Pointless Horror series

Pointless Horror: Just a Little Prick, Part 2

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I am losing the will to live.

Well, maybe losing the will to read.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was in a bad mood when I read Cusick’s Vampire. It happens. But I’m pretty sure that had I been in the best rainbow stuffed unicorn happy happy mood ever, I still wouldn’t have been able to cope with the protagonist’s full-on wandering womb hysteria.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Improbably named Darcy’s crappy mother is getting married again and taking off to Europe for her honeymoon, leaving Darcy with her Uncle Jake, whom she’s never met and her whole family hates for basically no reason. So we’re off to a good start.

Uncle Jake runs a horror museum, and although the exhibits are just static wax figures of classic horror monsters (think Bela Lugosi et al.), Darcy is pants-shittingly terrified of them.

As he pushed her to the guardrail, Darcy felt her skin crawl…Darcy turned away, strangely unsettled by the coffin…Darcy continued on…shuddering at all the gory details…Darcy shut her eyes, trying to force all the grisly scenes from her mind…

She is, in fact, pants-shittingly terrified of everything. Even before she has reason to be. Remember Martha and Belinda? Darcy has made me miss Martha and Belinda. I shed a single tear for their relative bravery, even though it hurt me to do so.

(But it’s okay that Darcy’s so hysterical–that just means all the boys can protect her. And they all want to protect her, are fighting to protect her, because she’s really pretty and that makes it easier to stare into the void where her personality should be.)

Oh god, this is awful, isn’t it? Let’s continue.

Not long after Darcy breezes into town, someone starts slitting the throats of teen girls for fun, leaving them with his signature: two dots, made with red lipstick, over their jugular veins. For some reason, the kids find the fake vampire bites more disturbing than the gaping throat wounds, because they’ve all been doing a lot of vampire research lately for reasons you just don’t need to know, and this killer could be any kind of vampire. Any kind.

‘Do you think this Vampire–the killer, I mean–really believes he is one?’

‘If he does then that makes him extremely dangerous…. Because he can be any kind of vampire he wants to be, so that makes him unpredictable.’

Right. He’s dangerous because his free rein in the vampire pantheon makes him unpredictable; the fact that he’s a homicidal fucking maniac is just a side note. Right, got it. Consider my priorities straightened.

Turns out the killer is totally predictable, being the only one of Darcy’s new peer group to be voted Most Likely to Not Be Suspected in high school. True to formula, I suppose…or is it? You see, I came out of this book more than half convinced that the main vampire-ish murderer plot is actually just a smoke screen to mask the real horror lurking beneath the surface of the narrative.

Uncle Jake.

Yes, ‘gorgeous’ Uncle Jake, who at twenty-three years old not only owns a horror museum, but also runs a club (I mean, ‘Club’) for minors where they serve Coca-Cola and kids can stay out of trouble, allegedly. Uncle Jake, whose only friends in the book are high-schoolers. Uncle Jake, who recently dated a seventeen-year-old, and who currently has the hots for his equally seventeen-year-old niece (oh my god no wait it’s okay he’s adopted!).

Uncle. Fucking. Jake.

Like I said, I was in a bad mood. Maybe I’ll revisit Vampire at some point, but I need some space, okay? Some…alone time.

Vampire gets one out of five Belas-in-the-headlights, because I didn’t like it.

 


I’m taking a one-week break to carve pumpkins and plan my (late) Halloween costume, so regularly scheduled programming will return on Thursday, 3 November with…The Mall!

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Happy Halloween!

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Pointless Horror series

Pointless Horror: Just a Little Prick, Part 1

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I’ve never really been a fan of the vampire as a horror genre construct. I’m not sure I can even explain why–vampires have always just left me a bit cold (geddit?!). Even when I went through my Anne Rice phase during university, I somehow managed to avoid reading almost all of her vampire novels, sticking to the fringe, Lestat-less stories like Violin and Cry to Heaven instead.

(I did enjoy the Interview with the Vampire film when it came out, though, which probably had more to do with my youthfully misguided crush on Christian Slater than the story. I say ‘misguided’, but man he is good in Mr. Robot, ain’t he? But let’s be honest–it’d be hard to be bad on a show like that.)

There are always exceptions to the rule, of course. I’ve recently reread some of the old Stephen King classics, and I was surprised to find that ‘Salem’s Lot is actually one of my favourites of his. The follow-up short, ‘One for the Road’, is great, but I’m less enamoured with the prequel/origin story ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’, and yet I feel like the ‘Salem’s Lot universe is one that could be, and probably should be, revisited.

Knowing my bloodsucker aversion, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that when it came time to write about Vampire, Cusick’s own take on the icon (I guess?), I couldn’t remember a single damn thing about it. Not one. I wasn’t even convinced she’d written the book–I had to double-check to ensure my sources were correct for my own peace of mind. Total memory vacuum.

Luckily, during a fifteen-minute yoga session this morning that has left me crippled (this health kick is brought to you by my birthday next month–please kill me), one major detail jumped unbidden into my conscious mind: the killer leaves two dots of red lipstick on his victims’ necks. That’s why the book’s called Vampire.

And that’s all I know.

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