Friday, July 10, 2015

The Vampire Almanac volume 2 – review

Edited by: J-M & Randy Lofficier

First published: 2015

Contains spoilers

The blurb: Featuring Alsinka the Virgin Vampire, Captain Vampire, Carmilla, Countess Carody, Dracula, the Gyaos, Nosferatu, Lord Ruthven, Princess Asa Vajda, the Vampire Brothers, the Vampire Countess, the Vampire City and the Two Orphan Vampire Girls.

The appeal of the myth of the Vampire is surely due to the fact that it deals with the resurrection of the dead, something that lies at the core of most of the world’s religions. The stories contained in this collection feature some of the most famous vampires in literary history. Some predate Dracula, whilst others are modern incarnations of the myth. Writers from all over the world bring a diversity of points of view to this potpourri of vampiric lore and legends.

The myth of the vampire, from all the poetic manifestations of the World Beyond, is one of the most endearing… …To try to piece together a history of vampirism is a dubious enterprise; it is much better to enjoy vampire stories! I do not believe in vampires. I believe in what inspired their creation. Roger Vadim (from his foreword).

The review: Following on from The Vampire Almanac Vol. 1 this was another collection of original tales based on pre-existing vampire characters. Having read the foreword, which was a piece written by director Roger Vadim in 1960, I was most impressed to discover that the first tale – Matthew Dennion’s Hercules in the Shadow of Evil – was one that mashed Hercules with the Japanese monster vampire Gyaos from Gamera Vs Gyaos. Indeed it was a Gamera origin story.

Micah Harris added some interesting concepts into the Ruthven story May the Ground Not Consume Thee by suggesting that “his kind draws strength from holy ground” and further suggesting that it was actually the Orthodox Church’s actions that created vrykolakas. Brian Gallagher added in mention of the alleged vampire Jure Grando in his Carmilla and the Witch.

So Much Loss by Anthony R. Cardno was probably my favourite story in the volume, looking into the Dracula aftermath, specifically around the victims of the Bloofer Lady. I should mention Steven A Roman’s story as a favourite also, bringing Graf Orlock and Irma Vep together.

Matthew Dennion did a further tale, Soul Sisters, with Asa from Black Sunday aiding the Salem witches (though how she escaped from her cross warded coffin is not explained) and Countess Carody from Vampyros Lesbos appears again in a trilogy of stories by Win Scott Eckert. There is a nice conceit in Henri Bé’s the Girls of Midnight when the Two Orphan Vampires meet Jean Rollin.

It would also be remiss not to mention the story the Vampire of New Orleans by Jared Welch, which features Paul Féval’s Vampire Countess, as Jared is a regular visitor to, and commentator on, the blog. In it he ties a little tighter the connection between the vampire genre and the Faust legend, also connecting in the Comte de Saint-Germain.

All in all I thought that the volume, whilst superb, didn’t quite match the first volume but it did keep me glued to the page and it is well worth being in your collection. 8.5 out of 10.

The Blackcoat Press page for both volumes is here.


JaredMithrandir said...

Awesome, glad you found my story interesting.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Definitely... as you know I like the Feval material and I am always looking to draw Faust towards the genre ;)

kirsi mannonen said...

Sounds interesting! I ordered both books.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Kirsi - great stuff, really hope you enjoy them as much as I did