February 16, 2014 at 4:06 am (Uncategorized)

On thursday, I turned 40. Today, I celebrated with my friends. I’m blessed. If you guys should happen to read this: I love you. Thanks for an amazing evening, thanks for singing songs, thanks for the presents, thanks for being there. You’re the best.

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Dreamfall will be continued! Finally! OMG OMG OMG!

December 16, 2012 at 3:39 am (Uncategorized)

The headline really says it all. I’m sooooooooo excited that Dreamfall/The Longest Journey will finally be continued after  six years. I thought that the game had died quietly, but instead, Ragnar Tornquist recently announced that Dreamfall Chapters  is on it’s way. Finally.  This truly is one of the best messages I’ve received this year. I love these games and I always wanted to find out how it all ended. Thank you, Mr. Tornquist, for finally providing us with an ending. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In case you want to read more about Dreamfall Chapters,here’s the link:

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Polterabend a.k.a. Wedding-Eve-Party

August 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm (Uncategorized)

Ok, let me get this straight: Even though it’s called a wedding-eve-party, we didn’t do it the evening before our wedding – way too exhausting. I mean, let’s face it: Who can drink all night, get up at 8 a.m., go to the hairdressers, get dressed, and get married without suffering from a severe hangover? Right. Not many people. Also, we’re way too old to do that *g*  So we decided to have that special night two weeks before the wedding – my fiance went out with his pals and I had a wonderful evening with the girls.

Problem was, my sister arrived a day earlier and we had some beer to get in the mood – ok, too much beer, to be honest.  I was slightly hungover the next day, felt sick to my stomach and decided that it’d be a great idea to take a nap. At 3 p.m., just about an hour before the girls arrived, I felt pretty good and started to dress up – you do want to look nice on your wedding-eve-party, don’t you? When the girls started to arrive, we decided we’d stick to non-alcoholic beverages for a start – didn’t last long, mind you. When everybody had gotten to our flat, we started to make Hugos – THE summer drink in Austria this year, consisting of champagne, mineral water, juice of elderberries, some lime, ice, and a leaf of mint. Very refreshing, I tell ya. Another problem arose: We started making Hugos at about 5 p.m., but were supposed to be picked up by the stretch limo half an hour later. So we gulped down our drinks and took some pictures. Here’s one of them:

And then it was time to leave the flat and enter the stretch limo. Yes, a stretch limo. I insisted on it because I always wanted to ride in such a thing. Also, when we booked it, I talked to my sister and basically told her “Look – they got stretch limos in black, white, and pink”. Of course, I preferred pink – and my sister (who’s also my maid of honour) thought it’d be a great idea to rent the pink stretch Cadillac. I was the last to get down to the street so I missed the expressions on my friends’ faces when they saw the pink car, but you can probably imagine how some of them stared at it when you look at this picture:

After some instructions from the driver – don’t fill the glasses up to the rim because there might be an emergency braking, don’t stick your butts out of the window (as if anybody would to THAT *ts*) – we took off for an 1,5 hour ride through Vienna. And boy, it was FUN!!! We had brought CDs with selected music to play and rode the pink car around Vienna, playing Bon Jovi, The Barenaked Ladies, John Denver, Danzig, Def Leppard, and more, toasting the passengers and taking pictures in front of the Hofburg. We loved it! You should have seen the expressions on pedestrians’ and drivers’ faces as we drove by – a lot of people actually took pictures and stared in amazement.

Too soon, the ride was over and the driver dropped us off at Schwedenplatz – and just as we arrived, another group of girls arrived in a bus, also being on a wedding-eve-party. “Hey, where’s your bride? Oh, there you are – you need to drink some Jägermeister with our bride!” Ok, here we go… 😀 I don’t like Jägermeister much but I can’t let another bride down, right?

Because one cannot live on alcohol alone, we crashed into an Indian restaurant and filled our stomachs with delicious food. Onward to a cocktail bar for some – you might have guessed – cocktails. I liked the bar but it was a bit too moody (both in illumination and music)  for a girls’ night out so we decided to drink up and head to a karaoke bar located in the first district. This one turned out to be a disappointment – very crowded, very sticky air, so we decided to go to another karaoke bar, located in the eigth district. This one proved to be a good pick. Not only did they serve great beer – Stiegl -, it also wasn’t that crowded and the other singers were much worse than us. After our first beer, we decided to enter the stage to perform Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”. As it turned out, karaoke is a lot of fun – well, at least for four of us, the other half of the group decided to rate our performance and endure the others’ dreadful *uhm* “singing”. In the end, we stayed until 5.30 a.m. and performed songs like “Breaking the law” by Judas Priest, “Hard Rock Hallelujah” by Lordi and “Sex Bomb” by Tom Jones. It’s pretty addictive, I tell ya – once you get over your initial stage fright, you want more and more and more… Unfortunately, other people thought the same – people who couldn’t sing at all. The worst performance was delivered by a guy who thought he could do “Smells like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana – not THAT difficult to sing, really, but he messed up. Totally.

Anyway – at about 5.30 a.m. we called a taxi and headed back home where my sister and myself drank another beer (0k – half a beer, we were already wasted) before going to bed. I didn’t sleep much that night but boy, it was totally worth it. I’m blessed to have such good friends. Thanks, girls. This was one night to remember 🙂

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The Blind Dead 5

June 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm (movies)

“Night of the Blood Cult” starts – classicaly – with a scene from the golden days when the Templars were alive and chirpy. Cut, the present. A young doctor and his beloved wife move to a small village in Spain, the houses look like heaps of stone. The villagers are even worse: not very talkative, hostile, and repulsive. To make things even worse, they’re aiding the evil Templars who claim virgins every seven years. Also, they – and this doesn’t make them any more likeable – beat the idiot of the village who seeks refuge with the young couple. Things go as they always do: The young couple meddles with the villagers’ business, defying all omens and warnings because the life of  a young girl is at stake – a young girl who’s been tied to a rock at the beach by the villagers, awaiting her dreadful fate clad in a tiny white sheet.

Our young doctor isn’t impressed by the approaching Templars, cuts the girl’s shackles and runs off with her . Cut: The villagers, though not very talkative but clearly equipped with a sixth sense, leave the village. Cut: Our hero and the maid are positioned in the doctor’s kitchen. Confusion: When did they escape? How? Where are the Templars?

Templar afficionados know: The rotting chaps won’t be far away. They are aided by the villagers who steal our heroes’ car. It’s a scandal! What to do? There’s only one thing: nail up windows and doors! But this won’t hold back our Templars, oh no! They find a way into the house, one of them burning up on the way. We have to witness how the Templars slaughter the village idiot and how the remaining heroes flee to the house’s roof – there’s a way out. To heighthen the tension, the wife all of a sudden displays fear of heights (we’re on the first floor), becomes hysterical and refuses to climb down: “I’ll stay here!” That being said, she turns to the attic (on the first floor!!) but, oh no, the Templars have already realised what’s going on and are slowly approaching our heroine.  Squealing, cries for help, and out the window she goes. Her husband, already pretty stressed out, advises her: “Stop squealing and jump down!” Oh, what a guy!

Seconds of squabbling later, our heroes mount the Templars’ horses. This can’t be good. The beasts have their own mind and want to go back to the castle. Following the rider’s orders? You bet. While galopping in slow motion across the beach, a virgin plummets into the sea and is being slaughtered by the Templars while our heroic couple arrives at the stronghold. Here, they are awaited by a committe – yes, that’s right, more Templars! The couple flees into a room which turns out to be a temple – easily discerned by the idol which has the doctor mutate into an expert of anthropology in seconds. It’s all clear now: His beloved wife is the next victim *gasp* The young woman from the village has broken the Templars’ rigid laws and is no longer worthy of being sacrificed. And that idol! A sea monster, according to our heroic doctor who already has a cure at hand: destruction. Destroy the ugly fish-like statue.  It’s getting pretty exciting again because some Templars seem to have overslept all the action and now rise from their graves. But, alas, the idol crumbles. The Templars crumble as well and – for excitement – bleed from their eyesockets. Cut to the beach: Here we find some more sorry remnants of the evil Templars. Cut. Fin.

You see: Amando de Ossorio has raised the excitement movie to movie. While part 1 focussed on escaping the Templars during one night, part 4 focusses on tragedy and drama: the poor village idiot who is beaten up for no apparent reason; the non-communicating villagers who are also very hostile to strangers and who are terrorized by the blood-thirsty Templars; the despairing parents who lost their daughters to the Templars, etc. The Templars are not the main focus. They are granted rare but yet effective appeareances. And: more blood!

Before I finish, I’d like to give you a little piece of advice: Don’t watch these movies by yourself. Grab some friends, some crisps, some popcorn, some beer and have an entertaining evening of trash!

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The Blind Dead 4

June 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm (movies)

Part 4, finally available in a low budget version, has its highlights. And it’s got a funny title – “La noche de las gaviotas”. Night of the seagulls. Director Ossorio had something in mind when he came up with this title, as will be seen during the movie – the seagulls, metaphysically speaking, are the souls of countless virgins, slaughtered by the evil Templars. You might have guessed…

I’ve already alluded to the “Rotting Templars rising from their graves”-scene not only being used in part 1 but numerous times. Well – it’s being used in part 4. Again.  With the same music as in parts 1 and 2. The same zooms. Just disrupted by cuts to the young hero-and-heroine-couple and various stuff. It really doesn’t matter that the setting in part 4 is totally different from parts 1 and 2 (convent versus stronghold by the sea), and it doesn’t matter that the interior differs. What does it matter, really, if you can recycle one of the greatest resurrection scenes in movie history  and have the audience on the edge of their seats. Also, we should keep in mind the recycling scenes is good for the budget.  Amando de Ossorio can proudly wear the badge of “Lowest Budget Ever”. And a propos: There seems to have been no money for equipment that could’ve been used at night. What other explanation is there for a brilliant blue sky and the actors casting shadows even though there’s no artificial source of light to be seen? With a lot of imagination, you could of course explain this away as a brightly moonlit night. It is, however, a very creative approach to the theme of “night”. To be sure, the chill factor suffers from this but the slowly moving Templars – you’ve got to love ’em for it – make up for it.

After having watched all four parts of the series, I have finally deciphered the mystery of the Templars’ slow pace. No rheumatism, no osteoporosis, no aching hips, no diminished lust for murder, and no laziness are choking the pace of our Templars. No. It’s dignity, effect, and ceremony. These are ritua murderers – and which ritual, I beg you, has ever been conducted in high speed? There. What would it look like if the Templars would chase their victims? This is not a marathon! Where’s the ceremonial air of it all, the dignity? If the Templars would run about like rabbits, you’d have to accuse them of not relying enough on their paralyzing aura, you would have to accuse them of having not enough self-confidence.  You would have to accuse them of being willing to shut up their victims’ screeches instead of – being the good evil creatures they are – gloat over it. You could hold these things against them, would they run and hurry. But they don’t. They’re looking out for image, for an entrance that is both terrifying and dignified – an entrance which paralyzes the victim long enough to reach it. This is classy. This is stylish. Copy that.

Part 4 has another valuable lesson in store: Templars burn very well. This is discovered by a young heroic doctor who’s torching a Templar from behind with a small torch in order to save his wife. This takes place in a house but does the whole thing burn down? No, it doesn’t. The Templar is nice enough to just burst into flames and end up as a pile of ashes. Remember: A Knight Templar burns pretty well if he’s threatening your wife. If the already dying dumbass of the village is attacked by a Templar, don’t  run outside and try to make a bonfire out of the Templar. The appropriate procedure, as demonstrated by our young doctor, is as follows: horrified glances at the victim, in the back you see two scared young women: the wife and a young maid – she becoming a victim of the bloodthirsty Templars? No way! The young doctor decides to interfere with the village’s customs instead of just standing still. He’s not content with finding out about the nightly processions, no, he really has to rush to the beach to save aforementionend maid from the Templars. But maybe I should start at the beginning.

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The Blind Dead 3

June 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm (movies)

Let’s move on to part 3 of “The Blind Dead”. I didn’t think it possible but “Ship of Zombies” (a.k.a. “Das Geisterschiff der schwimmenden Leichen”, a.k.a. “El buque maldito” – literally “The cursed ship”) is even worse than the previous movies. Due to change, the story this time takes place on a ship. This is being explained by stating that the Templars (still wearing the Ankh upon their garments) have been condemned for their cruelty centuries ago. Who would have thought… Now they’re sailing the seas like the Flying Dutchman – but a lot slower -, looking for stupid victims.

The victims are found easily. Two models, abandoned in a tiny little boat for marketing reasons (don’t ask), encounter the sinister ship of the undead which is shrouded in fog. Strange thing: The ladies are close to the polar circle simply because the company manufacturing the boat wants to prove that even such a small boat can make its way from Spain to the North Cape. If you’re still with me, you’ll probably think it totally logical that the two girls are wearing nothing but bikinis. This, however, doesn’t really matter because the accursed ship emanates such heat that more luggage would be out of place anyway.

Well. As I said, the girls encounter the ship, and because the accursed ship seems a lot more comfy than their tiny little boat – hey, it’s got fog, torn sails and rotten planks! -, at least one of our  beauties boards the ship. But instead of her beauty sleep, she encounters – tada! – the Templars who murder her in her sleep. Drat. Meanwhile, the boat manufacturer, marketing agency, and the models’ friend set out to find the bimbos because – watch out, drama! – there’s no contact with the little boat. It seems the little boat can go as far as the North Cape without problems but the technical equipment clearly isn’t good enough for radiocommunication.

From here, everything turns out just as we’re used to: The seakers find the ship – more or less by surprise -, board it, encounter the Templars and are slaughtered one by one until only a few of them are left. These few – these happy few – are enlightened: The Templars leave their coffins only at night. But how to determine what time of day it is, with the ship being surrounded by that stupid fog? It doesn’t matter, they come up with a solution: They seize the coffins in which the Templars are resting and throw them overboard.  Nasty. Also, this is the point to have pity as far as the small budget is concerned: The scene in which the first coffin is thrown into the water – you can see it’s really a box of matches thrown into a tub – is repeated. That’s the end, right? Oh no, it is not! Now our heroes have to escape from the evil ship – their own boat has meanwhile drifted off. What to do?  Easy: swim.  For a short time, the fog clears up and grants our heros the sight of land ahead. Problem: One of them can’t swim. Bugger. He’s left behind, clinging on to the promise that the others will get help as soon as possible. Yeah right. The ship, however, being berobbed of its slow crew, has other plans and starts up a fire.  Bugger.

While our heroes dive into the sea, killing one of their own (he’s a bad guy and deserved it) and swimming towards the promising land, the non-swimmer aboard the accursed ship  dies in the fire. Two left. They are able to swim ashore, lie at the beach exhausted and think they’re save. Yeah right. The Templars, though awfully slow but not lazy, have broken free from their caskets and go for the shore. This is another example of Ossorio going for recycling scenes: If you’ve have seen one Templar emerge from the sea, you’ve seen ’em all.” Thus our sea-drenched Templars hurry – sorry: creep – to a finale furioso, encircle our exhausted heroes who – perfect timing – awaken just at the right time. Cut, roll credits.

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The Blind Dead 2

June 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm (movies)

The first sequel, “Return of the  Blind Dead” (a.k.a. “Die Rückkehr der reitenden Leichen”, a.k.a. “Ataque de los muertos sin ojos”) is at least as entertaining as the first movie (although without a lesbian scene – sorry, guys). That the director only had a limited budget at his hand is demonstrated in an Ed Wood-kind of manner: The resurrection of the Templars in part 2 has been copied from part 1, including the music – and it also was used in part 4. “Why hasn’t it been used in part 3, did Ossorio have more money for making that one?”, you might ask now. No. It’s pretty simple. Part 3 is located on a ship and is thus named, quite appropriately, “Ship of Zombies”. Pretty difficult to include a cemetary on a ship and it surely would boost the fun. And let’s be honest: With movies this absurd, no one gives a damn.

Regarding part 2, I just want to say this: The location is – yes, you guessed right! – the old ruined building from part 1, but nearby there is – miraculous because it didn’t feature in part 1 – a village where the execution and blinding of the evil Templars are celebrated on a regular basis. How nasty. This is a cry for vengeance, isn’t it?  The Templars, however, behave surprisingly polite: They knock at the first house they encounter. With their swords and time-delayed sound, meaning: You can hear the pounding of their sword hilts even before they hit the wood of the doors. Great, isn’t it? And because we’re talking trash movies here, we go easy on the details. Or have you ever encountered a Knight Templar with an Ankh sign on his garment instead of the typical red cross?

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The Blind Dead 1

June 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm (movies)

I’ve recently watched the Blind Dead movies with my fiancée – that is to say, we watched parts 1-3. Time to resurrect not only the evil Templars but also my thoughts on the movies. Since I tend to write rather long essays (you wouldn’t have guessed, right?), I’ll split this into five parts. Here we go.

Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)

Director: Amando de Ossorio

Special Effects (seriously): José Gómez Soria

A.k.a. La noche de la muerte ciega – yes, it’s both semantically and grammatically wrong but that’s the movie’s title.

Believe me: It really pays off to watch this gem of a movie – even if you don’t like horror movies. “Tombs of the Blind Dead” is anything but scary, there’s not potential for nightmares whatsoever. But the movie offers another thing: fun, fun, fun. Not because of the absurd plotline but because of the awful adaption. You have to give some credit to the movie, though – there wasn’t much of a budget when it was shot in the early 1970s in Spain.

Enough of the chit-chat, here’s the real deal: the – let’s call it generously so – plot. The ingredients: evil, satanic Knights Templar, whose main amusement consists of slaughtering virgins – ritually, of course. For doing that, they were condemned and blinded (hence, the Blind Dead – this is pretty absurd, right? What corpse possesses eyes after centuries of decay anyway?); a young, dumb heroine who leaps from a very slow going train (for no apparent reason) and roams the wilderness until she stumbles upon some ruins – it’s not clear whether these ruins have been a convent or a stronghold or both.

You might have guessed it already: The young, dumb heroine decides to spend the night here. How convenient that she brought her small travelling bag and her sleeping bag – now she can set up a comfy bed. But she won’t get her beauty sleep: The rotting Knights Templar rise from their graves at night, roam the ruins and discover our heroine. She flees into the wilderness – the Knights Templar chase her upon their horses, our heroine dies, her lover and her friend look for her and, of course, both end up in the old building and have to confront the evil Knights Templar. Of course, lots of innocent victims get to die (including the lover), our dead heroine’s friend can flee  and captures a placid train. Big mistake. The Templars, marked by their exceeding slowness – any granny with arthritis could beat these guys at a 500 meters run – copy our replacement-heroine’s behaviour, and capture the train. Big slaughter, heroine survives, because she hid in a coal waggon. Fin.

You’re probably wondering why this should be funny. I’ll tell you why. Imagine the slowest zombies in movie history who approximately take five minutes per step – enough time to flee, really. Not even a leg in a cast would be an obstacle – the time it takes the Templars to take their next step, you’re gone. Except they mount their horses but even then they move in slow motion. Probably they’re quickened by their evilness or the sight of them simply freezes our heroes to the spot so they can do nothing else than stay where they are while the evil Templars creep towards them. This is not only proof of the victims’ astonishing stupidity but also of a great deal of patience – there’s no other horror movie in which the victims wait patiently – while screaming their heads off – for being slaughtered.

The movie, however, offers a lot more and proves to be a treasure chest of rare gems. There’s a totally unimportant, but for the male audience highly interesting lesbian scene in the beginning – filmed with scrim diffuser (of course) and, of course, a flashback, either remembered by our young, stupid heroine or her slightly more intelligent friend. Said lesbian scene is used at the most inconvienient spot – at the beginning. This could mislead the unknowing audience into thinking that this masterpiece was actually a softporno. Ossorio is wasting all the erotic stuff in the beginning – well, to give him credit, there’s also another flashback featuring a nameless yet bosomy peasant girl who’s falling victim to the bloodthirsty Templars, including the dramatic tearing of her peasant gown. That’s about everything the movie has to offer as far as real action is concerned. The non-visible slaughtering executed by the Templars hardly counts as action. Maybe the problem is that I only own the cut version of the movie. But I doubt that the uncut version turns the slow Templars into Speedy Gonzales – an assumption that has been confirmed after Arte, a TV-station, broadcasted the uncut version of the movie. There’s a little more blood, but that’s about it.

That set aside, the acting qualities are really poor but let’s be honest here: It wouldn’t be a trash movie if renowned actors would sign a contract to be in this sort of stupidity which, by the way, hasn’t seen less than three (!!!) sequels.

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Life still sucks. You still die.

February 24, 2012 at 1:34 am (living)

The past two weeks have been bad. On February 13th, my mother- in-law to be died after enduring an uncurable disease for the past 20+ years. We saw it coming but still… you’re never really prepared. The funeral was very moving and just the way she would have wanted it. She was only 65 years old and had battled the disease for years but, alas, there’s no cure for it (yet) and hence there was no hope for her. She never complained about it, she endured it and accepted it. At least she could just pass away peacefully in her sleep. At least she didn’t have to suffer anymore.She would have made an awesome mother-in-law, and my first – and lasting! – impression of her will always be the way she greeted me when my fiance first introduced me: She smiled broadly and hugged me tightly. I’ll never forget that and I’m very grateful that she accepted me right away. I’m just so sorry that I never really got to know her because when we first met, the disease had already taken over. Fuck you, Chorea Huntington! You hear me? Fuck you double, sideways and upside down.  I hate you! You destroy lives. You destroy and kill good people who  never harmed anybody. Can’t you just do us all a favor and go away? Please? Oh, and don’t give me the “She’s in heaven and at peace now”-treatment. Just don’t. Please. Spare me. There is no heaven. There is no god. If there was a god, he wouldn’t let things like this happen. He wouldn’t allow uncurable diseases to exist. And if there is a god – well… he’s an asshole.

As if losing my mother-in-law hadn’t been bad enough for the family, my fiance’s grandma died on February 23rd. Some kind of disease of the lungs – not pneumonia, some kind of infection. At her age (87), that’s lethal, and we saw that coming, too, since she’s been struggling for almost 3 weeks. But it’s just too much to bear right now. Losing two members of the family within 1,5 weeks is too much, and it’s not fair.

My fiance tries to be brave, whenever he wants to talk, I’ll listen. But I can tell he’s tired, worn out, exhausted, trying to deal with it in his own way. I help him best as I can but the only thing I can do is listen to him, talk to him, hold him tight. At the same time, I can feel my own energy draining away. I’m tired but I cannot sleep. I can’t even cry anymore. Worst part is – I can’t go to his grandma’s funeral next week because there’s so much work to do at the office and my co-workers are burdened with work as well. It seems I can’t support my beloved simply because I need to prepare loads of stuff for work. Weird thing about it is – I am grateful for having so much work. I’m just so worn out that I simply couldn’t deal with yet another funeral. I know this sounds awful, and believe me, I feel awful for having these thoughts. But my energy is fading away, no matter how much I sleep, no matter how much I try to relax. I’m just not resilient enough. Not anymore. I’m even too tired to grieve 😦

So here I am, at almost 3 a.m., with a glass of wine beside me and about to light my next cigarette. I know I have to get up at 7 a.m. (8 a.m. at the latest) but I simply don’t care. I know I’ll make it through the day somehow. And I know I have to be strong. For my fiance. I need to be there for him when he needs me. I just don’t know if it’s going to be as easy as it sounds.

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Bram Stoker’s spinning in his grave…

November 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm (Literature)

It’s a funny thing with sequels – when you’ve read a book, you’ll probably be excited to learn that the story will be continued, especially if that story didn’t have a proper conclusion or left many questions unanswered. On the other hand, there’s always that shadow of doubt lingering behind you when you pick up a sequel to a book you love. When “Dracula – The Un-Dead” was released in 2009 (German edition), I stayed away from it and decided to wait for the cheaper paperback. Said paperback has been added to my collection recently and I can say one thing: It’s been a while since I’ve read a book with more than 500 pages within only a couple of days (3, actually). And yes, somehow it entertained me and somehow, it was fun. However, this doesn’t change the simple fact that the book is but one thing: incredibly bad. When reading, I had the impression that the authors – Dacre Stoker, a descendent of Bram Stoker, and self-proclaimd Dracula expert Ian Holt – collected numerous ideas they wanted to squeeze into the book – no matter how ridiculous, no matter whether those ideas were compatible. While I was reading this book, a picture started forming in my head – a picture of the authors brainstorming and thus producing one plotline after another. Actually, I think it might have been like this – before you read on, beware. There are massive SPOILERS ahead.

Stoker: Listen, dude, I’ve got an awesome idea – let’s put in Countess Bathory!

Holt (excited): Great! No one will be expecting that! And we could squeeze in some lesbian scenes – brilliant!

Stoker (agitated): And… and… and… oh yes, I know, I know, we’ll continue the love story as presented in Coppola’s movie and in the afterword, we’ll simply claim that the original book supports that love story. We’ll find some paragraph that we can cite, I’m pretty sure.

Holt: That’s brilliant! I’ve got an idea as well… but it would be a little risky…

Stoker: Come on, spit it out (jumps up and down on his seat)

Holt: What would you think of having your uncle Bram as a character, trying to bring “Dracula” to the big stage? Quincey could meet him and because he’s such a smart guy he’ll wonder why the main characters are named after his parents.

Stoker: Aaaaaaah, genius! (nearly falls from his seat but can prevent it – barely). You know what’d be cool, too?

Holt: Let’s see… we could produce a charismatic minor character, totally enigmatic and of Romanian origin, and…

Stoker: …. he’s actually Dracula!

Holt: Exactly! No one will be expecting this. That’s gonna be one cool surprise – imagine our readers finding out who Basarab really is, they won’t notice that beforehand, I’m sure. You know what would be even cooler? Quincey finding out that Dracula is his dad – kind of a Darth Vader-moment.

Stoker (now hyperventilating):  I just had an inspiration!

Holt (tense): Let’s hear it!

Stoker (takes a deep breath): Well… we’ll set the story 25 years after the original book but we’ll move the beginning of uncle Bram’s story to the year 1888. That way, we could include Jack the Ripper plus an aging inspector who’s still angry that he didn’t catch the Ripper and who thinks Van Helsing is the Ripper…

Holt (doubtful): Van Helsing is Jack the Ripper?

Stoker: Let me finish, will you? Of course not – that’s just an idea our inspector has but of course, he’s totally wrong and the real Ripper is…

Holt (enlightened): … Countess Bathory!

Stoker: Bingo! And that gives us the premise to explain to our readers that Dracula is actually one of the good guys and that he’s been travelling to London in the original novel simply because he needed to stop the Countess.

Holt: You definitely inherited your uncle’s talent, boy – I’m a Dracula expert, I should know! Boy, this will be the greatest novel of all time! There might be one or two inconsistencies with the original novel but we’ll explain them away – we found Bram’s notes and wanted to satisfy both the book- and the film-lovers. People out there will buy any rubbish, they’ll buy this as well (has dollar signs in his eyes).

These absurd plotlines are completed by characters that are hardly recognizable. Ok – I’ll give Stoker/Holt this much: The changes in Jonathan and Mina Harker, in Jack Seward and in Arthur Holmwood are quite believable, given the trauma they’ve been through. But why the authors decided to change a figure of pure evil into a tragic anti-hero is beyond me. The lengthy afterword came across especially cheeky – various changes to the original story are justified with a nod to some notes the two guys read and/or with a different interpretation of a certain scene, like Dracula’s death. Because he’s not staked but stabbed in the heart, Stoker must have intended a sequel – that’s their explanation. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Equally brilliant: The real villain this time around is Countess Bathory who can fly and thus move from London to Paris and vice versa pretty quickly but who, when seeing the need to go to Whitby for the lame showdown, chooses a coach. Yes. A coach. With horses. And then she’s angry because it takes her so long. Give me a break.

I could go on and on and on about this book but I think I’ve put down the most important things. The only reason why this book has entertained me is my soft spot for trash. One thing before I finish: The German translation is in parts plain horrible – Van Helsing turns into Yoda, some phrases are used incorrectly etc. But with a book of this… uhm… quality, it really doesn’t matter.

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