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."
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 //thephoenix.com/podcast.