This interesting New Yorker essay about the continuing appeal of vampire stories came along just as I watched the new DVD edition of Let the Right One In, one of the most original horror movies I’ve seen in years. I’ve already sung the praises of John Lindqvist’s novel, and I was happy to see the movie more than does it justice. The essay mentions it on the way to a lengthy discussion of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which obviously deserves pride of place in the history of the genre, but which has been surpassed many times by writers following in Stoker’s train. One novel that’s overdue for reappraisal is George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream, which ingeniously blended a variation on the classic vampire tale with a lovingly researched historical novel set on the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century.
Famed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has directed movies about the ease with which an innocent man can be convicted of murder (The Thin Blue Line), the delusions of the powerful (Robert McNamara: The Fog of War) and the future of robotics (Fast, Cheap & Out of Control). He’s also directed a series of commercials for Miller Beer, and you can find all of them here.
Lemony Snicket reveals the formula for the perfect bedtime story. I particularly like the first point (Ask your child what the title should be. This stalls for time and spreads the blame if the story’s no good.) and the third (When you get stuck, remember Raymond Chandler’s advice: “When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.” The bedtime equivalent is a clumsy talking animal holding a tray of cream pies).
Timothy Lim blends Charles Schulz’s Peanuts with Frank Miller’s Sin City to arrive at — Schulz City.
Hey — New Jersey just got listed as one of the “Eastern Edens” for birdwatchers in Audobon magazine.
The Grim Sleeper is a prolific serial killer thought to be responsible for nearly a dozen murders in Los Angeles. If you’ve never heard about this one, maybe there’s a reason.