A Conversation for Varney the Vampyre, or, Penny Dreadful Gothic
Memoratius Started conversation Oct 9, 2005
I'm a professor by trade & once had a class where the topic was Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the course of doing research on the topic, discovered Varney in the University Library, checked it out, & began reading it. Well...I must admit that I became quite hooked on the old potboiler, & literally had trouble putting it down.
Guess you can call Varney my guilty pleasure.
Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor Posted Oct 9, 2005
Glad to find a similarly afflicted academic! I have the worst habit of picking up odd trifles...I was fortunate enough to spend some years working on the Citation Index, which allowed me to indulge my curiosity on all sorts of topics. And now there's the web, and hootoo.
When I was 15, a friend said, 'You've got to read Dracula - it will change your life!' He was right. As an epistolary novel, it sure beats 'Clarissa'.
Memoratius Posted Oct 10, 2005
I read Dracula for the 1st time at 15, also. Since that was my 1st epistltory novel, the novelty of it really commanded my attention; I can remember trying to write in that style for several years after reading the Stoker novel.
Dracula does have, at this stage of the game anyway, possess a respectable academic veneer that Varney simply will never have. However--as I stated--I throughly loved reading the exploits of that rascal Varney, even if it's something I would never boast of to other academics.
Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor Posted Oct 10, 2005
As you said, guilty pleasures indeed. I've got an entry coming up (I think it's been picked up) on 'Dark Shadows', the Gothic soap opera - also lacking the veneer of respectability. But it has all the classic themes, and sometimes explores them in surprising ways.
Memoratius Posted Oct 11, 2005
I'll be sure to check out your entry on 'Dark Shadows." I became aquainted with that show a few years ago on a cable channel. Another guilty pleasure (although it seems odd that many academics, especially women, seem to like & talk without apology about fare like 'Buffy,' but 'Dark Shadows' still remains beyond the pale).
Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor Posted Oct 11, 2005
Really? How odd. Maybe it has to do with the production values. Bad dialogue always seems more palatable to some people when accompanied by elegantly-executed stuntwork or CGI.
I'm very fond of the Joss Whedon oeuvre myself, but the frisson of tension caused by wondering whether the vampire's teeth will fall out has its charms as well.
Memoratius Posted Oct 13, 2005
I also really enjoyed when Jonathon Frid would look all around the room as he was reading his lines...it was almost like he was searching for cue cards, or something!
Also, I liked the fact that, no matter what happened, actors flubbing their lines or odd sounds coming from out of the picture, those cameras just kept rolling.
Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor Posted Oct 13, 2005
Actually, he was - he was looking for the teleprompter. Joan Bennett couldn't see it - she was too nearsighted - so she had to memorise her lines. But Frid, a stage actor, has always been a slow study.
Lara Parker (Angelique) claimed that most of the pathos of Frid's character in the early days came from his terror at forgetting his dialogue.
And the director put a huge sign on the backstage staircase for Frid - 'Don't Forget Your Fangs!'
Yes, that live-performance quality made it extra-special. Like going to the theatre for half an hour every day.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Memoratius (Oct 9, 2005)
- 2: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor (Oct 9, 2005)
- 3: Memoratius (Oct 10, 2005)
- 4: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor (Oct 10, 2005)
- 5: Memoratius (Oct 11, 2005)
- 6: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor (Oct 11, 2005)
- 7: Memoratius (Oct 13, 2005)
- 8: Dmitri Gheorgheni - Post Editor (Oct 13, 2005)