Dracula’s Midnight Snacks and its companion Telegraph for Garlic are the follow up to Red Rattle Books’ Frankenstein Galvanized. However, where Frankenstein Galvanized added some academic essays to a reprint of Mary Shelley’s classic, for Bram Stoker’s blood sucking nobleman Red Rattle wanted to do something rather different.
Dracula’s Midnight Snacks is a collection of vampire short stories, but these are far from being yet another anthology put together from the usual suspects. Instead, Red Rattle asked the Hothouse’s good friend David Saunderson of the Spooky Isles website to invite his readers to submit their own vampire stories for inclusion in the book along with a couple of exsanguinating tales from Red Rattle’s editor Howard Jackson.
As it happens, the boy done good and there isn’t a clunker in there. We find out what happens when Dracula does Manhattan, discover the fringe benefits of performing boob jobs in LA and travel with Bram Stoker to Paris to meet an Oscar Wilde whose well-being has nothing to do with a portrait in the attic. There is also an exclusive cinema where much more interesting cuts of classic movies are played out to discerning nocturnal patrons, a decidedly one-sided bout of wrestling in Victorian London and a defiantly feminist Lucy Westenra setting the record straight about her vampire lover.
For me the choice cuts were Feel Like Going Home by KA Garner, which featured a lone wolf 50s rocker and LiMA by Elliot Davies, which explores the problems faced by the modern vampire forced to claim disability benefit. Somehow Davies’ really gets under the skin of the modern day Van Helsing at the DWP who assesses the vamp’s ability to work.
The companion piece Telegraph for Garlic contains a number of essays about Stoker’s Dracula by British and French academics together with extracts from the novel that relate to the points that they are trying to make about misogyny, madness and politics. Although I do feel that sometimes academics read rather too much of what they want to find in what is basically a cracking good story as the extracts from Dracula prove.
There is also some analysis of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, the movie Fright Night by Howard Jackson and Bram Stoker’s short story Dracula’s Guest. I have to say, I was delighted to be reacquainted with Dracula’s Guest which I first read when I was about 13. Some folks say it was an early chapter of Dracula that got cut out of the finished novel, personally I’m more inclined to think that it may have been a false start, one that Stoker abandoned in favour of Jonathan Harker’s trip to Transylvania. Whatever it was, it’s quite fun and it showed that Stoker had really researched his European vampire lore and demonstrated what a fine writer he was too.
So what’s the score? I give Dracula’s Midnight Snacks a big 555 while Telegraph for Garlic gets a 444 .
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Review by Simon Ball
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