Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Horror Icons...

I was thinking about my book today because I received an email from a literary agency wanting me to send them a copy of my book. I had emailed three agents to see if I could generate interest in my book and pursue getting it published. I have heard from two agents, one had no interest and the other wants a copy of my book. I have yet to hear from the third agent. I sent a copy of my book to the one who requested it and in their original reply they had three questions... Q1) Think like a publisher/buyer? Pitch me/them. Who would buy this book? Why would they buy it? If you give seminars or talks, mention it here. Q2) How long have you been writing, and what are your goals as a writer? Q3) Do you consider your writing 'ready-to-go', or do you think it needs some polishing? If you have been through a formal editing process, please describe it in detail, i.e.. Name/company of editor(s) etc. I answered these questions to the best of my ability. However, it got me thinking about what sets my book apart from anything today in the vampire genre. Without giving too much detail, I believe that part of the difference is my vampire is a traditional vampire. In the vein of Dracula... fear of the cross, must rest in the daytime/fear of sunlight, garlic, and etc. In today's movie/book market, there is so much emphasis placed on changing what a vampire truly is. I guess because some people have run out of interesting vampire stories that they have to give their vampire "unique" powers. The ONLY vampire to really pull this off was the Blade series. Wesley Snipes portrayal of the Blade character was great. The story was interesting and the special effects were effective.

Which brings me back to my original thought, which was, "What sets my book apart from the rest of the pack?" The answer is simple, yet involved. The short answer is because he is a traditional vampire. The long answer, you will have to wait for because the book is not published.

It also had me thinking about what makes a true horror icon? Realize that Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in the late 1800's, and yet we are still talking about him to this day. Longevity doesn't make him an icon; originality, fear of him, interest in the story and genre, well written and great story line, and the attraction of his persona make Dracula an icon. Bela Lugosi was said to have been a difficult actor to work with... I don't know about that. However, what I do know is that he set our expectations of what a vampire should be. He had a charisma about him that attracted you to the character, yet you were also afraid of him. The whole good verses evil scenario in which we pray that good overcomes the evil, but we're not sure that it will. That's a whole discussion in its own... The movie Dracula began a 40 year fascination of the genre for me.

Another icon is Pinhead. I saw a website called "" and they had a list of their top ten horror icons of all time. Dracula was #1 and Pinhead was #10. In my opinion, he could have been much higher, but that's just my opinion. If you click on the title of this post it will send you to the top ten list and you can see it for yourself. When the movie Hellraiser came out in the 80's, it created a stir because of it's originality and outright horror/gore. Clive Barker brought us one of the most terrifying horror characters of all time. Pure, unadulterated evil. A demon from the pit of hell who loves to bring pain and suffering as if it was some kind of pleasurable experience. As you can tell by my blog, Pinhead is my favorite horror character. I love his originality. In all 8 of the Hellraiser movies, Pinhead does not have the majority of the screen time, yet he has become the franchises center piece. One of my favorite clips from any of the movies is the one below. It highlights just how evil Pinhead is. It is sacrilegious in nature because it takes place in a church, but it also highlights how much organized religion plays in the good verses evil thing. In all horror, there must be a way for good to overcome evil. With vampires, it's a stake in the heart, sunlight, and a few others. With Pinhead, he can be sent back to hell through the toy box. In our minds, we want good to overcome, but we enjoy the fear of evil and wondering if it will win. That's what makes a good horror movie and icon.

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