a supernatural throwdown featuring my favorite ZOMBIES!  They are going to pit the horror show of the walking dead vs. glittery blood sucking metrosexuals and see who comes out victorious.

I’m not going to spoil it. Go watch the preview and the show when it airs and make up your own mind.  For me, why I’ll do my own toe to toe line up RIGHT HERE!

 

In the BLUE corner:  ZOMBIES

Zombie Mob

Braiiins on sale?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick your canon carefully, it could be the difference between life and death fang-face.  For entertainment purposes, we’ll assume Romero zombies.  Why?  Because I like them better, that’s why.

WEAKNESSES:

Slow, low dexterity/agility, not too bright, inability to use weapons, tools or even doorknobs for that matter.

STRENGTHS:

Ability to swarm in numbers, feels no pain, can function with massive bodily damage, doesn’t sleep or fatigue.  They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. Wait…that sounds familiar.  Is that from a movie? No.  Couldn’t be.

 

And in the RED corner:  VAMPIRES

Count D

Vampire Dude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canon on vampires is almost as wide as zombies, but we have to pick something.  We’re not doing freakin’ glittery vampires. You can stow that noise right now.  We’ll stick with mostly traditional vampires ala Blade/Le stat/Lost Boys.

WEAKNESSES:

Must feed on blood regularly, affected by garlic, silver, holy water/symbols (meh, sometimes), can’t go out in the sunlight, less than desirable personalities.

STRENGTHS:

Super human strength, super human speed, super human agility, healing factor, immune to disease, can’t be killed by traditional weapons (bullets, swords, cholesterol, etc.)

 

ARENA:  To give each corner a fighting chance to use their strengths, we’ll pit 1000 zombies vs 1 vampire in a large closed arena immediately after sundown. Each team has 24 hours of prep time to study tactics and prepare for battle. Battle lasts until sunrise, winner takes all.

 

WINNER:  NO ONE

That’s right.  You heard me.  It would be a draw.  Vampires can’t feed on zombies because they have no live blood and therefore they are not a food source.  Zombies would ignore vampires because they are already dead and can’t be infected and/or turned.  The most likely scenario is that they would ignore each other as fellow members of the undead.  Why would a vampire bother getting dirty dispatching 1000 walking putrid sacks of goo when he/she can have a seat in a comfortable chair and wait for the match to be over?


However…

Vampires are not well known for their easy going natures and ability to let things slide.  So if forced into an arena with 1000 hungry zombies, there’s a good chance your average vamp would wipe out the zombies just for sport.  And despite what the Deadliest Warriors clip shows, Vamps are perfectly capable of using swords, machetes, pistols, shotguns, pointy sticks, harsh language, etc.  There would be no real reason for a vampire to get up close and personal unless it was purely for giggles.  But giggles are nice even for blood sucking freaks.  So…since they can’t be infected, Vampires are free for more involved close combat, without that mortal fear of being bitten or scratched by a zombie.

Disagree with me?  Too bad, I’m right.

Don’t forget to tune in to Spike TV on Sept. 14th to see the results!

Post your guess of the “experts” in the comments section.

 

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