Dracula 2020

Dracula! Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Have you had a chance yet to watch the new Netflix/BBC Dracula? I was pretty excited to watch it, especially given the involvement of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. These two have done some amazing work on shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who (Moffat in particular is responsible for some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, ever, and is the writer of the brilliant episode “Blink,” which introduced the nightmare-inducing Weeping Angels).

So, yes, excited for Dracula.

And it was…meh. Some great moments that didn’t seem to go anywhere. Weird pacing. Pointless scenes. And I wasn’t enthralled by Claes Bang’s portrayal of the Count. I mean it was okay, but just okay…much like the rest of the show.

As a reminder of how scary (and fun) Dracula can be, here are some of my favourite portrayals of this most classic of all vampires…

I have to start with the original, Stoker’s Count. Although Stoker wasn’t the first to write about vampires, his character (and book) started an ongoing obsession with vampires, inspiring countless variations over the decades. Many of what we now consider essential characteristics of vampires: aversion to sunlight and garlic, lack of reflection, supernatural powers, vulnerable to a stake through the heart– all came from Dracula. A few have been discarded over the years too– how many modern vampires have hairy palms or need to keep the soil of their homeland handy? If you’re a vampire fan and you haven’t read Dracula yet–drop everything and get yourself a copy.

dracula

Nosferatu is an early, unauthorized, movie based on Dracula. The names were changed (Dracula became Count Orlok, for example) but that wasn’t enough to keep Stoker’s widow from suing (and eventually giving up after the film company went bankrupt and copies of the movie got out anyway). You can’t beat Nosferatu, or Max Schreck’s Count, for atmosphere, dramatic visuals, and general creepiness.

orlok
Count Orlok, Nosferatu

Although Bela Lugosi may be the definitive Count Dracula (and no one is disputing that he did a great job), Christopher Lee gets my vote for best film Dracula. Imposing and intense, it’s hard not to agree that Lee is pretty awesome in this role (I’m not sure he really needs hypnotic powers– he’d do fine all on his own).

I have to admit I’m not a fan of Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (although after watching Gatiss and Moffat’s version, Coppola’s ranks a little higher now), but I do enjoy Gary Oldman’s performance in it. He seems to embrace the character, especially when he surreptitiously licks Harker’s bloody razor, which is my favourite moment of the entire film:

Here’s the entire scene if you want some context:

One of my absolute favourite portrayals of Dracula is in Buffy in the episode “Buffy vs. Dracula.” It’s a great episode overall (who doesn’t love Xander as Renfield?) and Rudolf Martin does a fantastic job as Dracula. Aside from the show, Dracula makes an appearance in several Buffyverse comic books (scroll down the link to “Appearances” for the full list). It’s well worth tracking them down (if for no other reason than to find out whether Spike ever gets the eleven pounds Dracula owes him).

buffy dracula

And lastly (on what is by no means a comprehensive list), what’s not to like about Community’s Troy attempting to put together a cool Halloween costume by becoming a “sexy Dracula”? 😉

What did you think of Netflix’s Dracula? Who’s your favourite version of the Count?  Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine blogger award, aspasia s. bissas

Peter Wyn Mosey nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Even though sunshine and vampires don’t usually mix, we’ll make an exception this time. Thank you, Peter– for the nomination and your kind words about me 🙂

How this Works

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.

• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award [I’ll be honest, I’m not going to do this. The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules and Standards Committee can take it up with me. Hopefully word will find its way to the nominees] and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award winner! Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Peter’s Questions and My Answers

1.If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I’d love to fly and sing on key (both superpowers, as far as I’m concerned), so I’ll pick a songbird (preferably in an alternate universe where humans treat animals with respect and compassion).

2. What was the first ever creative effort that you remember really being proud of?

I wrote and illustrated a “short story” (it was probably two sentences) when I was very young (can’t remember exactly how old, but under 6). It was about a flower that killed you if you picked it. Clearly, I was honing my literary style right off the bat.

3. If you could choose between true happiness, or a greater creative skills, what would you pick?

Happiness is very tempting, but it’s also very empty. What’s to strive for if you’re already truly happy? Where’s your motivation to grow, learn, improve? In the end, I’d rather have greater creative skills while I keep seeking happiness.

4. Does politics have a place in the arts?

All art is political.

5. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

One of my cats, usually.

6. Where and how do you do most of your writing/ art?

Right now I do about two thirds of my writing on my laptop in the family room and the other third in my head while I’m busy with other things.

7. What famous work do you wish you had created?

Harry Potter. Or pretty much any painting or sculpture because I have no talent for it and I wish I did.

8. Is there anyone in the world that you actually hate?

I wouldn’t say hate, but close, and not an individual but a type of person– the ones that  actively work at making the world worse, usually for their own gain (sometimes because they enjoy it). I also have no use for those that enable them.

9. Where is the furthest you have been from home?

Geographically, Greece. Culturally, I think Cuba.

10. Would you prefer to wake up early, or stay up late?

I do both anyway, so I’d prefer to be able to do it without getting tired.

11. If you could give a new writer who was setting up a blog one piece of advice, what would it be?

Get to know your fellow bloggers 🙂

I'm a sunshine blogger award winner, aspasia s. bissas
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My Nominees

These 11 blogs represent a sample of the many great sites I follow. I have eclectic tastes, so the list ranges from writing/author blogs, to travel blogs, to food, spirituality, history, environmental, and pop culture. Thanks, everyone, for giving me something to look forward to reading every week!

A Dollop of History

All Wit No Brevity

Annelise Driscoll

Blackwings666

Bon Repos Gites

Cheche Winnie

Gather Victoria

Honor the Gods

In Diane’s Kitchen

Margaret & Neal, Wandering Together

Michael Seidel

Bonus: Alex L. Weston, whose blog has been quiet for a while, but who I wish would start writing again.

I'm a Sunshine Blogger Award Winner, Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Questions to My Nominees

1. What (or who) is inspiring you lately?

2. What’s making you angry?

3. What did you have for breakfast?

4. What creative skill or talent do you wish you had?

5. Do you believe in magic?

6. What fictional character do you relate to?

7. The last book you loved?

8. If you could live anywhere for a year, where would it be?

9. What do you wish would come back in style?

10. A favourite line from a book or movie (I’ll also accept plays, songs, and TV shows)?

11. Who’s your favourite vampire (if you say Dracula, you have to specify which version)?

Feel free to share your answers in the comments even if you’re not a nominee 🙂 If you were nominated, please comment with your link once you’ve posted (I really want to read your answers!)

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

 

Writers’ Advice on Writing

black cat holding persons arm
Photo by Ruca Souza on Pexels.com

As with so many of my posts, this one is inspired by an article I read. In this case, the article shares advice on writing from famous writers. I don’t know about anyone else, but what I find most valuable about advice from other writers isn’t necessarily the advice itself (although it’s often helpful) but the chance to bond over writing, and to affirm that I’m doing something right. Whether you enjoy the advice, the bonding, or the affirmations, here are some of the best tips from other writers, as well as a couple of my own…

Get a Cat (Muriel Spark via her character Mrs. Hawkins, from A Far Cry From Kensington)

As someone with three cats, I can’t argue with this advice 🙂 Cats are a source of joy, laughter, and purrs (and my lap cat makes sure I sit and focus). If you’re not a cat person, you might want to consider bunnies or small pets (rats, mice, hamsters…) They’re equally good company and shelters always have many available for adoption.

Stop While the Going Is Good (Ernest Hemingway)

Stop while you’re on a roll and let your subconscious keep working on it until you start again. The best way to write is to not force it.

Writing Anything Is Better than Nothing (Katherine Mansfield)

Just write. The more you do it, the better you get, even if what you’re writing will never go further than the paper/screen it’s on.

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Some advice of my own:

Keep the TV, music, and internet (if you can) off. Some people can work with distractions; I’m not one of them. But even if the noise doesn’t bother you, words, phrases, storylines, and even rhythms can burrow into your subconscious and end up in your work. That can happen anyway (it’s just part of the fun of having a brain!) but why increase the risk?

Take up needlepoint. Or any craft you can easily do while staring at a computer screen. Crafts that occupy your hands while your mind is free to focus elsewhere are great for writing.

Take an editing class. Not that you should edit your own work, but you should be able to polish it before submitting it anywhere. No publisher is interested in a manuscript full of errors (it’ll also help with other things, like work emails and social media posts).

Do you have writing advice to share? What tip has helped you most as a writer? Let me know in the comments…

 

Tooth & Claw, free short story by Aspasia S. Bissas

Download your free copy of “Tooth & Claw.”

Mara, Dominic, and their fellow vampires arrive in Marseille, France in 1909, only to find another predator already on the loose. As the city tries to cope with a killer stalking the streets, Mara struggles to separate memory from delusion. Can she find peace when the past is haunting, the present overwhelming, and the future hopeless? Inspired by real events.

Tooth & Claw is a standalone story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe.

Also available free at Barnes & NobleApple BooksIndigo, and other online book retailers.

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas