Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On Matheson's "Drink My Blood" : A Brad Geagley Perspective

Richard Matheson

Precious Monsters is pleased to present a guest blog post by Brad Geagley

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I’ve always been alternately fascinated and repelled by vampires.  I envy them for their immortality but remain disgusted by their table manners.  Nevertheless, I’ve always wanted to be one.  There’s a wonderful short story by Richard Matheson called "Drink My Blood," with which I (and every other vampire lover) have an astonishing affinity.  Matheson also wrote the seminal vampire novel I Am Legend which has been made into a film at least twice, and is a work that still exercises a strong influence over today’s zombie craze.

"Drink My Blood," written in 1951, was obviously a practice run for the novel,  which was written in 1954, and it’s about a pasty-faced kid named Jules.  A terrible blob of a boy, Jules “made people shiver with his blank stare.”  At first his parents believe him to be blind until a doctor informs them that it’s just Jules’ habit of staring vacuously at the world.  With his large head, the doctor says, Jules might be a genius or an idiot.  “It turns out he was an idiot,” Matheson says unequivocally.  Just as I did (and this is the only comparison to myself I will admit to) Jules reads Dracula and becomes obsessed with vampires.  Afterwards, he wants to victimize all the little girls in his class and voices his desire to “get even”.  Though Matheson never says why Jules wants revenge, we can just imagine how he is bullied and ridiculed by his classmates.  Though he wants to become Dracula, in truth he’s more like the insectivore Renfield, and projects the same kind of overt creepiness.

One day Jules goes to the zoo to dawdle at the cage of the Vampire Bat.  Jules soon becomes convinced that the bat is Dracula himself, and he has long afternoon conversations with “the Master”.  Before long he pries open the cage’s door and kidnaps the strangely complacent bat, swiftly taking it into a garbage strewn alley.  There Jules uses the lid of rusty tin can to hack at his own neck, letting his blood flow for the bat’s satiation.  As he becomes weaker and weaker, he finally realizes where his obsession has led him.  “He knew he was lying half-naked on garbage and letting a flying bat drink his blood.”  But then, in an amazing moment of epiphany and triumph, Jules sees the tall dark man whose eyes shine like rubies.  “My son,” the  man says.

Yes, I love Anne Rice’s elegant, suffering vampires and Charlaine Harris’s southern white trash equivalents, but "Drink My Blood" was just as influential in my love for the vampire race.  And like I told you, I’m NOT going to offer up any more comparisons between myself and Jules.

So there.

About the author:

Brad Geagley's latest novel, Chronicles of Sanguivorous details the history of vampires and is only 99¢. His blog is www.bradgeagley.net and you can find him on Twitter at @BradGeagley.












I Love Horror/Paranormal Novellas Blog Hop August 2012

2 comments:

Jeremy Bates said...

Although I'm not the biggest vampire fan, I do agree that Ms.Rice's romantic depiction of vampires have inspired a whole new genre of vampire novels we see today. It's too bad she has not written anything new on her vampire chronicles series recently.

Jolie du Pre said...

@Jeremy - She should have stuck with vampires. None of her other stuff compares.