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Q&A – Onion Editor Turned Vampire Expert Shares His Favorite Bloodsucker Movies

Onion Editor Turned Vampire Expert Shares His Favorite Bloodsucker Movies” width=”560″/>

Onion editor and author Joe Garden (The New Vampire’s Handbook) talks about his latest book, a how-to guide for the newly turned still learning to adjust. He talks to about his favorite vamps and whether he’s an Edward or a Jasper.

Q: I’m assuming you watched a lot of movies as research for this book. Is there one that sticks out as most influential?

A: What influenced us was the “vampire rules scene” that often pops up in the movies. Dracula had Van Helsing, The Lost Boys had the Frog Brothers, Blade had Kris Kristofferson, etc., and their role was to lay out the rules of vampirism. Crosses will repel a vampire but silver does nothing. Silver will burn a vampire but garlic is worthless. So on and so forth. If the protagonist was a vampire, he would look to his mentor to spell out these rules in the anguished “What’s happening to me?” scene.

In Interview With a Vampire, Lestat is notorious for withholding this information from Louis. In The New Vampire’s Handbook, we took the premise that there were plenty of vampires that had lousy mentors, and we created a paternal vampire guru named Miles Proctor who was making it his mission to provide advice and pointers. Subtextually, he was also trying to capitalize on their ignorance. This book is his sort of Tony Robbins self-help guide.

Q: What do you make of the whole Twilight phenomenon? Are you more Edward or Jasper?

Despite having read the first two books and just watched the film, I had to look up Jasper, so I’d say him. We’re both pretty forgettable if you just look at us, and Edward is too cocksure for me to empathize with. One thing I’ve learned is that every vampire author or filmmaker puts his or her own stamp on the legend… but the idea that vampires sparkle in the daylight really seemed ridiculous. If you’re going to deviate so wildly from the basic guidelines, you need to back it up with an intriguing explanation instead of just tossing it off as a quirk. But teenage girls like it, and I can understand why.

Q: When watching old vampire movies, do you think they hold up better or worse than other old horror movies?

A: If I had to make a blanket statement, I think that vampire films do hold up a little better than most other horror films. First of all, there’s a mythology people are familiar with. Good writers and directors can build on that mythology and make it their own. Most importantly, the motives of the vampire are clear. They are predators, and they need to feed on blood. You can try to reason with them, but ultimately, they are motivated by a force as primal as hunger. Who doesn’t understand that?

Q: Who’s the sexiest vampire in movies?

A: In my mind, it’s a tie between Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon from The Hunger. But then, that’s probably because I watched it extensively in my adolescence. Apologies to Ms. Deneuve and Ms. Sarandon.

Q: And the ugliest in movies?

A: Max Schreck in Nosferatu was definitely the ugliest. Feral, rat-like, evil and terrifying. It was amazing. In Frances Ford Copola’s Dracula, the vampire goes through many changes and permutations, and the withered one with the double-bun hairdo is ugly in an otherworldly way. Marlowe, the lead vampire in 30 Days of Night, is hideous for his ferocity and the joy he takes in hunting and killing humans. Plus, his teeth are nasty.

Q: What celeb would you most like to see killed by a vampire?

A: I would like to see Jon and Kate Gosselin chased through the streets of an abandoned Romanian village and consumed by a pack of starving vamps. The adrenaline coursing through their veins would only serve to drive the vampires into a frenzy. The vampires would show no mercy and every drop would be drained. Following this dreadful televised event, custody of the deceased couple’s children would go to someone that was not a f—ing parasite and people would consider adoption preferable to letting science foisting multiple babies on them.

Q: Can you share your Top Ten Vampire Deaths?


10. Sheriff Eben Oleson in 30 Days of Night — With hours to go until sunrise, the Sheriff chooses to become a vampire to fight the hoard. When he defeats the leader, he faces the rising sun rather than to slip further into vampirism.

9. Dracula in Dracula Has Risen From the Grave — A pointy cross sticks falls and sticks in the ground, and Dracula coincidentally falls onto that cross. And gasps. And struggles. And gurgles. Then he is prayed over for 40 seconds, whereupon he weeps tears of blood and expires.

8. Longshadow in True Blood — Finally, after eight episodes, we see how vampires die. Turns out it’s quite a sloppy process.

7. Sarah Roberts in The Hunger — Once she realizes what she’s become, the latest victim of vampire Miriam slits her own jugular with an ankh knife, setting off a chain of events in which all of Miriam’s discarded lovers come back for revenge.

6. Homer in Near Dark — The sight of the young boy/old vampire burning to death in the sunlight while running after the human girl he chose to make his bride is disturbing. Running and burning. Running and burning.

5. Prince Mamuwalde in Blacula — With nothing to live for following the death of his beloved, the noble prince forces himself to walk up the stairs and into the sunlight, leaving behind a smoking, maggoty corpse.

4. Claudia in Interview With a Vampire — As with Homer, it’s unsettling to see the young-looking companion of Louis and Lestat burned to death by other vampires.

3. Max from The Lost Boys — “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: All the damn vampires.”

2. Amilyn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Is this an homage to No. 9? Only Paul Rubens could make a hilariously protracted vampire death work like he did.

1. Count Orlok in Nosferatu — The shot of Count Orolk fading into oblivion after being trapped in the morning sun is forever etched in my brain.

To find out more about The New Vampire’s Handbook, click here.

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