We Are the Night

This past summer, Marita Crandle, owner of Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans recommended the film We Are the Night on her VBITE Webcast. wir-sind-die-nacht I finally had a chance to watch it about a week ago and found that it was an interesting film. The film was made in Germany and is presented with English subtitles. The original title was Wir sind die Nacht.

The movie opens with a lovely homage to the Demeter sequence in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The passengers and crew of a doomed airliner are all dead, except the three vampire women who clearly killed them. After they escape into the night, we meet a young woman named Lena who picks a man’s pocket, only to be pursued by the police. The night after the chase, Lena goes to a creepy amusement park that could be at home in a Tim Burton film. In the bowels of the park is a night club run by the three vampires from the beginning of the film. The vampire Louise finds Lena compelling and soon attacks her, turning her into a vampire.

As the movie progresses, we get to know more about Louise’s companions. Charlotte, who is mostly silent, is a one-time silent movie actress who left behind her daughter when Louise made her a vampire. Cheerful Nora became a vampire in 1997 and just loves to have fun. We also learn that there are no male vampires in this world.

Many authors, myself included, have used vampires as a way to explore the idea of immortality. I’ve seen numerous stories that use vampirism as a metaphor for drug addiction. This was the first time I’d seen vampires as Amazons and a metaphor for feminist empowerment. The idea appealed to me, since I’ve imagined fae as Amazons in my story “Amazons and Predators” which appeared in Bad Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory.

According to interviews, the director made a deliberate decision to steer away from Dracula references, opening scene aside, and took most of his inspiration from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 novella Carmilla. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read Le Fanu’s novella, but I found it on Project Gutenberg and plan to correct that oversight in the near future.

I was also interested to learn that the creepy amusement park is a real place called Spreepark in Berlin. Here’s an article with some photos and information about the place. This looks like a terrific vampire lair!

Overall, We Are the Night was an interesting film that made me think. Exploring behind the scenes has encouraged me to read a novella that I should have read years ago. It’s hard to ask for more from a film. I’m glad I followed up on Marita’s recommendation.

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Signing at Boutique du Vampyre

On Saturday, August 22, I signed my novels Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Vampires of the Scarlet Order at Boutique du Vampyre in the French Quarter of New Orleans. As it turns out, I started the day by making a pilgrimage to the site of Lafcadio Hearn’s house in Downtown New Orleans.

Hearn-house

I have mentioned Hearn in my post about the movie Kwaidan. Before he moved to Japan, he was a newspaper reporter in New Orleans and, among other things, wrote the obituary of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. He also compiled two of the earliest cookbooks of Creole cuisine.

About half an hour before the signing was scheduled to start, the skies opened up in a fierce downpour. My wife and I entered the shop dripping wet, but we soon dried off. I decided to kick off the signing by consulting the Boutique’s one-of-a-kind Jacques St. Germaine Fortune Telling Machine.

Jacques

He told me shrunken vampire heads from the boutique will bring me luck and wisdom. The ticket he ejected at the end said that staying late in bed is good every now and again, but it’s a habit one should not cultivate. With my fortune read, I took my place at my table near the back of the shop. The rain continued for a time, meaning the first hour of the signing was quiet. The shop’s owner, Marita Crandle, did take the time present me with a lovely gift.

Those familiar with the novel Dracula know that vampires can turn themselves into mist. There is an old legend that says that vampires in mist form can be lured into wine bottles and trapped. bottled vampire Marita gave me a bottle with the trapped vampire “David Summers.” According to the bottle, I was visiting New Orleans when I flew into a rage at readers who wanted to be turned into real vampires. They saw the life of a vampire as luxurious and magical, but I knew the truth because I was plagued by my own eternal existence! I then flew off the handle and granted the customers their wish. I was bottled so I’d have time to calm down! Now that I’m back home, the bottle has a place of honor along with my books in my office.

The rain storm eventually cleared and people started coming into the shop. I had the opportunity to chat with several people about my books. One of the things that great about a city like New Orleans is that I got to meet a lot of people from all around the country. It turns out the popular title of the day was Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. I was honored to have Alys Arden, author of The Casquette Girls come in and chat for a while.

My signing was originally scheduled to run from 3-6pm, but given the rain, we extended that to 7pm and I even stayed a little past that. At the end of the night, Marita recorded her Vampire Business and International Topics of Entertainment (or VBITE) news update. She invited me to join in and discuss my novels.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the signing. I had a great time and hope we’ll get to do another signing in New Orleans soon! Even if you missed the signing, there are exclusive signed copies of the novel at Boutique du Vampyre. Click the link to order your copies today!

Vampires on the Road

This past week, my steampunk novel Owl Dance was featured as part of Terri Giuliano Long’s Literary World Trip. Drop by to read an excerpt, learn a little about the novel, and a real place featured in the novel.

literary-world-trip-david-lee-summers

This particular scene is fun in that it features a possible cameo by one of the Scarlet Order vampires. In Vampires of the Scarlet Order we meet Mercy Rodriguez, a vampire created by the conquistador Rudolfo de Cordoba and who inspired the La Llorona legend. In Owl Dance Ramon Morales also meets a Mercy Rodriguez living in the same area, who is accused of being a vampire. Are they one and the same? Or, are these parallel universes in which this Mercy is just a human with a condition that causes people to accuse her of being a vampire? If you’ve read both Vampires of the Scarlet Order and Owl Dance, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Also, on the subject of literary travels, you might recall last week that I mentioned discussions were in process for a possible book signing. It looks like that signing will be happening. I’ll be signing both Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Vampires of the Scarlet Order at Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 22 from 3-6pm.

Boutique

This is exciting because I’ve never done a book signing in New Orleans before, but I could use your help! If you’ll be in New Orleans that day, please drop by! Do you know someone who will be in New Orleans and likes a good vampire book? By all means tell them about the event. There is even a Facebook Event page for the signing, if people would like to sign up in advance. Thanks and I hope I’ll see some of you there!