‘Penny Dreadful’: The Saving of Monsters


‘Penny Dreadful’: The Saving of Monsters

Many times when people discuss vampires in literature they usually begin to discuss two specific time periods in literature, these may be the modern paranormal romance vampire books or those not interested in cutesy vampires may point out what many consider the “first” vampire Dracula. Both are vampires that pop culture loves, loves so much that they have worn fans out with the same story of a brooding vampire that either wants to die because of love or because of the monster within him.

But, many forget that there were stories of not only vampires but of monsters in general several decades before Bram Stoker released the wonderful “Dracula” on unsuspecting readers. These stories that came during from the 19th century Victorian England period were printed for the enjoyment of young working class males were short sensationalized readings that were sold cheaply for just one penny an issue. The story was carried out over multiple issues that were released weekly.

These stories were nicknamed “penny dreadful” because they cost only a penny and many said that the writing was dreadful. The complaints were that the stories dragged on week to week much like our dreaded soap operas of today. The penny dreadful were also called penny blood because many readers at the time thought that they were very bloody and action filled.

There were many penny dreadful stories that became famous and were either read and studied multiple times and some even had television shows and movies based on them. One of the most famous of these were “Varney the Vampire: Feast of Blood” and “The String of Pearls: A Romance” that introduced Sweeney Todd to readers. These two stories are ones that readers will reread over and over and discuss for hours about social commentary of the stories. These were the first written monsters on the Victorian Age, not Dracula or Frankenstein or those that became more famous.

But, overtime the term “penny dreadful” became synonymous with gothic horror and thus the result of the Showtime hit show, “Penny Dreadful”. The show is set in Victorian England but doesn’t feature the characters of the actual penny dreadfuls of that time period but more of the monsters and action figures of the classical literature of that time.

“Penny Dreadful” centers on the struggles of the following characters: Dorian Gray of the self-titled book, “Dorian Gray”, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster from “Frankenstein”, and Mina Murray and Abraham Van Helsing (though both short lived) and Sir Malcolm Murray from “Dracula”.

Vanessa Ives, a childhood friend of Mina’s, Ethan Chandler, a werewolf and an American, and Sir Malcolm Murray appear to be the monster hunters of the story whose job is to keep the evil at bay. Many people have compared this story to “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman” and there are many similarities but what this show is doing that the League did not do is to really bring the monsters, particularly the vampires in the show back to their roots.

The male vampires are very Nosferatu like and the female vampires are very ghostly revenant like, they definitely are not the cute vampires that we are flooded with today. They act as vampires would if they were real- like monsters that are very primal and need to survive. “Penny Dreadful” shows the pain, agony, and torture of being a monster and human living in that world that the author of that time wrote in the penny dreadfuls that were published at that time.

The monsters and the humans in the show, mirror the fear of life and death, of their souls and of their immortality or after life that even we face today. The longing for a connection to another human but the isolation of being a hunter, prostitute, sharp shooter, monster or narcissistic mad man. The show is a British- American show that was given only eight episodes but was quickly renewed for a ten season episode to air in 2015 schedule.

I will be honest, I resisted watching the show because of the unneeded sex scenes and I just assumed they characters were going to be all pretty and brooding like so many are today. But, once I watched a couple of episodes I became hooked. We fans of monsters, whether its television or literature must give credit to Penny Dreadful for bringing the monster back to its dark, grimy, and gothic literary roots. There may be hope for vampires and monsters to stay in the mainstream after all.

Read More by Bertena Varney


Adult spinoff of ‘Blue Blood Vampires’ coming in September

Credits: Amazon.com
Credits: Amazon.com

Adult spinoff of ‘Blue Blood Vampires’ coming in September

Melissa de la Cruz had a great 2013 and it looks like her success will be following her into 2014. Besides a television series being made from her “Withces of East End” book series, her New York Times vampire bestseller, “Blue Bloods” ended at the top of the charts but this is only the beginning. The beloved young adult vampire series, “Blue Bloods” was so loved that even though the series ended, she has decided to introduce her fans to a spinoff series that continues the story of “Blue Bloods” but with a new and old characters that center around the once human conduit, now vampire, Oliver Hazard Perry.

The title of the new series is “Vampires of Manhattan” and has the vampires trying to build “Millennial” lives in Manhattan. There is war among the vampires as well as the evil of their world.

Here is the official synopsis:

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan’s only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven’s annual Four Hundred Ball–a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay–Oliver is devastated.

Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he’s the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer–and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.

It has been rumored that Mimi Force and Kingsley Martin will appear at some point in the book as well as Schuyler and Jack and of course the wolves. Other rumors include a few be deaths and a ball as well as the possibility that there may only be two books in this series.

Fans are excited that the story will continue and it looks like there will be even more good news in her future.

Read More by Bertena Varney

‘Vampire Academy’ movie release moved up to Febuary 7th

Credits: The Weinstein Company
Credits: The Weinstein Company

‘Vampire Academy’ movie rlease moved up to Febuary 7th

Fans of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series will be excited to learn that the upcoming movie adaptation will hit theaters one week earlier than originally planned.

Vampire Academy will now be released on February 7th (originally set for February 14th). A new graphic released by the studio declares, “V-Day sucks. We’re moving to February 7th.”

To celebrate the new release date, The Weinstein Company also shared a new clip from the film. Watch it in the left-hand sidebar!

Vampire Academy stars Zoey Deutch as Rose Hathaway, the sworn protector of vampire princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry).

Read More by Sara Gundell



Winning Choices: Zombies and high tech hero rise with PCA wins

Credits: AMCTV
Credits: AMCTV

Winning Choices: Zombies and high tech hero rise with PCA wins

Dead for AMC-TV is only a lively ratings part designating channel’s titular zombie series “The Walking Dead”, and at 2014s People’s Choice Awards aired on Jan. 9 its solely not defining the slayings of fellow television comics adaptations any longer. The zombie survival drama leads in award nominations, adding two wins against top comics programming contenders.

“The Walking Dead” was named Favorite Cable TV Drama out of a letter-to-letter line up between big name shows like “Sons of Anarchy” and “Downtown Abbey”. As well, popular shows such as “Breaking Bad” or “Game of Thrones” were eaten alive in the Favorite TV Anti-Hero nomination with Rick Grimes — beating out all-but-deemed- recipient Walter White and one Westeros fan fave Jaime Lannister.

Zombie fare did lose some of its sensationalism within the Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show category. There the night’s beastly network of nominee numbers the CW had its “Beauty and the Beast” take the award. The show’s co-star Kristin Kreuk, formerly of and an early departer of CW’s “Smallville”, gained another People’s Choice for her role under the Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress.

To bad the same hype didn’t culminate across superhero or comics flicks along film categories. Then again, highlight wins were still a standout facet amongst silver screen wins.

Outside of “Gravity” and the drama genre’s racking up of People’s Choices last night, the expanding orbit of superhero movies was in notable play. 2013s highest domestic and worldwide box office grosser had its multi in wins. “Iron Man 3” gained both Favorite Movie and Favorite Action Movie. Tony Stark’s portrayer Robert Downey Jr. further secures his super status amongst the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a Favorite Action Star win. And Marvel’s show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC didn’t have any take-homes.

Shockers and surprises during the 2014s PCA ceremony misleads any serious threads for upsets or snubs.

Johnny Depp won Favorite Movie Actor, plausibly shifting away an awards trifecta for Robert Downey Jr. Even so where Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s team-up win for Favorite Movie Duo wasn’t an accolade for the nomination of Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. For “Arrow”, its only nomination at Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor for Stephen Amell chanced instead to a recipiency for “The Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder.

A complete listing for the PCA’s 2014 winners can be found on its official site.

Read More by Mark Ruffin

‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Catching Fire’ win at People’s Choice Awards

Credits: Lionsgate
Credits: Lionsgate

‘The Vampire Diearies’, ‘Catching Fire’ win at People’s Choice Awards

Two popular franchises based on young adult novels were among the winners at the 2014 People’s Choice Awards Wednesday night.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire nabbed the award for Favorite Year-End Movie (having been released in late November).

Meanwhile, The CW’s hit TV show The Vampire Diaries won for Favorite On-Screen Chemistry for Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder, the latter of whom also won Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor. Be sure to check out the adorable acceptance speech from Dobrev and Somerhalder, who famously dated and broke up in real life, while their on-screen counterparts continue being together.

The People’s Choice Awards were chosen based on online votes from fans. Other winners included Iron Man 3 and the film’s star, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, and Sandra Bullock. See the complete list of winners here.

Read More by Sara Gundell

‘The Strain’ to be FX’s new vampire show

Credits: FX
Credits: FX

‘The Strain’ to be FX’s new vampire show

Just when we thought the reign of the vampire was over, FX is jumping on the vampire bandwagon and bringing “The Strain” to fans in July.

The show is based on the book by the same name and will be co created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Carlton Cuse, famous for his contribution for “Lost” will be their showrunner.

Here is the official synopsis of “The Strain”:

“A plane lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport with lights off and doors sealed. Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team are sent to investigate. On board they find two hundred corpses and four survivors. The situation deteriorates when the bodies begin disappearing from morgues. Goodweather and a small group of helpers find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the entire city, from an ancient threat to humanity.”

So, this show appears to be as violent as “True Blood” with probably less sex than the HBO Show. It will also be more of a science based vampire show with vampires being more of a virus than a curse and soul based.

With “American Horror Story” Coven” an example of an FX show, then “The Strain” should be a pretty violent and mindblowing vampire show as well.

Read More by Bertena Varney

Charlaine Harris squashed rumors of a ‘True Blood’ collaboration


Charlaine Harris squashed rumors of a ‘True Blood’ collaboration

Yesterday, December 31, Charlaine Harris went to her Facebook page to squash several rumors including one that she will be collaborating with “True Blood” writers to clean up and help end season seven of the HBO show that is based on her “Southern Vampire Series”.

Many fans had commented on previous posts about her collaborating with “True Blood” writers to help them “fix” the tv show and it end like the book or at least let it end “better”.

This is what she said:

“Let me squash a rumor or two here: I am not writing, or involved in planning, the last season of “True Blood.” I do not know how this got started. I am not writing another Sookie novel. Also, anyone who wants to know what I’m reading can find out what I’ve read for the past few years by visiting my website, which is simply charlaineharris.com. Click on Books and Blog. I love to recommend books I’ve enjoyed!”

As most fans know, the HBO show is not based entirely on the books. The first three seasons were close but after that it pretty much went it’s own way totally. It is no secret that Ms. Harris has been very mum on her opinion of the show ( well ostly but I won’t get into that here).

But, many fans who love the book hate the show and vice versa. One fan said that they see it as two “different stories” and go on with it.

Well, either way, Ms. Harris ended her book series in 2013 and the television show is set to end this summer of 2014.

Read More by Bertena Varney


Join the authors from ‘Vampires: Romance to Rippers’ on their December Blog Tour

Credits: Amazon.com
Credits: Amazon.com

Join the authors from ‘Vampires: Romance to Rippers’ on their December Blog Tour

Indie Publishing House just announced, today December 6, that their newest release, “Vampires: Romance to Rippers an Anthology of Tasty Stories” will be on tour this month.

So, please join the authors of the anthology, “Vampires: Romance to Rippers an Anthology of Tasty Stories” as they participate in a blog tour with Bewitching Blog Tour from December 9-23.

The editor and publisher Scarlette D’Noire from Indie Publishing House will be the main guest with the other authors from the anthology chiming in at each stop.

“Vampires: Romance to Rippers: An Anthology of Tasty Stories” holds stories from sixteen authors. Each one gives you a glimpse into the dark worlds of lost love, murderous rage, and undeniable sex appeal where deadly quests and blood lust spanning centuries of time reign supreme. There are essays, excerpts, and short stories from award winning authors Karen Dales, Kurt Kamm, Terri Reid, Bertena Varney, Carol Gill and more. Other authors include Fiona Skye, Elita Daniels, J. B. Stilwell, Laura Enright, Chalres Butler, Audrey A’Cladh, Sherri Jordan Asble, Janiera Eldridge, and Cinsearae S.

The blog tour will begin on December 9 at Booker Like a Hooker and stop at the following stops throughout the month:

So, please mark your calendar for some interesting conversations and reviews with sixteen very unique authors.

Read More by Bertena Varney

Vampirologists created new forum and seeking like minded members

1356147764_5042_christopherlee as dracula

Vampirologists created new forum and seeking like minded members

Anthony Hogg, a writer, academic and vampire enthusiast began a blog and subsequently a Facebook page and group for those with similar interests of the undead could join and share links, opinions, and ideas. Recently, he and mass media graduate student, Sufi Mohamed, editor in chief of IndiJudge.com developed a website titled, Vampireologist to host forums and articles about vampires in mythology, pop culture, history as well as culture. He announced yesterday, Oct. 25 that they were opening the site for members. Here is who they are looking for.

This website is currently looking for members to help grow the community.Here is how Anthony describes the website:

It’s intended to unite people interested in vampires. No matter what your personal investment in the subject is, be it scholarly, a casual browser or if you’re a member of the Vampire Community, there’s a selection of groups and forums covering all aspects of vampirism.

It is to offer a free, open and respectful discussion about all aspects of vampires not just vampirologist. But, what is a vampirologist? This is how it is defined on the site:

A vampirologist, simply put, is someone who studies vampires. Is it meant literally? Do they strap vampires to operating tables and dissect them? No. So let’s clear that up right away. They study vampires as a subject through a variety of academic perspectives, be they cinematic or literary criticism, anthropological and folkloric interpretations or psychoanalytic overviews. Just to name a few.

At this time the Facebook group has 317 members and the Facebook page has 93 likes. The concept is slowly growing but it can boast of authors, actors, artists, photographers, poets, academians and bloggers to name a few.

So, if you would like to join please just click here and fill out the profile. Can’t wait to see you there.

Read More by Bertena Varney

Submissions for ‘Vampire News’ 2013 are being requested

Credits: Amazon.com
Credits: Amazon.com

Submissions for ‘Vampire news’ 2013 are being requested

Crazy Duck Press announced that they are seeking submissions for their annual vampire anthology called “Vampire News”.

The anthology started in 2011 when Stavros and Bertena collaborated on the first issue that brought together news articles, facts, reviews, and pictures from 2011 and compiled it into a small but very interesting book called “Vampire News: Tasty Bits You Can Sink Your Fangs Into”. It was released in the spring of 2012 and was a great hit that pulled many vampire writers, actors, photographers together into the first publication.

The second publication covered events from 2012 and was published in the spring of 2013. This one was titled, “Vampire News: The Not So End Times”. It of course expanded from the first edition almost doubling in size and was a huge hit at the many conventions that its creators and contributors attended. It added a huge timeline for 2012 as well as expansive articles, news and facts.

So, now they are looking at their third as of yet untitled edition that is going to press in the first months of 2014. If you have vampire related events that occurred in 2013 such as book releases, movie premieres, conventions, book signings, etc please send the information and if possible pictures that they can use.

They are also looking for original art, photographs as well as articles, reviews, critiques, etc. Once all submissions are received then they will contact who they want to include in the publication.

If you would like to look at the last two editions, you can download them for free here. Read these and then see what you may want to submit here.

Read More by Bertena Varney