ELi and the Evolution of the Vampire

This is the Post for the week of November 23, 2010.

I think this post will be a general response to “Let The Right One In.”  To me, this was the best book of the semester.  I know that is utter blasphemy for a King man such as myself, however, I think this book was an eye opener for the future of vampire works.  One of the reasons I say that is that it is set in modern times (I see it in the 1980s) and that is soon enough in the past to be considered current events for me.

I like what the author did with this story.  In one way, we have a traditional vampire in Eli, with his susceptibility to light and his need for blood to survive.  But in another way, ELi is a hybrid of what vampires always were but somehow the literature has got away from.  Eli is a supernatural hybrid creature who is not just vampire who can transform himself into many things but is also a human deep down inside.  Eli was mutilated at the time when he became a vampire and because of this you feel sorry for Eli.  Which brings up another question about Eli:  What exactly is Eli and what is the author trying to do with him?  One minute we see him as a girl, then as a boy, but in the end we realize he is none of these things.  Does this mean that the author is trying to mold Eli into a supernatural god-like creature?  Is the author, by removing Eli’s genitalia, giving Eli a quality of godliness which makes Eli more attractive to everyone and not to just one sex or the other.  And by doing this, does this make Eli more of a tragic figure in the end?  The truth is we do not know what Eli is and we are left not only guessing but wanting more of the story.  There is so much more to Eli and we need to know more.

This is one of those things that makes this book so interesting and in my opinion the best book of the semester.  The reader is not quite sure what to make of Eli.  And I guess that is the thing that bugs us the most about vampires.  We are not quite sure what they really are.  We think we do but I think our thinking has evolved throughout the semester.

 

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Count Bobby Snippet

Post for week of Nov 16th.

I have thought about not putting this here but I think I will.  As part of my second project I picked a creative option and I decided to come up with a story about a vampire in the Houston area who doesn’t quite know what to think of what he has become.  I tried to make it a comedy.  If anyone decides to read these posts and comes across this story, let me know what you think of it.  This will technically be my vampire’s first exposure to the internet world.  Let the fun begin.  I am going to put here not the whole story but some portions of it.  Let me know what you think of what my vampire, Count Bobby is.

Count Bobby

The dirty man in shorts and an Astros T-shirt staggered along the broken asphalt path in a state of confusion.  He did not know where he was.  He stopped, put his left hand to his head, and thought as hard as he could.  Despite his intense concentration, no matter how hard he tried, nothing came to him.  What’s my name?  Why can’t I remember my name, he asked himself.  He took a few more steps and then stopped again.  Sweat ran down his forehead and burned his eyes.  Why is it so hot tonight? He wiped his eyes and forehead with his hands and looked up into the night sky at the moon.  He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and basked in the glow of moonbeams that now lit up his pale face.  After a few moments of calm and tranquility, a new thought came to him and he suddenly felt as though a rush of sharp and cold wind whipped through him.  He shivered.  A new thought came from the back of his mind came forward.  In his minds eye, he saw a pair of powerful hands and the flash of a beautiful face.  He smiled and felt a sense of sexual attraction at this thought.  His forehead began to wet again and he felt his face go flush.  Did someone bite me? He touched his neck and felt his jugular vein.  It throbbed like a fast heartbeat.  Instead of begin scared at this thought, arousal and a sudden hunger grew within him.

The hunger that grew within him did not feel normal.  Instead of a hunger for food, he felt a hunger for, blood.  BLOOD?  That’s not normal.  Is it? The feeling hit him stronger this time.  His mouth began to water.  His nostrils flared as he began to inhale and exhale the intense heat of the night through his nose.  What the hell is happening to me?  Blood? The dirty man grew scared and then smiled to himself.  He lifted his head again and basked himself in the moonbeams again.  Something had happened to him.  He did not remember but, for some reason, it didn’t seem to matter to him now.  He picked up an intense smell of something.  He lifted his arms as though this would harness the smell towards him.  When he lifted his right hand, his head struck something he was holding.  He looked at his right hand and confusion struck him again.  He brought the thing close to him and he smelled it.  Immediately a strong sense of nausea overtook him and he had to catch himself from falling.  He was holding a container of what looked like take out Chinese food.  He opened the box and saw noodles and what looked like pepper steak inside.  What the hell, he thought.  He closed the box and immediately the smell of blood overtook him again.  Lots of blood.  His stomach growled and he felt his crotch stiffen.  Very faintly, he thought he heard someone shouting and singing.  A buffet of blood, he thought to himself.  I am hungry.

His neck began to beat quickly like an overactive nerve and sweat poured from all over his body.  He ran as fast as he could towards the sound.  He was still holding the Chinese food container.

 

There is a lot more to this story than I have listed here.  So I hope I can dive deeper into what Count Bobby is or what he has become.  The story goes on a bit and Bobby meets up with someone who unlike Father Callahan in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, is very strong in his faith.  The result is pretty wild but as the readers shall see, Count Bobby can be pretty deceptive.  I guess that kind of goes with the territory with vampires, no matter how f’ed up they may seem.

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Post for the Week of Nov. 9th

Working on the second paper for the week of Nov 9th, kind of threw my whole routine off in putting together these blog entries.  So now, I will try to catch myself up by writing about what I was working on at that time.  My blog for the week of Nov 16th will be my story since that is what I was finishing up at the time.

 

For the week of Nov 9th, I was deeply into the Let The Right One In book.  And the part I remembered about this book at the time was trying to figure out exactly was Hakans role in the book and also thinking about the relationship that was beginning to form between Oskar and Eli.  As far as Hakan goes, he seems to me to be the ignored lover who will do anything one can to satisfy the former lover just for a taste of what that former love was like.  Hakan in his pursuit of blood for Eli thinks of this as trying to show Eli that he is worthy of Eli’s love.  Unfortunately for Hakan, I do not believe Eli felt the same way about him.  It seems that Eli is interested in someone else, Oskar.  The relationship growing between the two of them seems at the point of the story up to page 160 or so to be very interesting.  I did not know why at the time Eli did not kill Oskar when Eli had the chance.  I found this part of the book sparking my interest to continue on with the story is what a good book like this seems to do with every new chapter.  As far as the lost hope Hakan, he doesn’t seem to understand that no matter what he does, it will never be quite enough.  Maybe deep down, he does not really understand what Eli really is.  This is why he cannot completely satisfy Eli and Eli is not completely satisfied with him.  Eli eventually gives him a little taste of love here and there as the book goes on, but as the book has continued on, it is a rather strange relationship.

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The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens as seen in ‘The Lot’

Trying to figure out exactly what this poem meant was tough for me.  At first glance the poem seems to not explain anything much at all.  And the fact that Stephen King used this poem to open up Part 2 of Salem’s Lot made it even more confusing.  As I went online though and found interpretations of this poem, the thing that King was perhaps trying to do became more clear though.  I still may be way off in interpreting the poem however, I think I understand what King was trying to do with it in the story.

From what I can make out of this poem is that it is the idea that even though death may be all around us, we should not worry about it so much and enjoy the pleasures that life, (or in the case of Salems Lot) death, may bring us.  The Emperor of Ice Cream in this case seems obvious to me.  It is Barlow.  He gives people the opportunity to enjoy the ice cream he dishes out, the ice cream in this case the pleasures of vampire lustful immortality.  In one scene in the story, this is clear to me that this is what King is trying to do with this poem.  In the dream sequence with Eva Miller, the town is burning all around her in remembrance of the fire of ’51 and the people are looking out at it.  She is naked in her apartment window overlooking the town at her window in full view of everyone else who may want to see her naked.  Then she realizes that Ed who at this time of her life she does not know is stroking and biting at her sensually while her husband is away fighting the fire.  Ed, who becomes her lover after her husband dies, is obviously the Emperor of Ice Cream or Barlow in the dream.  She at first resists because she does not want people to see her being fondled by another man besides her husband but as the lustful emotion builds within her and he begins to bite at her and drink her blood, she gives in to him not caring what anyone else thinks.  Then the darkness of her dream fades and Ed is telling her to wake up and that they must now do what the master (Barlow, The Emperor of Ice Cream) commands them to do.  Eva is at first scared but then the knowledge grows within her and a hunger from within her begins to grow.  Her and Ed, now both vampires and living their new lives to the fullest, disappear like smoke in between their door and apparently out into the night to take part in the party that Barlow is hosting. 

I think this scene represents a good portion of the second part of the book.  King in this story is showing that the people of the town Let things be what they were to become and partaked fully in to their new sensual filled lives as vampires. 

Or this is at least what I got out of it.  Then again like I said in the beginning, I could be way off here.    

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Using modern technology to not become a vampire

In reading ‘Salems Lot’ this week, I found a particular section of the story interesting.  During the encounter that Jimmy and Ben have with the now dead Dorothy Glick, Jimmy the Doctor gets bit by the vampire Mrs. Glick.  The encounter ends when Ben confonts her with the crucifix and she escapes into the night in a Dracula Like ‘puff of smoke.” 

What I found the most interesting part of this encounter is what happens immediately after the encounter while Jimmy is laying on the ground in agony after being bit by the vampire.  Being a doctor, he immediately assumes that by cleaning the wound of the bite, he can not be infected.  He douses the wound with disinfectant and then has Ben give him a tetanus shot.  By doing this, Jimmy believes he can kill the vampire ‘infection’ before he is consumed by it.  It is as though modern medicine has taught him that immediate aid to an infection can somehow prevent the spread of it.  This is King showing us that medicine has changed and that somehow technology is in a way more powerful than superstition.  It is an interesting point as to the time period in which he writes and how literature and technology has changed over time.  It is the belief that Jimmy thinks that he is more powerful than supernatural things and as we shall find it in the end which is the most interesting point of the book is that we are not as powerful as we (humans) may believe that we are.

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The evil within the walls of Stephen Kings ‘Marsten House’

In ‘Salems Lot,’ the epitome of evil is not just Dracula, it is also the Marsten House itself. I try to think about some of the comparisons that can be drawn with the Marsten House and Count Dracula’s castle. In ‘Dracula,’ the castle seems to be more of a ‘house of solitude’ for Dracula. In comparing the two places, Dracula seems to lock himself up in solitude. He makes mention in the story that he receives few visitors to his castle (probably cause those who may have visited in the past never left, sort of a villager ‘roach motel’). It is quite obvious in Dracula though that he leaves the castle most likely to feed on the villagers who fear him but, Dracula still lives a sheltered existence. In ‘Salems Lot’ the Marsten House is also a place of solitude as well, a ‘boogieman sort of place’ where only kids on a dare end up going into. It also sits on a hill overlooking the town in the same sort of way that Dracula’s castle overlooked the village. The thing that I see as the biggest difference between the two places though is that there is an evil presence surrounding the house that seems to exist before Dracula arrives. The story of what happen to Hugo Marsten and his wife and the evils that were going on within the house make the Marsten House a perfect ‘boogieman house.’ And the fact that the evil that surrounds the house draws Dracula towards it is all the more interesting as if evil is universal and it calls to the ultimate evil. In Dracula, the only history we get of Dracula’s castle is it seems to be a site where Dracula has existed for many centuries. This is one of the most interesting points of the story and how King does it is a testament to his brilliance in this work.

Another thing in this story that King seems to be doing well is his way of making the story somewhat of a funny horror story.  The characters in this story are funny.  In the part of the story where Larry Crockett is meeting with Dracula’s ‘assistant’ Straker, Crockett, despite the unease that Straker gives him about what Crockett needs to do for him, tries to maintain a sense of humor.  When Straker tells him that him and Barlow plans on living in the house, Crockett asks them what sort of business they will be conducting in his town.  He says “what sort of business, Murder Incorporated?”  I think this is a talent of King trying to let the reader relax a bit instead of building up the scene too much.  This is what makes Kings writing so down to earth and fun to read.  You know something creepy or scary may be coming but, King is more of an entertainer and he believes that if he can make you laugh before freaking you out with the story, then he will have done his job.

 

I agree Mr King.

 

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The New Funny Vampire: Interpretation of Matheson’s “The Funeral”

In reading The Funeral by Richard Matheson, I found myself laughing at different parts of the story.  This story must have been a new era in Vampire and also Monster Storytelling.  The idea of a vampire renting out a funeral room just to have a ceremony for his death because he never one is quite comical in my opinion.  I think Matheson does a great deal here in bringing all sorts of Vampires and monsters together to give the reader a good story that he can laugh at.  I think what Matheson also does well in this story is open up the readers eyes to what the public now perceives as monsters that go “bump in the night.”

This is a change from everything we have read up to this point in the class.  Previous to this story, Vampires were thought of as something that could be real and should be feared.  In Dracula, he is considered someone who not only has ties with “The Evil One,” but also as someone who if not stopped could be a threat to the whole of the British Empire and the entire Victorian ideal.  With Matheson’s story, it is a refreshing change to the entire genre.   His monsters are not taken seriously.  From the beginning of the story, we are taken from a place where the Vampire is someone who wants to have a ceremony and should be feared a little, to by the end of the story when it is just comical as to what is going on.  Before the ceremony, when the parade of guests start to make their way into the parlor, we are introduced to several characters who have come to pay their respects towards the vampire.  We see a Wolfman, a Dracula like character, and also someone who reminded me of the character “It” from the Adams Family.  The ceremony turns into an all out free for all bash when no one can seem to take control of the situation so the service  can start.  Monsters are arguing with each other, and control is never obtained throughout the service.  The caretaker of the establish who has a great name, Morton Silkline, does not quite know what to think when he sees his establishment starting to be destroyed.  It becomes rather funny for the reader who realize that these monsters are no different from any of us.  Most people have a hard time maintaining control and these monsters, these “Lords of the Dark” can’t do it either.

I think this story is a good lead in to Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.  It is a story that transitions monsters from scary things that go bump in the night, to comical figures in the 1950s, to a new breed of Vampire in 1970s Salem Lot, Maine who is set on destroying an entire town and showing the world that he can adjust to any situation (like small town 1970s Maine Life).

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