by Marie Marshall
Today I’m remembering two of my favourite vampire moments. The first has to be from the movie The Fearless Vampire Killers. Veteran British actor Alfie Bass, playing a Jewish innkeeper, has been turned into a vampire. He invades a maiden’s bedroom at night, she screams, and holds up a crucifix. “Oy, oy!” grins Alfie, “Did you pick the wrong vampire!” The old jokes are the best. FVK has to be my favourite vampire movie ever, if only for the irony of the title – the hunters seem to spend the whole film in a state of abject terror, and never kill a single vampire.
Another moment comes from a TV show from the 1960s, Michael Bentine’s It’s a Square World. In the sketch I recall, another veteran british actor, Clive Dunn, arrives in Transylvania on a cultural mission to bring cricket to the peasants in the Carpathians. At a village inn he finds a group of terrified peasants, led by Michael Bentine, cowering in a corner in fear of the local nobleman, a notorious vampire. Dunn brings out his cricketing gear, but the language barrier produces a hilarious result, as Bentine, in a cod Eastern-European language, mimes to his fellow peasants how to cosh a vampire with the cricket bat, and drive stumps through its heart. Enter the vampire, probably played by John Bluthal dressed a la Lugosi, and the peasants flee. Not realising what this newcomer is, Dunn promises to turn him into “a first class bat”, and off they go together, Dunn folded ominously in the vampire’s cloak.
I mention all this because my teen-vampire novel-in-progress has now passed thirty thousand words. I can’t help thinking that just writing it is the easy part…