Random Musings -- Children of the Night


Random Musings About Children of the Night:

In this episode, we hear for the first of many times that the action takes place in "Europe." Although the series was actually filmed in Luxembourg, it's only ever "Europe," as if no individual countries exist! Apparently wherever they're supposed to be is a region, which, like Luxembourg, has French influences as well as German. Several times, we see signs printed in French (such as milk cartons and telephone booths). Most of the cars are German, though, and characters for the most part have German-sounding names. Gustav is usually "Herr Helsing," but, then again, Lucard is "Monsieur Lucard." I found this all terribly confusing and odd when I first saw the show!

The "European"-ness of Gustav and Sophie is the most pronounced in this episode. Gustav greets the Townsends in both German and French when they arrive, and Sophie has a very "European" way about her which seems to disappear in later episodes. She seems to have an accent, at first, and a Garbo-esque tilt to her head and lowered eyelids. Sophie was always rather a mystery to me. In this episode, we see that although she's never met the boys she knows Mrs. Townsend; her first lines are, "Hello Mrs. Townsend, Uncle Gustav." She calls Gustav "Uncle" here, although, as far as we know, he is not her Uncle. We learn that she lives with him while she goes to school. But why? She also knows that Lucard is a vampire. And, we learn that she has AB- blood (at least so predicts Lucard).

Is Gustav Eileen's brother? It seems like it, but she doesn't seem very German, while he certainly does, and he is also much older than she is (perhaps that explains it). He has never met the boys before, but recognizes them from pictures. As for his history with Lucard, we learn that "It's been a running battle through the centuries, my ancestors and him," and that, "I lost track of him several years ago, before he created this latest identity" as Alexander Lucard. Lucard considers Gustav "a worthy opponent, not quite the equal of his great grandfather [Van Helsing], but definitely ahead of his grandfather and father." All were vampire hunters. I think the funniest part of this episode is Gustav's answering machine message.

Lucard, we learn owns Lucard Enterprises--banking, real estate and chemicals--and is one of the richest men in the world (but not in the top ten). Eileen works for Pennsylvania Industrial Bank. I'd like to know why Lucard has such a reflective desk surface. Isn't this rather risky? Or doesn't he even care?


Follow-up Discussion:

Dorothy N.:
Cool start, Laura... I always wondered how Gustav and Eileen were related and where exactly Sophie fit in. She can't be a blood relative, because she and Chris had that romantic thing going for a few episodes...but she has to be closely associated with the family, because Eileen was going to take her home with them after Gustav disappeared into Lucard's fireplace...

Laura:
Yes! See my follow-up in my musings about "Double Cross."

Dorothy N.:
You would think if vampire hunting ran in the family, Eileen would at least know about it...I mean, she should have at least heard family gossip as a kid or something...

Laura:
Yes, and why doesn't she know that Gustav has a son?? But I'll save that whole matter for my musings on "Black Sheep".

Dorothy N.:
Do we know how old Gustav and Eileen are...he looks quite a bit older, but we don't know, do we?

Laura:
There are some clues in "Double Cross." See my follow-up.

Dorothy N.:
Maybe people are addressed (Herr, Monsieur, etc.) based on their supposed nationality (Gustav is German, Lucard is a French name, etc.)

Laura:
Yep, that makes sense!


Comments from even more visitors (Added 4/26/96):

Kimberly B.:
Am I the only one who thinks Max is annoying as heck??!!??

Laura:
Probably not! I rather like Max, though (it's Chris whom I find annoying). And I received a comment recently from Jami R. who says, "The others are all fine and well, but Max and Lucard are what MADE the show!" ;-) Maybe I ought to have a new survey in which I ask who people think the most annoying characters are! Hmmm, actually, some wacky survey questions aren't a bad idea... Maybe I'll add that to I&O.

Kimberly B.:
And in the first show, "Children Of The Night," why is Sophie so scared of Lucard? I think it would be interesting to talk to him. He's a pretty suave dresser (I wish that would rub off on Klaus...but oh well!) and he knows his classical music. I would probably stay with him.

Laura:
Well, that's easy to say, knowing he's an imaginary character... ;-) But, really, I think the show tries to stress how evil Lucard really is, despite his attractiveness. Sarah T. commented about this a while back:

Lucard may be handsome and charming and have marvelous taste and manners--great qualities for a first date--but the show is insistent that he's truly evil and frightening. His vampire makeup is very effective in making him seem inhuman--the hands especially are a marvelous touch. How could you love a person like that? (Speaking of which, one of the admirable things about the series is the way that they intelligently invested their obviously limited effects budget. The makeup, as I've said, is great, and I do love the "swirling into moonlight" effect.)
I think Sophie's probably been warned about Lucard many times by Gustav. Also, the actress Mia Kirshner said about Lucard: "[H]e's bloodthirsty and doesn't care about anything but money and power. Even though Dracula is really a repellent character, people seem to find him very attractive," so apparently she tries to bring this out when playing Sophie and help make the character of Lucard more frightening by her reaction to him. I agree that it's easy to fall for his charms, though... especially from a distance.

Kimberly B.:
And I've noticed in a the first few shows that Sophie is always playing with her hands like a nervous gesture and makes goofy faces one in a while. I noticed a few bloopers in the first few shows where you could see Lucard's reflection on his desktop and other areas. [And about your comment that] Sophie gives that "Garbo" look on the show. I noticed that too. She sometimes looks like a deer caught in headlines or has "doe eyes".

Laura:
Yes, Sophie has some very interesting looks, especially in early episodes. I think they're trying to stress her "foreign"-ness. And, yes indeed, the "desktop reflection" error occurs maddeningly often! I don't see why Lucard has to have a shiny desk at all, if it's too difficult/expensive to edit out his reflection post-production, but, oh well. Must be those "synthetic reflective materials."


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