01/03/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Sphere/Little, Brown Book Group. 191 page illustrated indexed hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-84744-403-5).
check out website: www.littlebrown.co.uk
The popularity of vampires hasn't diminished over the years. With the resurgence of vampires becoming sex objects again with the recent 'Twilight' films and the TV series 'True Blood', it's inevitable that the balance will be given with non-fiction on the subject. Charlotte Montague certainly contrasts this by looking into all the gruesomeness that is associated with vampires, even if some included might be regarded as questionable, in reality and fiction. Whether I would regard this book as complete or not depends on whether you think '30 Days Of Night' should be included in the film list and the Channel 4 TV series 'Ultraviolet'. On the other hand, at least the film 'Near Dark' is acknowledged. I should point out that there is nothing wrong with the material in the book but when the word 'Complete' is used in the title and after reading so many of these books on the subject, then information that slips down the edges has to be questioned.
One thing I did find really misleading is in the section of significant books dealing with vampires, the year periods after the authors' names might be construed as them joining the undead rather than how long their book series have been going.
That covers the bad points. What makes this book interesting is its olde gothic-looking appearance that you can well believe people will blow the cobwebs off before opening to look inside at the yellowing pages. There is an interesting display of pictures, especially of the more factual people who were accused of vampirism. In fact, they make vampires look tame in comparison. The examination of the fictional vampires covers much of the recognised ground and obviously giving a bit more space to those new kids on the box and screen as mentioned in the opening paragraph. I'm not quite so sure why a look at the likes of Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne were included as vampires though as if anything they tend to play up the horror than vampire aspect.
Some areas of the book are remarkably in-depth compared to others and you will come away from this book knowing more than when you entered which shouldn't diminish your desire to include the book in your vampire collection.
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