Book Reviews

Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies (2019) Book Review

Edited by author and screenwriter Vanessa Morgan, Strange Blood brings together a collection of  vampy-movie memoirs by eclectic horror fans and personalities. These essays range from personal stories, theme analyses and general summaries.

Most of the essays were great opportunities to learn of and learn more about those vampire flicks that somehow got away from our TV screen. I hadn’t heard of many of the films, as a lot of them discussed were from the 1970s (admittedly, not my most sought after decade for horror cinema), but it’s always exciting to discover a new genre film. Even if the description didn’t particularly interest me, the passion the authors felt for their chosen films translated well. The essays ranged from personal to theme discussions to plain play-by-play summaries of the entire film. The love letters are the ones that shined the brightest. The coming of age, Gothic teen queer confession of The Hunger made the 1983 banger even more sumptuous. Getting the scoop on the behind the scenes drama and the fancies of youth with Bordello of Blood will make you both laugh and shake your head. For me, the inclusion of the severely underrated Night Flier (RIP Miguel) made this compendium complete.

Some of the summaries were very detailed, hence containing a lot of spoilers. For those who haven’t seen these movies (and plan to), it’s a tough call to read without giving up the ghost. I also felt that some of the flicks selected were out of place, simply because they were tooooo popular. Maybe because I’m a horror fan or maybe I’m being a stickler but Fright Night and The Lost Boys are beloved picks and don’t necessarily fall under “offbeat” or “underrated.”

Presumably, you’ll be a fan of vampire movies if you pick up this collection. If that is the case, you’ll find yourself nodding along to the points being made by this grouping of fellow fans. You’ll find common ground on the elements you love and be introduced to a  different perspective. And hopefully, you’ll be swayed to dig into a fresh film.

Strange Blood is now available (4/28/19) on both Kindle and paperback.

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