Tag Archives: vampire

Nosferatunes – 13 Vampire Songs

The children of the night…what music they make!

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Here’s another 13 songs for your next Halloween party. This isn’t a definitive list, just a few hand-picked tunes that will enthrall a crowd with different…tastes.

This list starts off moody, like a newly risen, angst ridden revenant and grows stronger and stranger until it becomes a naughty vampire god. Pop your cape, sharpen your fangs, and dig up these tunes…

Marceline_go_with_me

1. Moon Over Bourbon Street

Sting

As a horror-starved kid I was thrilled to find a main stream song about a vampire.

2. After Dark

Tito & Tarantula, Dusk ‘Til Dawn Soundtrack

This entire album has a lot of great songs to set the mood for your party, especially if it’s ‘that kind of party’.

3. Dracula Moon

Joan Osborne

I love the honky tonk sounds in this one.

4. Closer

Kings of Leon

I’ll admit, this is a new one to me but I dig it.

5. Night of the Vampire

Roky Erickson

This is the least bizarre of Roky Erickson’s songs, but a good place to start getting weird.

6. Dracula’s Lament

Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall Soundtrack

I chose the short version from the soundtrack because I like the mood and piano, but there are longer versions on youtube.

7. Blacula (Stalk Walk)

Gene Page, Blacula Soundtrack

This song is deadlier than Dracula.

8. Black Dracula

Killa Sha featuring Foul Monday

This song popped up randomly on a Wu-Tang station but it’s different enough to make the cut.

9. Dracula’s Wedding

Outkast

Wonderfully playful.

10. Oh Sookie

Snoop Dogg, True Blood Soundtrack

There’s often a song on these lists I refuse to apologize for, and this is that song.  The greatest song to come from True Blood since ‘Bad Thing’ and better than the last 3 seasons combined.

11. Dracula Perfect Selection – Beginning

I don’t even know what’s going on with this one.  Konami released a rap album? With music from Castlevania?

12. Soul Dracula

Hot Blood

This song should be played at every party, regardless of the holiday.

13. Fright Night

J. Geils Band

This video is pure, un-cut madness straight from the 80’s.

As a bonus, here is the intro to a great odd cartoon I used to love: Count Duckula

 

Don’t forget to check out previous lists of handpicked Halloween songs from other years here, here and here.  Do you know of a song that should have made the list?  Let me know in the comments.

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Gods Gonna Cut You Down

Many country western songs, especially those favored by Johnny Cash, seem to exist in a bleak Weird West haunted by wailing winds and ruled by Old Testament justice.  Listen to ‘Ain’t No Grave’, ‘The Man Comes Around’, or ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ and you’ll see what I mean.

The song ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ has always painted vivid pictures in my mind.  In the song God tells John to let five sinners (the long tongued liar, the midnight rider, the rambler, the gambler and the back biter) know that they’re marked for judgment.  I wondered who these colorful characters were, and how they had ended up on the wrong side of God’s Law.  Who was John, the chosen messenger and avenger of the almighty?

Inspired, I decided to write my first story in the weird western genre.  Happily, my piece found the perfect home in SONG STORIES : BLAZE OF GLORY.  This is the second anthology from Song Stories Press featuring tales created from music.

Song Stories Blaze of Glory cover

In order to ground the ‘Weird’ I  wanted to make the historical details of my ‘West’ as accurate as I could.  Here are a few notes about the WEIRD.

MEET THE GANG:

The Long Tongued Liar

orochimaru

I chose the Long Tongued Liar to head up my band of outlaws.  The name conjured up Orochimaru, the scheming master of serpents and my favorite villain from the manga Naruto.  With God as long arm of the law, however, I knew my outlaws should be hell-spawn.  I searched the tomes of demonology for an appropriate counterpart and found Jezebeth, the Demoness of Falsehoods.  It’s hard to track down reliable information about her, but what else would you expect?

The Midnight Rider

ghost_riders

I have always wanted to write a weird western tale about the song ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’.

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies

With that character already in mind, I had my Midnight Rider.

The Rambler

medicinewagon

How to make rambling seem villainous?  I had a choice between a character that moved around a lot or one that talked too much.  I chose that latter and created Giovanni Mountebank, the loquacious showman behind “Dr. Giovanni Mountebank’s Medicine Show & Traveling Dime Museum.”

plague-doctor

A clue to Giovanni’s origins is the sinister bird mask that hangs above his clockwork wagon.  He was born in the Dark Ages, where he began his dubious career in medicine as a Plague Doctor.  While no medical training or experience was necessary, Plague Doctors had the special authority not only to record the Last Will and Testament of their patients, but to perform their autopsies as well.  Imagine the possibilities for corruption and you get an idea of Giovanni’s path to the dark side.

The Gambler

Navajo god 2

Every weird western needs a Skinwalker, and Nayenezgani Biwosi is mine.  His first name comes from the monster slaying hero of Navajo mythology.  Tucked into the background of all my demon outlaws is the story of righteous men corrupted by Jezebeth.  The name Biwosi comes from Hastiin Biwosi, the first Navajo killed in the witch purge of 1878.

In the gambling halls of the badlands, however, he is known as ‘The Suicide King’.  His favorite game is ‘Russian Roulette’ (although the term hadn’t been invented yet).  A skinwalker can assume the form of any hide or fur he is wearing.  The Gambler keeps a coyote pelt draped over his fancy clothes, but he plays for the skin of his victims.

The Backbiter

NosferatuShadow

I wanted to round out my rogues’ gallery with a vampire.  I needed to find a different angle on it as well as a way for a vampire to move around in the harsh sun baked southwest.  My solution was twofold: conjoined twins, one living, one undead.

siamese twins skeleton

John

civil war soldier

The grim avenger in this story is a mysterious man known only as John.  He hides scars beneath his deerskin gloves, carries thirty pieces of silver and wields an antiquated blunderbuss pistol loaded with crucifixion nails.  He once walked a very different path, but Jezebeth destroyed everything he knew.  Check out the story to find out more.

Pistol_Bayonet

Song Stories: Blaze of Glory on Amazon Paperback and Kindle

Song Story Press

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Looking for Van Helsing

The legend of DRACULA, as written in the classic novel by Bram Stoker, has spawned countless works of fiction.  Legends often contain a kernel of truth, however, and the character of Dracula is believed to be based on the real historical figure Vlad the Impaler, the notorious 14th century prince of Wallachia.

New evidence has been unearthed that another enduring character from Bram Stoker’s novel may also have some basis in reality: the courageous ‘vampire hunter’ Abraham Van Helsing.  Author Ed Erdelac found surprising clues about the real life doctor and used them to create a sequel to Dracula, with his new novel, TEROVOLAS.

I asked Mr. Erdelac to describe his research and tell us about the ‘real’ Abraham Van Helsing.

When did you first make your discovery?

Back in the summer of 1997 when I was living in Uptown Chicago, I landed a seasonal job carrying old boxes of documents back and forth from the basements of the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library during this big re-organizational push they were having.  At the back of a shelf, I found a large box marked for the Ravenwood collection that had (in my opinion) been deliberately mislaid.  It was posted from Purfleet in England, and contained a series of dated, sealed packets ranging from the 1860’s to about 1934, and accompanying letters from Dr. John Seward to the head of the university’s archaeology department in 1935.

The name Seward was familiar to me, but I didn’t realize it was that Jack Seward until one day on lunch, avoiding my student supervisor, I cracked open one of the packets out of curiosity and started reading.

What I’d found that day was what I now call The Van Helsing Papers, a series of personal journals translated from Dutch, and organized into packets with relevant correspondences and newspaper articles that all served to convince me that the Abraham Van Helsing, who famously opposed Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s seminal novel of 1897, was a real person with a long and fascinating career in the fledgling field of paranormal investigation.

What is the premise of this book?

For the first release of Van Helsing’s papers, I decided to cover the period immediately following the events of Dracula, as I thought it would garner the most interest, considering the continued popularity of the ‘novel.’

Eight months after the conclusion of the Dracula affair, Van Helsing committed himself to Jack Seward’s asylum in Purfleet, as he was suffering from violent delusions brought about by his mortal encounter with the count’s three vampiric wives.  Disposing of three sleeping women had taken its toll on Van Helsing emotionally, and Seward diagnosed him (possibly incorrectly, but I’m not a psychiatrist) with melancholic lycanthropea.

After several months of psychiatric care he was released, and discovered the cremated remains and personal effects of Quincey P. Morris, the Texan who died in the Carpathians fighting Dracula and his followers, were still in the possession of Arthur Holmwood, Lord Godalming, who was tied up with legal affairs that originated with the recent death of his father.

Van Helsing volunteered to take Morris’ remains back to the Morris family ranch in Sorefoot, Texas, partly in the hopes of getting in some relaxing downtime, but it didn’t work out that way.

Morris’ estranged brother, Coleman, was in the midst of a land dispute with a neighboring outfit of Norwegian cattlemen led by a man named Sigmund Skoll, and only a few days after Van Helsing’s arrival, Cole’s foreman Early Searls and Sheriff G.B. Turlough were murdered. Slaughtered, might be a better word.

Needless to say, Van Helsing, being on hand, offered to lend his expertise, and gathered enough evidence from the crime scene to suspect a supernatural force was at work.  But of course, having only recently left the asylum, he was worried he had begun regressing to his previous aberrant mental state.

I don’t want to give too much away, of course.  Read the book.

Do you think your credits as a fiction writer will make people dismiss your research on the ‘real’ Van Helsing?

Well, there is a danger of that, yeah. But I believe fate put a seventy year old document in my lap for a reason. I could have spent another fifteen years shopping The Van Helsing Papers around to someone with scholarly credentials, but I think I’d probably have run into the same problems as Seward, the original compiler. People like that generally aren’t willing to put their reputations on the line. I have no reputation to risk, in that regard.

I think the truth of The Van Helsing Papers aren’t for everyone. But if it’s available to anyone, then I think the people who are looking for the truth will find it, and that’s more important than getting a blurb from some academic on the back cover.

You contend that Count Dracula was based on a historical figure.  You have pointed out that Bram Stoker describes Prof. Van Helsing’s appearance and personality in far greater detail than his other characters.  Do you believe that once the public has a chance to review your case the existence of the ‘real’ Van Helsing will become ‘common knowledge’?

Well, first off, I’m personally not sure about the popular notion that Dracula is Vlad Tepes.

That’s not implicitly stated in Dracula and not really my area of study.  I know there’s a lot of speculation about that, and I understand the theory has come under question recently, but it doesn’t really concern me.  I don’t have access to the documents which Stoker used to write Dracula and the Count’s past isn’t relevant to anything in The Van Helsing Papers.

I believe the Count Dracula that Van Helsing and company contended with existed, yes.  Van Helsing conjectures some about his origins, but I don’t think he discovered it in the course of his investigation.  He was understandable preoccupied in trying to preserve Mina Harker’s life.  At any rate, Van Helsing’s battle with Dracula was only a single incident in a long career.

In the past fifteen years I’ve uncovered a lot.  I’ve seen his death certificate (he died in 1934 in Holysloot, North Holland), for one thing, and I have a copy of a book he translated into Dutch for his colleague Arminius Vambery (Western Cultures In Eastern Lands is the English title), and there’s mention of him in the personal papers of T.E. Lawrence and Flinders Petrie for example (though I doubt you’ll get confirmation of that from any of their biographers).  After the publication of Dracula though, he became something of a pariah in the academic community, and even many of the people who called on his expertise in later years went a long way to suppress their associations with him.

Of course I hope the real man will come to the world’s attention, that’s my intent, but the public is fickle and strange.  In a culture that celebrates Twilight, it’s popular for men like Van Helsing to be portrayed as monsters, and we like our monsters fictional.

Witch hunts and vampire panics are well documented in Europe and America, but evidence of superstitious practices is not the same thing as proof that those superstitions were correct.  Even if the historical Doctor Van Helsing did believe in vampires, what makes you think other elements of the Dracula story are true?

I would urge you to read Terovolas. Because if the primary accounts in it are true, and from my years of cross checking and corresponding with historical societies and descendants of the participants, and visits to the actual locations (there’s an old tombstone at the Fairview Cemetery in Bastrop, Texas for example, on which you can still make out the name Coleman Morris, and the Bowie knife Quincey used on Dracula is probably the same one I traced to the Autry Museum here in Los Angeles) I can verify that they probably are, then chances are better than average the things portrayed in Dracula are real as well.

But of course, Dracula was presented as fiction, and compiled by Stoker at the behest of the Harkers. It’s possible that some things in it were spruced up. I can’t speak for it 100% as I don’t have access to that segment of Van Helsing’s personal papers. They were taken from him by an undisclosed party during his stay at Purfleet. All that of course, will probably come to light in a later publication, once the legalities of it are sorted out.

But there are further references to Count Dracula elsewhere in The Van Helsing Papers, including an incident in 1898 or so involving his Gypsy followers, so I know that they at least existed, and believed in Dracula’s powers, and exercised inexplicable abilities of their own.

Anyone interested in the fictional world of Dracula or the real life travels of Dr. Van Helsing should read TEROVOLAS.  The story is a must for horror fans and the depth of research available in the footnotes will thrill fans of historical horror.  Get the book now at http://journal-store.com/fiction/terovolas/

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Tricky Dick

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That’s Rough Riding

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ICH BIN EIN SEQUEL

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Interview with Author Edward M. Erdelac

In celebration of the 33 days of Hallowe’en here is an interview with Horror author Edward M. Erdelac, author of the Lovecraftian / Jewish Weird Western saga MERKABAH RIDER as well as the zombie tales DUBAKU and NIGHT OF THE JIKININKI and the delicious Vampire /Werewolf/Pirate combo platter RED SAILS.

We sat down in cyberspace recently and had a nice chat; presented here for your ED-ification (I already regret that pun.)

When did you think you wanted to be a story teller?

Probably around eighth grade. Sister Marie read us Call of The Wild and around the same time I read the novelization of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Simon Hawke. First two books I ever read without any kind of art in them and I was amazed at what you could do in a book. When Buck for instance attacked the Indian camp at the end of Call and ripped all their
throats out (a nun was reading this too us remember) I was totally blown away. Uh…spoiler.

I’m glad that made you choose to be a story teller and not a nun.  When did you decide to be an author?

That summer after eighth grade I took a trip to Kentucky with my dad and read The Lord Of The Rings and Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Solomon Kane stories. I also got heavy into Stephen King, especially his short stories, and started filling notebooks full of stuff. I think the invention of the word processing program is what finally made me decide I wanted to write. I had written little stories and things for school and always done well – I got accused of plagiarism for a poem about Mars in second grade. But I always hated typewriters and white out.

Stephen King was big for me, especially the anthologies.  IT was the longest book I had ever read at the time.  When did you start writing for reals?

I was writing stuff a lot before ever since high school really, including screenplays all throughout college, but my first pro sale was
for the Star Wars website in 2008. The first story I ever sold for any money at all was Killer Of The Dead in Murky Depths Magazine in the UK. I think that might’ve been 2007.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals or anything to get your mind in the zone?

Nah, with three kids at home my only ritual is put the kids to bed or down for a nap.

How about your writing process?  Do you outline?  Do you know the end before you begin? 

I usually start with a concept and usually the ending is in my mind. I’ve known how Merkabah Rider ends since the beginning, for instance. For longer works I do sometimes write the sequence of events out in a paragraph or two, but I don’t plaster my wall with note cards or anything really formal.  My stories tend to involve a lot of research, so I immerse myself in books from the library if I don’t have them at home. I guess that counts as prep, but it’s dispersed throughout weeks sometimes. When talking about other historical periods, I like to pick up firsthand accounts from the period when I can to get a feel for the way people talk.

I agree, firsthand accounts are invaluable, and it certainly shows in your dialogue.  Are you willing to let the
characters tell you what happens next?

Definitely. This is gonna sound weird, but most of the time I feel like I’m just recording stories, not coming up with them, like they’ve already occurred somewhere.  The research and plotting just uncovers the details, puts the sometime disparate impressions I get together into the coherent story in my mind. I’ve written things with a character I only intended to come in for one scene and they’ve wound up being a major supporting character, so yeah, it does feel like they have their own agenda sometimes. I guess that’s organic or naturalistic writing or whatever, but they feel real to me. If they didn’t, if I didn’t believe in them, I don’t think they’d ring true for the reader either.

I feel the same way about research.  I know I’m the one piecing the elements together but sometimes I feel guilty, like I’ve stumbled upon these amazing stories that no one has noticed before. 

Now you work with Editors, but you had to edit your first stories yourself.  How important is perfecting the story to you?  Do you serve no wine before its time or do you believe in the doing your best first draft, giving it a quick polish and then pushing it out of the nest to make room for the next project?

Going back to the notion of just sort of plucking the story out of the universe, I don’t tend to mess with the plotting very much. I think that’s why I’ve had problems with screenplays. I hate the three act structure. I don’t believe good stories actually fit into that. Good movies, maybe. I guess I don’t know. But movies are more artificial than books. There are a lot of different contributors on every level, a lot of different interpretations, just a lot of rigmarole going into them. I don’t really obsess over stuff once I’ve written it. I’ll go through it, yeah, and an editor is really a God-send, but I feel like I’m in a race most of the time. I’ve gotta get on to the next thing, get the next story out before it fades (or more likely before my kids wake up).

On the subject of movies, in addition to screenplays you wrote and directed a western, Meaner Than Hell.  Do you think cinema or prose have more to offer the Western Genre?

If you mean which has more to offer, well, as much as I hate to say it, movies sort of are the new literature of the world. Go on Amazon and look up the number of reviews for True Grit, both the movies and the original novel by Charles Portis (“Whaat? It was a novel?” or even “Whaat? It’s a remake?” I hear far too much). There are a 167 reviews of the novel. A really great amount for a book. There are 265 or so for the John Wayne movie, and 357 for the Cohen Brothers remake. Movies are just more prevalent than books these days.

But if you mean does either format have anything new to offer, I think there are always stories to tell in every genre. I’ve been
shopping an all-Mexican western around for years now. I think right now in film westerns have taken a turn into the hardcore realistic, which is great for western nerds for me (and yet I can’t sell any of my western screenplays, so I guess it’s really not that great), but not so great for the popularity of the genre itself. People want shoot ‘em ups. They want the westerns they remember,
the westerns of tough guys talking all kinds of great shit and fast draws and yippee-kay-yi-yays, not the revisionist westerns Hollywood’s favored ever since Unforgiven. Look at the popularity of Tombstone over Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp is really a better, more realistic movie, but Tombstone has great lines, great deeds. That’s what people wanna see when they go to the movies. Real life is depressing, even back then. As much as I hated the idea of Johnny Depp as Tonto, I respect Gore Verbinski. Rango is all kinds of fun, a great western. I think he could do up The Lone Ranger right. But I wish he’d call me to write
the script.

Prose-wise, it is really hard to get an interesting western published. Most of the publishers who handle the genre only want right wing good hat bad hat stuff or six gun romances. They just don’t want anything really different. And the big guys, well, they don’t look at anybody new obviously.

Of all your stories which character or book would you most like to see as a movie?

I would love to see Takashi Miike expand and direct Night Of The Jikininki, my feudal Japan zombie story from DEADCORE, the anthology Comet Press did.  I enjoyed 13 Assassins. I wish I knew how to get it to him.  I watched Kurosawa and Sword of Doom and read Kazuo Koike relentlessly while writing that.

I’d love to see that too!  What’s the second?

I think my straight no-ghoulies western, Buff Tea.

 Back to books – Your first MERKABAH RIDER books are sets of novellas that will culminate with a full length novel.  How did you choose this format?  What do you like about this approach?

At first I wanted to release them as novellas, and Kim at Damnation Books was all for it as well, but then my first novella Dubaku came out and it was an indie press, and you know, they do what they have to do, but personally I’m a used bookstore kinda guy, so when I saw the price for a 48-page story, I was a little put out (especially when one reviewer on Amazon voiced my same concern – that it was a little too pricey for the length). I figured nobody would take a chance on them individually, so I suggested putting
them altogether. I was introduced to Robert E. Howard in the Zebra paperbacks with the Frank Frazetta covers, so I just figured I’d write them like that – like you were reading a collected book of something previously published in Weird Tales or something. I miss not having all the cool covers I envisioned for each one, but I think the format works OK. At conventions I’ve been to a
lot of times the selling point is these are in novella ‘episodes’ that you can pick up and put down. People don’t have as much time to read, and they’re resistant to unknown authors with good reason. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s not so great. Plus, the audience I guess it’s written for knows the Zebra books too, and they get it. I’ve read reviews comparing MR to them, and
that’s awesome that it came across for those people, because it’s exactly what I intended. Stephen King is right; writing can be a kind of telepathy.

You dig deep into different cultures and time periods.  What is your favorite time period or culture besides the rough and tumble melting pot of the wild west?

I think the nineteen thirties were a pretty awesome time period. There were still totally unexplored frontiers on earth, there were clear cut bad guys rising to power, things were bordering on the optimistic. It’s a time period I’d like to visit in my writing at some point. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, but lately I find myself skirting around Hindu and old Chinese mythologies a lot. Two cultures I know next to nothing about but am interested in. Would love to do a wuxia book some day.

It’s almost Halloween, so tell me your favorite 3 monsters.

1. Wolfman/Werewolf

2. Creature From The Black Lagoon

3. Kaiju (giant monsters or giant animals – Godzilla, Gamera,
Daimajin, I would include Them! and Night of The Lepus in here too).

You and those damned Lepi.  What monster do you think is under rated?

Creature from the Black Lagoon. Someday I’ll write something with that guy in it. He’s got such a great, singular look. When I was a kid he was my absolute favorite. They’ve got these diving sets for kids where the mask and the flippers and the gloves make you look like the Creature, with webbed clawed hands and a fin on your head. I bought one for my son awhile ago but he grew out of it. Wish I’d had it as a kid.

I almost bought that even though it wouldn’t fit me!  I envy kids almost all of their toys nowadays. 

And now for the eternal question: If you had to be a vampire or werewolf, which would it be?

Werewolf. The biggest curse of being a vampire is having to drink only blood for eternity. I’d miss beer and Chinese food. Werewolves get all that and they get to run naked in the woods and they can smell a pizza from a mile away. They seem to have awesome stamina as well. I guess it’s all the running. Great cardio. I don’t see any drawbacks there.

I suppose they’re running off all the pizza!  What is the scariest thing in the world to you?

Death.  Non-existence. The possibility of having your consciousness obliterated. I don’t believe that’s what happens, but there’s
always a possibility. I guess that’s not technically in this world….I don’t know…cancer. Your body failing on you.

That brings us astrologically to our final interrogative…Crab emoticon: Best emoticon, or Bestest emoticon?

I think it deserves its own appellation. I vote Bestemicon.

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There you have it folks!
Please click through the links in the story to check out the items mentioned or go to Ed’s website for a chance to win giveaways all month long!

Author Ed M. Erdelace’s Blog – Delirium Tremens

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