Everyone has a fear of one type of unnatural creature or another.
It could be mummies, a disembodied hand, zombies, werewolves and worse.
For me, it’s vampires.
It all began in the early 1970’s when I went to a vampire double feature at the movies. The first movie was THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS with Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. This parody was subtitle: “Pardon me, but your teeth are in my neck”.
The second feature was DARK SHADOWS, the movie based on the popular 1960’s television show, starring Jonathan Frid who died not too long ago in Ancaster Ontario, about thirty miles from where I live.
There was a scene when Barnabas Collins suddenly appeared behind a sheer curtain at a moonlight filled window. Only a few seconds later, he was feasting on some poor girl’s neck. For quite a while after that, I wore a scarf to bed and tried my best to sleep with one eye open.
My bedroom curtains were sheer and hid nothing.
Okay, now fast forward to 1977. It is June and I’m on my honeymoon with my new husband in Toronto at the Eaton Shopping Center. We enter a bookstore and begin looking around for nothing in particular.
We didn’t have much money and so that ruled out buying any hardcovers.
While in the paperback section, my husband reaches for a paperback, skims the back cover, and then holds it out to me.
“Here,” he says to me, “I want you to read this.”
I take it into my hands and begin to read what it’s about. I quickly learn that it’s about… guess what? Of course, it’s about vampires. Even the title SALEM’S LOT (by Stephen King) is ominous.
I remember shaking my head NO and muttering something to Frank that I didn’t like vampires. But unfortunately, he was most insistent.
“Read it,” he insisted as he continued to hold it out to me.
It had been a while since I read a book, and I had heard alot about this new author.
Besides, within a few days we I would find myself on a long voyage out east to Nova Scotia where Frank had been newly stationed. I thought the book might help break the monotony.
We bought it.
Sure enough, before I knew it, Frank and I were on our way to start a new life in a new province. The car was filled with all that we owned, clothes, music, and each other.
I think we were in the middle of Quebec when I first opened the book and began to read it. Oddly enough, when I think back, I remember reading it while listening to Art Garfunkel’s new album ANGEL CLAIRE.
As days went by, I delved further and further into the book. It became more and more bloody and increasingly difficult to bear. Every now and again, Frank would ask me how I was enjoying the book.
“It’s bloody scary.” I’d answer. He’d give me an odd look of puzzlement, which I could never really figure out.
At long last came the day when I finally, …finally finished SALEM’S LOT.
With a deep and heavy sigh, I closed the book for the last time. No doubt the visions of glowing eyes, and bloody necks would stay with me for a very long time.
I wondered to myself how long it would be before I ever read another vampire novel again. (About 20 years – INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE by Anne Rice)
To this day, whenever I hear Art Garfunkel, scenes from SALEMS’S LOT floods my senses.
And of course, came the moment when Frank ultimately asked me the question that I knew he had been dying to ask…
“How did you like the book?”
“Well,” I began, “the first few chapters weren’t that gory, but boy by the middle of the book I was completely immersed in all the gory ritualistic details that make vampires the blood soaked individuals that they are.
Again, he gave me one of those quizzical looks.
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
With that, I recounted several high points of the plot… the ones ever etched in my mind and never to forget.
“Hmmm,” he said. “Are you sure?”
I nodded yes.
He thought for a moment then said to me…
“Sorry, it must have been another book that I was thinking about.”