Team Van Helsing

Vampire Hunter kit from Forum Novelties.

I never wanted to be a vampire. I just wanted to kill them.  I’ve got a lifelong soft spot for hunters, and it pains me to see them used as one-note antagonists in chronicles. Be they purely after blood suckers or possessed of a broader mandate, hunters of all kinds can be characterized with nuance in the right hands. That’s why I want to talk about these brave souls who grow up to be members of Team Van Helsing.   We Can Be Heroes Sometimes all a hunter wants is to be one of … [Read more...]

Genre Invasion: Aliens, Zombies and Werewolves, Oh My


I'm calling it now: vampires are on their way out.   Okay, let's be real.  Vampires will never really die (pun intended).  They've been enjoying a slow, steady burn of popularity for the last 30 years at least.  The combination of sheer horror and a monster who looks normal - or attractive - has ignited our imaginations for years.  The vampire mythology is loose enough that you can make nearly any kind of vampire you like (as evidenced by Whitewolf's Vampire: the Masquerade series).  Vampires … [Read more...]

Fright Night: Mixing Fun and Fear


Fright Night hit theaters last weekend.  "Ah, another vampire movie," you probably thought.  You may have also heard it's a remake.  What you might not know is that it's a great example of a good remake, one that takes the fun ideas from the first and makes them better.  Without totally spoiling the new version, here's a bit about the campy 80's cult classic, and why it made a viable remake in the first place. Rear Window with Bite The premise is simple: Charlie Brewster, a typical teen, lives … [Read more...]

Good Books: Vampires Galore!


Even if you’re not lucky enough to get time off during the holidays (*waves to my brothers and sisters working retail*), something about this time of year makes everything slow down a little. Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s lethargy from eating too many cookies and candy canes, but after the holiday rush is over, it’s a laid-back time of year. Which makes it the perfect time to catch up on your reading! Running out of things to read? The solution might be right in front of you (or at least … [Read more...]

Halloween: Let’s Talk Costumes


Okay, Halloween is this weekend, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on costumes.  More than that; I want us to have a discussion about costumes. Putting a disclaimer out there:  I am not super-skilled when it comes to the world of costumes. I've never done cosplay or anything other than regular clothes for a con; I've only dressed up for a Ren Faire once or twice. Growing up, my Halloween costumes were the typical hand-me-down or thrown-together homemade costumes. When it comes to … [Read more...]

Let the Right One In: More Heart Than Arterial Spray


You might have seen previews for the movie Let Me In and thought, Yawn, another vampire movie for the teeny-boppers.  Nothing to see here. Well, what you might not know is that the film was based on a Swedish movie from 2008, Let the Right One In.  And that film, my friends, is anything but derivative sparkly-neo-vamp fare.  In fact, if you're on the fence at all about paying theater prices to check out a vampire film, I suggest you try the original first (available on Netflix Instant).  Even … [Read more...]

Machete: Stepping Into the Larger World of Rodriguez


I saw Machete on opening night - and I loved it, just as I expected I would.  There's an extra layer of fun in this movie, however, that only Rodriguez fans will enjoy; the people, music, and even props that make it, unmistakably, a Rodriguez film.  You can be in on the joke, too!  All it takes is a little movie-watching. See, Robert Rodriguez - one of the writers and directors on Machete - started out as a small, indie filmmaker.   To save money, he became adept at all stages of … [Read more...]

Forever Knight: A Vampire Cult Classic


In the early 1990s, before CBS snagged David Letterman, once the local news and a rerun of Cheers was over, there was a wonderful little feature called “Crimetime After Primetime.” Every weeknight, there was a different crime drama. During the summer, I would stay up late to watch them all, even the largely forgettable Sweating Bullets and Dark Justice. The one that really caught me, though, was the Tuesday night show – a little vampire series entitled Forever Knight. Forever Knight was one … [Read more...]

GenCon 2010 Update: Castle Ravenloft Board Game

Castle Ravenloft Board Game Cover Art

Before we even got our badges, a group of bloggers got whisked away to a secret storage room in the Indy Convention Center to play Castle Ravenloft the board game, to be released by Wizards of the Coast in just a couple weeks (8/17/10). For those unfamiliar, Castle Ravenloft is one of THE most famous vampire adventures ever. Many a D&D player has fond memories of fighting Strahd. If you know Dan from Obsidian Portal, he has an awesome Strahd story that involves a very crafty cleric and a … [Read more...]

Twilight: Team Get These Guys a Hobby


Full disclosure: I have read the first Twilight book, but not the others.  I've never seen any of the movies.  And yet, I know a fair amount about the series, both because I am a living, breathing human in the year 2010 and because I have gleefully read up the plots of the rest of the books on Wikipedia.  I am one of those rare individuals with an immunity to Twilight.  I'm not afraid to sit down with a Young Adult novel (cough, Harry Potter, cough) but this one didn't inspire me to seek out … [Read more...]