Monday, February 13, 2023

Vampire Movies, Reviews (Katatonia and Willy’s Wonderland) and News, and Box Offices Totals

Vampire Movies by L. Diane Wolfe

Alex asked me about vampire movies.

While none really mirror the setting of my story, I picked a couple fun vampire stories.

Fright Night

The original with Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall is so much fun. “You’re so cool, Brewster!” I fell in love with this film when I saw it in the theater in 1985 and it’s still a fun film.

Hotel Transylvania
There are now four movies and they are so much fun. Sadly, we watched the first one when our cat Spunky had just gone through his cancer surgery. It was snowy that day and with poor Spunky on my husband’s lap, we watched the first movie. It’s not the greatest in the world, but I just love it.

Let the Right One In
The foreign version of this is SO much better than the American version. It hit the right notes and was creepy, moving, and sad.

Dracula (1979)

I’d seen other Dracula films, but this one with Frank Langella really stuck with me. It’s scary and sexy and so atmospheric. It’s a slow and steady pace but such a great film.

The Lost Boys
Cheesy, commercial, and yet it works. The soundtrack is super. I might even enjoy it more than the movie. Some great stars: Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Dianne Wiest, Alex Winter, and Jamison Newlander.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Gary Oldman really took on the role. He was sexy and the story was so consuming. I remember a woman coming into the place I worked and seeing my Dracula t-shirt – she said it was so disturbing. I told her that it was a beautiful love story.

Shadow of the Vampire

This is a fictionalized account of what happened during the filming of Nosferatu. Willem Dafoe is Nosferatu and he is spot on! It’s just an odd, quirky film but so fascinating.

The first and unauthorized version of Dracula and the vampire legend. The vampire is renamed Count Orlok and he is incredibly creepy. This is a must-see for every vampire fan.

Again, none resemble my story at all. Think more of a medieval fantasy quest that just happens to feature vampires. And a bit of a love story!

A professional speaker and author, L. Diane Wolfe conducts seminars, offers book formatting, and author consultation. She’s the senior editor at Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. and contributes to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Find Diane at website, blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads

In Darkness: The Vampire

By L. Diane Wolfe
Romance/Paranormal/Vampires - Fantasy/Paranormal - Fantasy/Romance
eBook ISBN 9781939844903 $3.99

Souls shrouded in darkness…
Stuck working as a barmaid for her demanding father, Anna dreams of adventure. When mysterious strangers enter the bar, she overhears they seek Zancrela, an ancient fortress filled with treasure and a magical library. Taking her chance, she offers to guide them. The conditions: deliver Zancrela or die.
As they journey through the wilderness, she discovers their secret: they are vampires. And most view her as food. One takes interest in her and her heart dares to hope, but it might not be enough to change her fate. Will Anna find Zancrela or become a vampire morsel?

Links: Amazon / iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Scribed / Goodreads

News and Reviews

Katatonia - Sky Void of Stars

Katatonia is one of those rare bands that have endured, and they are celebrating thirty-plus years of awesomeness with what is (for me) their best album. Their roots may be doom/gothic metal, but this album is progressive and full of energy. Every song is on point with great hooks, catchy choruses, and intense grooves. It clocks in at 51 minutes and it’s all meat, no filler. There are eleven tracks and if you ask me to list some favorites, I would say song one through eleven. They’re all great! It’s February and I already have a contender for album of the year. If you like your Scandinavian metal with clean vocals and a singularly unique sound, you must check out this album.
Highly recommended!

Willy’s Wonderland

From the IMDB: A quiet drifter is tricked into a janitorial job at the now condemned Willy's Wonderland. The mundane tasks suddenly become an all-out fight for survival against wave after wave of demonic animatronics.
Yes, you read that right – the animatronics come alive and kill!
This is another case of Cage playing a bat-crap crazy person. (He doesn’t say one word during the entire film.) It’s watchable though and funny in some places.
You’ll think twice about going into a Showbiz Pizza or Chuck E. Cheese’s after this film!
If you are looking for something really unique, give it a try.

Available February 14:

Balance of Love: A Sweet Fantasy Romance (Influenced Book 2) by Patricia Josephine Lynne
Enemies to lovers sweet romance fantasy
Order from all retailers HERE

Box Office

It’s been a while since I did a recap of the current worldwide box office.

Here are the top movies from 2022:

Avatar: The Way of Water - $2,213,093,090
Top Gun: Maverick - $1,488,732,821
Jurassic World: Dominion - $1,001,978,080
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness - $955,775,804
Minions: The Rise of Gru - $939,628,210
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - $842,121,221
The Batman - $770,945,583
Thor: Love and Thunder - $760,928,081

And here are the top grossing films of all time:

1 Avatar - $2,923,706,026,  2009
2 Avengers: Endgame - $2,799,439,100,  2019
3 Titanic - $2,216,990,964,  1997
4 Avatar: The Way of Water - $2,213,093,090,  2022
5 Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - $2,071,310,218,  2015

There are now fifty-one movies that have made over a billion dollars! The oldest one in the bunch is Jurassic Park, 1993. Next oldest is Titanic, 1997. Both of their totals are impressive.

Three of the top five are from James Cameron for a take of over seven billion dollars. He’s not hurting!

What vampire films do you like? Picking up Diane’s book? Heard Katatonia or seen Willy’s Wonderland? Seen all of the big box office winners last year or all time?
Enjoy your February and I’ll see you March 1 for the next Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.


Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I appreciate Diane's reviews of vampire films and have seen Fight Night several times, along with Hotel Transylvania, Lost Boys, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Nosferatu. Standouts for me are Roddy in Fright Night, Winona in B.S.'s Dracula and Kiefer in Lost Boys. With an abundance of vampire lore to draw upon, Diane surely produced an exciting tale in her book In Darkness The Vampire.

Katatonia sounds like my kind of thing and is worth investigating.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've watched Bram Stoker's Dracula a number of times. My husband really like it. Congrats to Diane on her new book.

Thanks for reminding me that I want to see the new Avatar movie, Alex.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I watched "Lost Boys" in the theater back in the day! You've got great background for the genre and I know your book will do great, Diane! Congratulations.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - here's another great supporter of the blogosphere (us) - Diane has excellent credentials for both writing, publishing and helping authors through the road to publication. I don't like 'fright movies' - but now understand Dracula's pull as a story. Congratulations Diane and all the best with the new publication ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you for hosting me and my new book today, Alex.

PT Dilloway said...

I'm not really a big fan of vampire movies. They've just never interested me. I liked Willy's Wonderland even if it was pretty silly. I'm not sure why Cage's character never spoke; maybe they weren't paying him enough money.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shady, that album just might be the best of the year, it's that good.

PT - didn't pay him enough. Now that's funny.

Computer Tutor said...

When I think of vampires, I think of violence. Are there any cozy vampire books? Or is that an oxymoron?

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Of the ones on the list, my favourite is Lost Boys. I actually never saw it being that commercial compared to many other movies of it's time, and I think it's one of the reasons I liked it so much. There were a lot of pop cultural references of both past and present, though, which I thought worked.

I finally saw Nosferatu for the first time around last Halloween and really liked it. In my opinion it's a classic right up there with the original silent Phantom of the Opera.

Your book sounds like it has a good ironic plot to it, Diane: A woman goes on a quest with a team only to find out they're vampires ready to drink her blood! Neat twist! said...

Congratulations to Diane on what looks to be a creepily awesome book. How does she find the time - running a pub business and all? That lady's a dynamo!

I can't fathom those amounts of dollars spent in Hollywood, Alex. Once we get past $1,000 my brain goes blank. I loved Titanic, but I was really put-off by DiCaprio's performance in it. I think he should stick with anything but love stories.

Have a great week, my friend.

Patricia JL said...

If I remember right, Nosferatu was on Netflix at one point so I got to watch it. I honestly loved it. It was so cool seeing it, like looking into the past.
Congrats on your book, L. Diane.

Thanks for the shoutout to my little book, too, Alex.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I've seen the top 3 and last one of 2022's top flicks and ALL of the all time flicks. Actually saw the newest Avatar on the cruise in the IMAX theater (yep, one of those was on board). Unfortunately, they only had the 3D version, and it gave me motion sickness. I was afraid that would happen (I have trouble with most 3D), but add in the movement of the ship, and a 3+ hour movie, and I was a goner. Won't make that mistake again.

My favorite vampire movies are the comedic ones: Love at First Bite and the one with Leslie Nielsen (can't recall the name of that one). Of course, I'm also a huge fan of the Twilight series. I did like Let the Right One In (I have the foreign version on DVD), but not The Lost Boys. And I think I saw the Dracula movie with Bela Lagosi. Might have to check out Fright Night, though. I love Roddy McDowell! said...

I loved Lost Boys when I was a teenager.

Liz A. said...

So many vampire movies. I think I've seen about half of those.

Birgit said...

If one converts money into today’s dollars, Gone With The Wind made 3.44 billion which makes it still the biggest box office hit ever. Star Wars, from 1977, is 2nd or 3rd. I can’t stand James Cameron…his head would not be able to get through a department store entrance….he needs a slap. Hmmm, that sounds a bit rude of me…oh well:)).
Love these Vampire movies! Shadow of the Vampire is excellent and Willem Dafoe deserved an Oscar! So did Gary Oldman for his portrayal of the doomed vampire. I love Roddy McDowall in Fright Night which has some great special effects. Nosferatu, from 1922, is downright freaky with Max Schrek(meaning Terror in German). I also like the remake from the 1970s with Klaus Kinski in the title role. I will go with Leslie Nielsen in Dracula, Dead and Loving It and George Hamilton in Love at First Bite. I love the Bela Lugosi Dracula, an early sound film with great German Expressionist sets and lighting. Vampyr, a great Danish film, from 1930. Please, let’s not forget Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the vampire Hammer films and, one of my all time favourites, Blacula.

Kyra Lennon said...

Bram Stoker's Dracula is amazing, and I am a huge Gary Oldman fan!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Congrats, Diane - Bram Stoker's Dracula is my favourite on your list. A fantastic version.

And wow, James Cameron certainly knows how to make a winner!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jacqui, mine isn't cozy, but The Werewolf one will be.

Thank you, Steven.

Truedessa said...

Congratulations Diane!

Speaking of movies now the theaters want to base ticket prices on seat selection. So, basically people who can afford premium seating will pay and others will get less desirable seating. This doesn’t set well with me. Theaters should be ashamed of this practice. It is always about money. Lets squeeze everyone’s wallet a little bit more.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Haven't seen Way of Water yet, but we did watch Wakanda Forever. It felt like only half a story.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Fright Night and Lost Boys are two of my favorite vampire movies.

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats, Di.
Happy Valentine's Day, Alex and Di. AND commenters:)

G. B. Miller said...

I actually saw the American version of "Let The Right One In", which I thought was good, but after doing a bit of online research, it led me back to the original version, which was very good, although a bit choppy. But the choppiness made more sense once I read the book and more importantly, some of the background material for how the movie was created.

I also thought the vampire movie "Lovers Left Alive" was a very good twist on the vampire movie formula.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, it is a scary amount of money.

Patricia, you're welcome!

Stacy, sorry the 3D made you sick.

Birgit, you know your vampire films.

Truedessa, I hadn't heard that. How on earth would seating be enforced?

Donna, I was a bit disappointed with that one.

GB, seen both but not read the book.

Rhonda Albom said...

This post really makes me feel like I live in a bubble and am missing out on the big screen. I haven't seen any of the movies on the post, although I have read a few vampire books.

Mary Kirkland said...

I love a good vampire movie. I've seen all of those that you listed. The 80's had some of the best horror movies in my opinion. Fright Night is still one of my favorites.

dolorah said...

Thanks Alex for visiting my blog post today.

I love me some vampires! On your list, I've seen Fright Night (loved it as a teen), saw both Dracula's but was less impressed by Bram Stokers thought Gary Oldman was awesome; Lost Boys was the absolute BOMB. And nothing really compares to Nos4a2. I might like L Diane's The Vampire, but I'm worried her label is a bit tame for my morbid tastes. I like Diane, so if it comes in an audio book I'll definetely buy it. (Glaucoma is setting in and I can't read much anymore.)

As for Katatonia, I've gotten a lot of music downloads from your posts, so I'll likely get this one too. I'm too busy to go out to movies, but I binge series in many venues. I might see Wonderland, but looks way to comedic for me.

Have a great month Alex. Thanks for stopping by.

Fundy Blue said...

I find vampire movies scary, Alex. I'm looking forward to reading Diane's book. I don't think I've heard of Katatonia before. I'll have to listen to them on YouTube.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I'm more into horror stories than films, but that's mostly because I'm more a book person than a film one.

I've watched both Avatars and Titanic though.

All the very best to Diane.

Tara Tyler said...

i really enjoyed reading through your fun and info filled posts!
yay for Diane and love the vampire throwbacks — i just finished watching True Blood, what a “can’t look away” ride that was!
i need to make more time for blogging around, i feel like i’m missing so much...
i can always count on Alex to catch me up!

Tara Tyler Talks

mail4rosey said...

Wow, all of the top movies are not new introductions to the world of cinema. How 'bout that... I enjoyed some of those movies on the list. :)

H. R. Sinclair said...

Congrats Diane! One of my favorites is Let the Right One In -- I didn't know they made an American version. I wish you much success!

Sandra Cox said...

The only top 2022 movie I saw was Avatar.
We did go see A Man Called Otto. I love Tom Hanks but the movie was a disappointment.
YOU have a great one.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Diane and Patricia! I love all those vampire movies there. I watched Willy's Wonderland last year and it was hilarious. It was great casting to have Cage silent through the whole thing! I would like to see Rifftrax take on that film. Hehehe. Have a great week, Alex!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

"You have to have FAITH for that the work, Mister Vincent!" Love Fright Night. Roddys best role ever and that is a high bar to climb over.

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, I had no idea the second Avatar did so well. A couple of people I know didn't like it.

Sandra Cox said...

That is a lot of dollars on the top grossing films.....
YOU take special care.