Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Claudia

They are flesh and blood, but not human. Probably haven’t been human for hundreds of years. Some might call it being born into darkness. For a little girl who has lost her parents to the plague in New Orleans, it certainly feels that way.

Kirsten Dunst as Claudia
Kirsten Dunst as Claudia

As Women Who Wow Wednesday continues its month-long tribute to women who rock Horror, which began last week with Maleficent, let’s examine the short life of Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) the vampire from the movie Interview with the Vampire, based on the book written by Anne Rice.

In 1791, Louis du Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) is only twenty-four when Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) turns him into a vampire. Before then, as the master of a large plantation, just south of New Orleans, Louis’ riches meant nothing to him. He’d lost his wife and child months earlier, and he longed for death. Young, vibrant, full of life, Lestat cuts Louis’ life short in an act of pure selfishness. Some may say, though, Lestat imparted Louis the essence of eternal life. However, how eternal is a life if it rests in the throes of damnation?

Claudia’s parents die by the plague. With the desire of wanting to revive her mother, the five-year-old asks Louis for help. Instead of bringing her mother back from the dead, a power Louis does not possess, he feeds off Claudia short of taking her life. Leaving her for dead, and with Louis’ conscience tearing at him for having drained Claudia of her life, Lestat bestows upon her eternal life, thus making her a vampire just like them.

Unlike Louis, whose manner of killing involves butchering animals but not people, Claudia’s hunger for blood has no bounds. From the moment Lestat made her into a predator, Claudia shows no regard for human life. Housekeepers fall to her scheming, leading Lestat to scold her, “Now, who will we get to finish your dress? There’s a practicality here! Remember, never in our home!”

Interview with the Vampire's Claudia
Interview with the Vampire’s Claudia

In the early days, Claudia’s victims died quickly. As time passes, she learns how to play with them, delaying the moment until she takes what she wants. No one is safe. She uses her diminutive appearance to draw victims into her arms. Shopkeepers easily surrender their goods to the vicious killer. Even her piano teacher dies at her hands, prompting Lestat once again to ask, “Claudia, what have we told you?” Of course she remembers, “Never in the house.”

One day, Claudia sees a woman bathing, then realizes she will never grow older than the eternal child she is. She discovers the truth, provoking her to loathe both Louis for taking her life and Lestat for giving her another. However, she also realizes she and Louis are in the same predicament, locked together in hatred.

But she admits, she can’t hate Louis.

As the story goes, Claudia takes vengeance upon Lestat, breaking one of the everlasting laws among vampires—vampire shall not kill vampire. As opposed to physical strength, she uses stealth and cunning to do it. Those attributes make Claudia one of the most feared fictional characters in Horror. It’s also the reason she takes one of the top spots in Women Who Wow Wednesday. She proves someone doesn’t have to bulge with muscle in order to get things done.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

If you’ve seen Interview with a Vampire, what did you think of Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Claudia?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies, Aliens & Vampires

Jack Flacco is proud to announce RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, the second book in the Ranger Martin series, will publish on October 21.

Men in Black is one of my most favorite Friday night fall movies. The other film I love, which has a similar theme is Mars Attacks. Yes, both are alien movies, and yes, both have a not-so-serious plot devoted to conspiracy. When these movies came out back in the late 90’s, The X-Files had a huge following. Talk about conspiracy theory. The X-Files took all that we knew back then about alien invasion and turned it on its head. Who can forget the tag line The truth is out there?

Alien
Alien

For today’s edition of Monday Mayhem, I would like to examine interesting fads that have taken over the media. In particular, I would like to look at the alien, vampire, and zombie fads of yesteryear and today. In the past, I’ve detailed how vampires and zombies throughout time have played a game of one-upmanship. Sometimes vampires are on top, and sometimes zombies. Today, zombies rule.

Where do aliens fit in all this?

The X-Files
The X-Files

As I’d mentioned, in its heyday The X-Files had garnered a massive following. Everyone wanted to know how the aliens fit in the whole humanity vs. alien universe. The show’s creator Chris Carter had a perfect formula where he’d trickle just enough information to the audience to keep them coming back for more. The X-Files had also some of the most interesting episodes on television for the time. I can never forget the episode where a cockroach appears to crawl on the screen. I screamed thinking the roach had somehow invaded my home. Through the wizardry of modern television effects, I became a sucker for the producers’ quaint, but hilarious practical joke.

Vampires didn’t become fashionable until the movie Twilight came out. I should rephrase that. Vampires didn’t become part of pop culture until the advent of Stephenie Meyer’s literary anvil hit the scene. Anne Rice, of course, influenced the genre years earlier with her book Interview with the Vampire, but teenage girls with Edward on their mind had more than blood coursing through their veins.

As with all fads, once Breaking Dawn’s star came and went zombies took over the reign as the pop culture phenomenon. With The Walking Dead in full swing and World War Z about to become a movie, is it a wonder zombies turned hot. Campuses across America played host to zombie runs while Halloween transformed from vampires only clubs to zombie apocalypse nightmares.

As for the aliens? They’re there. Listening and waiting until their time comes again. Only time will tell what pop culture has in mind once the reign of the zombies ends.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What other movies have an alien theme associated with the zombie genre? What do you think of The Night of the Living Dead?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Selene

What better way to kick off today’s Women Who Wow Wednesday post than with a kick ass, female Death Dealer.

Underworld's Selene
Underworld’s Selene

I like vampires. Well, I like vampire movies, not vampires per se. Otherwise that would make me weird. Then again, I do love zombies, so that makes me weird enough. But I like a good vampire movie. And I love werewolf movies too. Just not as much as zombie movies. So when Underworld came out a few years ago, I showered, shaved, and ran to the theater hoping to catch it opening night. How can a fan of both vampires and werewolves miss this gem?

That’s when I saw her for the first time. She stood perched on a building ledge, high above the torrential downpour, analyzing the street below. Looking. Wanting. Waiting. She leapt. Gliding a hundred feet to the bottom, she landed to a bounce. She struts her way through the crowd, hunting.

Played by the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, Selene’s mission is to destroy Lycans, a species of werewolf that, unlike ordinary werewolves, can control their transformation. Selene is a vampire and can endure daylight. Old school vampires like the ones in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, burn in the daylight. Other vampires, dare I say it—sparkle. Shivers. Selene doesn’t have to worry about spontaneously combusting, leaving behind nothing except a big pile of ash. She has immunity to UV light. She can blend in like one of us. However, I’m not sure just how much she can blend in with all that leather she wears and her attractive features. It would be like a lion blending in with a flock of lambs.

Selene is also proficient in all manner of weaponry and possesses other abilities such as speed, strength and endurance. In one instance, a group of police officers had her cornered in a hallway with no escape, wearing their full compliment of armor. No problem. Equipped with only a scalpel, she blasted past the officers spilling their blood and leaving their corpses to rot. In another instance, she plows her hand right through a Lycan as if it were some sort of fruit.

In all this, what makes Selene special, though, is her gentle side. It’s the side only Michael, a human, sees.

The Beautiful Selene
The Beautiful Selene

As terrifying and vicious as she can be, Selene’s love for Michael makes her vulnerable to getting hurt. She trusts him. She gives of herself fully to him in order to allow their love to grow.

It’s that beautiful, delicate balance between good and evil, light and darkness, love and hate that makes Selene addictive. She represents the unattainable, defending her species at all cost.

Have you seen Underworld? Did you like it? What did you find the most interesting aspect of the film?