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Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons by Dr. Gregory L. Reece

Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves, and Demons by Dr. Gregory L. Reece

Kate Daley-Bailey
Before sparkly vampires like Edward Cullen, before Count Orlok of Nosferatu, even before Bram Stoker’s classic tale of Dracula, there were the vampire tales of European folklore. As Reece suggests, these early prototypes of the vampire are far-less glamorous that the stylized, Gothic vampires of Polidori, Le Fanu, and Stoker. They attack cattle as well as humans, resemble bloated ticks when exhumed, and they more physically favor our conception of a zombie than the modern day vampire. Not only does Reece present a thorough but enjoyable romp through the history of the vampire, he also explores research about various real-life vampire communities, such as work done by Joseph Laycock in Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampires. Perhaps the most fascinating chapter in Reece’s book, according to this reviewer, is his chapter on werewolves, a chapter which plays upon the concepts presented in folktales made familiar by The Brothers Grimm, Perrault, and Paul DeLarue.

The Dogs of God

The Dogs of God

By Gregory L. Reece….An intriguing excerpt from his upcoming book: “Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons.” The sound began down deep in his chest, rose to a growl in his throat, and then forced its way between his lips as a snarl. The coarse silver hair on his neck bristled. His ears, covered with the same silver fur, twitched. There was a burst of air from his nostrils, a snort of warning and territorial claim. The muscles in his arm began to twitch. His head snapped quickly to the left, then to the right. Thrown back against my seat by a sudden change in direction and speed, I instinctively clutched at the door handle of the mini-van, my eyes darting between the oncoming traffic and the hairy form in the driver’s seat. His reactions to the traffic were quick and aggressive – canine reactions, lupine reactions. For just a moment I was terrorized, speeding down the highway with a werewolf at the wheel.

Red Riding Hood Arouses Man’s Inner (Were)Wolf

Red Riding Hood Arouses Man’s Inner (Were)Wolf

By Louis A Ruprecht….
We know, for example, that werewolves are shape-shifters, much like vampires, though they are their sworn, almost genetically-determined enemy. But recently we’ve learned that they can also make treaties and commit themselves to truces, fragile though they inevitably are. Vampires and werewolves can have common enemies (like witches), articulate common purpose (survival, most obviously), or strive heroically and movingly against their natural antipathies. Their relationship looks a lot like the dance between capitalists and communists in the waning years of Soviet power. “Trust but verify” is their watchword. And now this mysterious figure has come out of our collective dream-world once again, hard on the trail of a no-longer-little Red Riding Hood in Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood, released earlier this month.

Moral Monster: The Literary Vampire

Moral Monster: The Literary Vampire

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula… the Count is not much more than an inversion of his enemies, a demon, or a supernatural serial killer. In Anne Rice’s novel series, penned some 80 years later, the fledging vampire Louis is a tormented being… extraordinary and yet pitiful. Then some 25 years after Louis’ debut in Interview with a Vampire, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series introduces the Cullens family to the literary vampire scene… oddly enough, as moral exemplars. Investigating how an author presents vampire literature and how an audience of readers accepts the Other in literature may help cultural observers, like myself, to determine how a community defines itself. In particular, I am interested to see if there is a correlation between the method of narration used in vampire literature and the degree to which these so called Others are humanized in the minds of readers.