A Couple of Points -- Bad Blood


Disregarding Your Health

Prefer Klaus all you want. Varney's my second favorite vampire on this show. I don't even like the premise of this plot, but I love the character they created.

Once again, the writers of "Bad Blood" chucked the literary vampire in favor of updating him. Varney the Vampyre by J.M. Rymer holds the distinction of being the first full-length vampire novel written in English. And what a length it was: over 800 pages that originally appeared in weekly installments in the 1840s. Think Dickens on acid. Apparently it put the 'dreadful' in penny dreadful.

Sir Francis Varney is the subject of one of the most convoluted story lines in all fiction. The author couldn't even decide what his name really was, and kept changing it as the story progressed. So it's no real shock that the production team decided to give a nod to one of the crew (Gabor Vadnay).

What was Varney's revenge to such shabby treatment? It took over 130 years before the author's estate would admit that he wrote the thing. That's how much it's not worth reading.

The drawing of Varney used in the book is just bizarre, even for a vampire. However, he does pass on some qualities to his literary descendent, Stoker's Dracula. He has great physical strength, can walk "about in the daylight," and only needs blood occasionally.

Both Varney and Dracula—in the books—need manicures desperately. Long, sharp fangs are also distributed. Varney also has 'bloodless' white skin that takes on a reddish hue after feeding, somewhat like Harker's noting that Dracula made himself look younger in London. If memory serves, Dracula's rejuvenation in the book isn't quite the difference that Francis Ford Coppola made it out to be.

What would surely irk Lucard to no end given a comparison of the plots? In the end of Dracula he's hunted down and skewered on a Bowie knife. By the end of Varney, that vampire's nobility and virtuous qualities have been realized. Varney is being protected by the very same people he was attacking in the beginning of the book.

It's hard to blame the effects people, and the actor, for not wanting to vamp out Varney. I don't want to see Varney with yellow eyes and pasty skin. I'm glad no one else did either.

This episode was a good chance to have a vampire who looked a little different than the standard they set. In the book, he's described as having shining, metallic eyes. That would be spiffy. It would fit the 'hypnotism' business, too. None of the women playing vampires needed contacts. Does Varney? He doesn't need to be related to Lucard. Why not allow for regional or 'family' differences?

"Dr. Gabor Varney, the renowned vampire doctor." Gustav's got some history with this vamp. There's also the scene where Varney recognizes him on sight to support the notion.

Gustav Helsing wants all vampires dead(er). Or does he? In "Damsel in Distress," for example, he 'spares' Lucard and stakes the painting. The only times he deliberately dispatches any vampire, one of the kids' lives is at stake—no pun intended.

Gabor Varney wants all vampires as alive as they can be. Or does he? Yes, more vampires mean more 'patients.' But more patients mean more opportunities for some idiot to be irrevocably sloppy and expose the lot of them. Sure Helsing has staked a few vampires. But a good hypnotherapy session would undoubtedly reveal some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at work.

"This may be our chance to pounce!" Gustav only says this in relation to realizing that Lucard could be ill. At no point does he seem to consider Varney a target.

Why was Varney in Herr Blusen's? Gustav gets his pork hocks and schnitzel from there, so it must be some variety of butcher shop. Does Varney subsist on livestock blood, a la Angel?

"My job is to save lives." Is there some terrible event in Varney's past that has led him to swear off of biting people? In "Get a Job" the three outcomes of vampire attack are death, being made a zombie or vampirism. But there are plenty of examples of characters surviving vampire attacks in folklore and books, most notably in (ahem) Varney.

Even in Dracula the Series, Anna in "Double Cross" survives Lucard's bite. He doesn't go after her again, and she doesn't suffer any side effects. The writers imply that a vampire could stop feeding at any time, but usually won't before one of those three things happen.

Dear Uncle Gustav's doing his level best to indoctrinate those children, as the list of outcomes indicates. As Sophie learns in the next episode, the people on the other side of the fence must look at it a little differently. And Miss Ringhoff survives just fine!

Does Varney lack the self-control needed to not kill people? Or does he believe that he does? If once he's inside a victim's mind, is he so repulsed by all the crap in there that he can't bring himself not to do it?

Or is the truth a little more banal than that? In The Vampire Book, my resource on Varney, J.G. Melton writes, "Varney was singularly inept at attacking people (almost always a young woman) and was continually caught by people responding to the cries of his victims." Ouch, what a tough rep to live down when dealing with people like Lucard.

Why does Varney limp? A pointy walking stick actually does make sense, if he's going into potentially dangerous situations involving other vampires. But has he sustained an injury from which he has not recovered—or cannot? Has he recently taken a cricket bat to the shin from some jealous boyfriend? Is that the real reason behind the smug looks?

The writers made up a vampire disease to advance the plot and wound up creating Dr. Varney. It leads me to conclude that this episode is more fodder for the reason why the show never caught the target audience. In this incredibly dorky fictional universe, even vampires still need doctors.


A Couple of Points / Lucard's Home Page / lpetix@dpcc.com