Tag Archives: Halloween
A travelling carnival came to town this year for Halloween and set up in the fair grounds. Along with the usual assortment of spinning rides, a haunted house was erected, quite separate from the other attractions, in a quiet corner. The advertisement in the newspaper for the spooky house said:
Hah! As if you’d actually die –they have laws against that kind of thing … right? Still … I vow not to scream, just in case.
My friends have joined me at the entrance now, so I pay the fee and bravely volunteer to be the first to enter the dilapidated looked structure. Jeez, it’s dark. Really dark. What is that glowing ahead of me? Are those words? I inch forward in the blackness and the words suddenly move toward me.
My late what? I snicker, turning to my friends. But no one is there, just a sign directly behind me, less than an arm’s length from my face, that says
How did that get there? And where all the apostrophes? The hair is standing up on the back of my neck. “Guys?” I call out to my friends, but nobody answers, so I back away from the creepy signs into another room. This room appears to be long and narrow – I wish my eyes would adjust to the dark so I could see where I’m going!
I’m edging forward when something brushes against my back and I spin around to face it.
Taut?? They mean taunt! Something drops from the darkness above and I stifle a squeal and duck.
I spin to my left.
I’m starting to perspire. I want to get out of this weird place; it’s scarier than I expected. Okay, there’s the exit from the room. It doesn’t look too far away.
Yes, I am bored with it! Where are these phrases coming from??
I’m scrambling now, and the eerie glowing words just keep coming! Where did the exit sign go? I can’t see it!
Ouch! I tripped over
and almost tumbled into
I am excited about leaving and I’m almost there, just a few more steps!
No, not that! I clap my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming and leap through the door to the next room. I still can’t see, but at least I’m not being attacked by bad grammar. The exit is straight ahead….
What’s that noise? Yikes, something fluttered right over my head! There’s another one! What ARE those things – are they bats? Yuk, that one was almost stuck in my hair. Are they…? Could they be… ? They are! They’re apostrophes and they’re dive-bombing me! “Leave me alone! Why don’t you go back to the words you belong with??” White, shimmering forms are starting to fill the room around me – ghosts – and the one closest to me answers my question:
And it starts laughing; a shrill howl that sends chills down my spine.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t contain my scream any longer! And now I’m running as fast as I can to the exit, beating off apostrophes and screeching ghosts like Buffy in a room full of vampires, until I finally shove the door open and throw myself through it. Phew! Deep breathes. That was horrifying! Deep breathes. It’s okay. I’m all right.
And hey, at least I didn’t literally die screaming.
Contrary to popular belief, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was not named after Vlad the Impaler. It is believed that Bram Stoker would have known very little about Vlad, “certainly not enough to have been inspired to base Count Dracula on him.” In fact, Stoker discovered the name Dracula in an old book with a footnote suggesting it came from a Romanian word for “devil”, which was, obviously, appropriate for his main character. Until then, the name he had in mind for his spooky Count was Wampyr. Yes, the best known vampire in history was almost Wampyr the Vampire.
The 1922 German film Nosferatu stole the story of Dracula and hoped to get away with it by changing the characters’ names, including that of the main character to Count Orlok. The Stoker estate successfully sued the production company for copyright infringement, leaving the company bankrupt and proving that a Dracula by any other name was … well, illegal. (Dracula has always been in the public domain in the United States, but in the United Kingdom and other countries the novel was under copyright until April 1962, fifty years after Stoker’s death.)
Dracula lends itself wonderfully to parodies. The Bugs Bunny cartoon Transylvania 6-5000 features Count Blood Count; Count Duckula is “a little bit Dracula, a little bit Daffy Duck”; Count Chocula has his own cereal; Count Floyd hosted SCTV’s Monster Chiller Horror Theater; and toddler favourite Count von Count lives on Sesame Street and helps his audience learn to count. “They call me the Count because I love to count things! One friend from Sesame Street, plus one friend from Sesame Street, equals two friends from Sesame Street! Ah, ha, ha!”
In early tales, the starring vampires often had titles, including Sir Francis Varney in the 1847 serial Varney the Vampire, and Lord Ruthven in The Vampyre, 1918.
Anne Rice says her inspiration for the character Lestat de Lioncourt, star of the hugely popular Vampire Chronicles, came largely from her husband, poet and artist Stan Rice. The name Lestat is, or is meant to sound like, an old French name.
Angel, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was once one of the nastiest of the nasty. He terrorized Europe in the 1700s as Angelus before being cursed with a soul, a punishment designed to make him suffer eternally for his past crimes. The name Angelus is obviously ironic, referencing the handsome demeanour hiding the monster within. As Angel entering the 21st century, the vampire with a soul spent all of his time helping others.
In modern times, vampire names have become less formal, allowing them to fit in with today’s society. The vampires in the recent Twilight series were born in the early 1900s and have simple names from that period: Edward, James, Victoria, etc.
And that brings us to the current American television series True Blood, which features a vampire lead character. Through the last couple of hundred years of vampire fiction we’ve gone from Counts to … Bill.
If your horse or other pet has expressed an interest in getting into character for Halloween, search on-line for vampire names for your dog, horse, etc. and a site will come up – no kidding – with suggestions such as Igor (faithful assistant) and Blade (Tomb of Dracula).
To discover your own vampire name, search for vampire name generators and you’ll find several sites. My vampire name is Karula Drifher. I like it.