Saturday, June 8, 2019

Dracula Never Dies ... a sample of Christopher R. Gauthier's signature work

Readers of our blog are familiar with narrative writer and poet Christopher R. Gauthier, who started the popular Facebook page A Celebration of the Life and Art of Bela Lugosi (here). We interviewed Chris nearly two years ago in which he talked about his admiration and love for Lugosi and we also shared some of his poetry. And, about 20 months ago, Chris joined a few other reviewers in a Lugosi post, reviewing Bride of the Monster for our readers (here).

Chris' signature work, still in progress, is an extensive novel titled "Dracula Never Dies: The Revenge of Bela Vorlock." I have read early draft versions and it's an impressive accomplishment. He has already recited excerpts of the work on radio shows, and an excerpt is published and for sale from Vampire Hunters Incorporated. (The publication's most recent quarterly journal, which includes Chris' work, can be purchased here.)

Also, an excerpt of "Dracula Never Dies ..." distinct from the Vampire Hunters Incorporated piece will be published next year, included in an anthology, by Midnight Marquee Press (website here). Below is an excerpt from the MMP contribution. It captures Chris' unique style that blends passion, emotion, pride and enduring love of a horror icon:

Bela Vorlock obtained his flask of Hungarian plum brandy that rested alongside his sterling silver cigarette case and short sketch of written lines he had been told to review for this evening's theatrical performance, in the defunct slum encrusted theatre. It soothed his tingling throat as it swam down his parched canal, bringing him back to the almost vanished ray of peace the deception of solitude had given him, and what the vivid recollection of his reality had nearly taken away from his jagged nerves of fragile glass. Peace. The lone one true thing of human emotion that was both a need of starve and greed for his soul of crumbled blemished torment- the vacant dream of some kind of havened internal amity was all that Bela Vorlock had only longed for to finally grasp in the cores of his mangled and tortured soul- A permanent slice of peace, which was a diminishing primeval haze of a subservient memory so utterly vague and almost forgotten to him in the final mournful days of his life.  ...

As a fellow Lugosi fan, and frankly fan is too small a term; I adore the iconic actor, "Dracula Never Dies ..." hits me with emotion. It places me in a location and time I have never been. Early 1951, in a shabby theater on the east coast for a midnight spook show, with Lugosi adding dignity to a tacky program, with a bad film, and poor accompanying actors, populated by unappreciative teenage fans more liable to laugh than applaud. That really happened to Lugosi, who was struggling to support a career and family. He never gave less than 100 percent. I can't locate this reference, I apologize, but I once read of Lugosi, while doing one of the above-mentioned spook shows, finally having enough of the catcalls and hooting. As I recall reading, he stopped, became silent, and coldly stared down the audience. What magnificence by a great thespian. What an appropriate rebuke to a boorish audience.

In "Dracula Never Dies ...," Chris captures the enduring dignity of a great actor. The prose speaks of a distinguished, iconic artist refusing to compromise his dignity and talent, no matter what the circumstances. There's deep passion to the prose. I suspect the author shares some of the challenges "Bela Vorlock" faces. His prose is perhaps also his response to the world he lives in, and underscores his continued devotion to a man, Bela Lugosi, that he emulates to the best of his ability. 

One more note: "Dracula Never Dies: The Revenge of Bela Vorlock," will be published as four separate, roughly 100,000-word novels, with Part 1 slated to be published by Arcane Shadows Press (Facebook page here) in October. Thanks Chris, for allowing us to share an excerpt of your work in this post.

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