Del Toro Takes Manhattan

I realize I now no longer have a claim to being a blogger.  Alas cruel fate.  I lost the time, some of the interest, and I didn’t like the sense I started developing that I owed something to my blog.  Just another task to complete.  Still, I just wrote up a quick review over on Good Reads after finishing Del Toro’s new book, The Strain, so I thought I might as well add it here.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find a way to do this again.  I’ve read a bunch of Dostoevsky since my post lo these many months ago.  Some of it is actually worth writing about.

Re. Del Toro’s The Strain.  Ok, I’m a sucker for a decent vampire thriller. I forced myself through the Twilight books as an act of solidarity with my infatuated daughter, so it was good to get back to the dark side with Del Toro’s book. If anything, Del Toro’s book reads a little too much like an immediate slap in the face at the Stephanie Meyer phenomenon. While Meyer’s Vampires are the pictures of life, health, and youth, Del Toro’s vampires are literally a kind of living cancer virus, consuming and transforming the host into undead animalistic killing machines. Clearly Del Toro the filmmaker is lurching back to Nosferatu, where the vampire is more animal than human, and hardly an exemplar of sexual seductiveness. And, indeed, there’s a lot of quotations of cinema–the armies of vampires are a little bit more like the zombies of Dawn of the Dead than the isolated and brooding quasi-intellectuals that have been a dominant strain since Stoker’s original. The bizarre but effective weaponry quotes from both Van Helsing and from Men in Black. The apocalypse that threatens Manhattan quotes from I Am Legend and from…well, almost every other movie that threatens the destruction of Manhattan. Mostly I like going with this and love it though I thought the nail gun that shot silver tipped nails was a little much and the connection to the Holocaust oddly original and overreaching at the same time–the Van Helsing of this book is a holocaust survivor on a hunt for metaphorical antisemites. And I thought a Dracula in Manhattan could have been a little more original than to have a literal coffin filled with soil, but what do I know. Still, I admit it was a good break after being very serious and thoughtful and intellectual as I made my way through Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment last week. I’ll look forward to reading the next

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