Friday, December 15, 2006

The Horror! Oh The Horror!

Since the ghost of the Seventies was raised in yesterday's post, and invoked again today by rpc, I feel the only way to banish it is to wallow. Besides, that means I have a theme again. Ta-da.

Last weekend, I picked up for the princely sum of 70 KC (about £1.75/$3.50 US - yes, English language books are vvvv expensive here) a second-hand copy of a book published in 1971, and based on a TV show of that era, called "Dark Shadows." After all, how could I possibly turn down the chance to own "A Paperback Library Gothic - #28 in a series?" Especially as it rejoiced in the deliciously gloomy title, Barnabas, Quentin and the Grave Robbers, and the tag line, "Was there no escape from the evil Dr. Bentley - even from the land of the living dead?"

And I have to say that so far it is a Hammer-tastic overly melodramatic late Regency pastiched delight. (I can only really read one chapter at a time, because I slightly lose it after about 3 pages of this sort of thing.) The heroine is the most unbelievably stupid brunette to ever get locked up in a coffin by fiendish cock-er-ney 'enchmen. The hero does absolutely nothing apart from turn up at the last possible moment to rescue the dimwitted heroine. The villain revels in his unspeakable vileness and delivers lines like, "If you prefer not to be my wife then I shall have Hoskins prepare you as a cadaver for dissection at the Winslow Hospital Medical School." Why add tags to denote maniacal laughter when his dialogue fairly shouts it?

This is the extract blurbed on the back cover. I haven't yet reached this point in the book, but so far it does what it says on the tin. Best read aloud in the finest imitation of a TV announcer of Dooooommmwhaahahahahaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

"You see, Paula, how well it will work out. Lily will drink the blood of the village maidens - and Barnabas will be blamed." [Insert evil laughter here. Think: Barnabas? Barney? The dino- No, wait. Don't think. Just read.]

Paula stared at the evil doctor in horror. [I think horror means goggle-eyed. To make sure this is clear to passing migrating wildebeest, shriek breathily, as if you've just trodden on a slug after inhaling a balloon-full of helium.] "Whatever happens to Barnabas, you'll still have Quentin to reckon with!" [Stretch out arm, then retract abruptly to forehead as if it were a highly desirable wet fish. Try not to concuss yourself with enthusiasm.]

Dr. Bentley sneered. [Flared nostrils work well here. With practice, you can probably do one at a time and waggle your eyebrows simultaneously. This is the epitome of evil if you don't actually own a pair of retractable horns.] "The werewolf? If Quentin tries to interfere with me," [rude gesture optional] "I'll find a way to deal with him." [More evil laughter, and rub hands gleefully. It's exhausting, this level of evil-tude. If you laugh evilly for 3 minutes, you burn off enough calories for 2 and a quarter chocolate digestives. But you gotta go with gusto.]

Lily added [Who's Lily? Oh yes, she of the drinking of the blood of the village maidens. Eeyuch.], "Better come over to our side, luv." [Ah... a cock-er-ney 'enchwoman. Flounce like you've never flounced before, me ducks.]

"I'd rather die," Paula said firmly, [yet gently]

"An interesting suggestion," Bentley remarked pleasantly. [I'm pretty sure "interesting" should be pronounced "eeeeenteresting". In fact, you could try doing all of Dr.B's dialogue with a really bad fake German accent.] "Dying could be your first step in joining my company of friends - zombies, if you will." [You see? Not "will", "vill". It makes people think eee-villl. How much more sinister could things get?] "Then you could be truly useful to me." [Oh look. Foreboding. Even more sinister. Get your bodes to the fore and dare I say laugh maniacally? Or even go for bust and try megalomaniacally. For variety, Paula could probably shriek a bit. Laugh! Shriek! Laugh! Shriek! Laugh! Shriek!]

Are the village maidens like the Village People? Where is the land of the living dead? Will Dr. Bentley get in touch with his inner zombie? How will Quentin interfere with Dr. Bentley? Why do all old second-hand books smell funny and have mysterious shopping lists scribbled in the front page? Can I have my biscuits now?

(all extracts quoted under fair use, she says, covering her arse, as she's been shooting off her mouth about plagiarism elsewhere)

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