That Time I Talked About Vampires on the Radio

On October 30th I got to sub for Keven Cohoen on the Morning Drive show on 100.7 The Point, local Columbia, S.C. radio. I have two other shows on this station, Start Something, Columbia! and Write On, SC. Since today’s bit didn’t really fit either of those audiences, I decided to put the show notes here. Enjoy!

So Bohemian Rhapsody opens this week, it’s a film about the band Queen. Rami Malek is playing Freddie Mercury; he was on 24 the TV show and in Night at the Museum, but I know him from Twilight. Which got me thinking about vampire movies. It doesn’t take much for me to walk that path, you know, to teen movies and specifically vampires. And since tomorrow’s Halloween I have every right to just talk vampires today, right? So that’s what we’re going to do. List and rank and discuss vampire movies. Cool? Best done at 7 a.m.

So let’s start with kids’ movies: Hotel Transylvania 1, 2, and 3 Adam Sandler voices Drac, meant to be Dracula, right? Who runs a hidden resort where monsters vacation. Monsters are hidden from the human world – humans are the enemy, right? Drac’s daughter, Mavis, it’s her birthday so the Hotel is full for her party, and a human stumbles in, and of course she’s fascinated by him. The second one is a continuation of this mixed family human-and-monsters and the third is a Summer Vacation story where hijinks occur over travel.

sound speaker radio microphone
Photo by Gratisography on

Okay, then teen movies: of course the Twilight series in which Bella falls for Edward and then he’s all tortured and weepy and leaves her and then she starts up with a wolf and Edward returns and there’s the teen love triangle and the How-does-a-human-exist-alongside-supernatural beings thing. Mixed in with some angsty teen love stuff which is great. Thinking, too, that for 109 years old, Edward is pretty immature.

Takes on the original vampire, Dracula and what, in scholarship might be called “seminal” work: Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Keanu Reeves which stands out because 1) it’s directed by Francis Ford Coppola who did the Godfather movies, 2) it starred Winona Ryder when she was at her peak of teen-stardom, right after Heathers and Edward Scissorhands, right? She was white hot and a box office draw; and 3) it’s ever so satisfying when Reeves as Jonathan Harker, the misguided attorney is toyed with by Gary Oldman’s Dracula.

Then there’s Tom Cruise being the vampire Lestat in Interview With a Vampire which may be the only time in history we’ll like him better than Brad Pitt. Pitt’s this weepy, whiney self-loathing victim and Cruise is a great vampire villain. But Kirsten Dunst, at 12 years old steals the film as a child vampire who while her mind ages, her body remains forever a pre-teen.

Finally, The Lost Boys which is a classic 80s film with both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman uncovering and then trying to slay a coven of vampires led by Kiefer Sutherland. This is from 1987 when Kiefer Sutherland had just done Stand By Me and was about to do Young Guns, so it’s before he’s Jack Bauer and these roles are really why we think he can be Jack Bauer, ya know? He’s gonna do Flatliners and A Few Good Men and The Three Musketeers but it’s really The Lost Boys that taught us how uber cool he was. So, Jack Bauer, who is the guy from 24 and 24 was where Rami Malek got his start, right? And he’s in Bohemian Rhapsody which opens this week. See how we brought that back?

So that’s it, a short but happy tour of some vampire movies you can check out to get ready for Halloween. The only day of the year it’s actually acceptable to wear those fangs you purchased.

Next segment, movies about rock bands that made us love or hate the band. We’ll be right back.

Segment 2

We started the show talking about Bohemian Rhapsody which opens this week. So let’s get into that. Movies about bands.

What’s your favorite movie about a band?

So has a list. Let’s count them down.

#10 Walk the Line– about Johnny Cash, Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix, 2005

#9 The Commitments– 1991 film about working-class musicians in Dublin who form a soul music band

#8 Ray– 2004, Jamie Fox, Oscar winner

#7 That Thing You Do!– 1996, Tom Hanks, about the one-hit-wonder trend during the 60s, has Liv Tyler right after she’d done Empire Records, another great music-movie; then she does Inventing the Abbots and Armageddon, she was really having a Winona Ryder period, right? In everything for a while there

#6 School of Rock– 2006, Jack Black and Sarah Silverman

#5 The Doors– 1991, Val Kilmer plays Jim Morrison, Meg Ryan right after When Harry Met Sally and Top Gun had been just a few years before; this should have been a climbing role, but it wasn’t very well received and he’d have to wait for Tombstone a couple of years later to really match that Top Gun success

#4 A Hard Day’s Night– the Beatles, of course, 1964 kind of silliness but fun and full of good music

#3 The Blues Brothers– 1980, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd take their Saturday Night Live characters to the big screen; lots of great lines from that film and chock full of stars like James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles

#2  This is Spinal Tap– 1984, great Rob Reiner film that mocks the music documentary genre beautifully, features Billy Crystal and some classic gags like the drummer always dying, the amps being turned up to 11, just a good enduring music film

#1 Almost Famous– 2000, Cameron Crowe film about a rock band on the cusp of super stardom and the fans that surround them; Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, but the star, really, is the soundtrack. Crowe was a music journalist and the film might be a little autobiographical, regardless, the connection to the music is just fantastic.

So, vampire movies, movies about musicians, now we can probably move on to something else, right? We get it, Kasie, Bohemian Rhapsody is coming out this week.

Next segment: The Nutcracker and the Four wants us to be ready for Christmas. Too soon?

Segment 3

Also releasing this week, The Nutcracker and the Four a Disney take on the classic Tchaikovsky theatrical – ballet – production. Keira Knightly, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren. Probably going to be amazing, right?

So The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. It premiered in 1892 and was pretty much hated by theatre and ballet critics. Tchaikovsky himself didn’t have high hopes for it. This great articletalks about all the bad things said about it. Here are a few:

  • It’s for children. It features children. Boo on both counts.
  • It has no artistic merit. It’s not even really ballet.
  • It has no story. It tries to hide its lack of story with diversions and the diversions aren’t that good.
  • It will be the ruin of ballet. It’s beneath Tchaikovsky’s musical talent.

Interesting how something so maligned can endure, huh? And how it can become part of a holiday tradition.

What are some holiday traditions you keep?

  • We try to go see Dracula: Ballet with a Bite every year
  • We watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year.
  • We have Thanksgiving brunch for our neighbors and friends.

Got me thinking about the timing of the holidays and how quickly they come up and race by.

Segment 4

I was at a writer’s conference this past weekend, there’s another one coming up this weekend in Beaufort and two weeks ago, I was in Beaufort at the Pat Conroy Literary Center for their Book Club Convention, so I’ve got books on the brain.

This weekend I met Therese Anne Fowler who wrote Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and she’s promoting her newest book A Well Behaved Woman.

In Beaufort I met Natasha Boyd, author of The Indigo Girl

So I thought I’d bring a few titles that are releasing this week and share those with our listeners. You know we have Write On SC on Saturdays which is a show for writers about writing and this weekend we’re talking about First Person Point of View and Unreliable Narrators which should be fun.

But also, there’s an all-day event here in Columbia called the Writing Workshop of South Carolina, it’s at the Marriot and it’s featuring agents and publishers and the topic is how to get published. So if you’re interested in that, visit https://carolinawritingworkshops.comand get registered. You can pitch an agent, learn about self-publishing, just basically get the lay of the land in that world.

Anyway, here are some notable books coming out this week (and a link to the liston Publishers Weekly):

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinmeier Hansson – this by the guy who wrote Rework, which is a great entrepreneur start-up founder book I recommend all the time.

Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking — Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media, where the most important battles are now only a click away.

Best of Enemies: The Last Great Spy Story of the Cold War by Gus Russo and Eric Dezenhall – if you watched The Americans and were fascinated by the friendship between Stan and Philip this book is for you.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle – fans of Monty Python, Life of Brian, right? The Holy Grail? Will enjoy this Sortabiography

The Best American Short Stories 2018 by Roxanne Gay, guest editor; Heidi Pitlor, series editor – if you want to see how the top of their craft authors are getting it done in short format, this is the book to get.

Gone So Long: A Novel by Andre Dubus III – he wrote House of Sand and Fog, so if you liked that book, this is his latest.

4 Novels by Women Novelists:

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher – one of those untold stories of a historical woman books

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

The Little Shop of Found Things: A Novel by Paula Brackston

Segment 5

Last Night’s Game is a newsletter that helps you keep up with the relevant sports stories you need to know to not sound like a moron about sports. It included highlights like Florida State setting a record this weekend for its worst home loss ever. And the link to that viral picture of the bare-chested fan reading the Gillian Flynn book in the upper deck.

Made me wonder what other short cut newsletters were out there that you could subscribe to.

The Skimm —

Tips like: Things to do before November 6th…

Learn about your candidates? Check.

Read up on the issues? Check.

Know the key races? Check.

Get some gear to bring to polls? Check.

Midterms are a week away. Make sure you’re ready. No Excuses.

The Nerve– by the SC Policy Council, working hard to ruin every Saturday with their stories of corruption in SC government.

Thanks to Kev for trusting me with your listeners and your show. This was a ton of fun!

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