This new series by Steve Niles (he of 30 Days of Night fame) has got my attention. It's the future, and the robots have risen up and destroyed the Ea This new series by Steve Niles (he of 30 Days of Night fame) has got my attention. It's the future, and the robots have risen up and destroyed the Earth. But don't think Terminator, think War of the Worlds (the remake with Tom Cruise). While of man-made and not alien origin, the robots are huge towering machines that lumber across the land like metal warships, either solo or in groups, hunting humans for their blood. The machines require blood for fuel; their continued existence depends on procuring it, but such insatiable appetite has wiped the planet clean of all life forms unlucky enough to have blood pumping in their veins -- big or small, animal or human.
Humans are on the cusp of extinction. What gives this story its twist is that they are not the only ones -- vampires are also facing annihilation. Without humans (or even animals) to feed on, they too are starving and dying off. Thus evolves an unlikely and tenuous alliance -- vampire and human -- against the unstoppable machines. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I love the premise here. It's got me. I love the artwork even more. While not created equal in every panel, the majority of it is gorgeous, capturing a grey, dead, post-apocalyptic landscape punctuated by explosions of ruby as the last of the world's blood is shed and consumed by metal monsters.
Yowza, wowzers, and woot! woot! This book -- a mad collaboration from four horror gods (small 'g') -- is this cat's meow (or as they say where I comeYowza, wowzers, and woot! woot! This book -- a mad collaboration from four horror gods (small 'g') -- is this cat's meow (or as they say where I come from -- it's all that and a bag of chips).
It was going to take a lot for this book to impress me for the simple reason that vampires of late have become...meh for me. As monsters meant to inspire horror they have been done to death it seems. Not to mention they have suffered an incredible disservice in recent years both on film and in print (yeah, I'm looking at you Ms. Meyer). There just hasn't been anything really new or fresh tried either. It's either you're sparkling and pouty and misunderstood, or it's waaay back to the Stoker tradition of a debonair, aristocratic abomination that abhors garlic and crucifixes.
Don't get me wrong: I haven't always felt this disillusioned. I love 'Salem's Lot and I am Legend. I went through a huge Lestat phase in my early 20s. The Lost Boys remains one of my favorite movies of all time, and I love Steve Niles' re-imagining of vampires in his graphic novel series 30 Days of Night (the movie is pretty kick-ass too).
Despite that, I've stopped 'looking for love' with vampires. Even del Toro's The Strain underwhelmed me. So I had doubts with this one, I really did, but thanks to two awesome reviews filled with squee here on goodreads by Stephen and Daniel, I decided to throw my doubts aside and dive in.
This is about the most self-indulgent fun I've had in bleems! Draculas hits just the right note of gorror-ific combined with pee your pants scary that's doused with a gallon of can't help but giggle here even though that's beyond messed up and so wrong (I can't tell you how many times I cringed and burst out laughing at the same time (view spoiler)[1. the balloon animals made out of intestines, 2. the baby eating its way out of mom's stomach, 3. all the scenes involving self-mutilation, cannibalism and auto-cannibalism. (hide spoiler)] Remember the first time you ever saw The Evil Dead? Oh yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about!
So yeah, this book is tremendous fun, awesomely gory, written with a frantic energy that keeps the pages turning. Another thing worth praising is the way this novel is a completely mad mash-up of a whole bunch of horror elements; it's like the authors took vampire stories, along with zombies, werewolves and aliens, threw them into a blender and spit out this mish-mash of pure chaos and entertainment. I recognized about 100 shout-outs to other books and movies, but at the end of it all, this book stands as its own original. The authors tried things here I don't think I've seen tried anywhere else. The way the teeth are described though made me think of this from 1985's Fright Night: c'mon, gimme a kiss!
The ensemble cast is fun too, and added a lot to the story's enjoyment. If it weren't for such a large cast and getting to know the group -- I loved that the narrative kept changing pov -- it just would have been a ho-hum affair about a bunch of lunatic infected running rabid through an enclosed space (which has been done a 1000 times). Not only do we get pov from the good guys, we get the story from the side of the infected too. I really appreciated that and the decision to do so added great entertainment value. Highly recommended!!!!!!
P.S. I paid three dollars for the eBook and there's really no way to express how much bang I got for my buck. The eBook also contains mega extras that make this title worth so much more. My thanks to Stephen and Daniel on this one. Ain't goodreads grand?
P.P.S. Stephen, I am a woman of my word. You have earned yourself a shelf, sir. :)
This review also appears at Shelf Inflicted.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I liked this book a lot. There is a nice slow build while the tension and suspense are allowed to simmer and tightly coil, ready for the great “unspriI liked this book a lot. There is a nice slow build while the tension and suspense are allowed to simmer and tightly coil, ready for the great “unspringing” if you will. That nice slow build is balanced by some manic action sequences, which are in turn balanced by some beautifully rendered scenes of epic creep. (view spoiler)[When the youngest victim of Flight 753 returns home to her grieving father, bloodied, muddy, catatonic and hungry I got that nice cold, tickle happening on the back of my neck. (hide spoiler)]
I’m not a huge fan of vampire stories, but if I’m going to read them, the vampires better be nasty and ruthless, and these vampires more than satisfy that criteria. Despite the splendid presentation, I don’t think Del Toro or Hogan are creating anything new here, though perhaps that was never the point. If they just wanted to tell a scary story about scary vampires then they have succeeded quite well. But they have also borrowed heavily from many other sources that left the story feeling kind of familiar and overwrought in places. This is a plague story with CDC characters featuring prominently as heroes on the run. The disease vector just happens to be vampirism, but a lot of the genre tropes for “pandemic dramas” are present and accounted for (and with the title The Strain maybe that shouldn't come as a surprise).
Also, (view spoiler)[just in the way the newly turned vampires attacked en masse in bloody, lunging, uncoordinated groups, reminded me more of zombies than vampires. (hide spoiler)] There is an undeniable “apocalyptic zombie” feel on and off throughout the novel. I had to keep reminding myself that these are vampires not the other reanimates of horror.
The vampire's pathology is quite dramatic and vividly described here, and that part of the novel did feel fresh and new. I can’t make up my mind about their feeding apparatus though. (view spoiler)[At first it seemed creepy and gross. Then it seemed like a frog tongue. Then it reminded me of those “sticky hands” from the 80s. Should I laugh or scream? (hide spoiler)]
The Setrakian character has some great back story, but since he is essentially the vamp killer extraordinaire – Dr. Van Helsing in other words – I couldn’t NOT picture Anthony Hopkins (a la Bram Stoker’s Dracula), so that became a little distracting.
Overall though, this was a fun read for October and I will definitely read on in the series. (view spoiler)[I'm rooting for Gus, poor guy! (hide spoiler)]
October Country 2011 #2 ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This second installment of the American Vampire series is pretty juicy, the pages gushing blood and all sorts of other categories of nastiness.
SkinneThis second installment of the American Vampire series is pretty juicy, the pages gushing blood and all sorts of other categories of nastiness.
Skinner Sweet is truly a vile invention, a convincing monster, a chilling vampire. Edward Cullen – you sir are a douche bag in a tree. Deal with it.
I love the historical feel of this series. This time we get an up-close look at 1930s Las Vegas -- the beginnings of its rise (or descent) to become Sin City. We also get a peek at the building of the Hoover Dam. And then there's Pearl Jones (you may remember this twenty-something Hollywood starlet-wannabe from Book 1). She is all kinds of awesome with something worse than death on her heels. And for fear of getting all spoilery, that's all I'll say about that.
I missed Stephen King's contributions this time around; I can only hope he will resume his collaboration with Snyder sooner rather than later. Please please. For now, this is a kick-ass series that shows A LOT of potential and I'm hungry for more! ...more
4.5 stars. This totally KICKS ASS. Love the story, love the characters, love the graphic representations of the vampires and zombies. Gruesome and gor4.5 stars. This totally KICKS ASS. Love the story, love the characters, love the graphic representations of the vampires and zombies. Gruesome and gory yet it all looked so gorgeous cast in deep reds, oranges, blacks and blues. I also thought the story carried well - not highly original mind you - but the delivery is filled with genuine moments of tension and terror. I was especially pleased and surprised by some of the more emotional aspects of the story.
These vampires are vicious and merciless yet with a style and intelligence that's intimidating. They can think and plan and execute. These are not brooding, pouting, "conflicted" emo vampires, yet I appreciated that some of the newly turned are haunted by their human memories and the memory of feelings they can no longer feel. Not so grandiosely tormented as Rice's never-ending "whining" Louis from Interview With the Vampire, but still, enough to make these vampires a little more complicated, a bit more rich, than your average blood-sucking creature of the night. There are clans, and rivals, and rogues, and plenty of innocents caught in the cross-fire. Drama!
The zombies are sad and heart-breaking (I always seem to find them so - except for Danny Boyle's zombies). The FVZA zombies are very similar to the ones I've seen in The Walking Dead series (I haven't read the graphic novels, so I'm only basing that on Darabont's interpretation). The zombies are shambling and starving, haunted and lost. They ramble and feed, yet there is a hint, always just a hint, of some long lost memory of what they used to be. Romero's zombies treat the mall like Mecca; these zombies hold onto music. It's a nice touch and plays very effective in the story.
This was great, and the only thing holding me back from gushing is that I still haven't been completely won over to the graphic novel format. Steven Niles rocked my world with 30 Days of Night - those vampires kick ass. I was actually really pleased with the movie too. I love how Niles re-imagines the vampire, stealing it back from the trashy, paranormal bodice rippers! For far too long vampires have been distinguished aristocrats, Byronic heroes, or sexy-emo-pouting "bad boys". The vampires that descend on Barrow are ruthless, and everything vampires should be if you want to scare the heck out of someone -- merciless, bloodthirsty villains with no conscience. Niles should be given a medal for his contribution to both the literary and vampire film canon. For far too long the debonair, smooth-talking vampire has ruled.
Stephen King thinks so too, which is why Scott Snyder did not have to twist his arm too hard to get him on board with this project. Snyder went fishing for an intro, what he got was a full-on, hard core collaboration. King is all over American Vampire, and the "wild west" themes found in his parts of the story have a lot of Dark Tower energy running through them. I really half-expected Roland to walk right into the story at some point. He may yet, who knows? And can I just give a shout out to the toe-tag? ::grin::
I've been drawn into the world, and the notion of a "new" kind of vampire that can walk in daylight at war with the ancient Euro-vampires is intriguing. I will definitely come back for more of this series. ...more
Horror movies and I? We go way back. I've been a voracious consumer since I was eight and my enthusiasm for the genre hasn't diminished with ... ahemHorror movies and I? We go way back. I've been a voracious consumer since I was eight and my enthusiasm for the genre hasn't diminished with ... ahem ... maturity and wisdom. So yeah, it's been a lifelong love affair, one I don't hide, or feel I need to apologize for. Because even amidst the dreck, there exists some awesome cinematic gems, and amidst the classics there are film moments of hair-raising, heart-stopping, enviable genius.
The naysayers who decry: "how can you watch that garbage" are rude asshats, unimaginative douchebags or big fat chickens. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. Rationally I know horror movies aren't for everyone, but there's that rabid part of my brain that thinks if you're not with us, you're against us.
In writing this little manifesto on how to survive a horror movie, Seth Grahame-Smith proves that he understands horror and humor are a marriage made in heaven – the two go together like Pam and Jim, Butch and Sundance, Pancho and Lefty, Dolly and Kenny and that other celestial match – Sam and Bruce. Horror indulges in all forms of comedy – satire, slapstick, black, blue, Freudian, farce, irony – you name it, it’s been done; in some cases to humbling effect, either deliberately with great focus, or by happy, moronic accident. Don’t believe me? Look no further than these cinema classics (and I’m not being facetious here): An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead I and II, The Return of the Living Dead, Creepshow, and Shaun of the Dead.
All of the above are prime examples of why I’d rather be watching horror movies rather than reading about them. But every now and then a book of this sort breaks through my defenses, giving me that “come hither” look I just can’t resist. This book has giggles, a few gut busters, and a whole lot of in-jokes delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek. There are some sections that fall flat being over-written and a little dumb, but there are also shining moments of pure cleverness. Any die-hard horror fan who reads this little book is going to think “I could have written this and probably done a better job”; maybe, but you didn’t, and neither did I so we’re going to shut our pie holes and give props where they’re due.
More than anything, this little book is pure goddamn fun. Plain and simple. However, it is not a classic – for that you have to read If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor and Danse Macabre. These definitive texts will teach you everything you need to know about the industry, the genre, the people who make their living by it, and the people who love it. Seth Grahame-Smith wants to make us laugh, but it also comes across how much he loves celluloid horror and because of that I know he is one of us and therefore to be trusted.
There are just too many delightful nuggets to quote from here and rather than trying to capture them all I’m just going to say go read the book. But I can’t resist throwing out a few of my favorites:
The Seven Deadly Horror Movie Sins: 3rd Deadly Sin: Independence – “Screw you guys I’m going home”. Actually you’re going about a third of the way home.
5th Deadly Sin: Curiosity – “Do you think it’s dead?” No. Go ahead and poke it with a stick.
How to Defeat a Killer Doll: Kick the Crap Out of It. Why are you running away from something that could be imprisoned with Legos?
How to Kill a Vampire: Interview It.
What to Do If Your Corn Has Children In It (I still can’t say this out loud without giggling my ass off)
The Amityville Horror (1979) – Bad things happen in house. Family buys house. Bad things happen to family.
Carrie (1976) – If you haven’t seen this masterpiece yet, pelt yourself with tampons and go to your prayer closet.
The Hitcher (1986) – How many times do I have to tell you: Never pick up Rutger Hauer!
Seven (1995) – I went to see this film by myself on a cold, rainy Boston day. I haven’t smiled since.
The Sixth Sense (1999) – Hi, my name’s M. Night Shyamalan. Trust me…you’ll learn how to pronounce it.
I read this first before seeing the movie, and enjoyed it immensely. Horror writer Tim Lebbon novelizes the film 30 Days of Night (which itself is basI read this first before seeing the movie, and enjoyed it immensely. Horror writer Tim Lebbon novelizes the film 30 Days of Night (which itself is based on the graphic novel series of the same name). Many novelizations fail because they are only cheap knock-offs of the movie written quickly -- and too often, poorly -- by hack writers in order to capitalize on the popularity of a film. In this case, the result is appropriately creepy and terrifying.
Lebbon is a talented writer and it shows here. He understands what is so frightening about the vampires of Barrow Alaska. For far too long vampires have been distinguished aristocrats, Byronic heroes, or sexy "bad boys" to make the hearts of women everywhere go pitter-patter. The vampires that descend on Barrow are ruthless, and everything vampires should be if you want to scare the heck out of someone -- they are merciless, bloodthirsty villains with no conscience.
Steve Niles (creator of the graphic novel on which the film is based) should be congratulated for his contribution to both the literary and vampire film canon. For far too long the debonair, smooth-talking vampire has ruled. Niles has stolen the vampire back from the clutches of the paranormal bodice rippers. ...more
LOVED the drawings...amazing atmosphere. Steve Niles has single-handedly re-invented the vampire, stealing it back from the trashy, paranormal bodiceLOVED the drawings...amazing atmosphere. Steve Niles has single-handedly re-invented the vampire, stealing it back from the trashy, paranormal bodice rippers!...more