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VIDEO + PODCAST: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan at the Brattle Theatre

It's pretty safe to say that no one makes monsters quite like director Guillermo Del Toro makes monsters. I mean, not only did the dude's imagination spit out the gorgeously grotesque fairy tale Pan's Labyrinth, it was also responsible for the creepy crawly creatures of Mimic and the motley crew of do-gooders in the Hellboy movies. So, really, who better than he to revamp the tired, old conventions of the vampire story?

"I'm going to confess something," Del Toro said at a September 23rd Brattle Theatre Q&A. "My least favorite vampire is the Bela Legosi one. It never did it for me. All I saw was an uncle in a cape."

READ: "Bloodsuckers, magic realism, and caviar Twinkies," the excerted transcipt from Del Toro's Brattle appearance. 

In The Strain Trilogy, a series of collaborative novels written by Del Toro and Massachusetts wordsmith Chuck Hogan, the duo has left little trace of Legosi's signature night-dweller, or Pattinson's for that matter-wiping clean the slate of today's sparkly, debonair blood suckers and bringing the vampire back to it's primal, folkloric roots. The titular, first installment in the series hit shelves in June 2009 and the second book, entitled The Fall, was released this September.

The two writers stopped by the Brattle to discuss the trilogy. They then fielded audience queries about their collaborative process, the biology of Del Toro's creatures, and what makes the vampire such a timeless tale.

"It's such a malleable myth," said Hogan. "The vampire's been around forever and it can be so many things."

Del Toro and Hogans story begins with a mysterious virus-familiar enough,right? The super-flu comes to New York via a foreboding airplane full of pale, seemingly dead passengers. Within a matter of days the Big Apple is completely infected and the disease proceeds to ravage the planet, rapidly spreading across borders and oceans.

But the nasty little bug in The Strain doesn't transform people into the lightening-quick zombie/vampires (it's about time this debate gets settled) of I Am Legend, or even the fanged Cassanovas of the vampiric Golden Age.

Rather, the virus morphs the infected into abhorrent, stinger-tongued creatures called strigoi-the name given to vampires in Eastern European legend. Edward Cullen is shaking in his mud-stained boots.

For more from Del Toro and Hogan, check out our podcast of the Brattle Theatre discussion below, or peruse some particularly notable highlights we've pulled from the conversation.

PODCAST: Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan at the Brattle Theatre [MP3]

Recorded live at the Brattle Theatre, on September  23, 2010 (courtesy of the Harvard Book Store); if you, check out the Harvard Book Store's calendar of upcoming events. To subscribe to our podcast, paste this RSS feed into your podcatcher or feed-reader of choice, or bookmark http://thephoenix.com/podcast

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