TV Series Review: True Blood

TrueBloodby Brad Nelson2/13/16
Here’s another HBO soap opera, spiced up by liberal amounts of T&A whose point, one might suppose, is to disguise the fact that you are indeed watching a glorified soap opera.

In reviewing this, I take the chance of furthering the goals of Sodom and Gomorrah, for this series will never be confused with Touched by an Angel. This series is the culmination of everything good, bad, and ugly about our entertainment culture. Religion is a mere caricature and mocked regularly. The liberal agenda is clear and ever-present. Homosexuals (particularly black ones) are wise, fun-loving, and just plain chic while white Christians and Southerners of nearly every kind are mocked as stereotypes of stupid.

At times the show is clever. Rather, I should say that at its best the show is clever with a light and pleasing campiness enlivening what otherwise would be a depressing show about lots of blood being let by vampires. Occassionally you are treated to some interesting sci-fi, the what-if scenario being “What if vampires were real and came out of the shadows to live openly with humans?”

Foremost in this scenario is the “vampires equal oppressed gays” shtick which is obvious and ever-present. But this series is either smart or dumb, for it’s difficult to gauge the multicultural intent. Is this indoctrination or a clever mocking of the “acceptance” shtick? In the end, this “vampires equal yet another oppressed minority” theme is undermined because the vampires are, at the end of the day (quite literally given their aversion to sunlight), monsters. Whether this all works out to be pro-homosexual propaganda might be up for grabs.

But this is first and foremost a plot-raging soap opera. So when watching this series, there is a whole bunch of spaghetti being thrown at the wall to see what sticks. You’ll need a neck brace for all the twists and turns. This series is based upon a book and I’ve read that the producers have stuck closely to the book, so perhaps the faults are inherently with the author.

But like many HBO series, it seems the boredom of the producers (or authors) have them pitching the characters in this fantastic direction or the next, just to move the plot along as if it was a boat that would grow debilitating barnacles without constant sloshing. The smart (and interesting) development of the vampire universe too often gives way to irrelevancies. It’s like shifting from the “The X-Files” to “I Love Lucy” at a moment’s notice.

If all this doesn’t sound like much praise for this series, you are right. It’s a diamond in the rough in many respects. Some entire story arcs (such at the really head-poundingly stupid one of the Maenad, played incompetently and blandly by the actress who played Ensign Ro in Star Trek: The Next Generation) are forgettable. Others, such as the interesting, if improbable, growing love affair between the series’ two main characters, dumb-blonde Sookie and suave Southern-gentleman Vampire Bill, make for good TV.

When the show is advancing this sci-fi “what-if” world of vampires becoming (apparently) mainstream, as well as the various side-effects of this (such as the drug, “V,” which is derived from Vampire blood), it’s interesting. Regress your mind to that of the typical unwashed masses who regard body tattoos as high art and you can enjoy some of the characters including everyone’s favorite flaming magic homosexual (as in “magic negro”), Lafayette, played with surprising skill and subtlety by Chris Bauer.

Sam Merlotte (played, again, with surprising subtlety for this kind of series) is a good character as the owner of the local bar which is the jumping-off point for much of the action. Sookies’ brother, Jason Stackhouse, plays a hilarious mimbo (male bimbo). At times (everything is “at times” in this series) he’s fed some hilarious lines. At other times they cram more camp into him than anyone can be asked to hold. He’s clearly comic relief as well as taking part in more than his share of T&A.

“My other brother Darryl” from the old Newhart show plays a small role as the sheriff. The designated “Character so annoying you hope she is killed off soon” is that of Tara Thornton, played well by Rutina Wesley. She is comic relief for the first season but then devolves into just being annoying. I’ve watched only the first two seasons, so part of my motivation for watching more is the hope she that is killed off. Death is a common occurrence in this series.

But center stages goes to the dumb blonde waitress employed by Sam Merlotte — Sookie Stackhouse — and Vampire Bill who has moved into the old Compton house not far from where Sookie lives. Bill is the last surviving (of sorts…for a dead guy) Compton. And when the show is good, it features scenes such as Bill volunteering to give a talk to a local Civil War group of his first-hand accounts in that war. (Bill was turned during the Civil War and hasn’t aged a day since then.) Compared to today’s men, Bill is suave, debonair, well-dressed, well-mannered, and decidedly a magnet to chicks as the bad-boy. How could love not blossom? 

Bill is attempting to go “mainstream” and live openly, and peaceably, amongst humans. This is made possible, so the series states, because some clever Japanese company has invented “Tru:Blood” (All flavor, no bite), a dietary replacement for human blood. It doesn’t taste as good as human blood but has all the essentials for maintaining good vampire death.

Sookie has absolutely no fear of vampires and has some “special skills” of her own. Because she sees herself as yet another societal outcast (aren’t we all these days?), she has sympathy for BEE-oohl (that’s the Southern pronunciation of “Bill” which you’ll quickly become familiar with…all two syllables of it).

For his part, Bill does seem to be a sincere vampire just trying to “evolve” past the (apparently) unnecessarily stagnant, vulgar, and violent culture of the typical vampire (that is, BEE-oohl is a progressive). I understand that things become a bit more complicated in later seasons. But this is the Bill presented in the first two seasons or so.

So, if you don’t mind a little T&A (a lot, really…I find it a payoff for sitting through some of the stupid stuff), plenty of sexual situations, bad language, and the general mainstreaming of gutter culture, then you will like True Blood. There are many clever, even charming, aspects to it. But you have to pick your way around the moronic ones as well. And the entire series is fairly dark. Still, when watched from the standpoint of science fiction with a little (a lot, really) soap opera thrown in, it’s a nice diversion.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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36 Responses to TV Series Review: True Blood

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This stereotyping, of course, is typical Hollywood. It perhaps reached its peak in the movie Starman (this was made into a series, but I never saw it and have no idea if it was equally devoted to politically correct stereotypes). The idea of vampires as part of society was also seen in a recent series by S. M. Stirling, though in that one they’re secret — and seek total domination. But some seek to treat humans as equals, which makes it interesting when it comes to feeding.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      This series is often entertaining but rarely smart. But in the first series I thought there were enough smart sci-fi moments to carry it. You learn some of the truth about these vampires. Yes, sunlight kills them, but only the very oldest ones will fairly quickly turn to dust.

      And it is the older vampires who are strong. Not all can change form (turn into bats, for instance) but some — usually the older, I believe — can. And “old” tends to mean at least a half millennium or so. One of the elders was “Godrick” who was at least 2000 years old and the “maker” of one of the central characters, “Eric.” Eric (Northman) was a Viking by trade at one time (and a Nazi…and who knows what else as the story unfolds).

      There are luxury hotels in existence that cater exclusively to vampires. They have completed blacked-out windows, for example. But vampires in this series still must sleep or else they get the “bleeds.” They can stay up during the day but they tend to quickly get weak.

      Garlic does not effect them other than being a very mild irritant. And they can indeed see themselves in a mirror. Bill tells Sookie some of the vampire secrets that she must promise not to reveal, including this misdirection by the vampires who spread the rumor that you could tell a real vampire because they could not be photographed or seen in mirrors. One of those other little-kept (from what I can see) secrets is that they are very much adversely affected (but not killed) by silver.

      Vampires are stronger than humans and are capable of superhero-like Flash speed. But perhaps coolest of all their tricks is that they can “glamour” people. This is what we call “vampire hypnotism.” It often comes in handy.

      Vampires can be killed by the sun, by a wooden stake (or bullet) through the heart, or by beheading. Most of the typical vampire lore stuff applies to this series with a few differences. It’s fairly consistent with the “Underworld” series of movies. The elders are stronger and are the leaders. And there is a vast hidden bureaucracy in the background.

      In “True Blood’s” America, for example, the country is divided into districts (perhaps aligned with the states…I’m not absolutely sure about this) and these districts into smaller subdivisions in which there is a sheriff, but I don’t think these at all align with state counties. At least one of the districts (Louisiana) has a queen. Another (Texas?) has a king. I’m not sure how all that works yet.

      There are other creatures such as werewolves, werepanthers, and a few other were-creatures. There are shape-shifters, fairies (I think), and a few other oddities.

      If you drink vampire blood, you are healed of almost any injury. There is thus a vast underground of vampire blood dealers. It has been (apparently) distilled or changed into something called “V” which gives a particularly powerful drug-like affect without the side effect of normal ingesting of a vampire blood. For instance, if a human drinks a vampire’s blood, that vampire is somehow connected to you and can track you wherever you are, know when you are in trouble, and stuff like that. Sookie drank Bill’s blood after sustaining some injuries and they are connected in this way.

      But then half (or more) of Season Two turned into a mindless zombie flick. A Maenad comes to town who is some kind of disciple of (or incarnation of) Bacchus. The rationale for her character is extremely obtuse and done very poorly. This show can be good and it can be so bad. And I’ve read where later seasons definitely jump the shark. Certainly season two jumped the shark within that season because of the Maenad, although the three other simultaneous threads were of interest.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There are many vampire series with a variety of takes on their strengths and weaknesses. Note that Dracula is capable of acting in the daytime in the novel; but he has none of his powers then, and all his real weaknesses. Fred Saberhagen suggested in his that vampires absorbed strength by resting during the day but could operate if they had to, and that sharing blood is what linked the vampire with his victim (e.g., Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker in the novel).

        Silver is holy, and thus traditionally a menace to unholy creatures such as vampires and werewolves. This is why they can’t be seen in a mirror (originally silvered glass) or a photograph, and it’s why silver is needed to kill a werewolf. (in The Wolfman, the fatal weapon is a silver-headed cane.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I didn’t know that the original Dracula could exist in the daylight. I wonder where the nighttime shtick came from. And in “True Blood,” the place of rest need not be a coffin. Bill simply sleeps under his house. But he has a traveling coffin as many of them do should they need to make a cross-country flight, for example.

          Although most of what I’ve seen (through episode 2 of season 3) is the usual progressive shtick, it’s interesting that in the case of the central character — Bill the Vampire — he’s not a girly man. He’s an old Southern gentlemen with decidedly old-fashioned values…or at least demeanor. His values now are vampire values, modulated somewhat by his current desire to live openly amongst humans.

          The “silver is holy” thing makes sense. But “True Blood” is vapidly silly (so far) when it comes to this aspect. This is more of a dark, campy comedy than anything resembling “Underworld.” Nor is it a horror film with lots of cats jumping out of the side of the screen, for example. This is a vampire-based soap operate, marginally sci-fi, with a lot of T&A thrown in. One could say it’s general purpose is to make the great unwashed not seem unwashed.

          So how can I watch this? Well, there are some good stories and characters in this, particularly Bill. Sookie is wearing on me fast. She’s turned into a mere prop to advance the plot, constantly doing things and saying things that make no sense, not even in a fictional world of vampires.

          But this series does have a more serious side. Eric (Bill’s superior) is an interesting character. And the machinations of the vampires between themselves very much reminds me of the “Underworld” movies. So you have this dark, serious, vampire-political thriller interlaced with some really vapid crap. In that sense, it’s funny to watch the stupid at times. But sometimes the stupid does become too stupid.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I didn’t know that the original Dracula could exist in the daylight.

            As I recall, if necessary, he could go around pretty well covered up, avoiding the mid-day hours. I believe he needed to do this to arrange for the purchase or lease of the various abodes in which he kept his numerous coffins. If one abode was discovered, he could bolt to another. I believe this was important as he needed to sleep on his native soil. If I can find my copy of “Dracula” I will double check or perhaps Tim will recall.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I don’t recall the concept of native soil being important to Dracula, though Chelsea Quinn Yarbro used it in her St. Germain series (starting with Hotel Transylvania). One of the key confrontations with Dracula, before he flees back to his original castle, occurs in daytime when they locate one of his bolt-holes. (Yarbro took away the religious vulnerability — in fact, St .Germain on one occasion flees devil-worshippers on hallowed ground and on another takes communion (from Savonarola, though he isn’t a Christian.)

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                The religious element (so far) in “True Blood” consists of a white televangelist/activist preacher who is a sort of domestic terrorist who means to wage more than just a public relations war against the vampires. His church is called Fellowship of the Son. And the show is not without its wit. There’s one scene where an interview is being done, split-screen style, on a TV news show. The leader of the Fellowship of the Son (a man) is talking to the woman who is the public relations face for the vampires. It’s very well done in terms of her spouting the usual nonsense that the Left does to cover their evil.

                Anyway, it’s clear that the reverend is in one city (daytime) and she is on another continent (nighttime). And at the conclusion of the back-and-forth, the reverend says, with all his Sunday school smile and nice hair, something like “I certainly enjoyed our chat together. I sure wish you could be here with me right now.” That might have been too subtle for your typical low-information voter. But I howled (being a werewolf by nature) out loud at that one.

                But the idea that a Christian cross could harm vampires was quickly dispelled by Bill who said that it was nothing more than a mere geometric figure to them. That doesn’t quite mesh with their revulsion to silver. But, of course, no modern writer of this kind of garbage-tainment (I’ll coin that word) could say two good words about Christians. You just couldn’t have the situation where the cross represented the opposite of the vampires. Okay, I get that. I (again) howl out loud at some of this obvious propaganda…which I think goes right over the heads (some surely have more than one, given the subject matter) of the low-information voters.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                F. Paul Wilson in The Keep has a Jewish Romanian scholar up against an otherworldly evil which chooses to imitate a vampire. He reacts negatively to the cross as pure fakery, while ignoring a Jewish prayer. The reason, as the evil being’s nemesis points out to the scholar’s daughter (whom he eventually marries), is to break the scholar;s faith in order to gain his assistance.to escape the keep (where his nemesis imprisoned him centuries before).

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I checked and native soil was an integral part of the story. Dracula spread 50 coffins filled with Trans-dirt around England in order that he could find rest. (He had to sleep on his native soil)

                After Van Helsing and the others sterilized 49 of these with Eucharist wafers, Dracula was forced to flee London for his home in Transylvania as he had run out of native soil. Van Helsing and the others got him there.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    F. Paul Wilson in The Keep has a Jewish Romanian scholar up against an otherworldly evil which chooses to imitate a vampire. He reacts negatively to the cross as pure fakery…

    That’s interesting. Deceit is also at the heart of this series. It seems that Bill is sincere in his desire to go “mainstream.” But it’s also likely (in fact, I think this is how it plays out) that the vampires are just playing the humans with all this “diversity” crap. At least one faction remains supremacist. They’re now in the midst of trying to pass the VRA….vampire rights amendment. The show isn’t heavily political in this way, per se. It just comes up in the background. These are not serious political gestures but mere window dressing….although such window dressing plays into the conceits of progressives.

    It’s too bad that your typical good-hearted (supposedly) low-information voter doesn’t see the supremacist aspect of either feminism or the homosexual movement, for example. But that is behind what the vampires are doing. They want to soften humans up. And *here and there* you get a bit of political double entendre in the dialog as a wink is given (one supposes) that all this “love diversity…equality for vampires” shtick is baloney.

    But I honestly don’t know what your average indoctrinated low-information voter would think of a series such as this. I suspect much of this would go right over their head (and directly in their ears and deep into their brains). That’s how indoctrination works.

    Hey, I love the satire on both sides, although in “True Blood” it is mostly one-sided. I chuckle over the “wise” black homosexual who sneers at all the other dolts around him (almost all of whom are white and straight). I’m a hater, but not of good performances, and this guy is terrific in this role showing both the over-the-top stereotype of the flaming queer and a lot more nuance underneath that. He’s a hilarious character.

  3. David Ray says:

    I wonder how Hollywood will portray Scolia? The blood-suckers in social media didn’t waste time.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Trump considered him racist because of Scalia’s principled opposition to affirmative action (which is active discrimination).

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Affirmative action is a vague term. It can be used, minimally, for outreach to blacks (or whatever other group is desired), which is basically non-controversial (except to genuine racists, of course), especially if it isn’t mandatory. Liberals even imply that opposing affirmative action means supporting outright discrimination. But in practice, what we’re usually talking about is pro-black discrimination, and that’s how it should be referred to.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yes. I support discrimination. We should discriminate between those who can make the grade and those who can’t. All we’ve done with “affirmative action” is enable the cultural pollution that exists (and which prevents people from making the grade in the first place) from being addressed and fixed.

          Certainly if one wants to give out scholarships to help those who can make the grade but can’t afford the education fees, then great. But to parse this picking and choosing by race is, or ought to be, distasteful.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            To say one had, “discriminating tastes” used to mean that one had refined and informed tastes. What happened to that?

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              The Zombies of “Nice” have taken over the minds of the yutes. They cannot see but one meaning to a word. And that meaning shall always be to show that America is a racist, sexist, homophobic place, and my aren’t they all the rage of “nice” for pointing this out yet again?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Tom Lehrer, in introducing “It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier” on An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer, said that the Army takes the “democratic ideal” to its logical extreme: Not only don’t they discriminate on grounds such as race, but also on grounds of ability. Today, this is no longer a joke but is in fact the Democratic Party ideal (and one that GOP Beltway Bandits can’t bring themselves to oppose openly).

              For example, I just read a Daily Beast article advocating that Obama nominate a particular Mexican-American judge from California to replace Scalia because the GOP would lose Hispanic votes if they rejected him. If they still accepted reader responses, mine would have been, “Two words: Miguel Estrada”.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ve watched through season three. Or, I should really say, I had it on in the background while doing my regular internet reading (show prep, if you will). The only thread that really interests me (and will make me put down my tablet) is the vampire politics and the Sookie/Bill on-again/off-again romance.

    Sam Merlotte has a thread that is somewhat interesting. He’s found his real family (trailer trash, basically). But he extricates his fellow shape-shifting brother from his awful parents and he’s come to work at his diner…but not without continuing some brother-brother family conflict.

    The series has gotten better in one respect: It’s less silly and campy and has gotten more into the vampire universe. While doing so it’s turned a bit darker, which is okay given the subject matter. But the problem with this series is shared by many others of the kind. Instead of weaving the threads of a rich story and intricate universe, it simply bounces from gimmicky plot point to another like Mexican jumping beans. At this point, I hardly care if Sookie and Bill are on the ins or on the outs. They’ve turned most of these characters into mere puppets for one gadgety plot point after another.

    Still, there are some good aspects to this. Eric Northman (Bill’s nemesis and sometimes ally) and Eric’s progeny are good characters. But Sookie has worn me out with her rather tired “Ah shucks, I’m just a waitress” shtick. She’s seen too much for that to make sense.

    If you don’t mind major spoilers, I’ll tell you some more. Bill might not be the suave country gentlemen that the first two seasons have presented. Sure, he’s a vampire and done many vampire things, but that’s in the past now. He’s “mainstreaming.”

    Well, it turns out that the vampire queen of Louisiana had at the very start sent him to spy on Sookie. She was suspected of being something very interesting (as this has turned out to be the case). And in the first or second episode, what was presented as a saving moment turns out to be something far more sinister. Bill had saved Sookie from dying by giving her his blood. She had been set upon by a couple drug dealers in the parking lot of Merlotte’s where they beat and kicked the hell out of her.

    Well, somehow Eric found out that Bill had intentionally sicced the two drug dealers on Sookie so that he would have an excuse to feed her his blood and thus (a side effect of drinking vampire blood) could track her. Sookie found out about that and was rightly appalled. This gave Eric an “in” (who also is lusting after Sookie) but so far Sookie hasn’t bitten on his advances, but from what I’ve read, they do get together.

    This is a silly series with sometimes some good story. The hicksville stories in and around the cast of characters of Merlotte’s diner are far less interesting than the vampire thread. Oh, and season three (and the beginning of four) have thrust upon you far less T&A and more and more homosexuality. That’s annoying. But like I said, “True Blood” is an exposition and example of gutter culture and must be watched with this in mind.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Surely everyone has noticed there has been a vampire rage of late in movies and TV. Vampires have been a staple of horror films for some time, so aspects of this are nothing new.

    But there does seem to be something new with this latest craze. I’m sure most of you have seen “Interview with the Vampire,” “Twilight,” “Blade,” “Underworld, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “True Blood,” and surely a few more I’ve forgotten or just haven’t seen (fill me in if you have).

    The vampires have tended to be much more stylish and metrosexual…even feminine (that is, “girly-man”) in the case of “Twilight.” Vampires are “diverse” for they can appeal to guys as well as gals. (And in the case of “True Blood,” one supposes the alphabet-soup coalition of weirdos has found some vampire appeal as well.)

    One obvious appeal, particularly of “True Blood,” is that the vampires in “True Blood” are about as libertarian as you can get. The strong make their own rules. And the point of living is to eat, have sex, eat, have sex, and then eat again…often the two are combined.

    The sci-fi aspect of vampires touches a very deep nerve, for aren’t we vampires in relation to cows and pigs? Vampires view humans along the same lines. We are an inferior species that may be farmed at will, although the ethic is growing in “True Blood” that this is something to transcend. But there are some throw-back vampires who cling to the supremacist ideology that has been historical associated with the vampire tribe.

    Vampires are like dark super-heroes. They have special powers. In the case of “Blade” and even in aspects of “True Blood,” those powers are used for the good. But generally I think vampires are appealing to today’s yutes because they are trans-human. There is a growing movement, akin to our economic and social utopianism, whereby humans will transcend their mere fragile humanity. In vampires we can see a sample of this (and, most likely, the brutal beings that will always erupt from such utopian movements).

    Much like Annie this morning, I am rambling. Who cares why anyone like horror movies or good sci-fi? But there is such affinity for vampires these days, one wonders what is behind the phenomenon.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I believe, since Bram Stoker at the latest, there has always been a very strong sexual overtone to vampires. That is why I thought most vampire movies did not get it right or at least missed out on a large part of the mystic.

      Because of this, I thought it was a brilliant idea to cast Louis Jordan as a vampire sometime back in the seventies. I think this was the first film that got it correct.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Mr. Kung, a couple of days ago I downloaded (for free) Dracula by Bram Stoker from Gutenberg.org. I might give that a read.

        Certainly the sexual content of “True Blood” is vibrant, if not a bit over the top. (Can there ever be too much T&A? Well, that question is too complicated to answer here in this short space.) In “True Blood,” there are many humans who willingly (often for pay) have sex with vampires. And when they are bitten (not fatally…they lose just a bit of blood), both parties seem to erotically enjoy it.

        And for all the “official” talk we might give to children about “sex being an expression of love between two people,” I think there is perhaps a harsher, maybe darker, reality behind this…something that is touched on in the various vampire flicks, particularly “True Blood.”

        Yes, Louis Jourdan was terrific in Count Dracula, which may be the TV movie you were referring to. Of special note as well is the Dracula who appeared in the original “Night Stalker” TV movie which later was made into a TV series.

        In “True Blood,” the vampires are a mix of personalities and interests. But, joyfully, most of them (unlike their human Louisiana hick counterparts) are not reduced to stereotypes (other than them all, or most, engaging in kinking sex). Surely I can’t be the only one who has watched this series and wished that they had dispensed with the Southern hick aspect and gone more into the vampire universe.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And when they are bitten (not fatally…they lose just a bit of blood), both parties seem to erotically enjoy it.

          Let me bite someone on the neck and see how much they enjoy it. It would hurt like hell. One weakness of the vampire mystic.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I believe some of the earlier 19th Century vampire stories also had that sexual angle, but of course none are anywhere near as well known as Stoker’s magnum opus. Frank Langella was also considered a sexy Dracula, though Jordan probably did predate him. (I think the Jordan version also followed the original book better than most do.) One book I read on horror movies many years ago (a college friend had a copy) suggested that such a sexual component was introduced in the movies with The Horror of Dracula (with Christopher Lee as the title character).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yes, Christopher Lee (I forget the movie) was a wonderful Dracula. I suppose Barnabas Collins had his moments as well. He’d definitely be a fit for the “True Blood” series.

          Okay, Mr. Know-It-All (at least I hope you know the answer to this): Why in the world does wood make a difference in terms of the “true death”…of actually killing a vampire? At least in “True Blood,” although one might be seriously injured by silver bullets (and silver, in general), they won’t kill you, even if they hit the heart. But you’ll explode like a burst water balloon if hit by a wooden bullet (or a good, old-fashioned stake is driven through the heart, of course).

          Yeah, there are mystical elements about this, just as with the native soil that Dracula (in the original book) needed, as Mr. Kung noted. The harmful rays of the sun also have a mystical element, for surely 5500 (or so) degrees kelvin are produced by indoor electric lights. I always assumed the mystical element was sort of a Christ-like God thing where light represents all that is good — an absence of the shadows for vampires, and other monsters, to creep around in. And this sun was more than light but the spiritual light of goodness that a vampire just couldn’t survive in.

          But I don’t get the wood thing. Any thoughts on that?

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Wood wasn’t necessarily essential for killing a vampire, at least in Stoker’s book. No doubt a wooden stake can be hammered into the heart very conveniently and cheaply (which is what happened to Lucy Westenra). But Dracula himself was taken down by two guys with regular knives.

            Some of this comes from traditional lore for dealing with a possible revenant. This included cutting off the head and penetrating the heart. It also included burial at a crossroads, so the revenant wouldn’t know which way to go. (After being fired in 1998, I suggested all of these for the boss.)

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              But Dracula himself was taken down by two guys with regular knives.

              Yes, didn’t they get him with Quincy’s Bowie Knife?

              As to the question of “why wood???”

              Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Christ was crucified on a cross of wood.

              I think the movie “Dracula 2000” gives the best back story as to where Dracula came from.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I read a chapter or so of “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, last night. It was very readable. And quite descriptive. I’m taking a break from the Quatermain novels (only a couple left). I tried going with some more Dickens but he is like wolfsbane to me. I just don’t mesh with his ponderous language and pace.

    As for the Quatermain novels, I’m currently on “Heu-Heu; or, The Monster.” I swear, H. Rider Haggard had just one formula and he kept at it. And I can’t defend it. It’s fairly repetitive. But if you come to like the characters, you like spending time with them. That is always the secret of good drama, whether in books, movies, or TV. That’s why we’ll sit through even a very mediocre John Wayne western. We like spending time with the man.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I read a chapter or so of “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker, last night. It was very readable. And quite descriptive

      Yes, I read it in one sitting.

      Your remarks about Dickens are interesting. There is no doubt he could use some editing, but he is able to use the language in a wonderful manner.

      I found “Barnaby Rudge” to be one of, if not the, least wordy novels.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Well, I don’t mean to “diss” Dickens or set myself up as his judge. But I find it strange that I can plow through the brambles of Hawthorne’s sometimes overly thick language and yet Dickens just doesn’t grab me. For me, there’s just something hollow there in Dickens. But, like many things, if I set it aside and come back to it later, it may work then.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Although the Bela Lugosi movie uses wolfsbane as a weapon against vampires, the only such plant I recall from the book is garlic. Frankenstein Versus the Wolf-Man has Larry Talbot buried with wolfsbane over his coffin to prevent him from rising from the dead. But this shouldn’t have been necessary, since he was killed with a silver weapon. The only link to wolfbane in the original movie is in the famous rhyme: “Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night/May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I finished the finale of this series just the other day. What carries it are the good characters ably fleshed out by some fine actors. But the plots themselves often leave something to be desired. Nothing particularly deep or clever. This is pretty shallow stuff, and I don’t mean shallow as in stupid but shallow as in not even attempting much depth of plot and character.

    Still, it’s a rollicking ride through the multiculti Louisiana world of vampires, werewolves, and what-nots. (As Sheriff Andy Bellefleur said, “And were-chickens or whatever other shit there is.”)

    Vampires are the stand-in for gays or whatever downtrodden group there is. Vampires have “come out of the coffin.” In the end, everyone learns to appreciate the differences and tolerate some pretty weird stuff.

    The ending somewhat betrays the “Vampire as kindly metaphor for mainstreaming homosexuality” because (huge spoiler alert…turn back now) Vampire Bill decides he’s going to let himself die from a curable disease in order to allow Sookie to be free. (They are both deep-down in love with each other, hopelessly attached.) Bill has a dream where he is looking over the shoulder of Sookie who is rocking a baby next to a crib. The baby has no face and in place of the face is a whirling black void.”

    Bill tries to explain to Sookie why he must die and leave her. It’s because vampires represent death. And he knows that Sookie has always wanted to live a normal life — especially one with children. This is where the vampire/homosexual metaphor perhaps inadvertently unmasks the deep reality: both are somewhat dead-end paths.

    But you learn that love is love, and it’s all good if it’s love. Like I said, you can enjoy this as sci-fi and/or as a soap opera. It helps (even adds to the entertainment value) when you see the modern multi-culti Kumbaya values being thrown in.

    Still, this isn’t a dickless series. It’s pretty gritty in many respects. And people of all backgrounds — black, white, Asian, vampire, werewolf, whatever — may be portrayed as being bad or good. This sets it beyond the standard multiculti drivel that passes for entertainment these days where black people and homosexuals are always good, whites are always bad, etc.

    Too bad they don’t spinoff an Eric/Pam series. Pam, in particular, is a interesting and sardonic character. In this series they end up much as they started: Making money hand-over-fist at their fang-banger club, Fangtasia…with a person in the dungeon per usual.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of True Blood, I just ran across this trailer for the upcoming The Legend of Tarzan. It stars Eric Northman as Tarzan. I know some ladies who are a fan of his bare butt. What can one say? Anyway, good luck to Alexander Skarsgård. It’s difficult to tell much about the movie via the trailer. This would appear to be a throwback movie to the original books and not the Disneyfication of Tarzan. Hope so. Where did I leave that series? I think I read the first two and started the third. Not sure. And whether this is a pornographic action flick wherein all subtlety and character is squeezed out also remains to be seen, although I expect this to be the case.

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