Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

Dark Bites Datebook~October 20~Bela Lugosi

Bite Me
Celebrating the 129th birthday of "Dracula, himself" Bela Lugosi!

Lugosi was born Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó in Lugos, Austria-Hungary, ironically, not far from the western border of Transylvania. At the age of 12 he left home to pursue an acting career and by the time he was in his 20's he had become the number 1 ranked actor in Hungarian theater, touring with the National Theater of Budapest.

Forced to flee Hungary after the 1919 Revolution, he immigrated to the United States in December 1920, landing in New Orleans but eventually making his way to Ellis Island in March 1921. He became a naturalized citizen in 1931.

Over the course of his acting career, Lugosi made 100+ films from 1917-1959 and appeared in 180+ stage productions from 1902-1956. His best known role, was of course, Count Dracula, which he was first approachd to play on Broadway in 1927. The production was hugely successful, running for 500 performances before going on the road for two years as a touring show. In 1931, due to the unexpected death of Lon Chaney, Lugosi put his cape back on and stepped into the lead role for Universal Studios in their movie release of Dracula. 

As Lugosi himself once put it, playing Dracula was "a living, but also a Lugosi
curse" and he never did shake the typecasting that came with the role. He passed away in 1956 at the age of 73 and was buried in his cape.

A partial list of Lugosi movies include such horror classics as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, Son of Frankenstein, The White Zombie, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, The Body Snatcher, Zombies on Broadway and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. 

Lugosi Links:

The Official Bela Lugosi Website

Lugosi Biography Written by Son, Bela Lugosi, Jr.

Bela Lugosi at Turner Classic Movies

Bela Lugosi Jr. Talks About His Father

Dark Bites Datebook~October 19~Andrew Vachss

Bite Me
Wishing a very happy 69th birthday to one of my personal heroes, author, lawyer, child and animal protection advocate, Andrew Vachss. 

Thank you Mr. Vachss for your Burke novels, for your role in creating the PROTECT organization and for being a warrior for the innocent. 

Vachss Links:

The Zero-Andrew Vachss' Official Website Vachss

A Conversation with Andrew Vachss at Chuck Palahniuk's The Cult

Parade Magazine Articles Written by Vachss

Dogs of the Zero

Dark Bites Datebook~October 11~Elmore Leonard

Bite Me
Wishing a very happy 86th birthday to the man Stephen King called "the great American writer", Elmore Leonard!

The author of more than 40 novels, Leonard started his career writing advertising copy before he had even graduated from the University of Detroit. He sold his first short story, a western called Trail of the Apaches to Argosy magazine in 1951. His first novel, The Bounty Hunters, was published in 1953. Leonard's first foray into crime novels came in 1969 with his now classic story of thief, Jack Ryan in The Big Bounce. 

Leonard's cool and gritty writing style has often been translated to the screen, sometimes by Leonard himself, with varying degrees of success. Some of Leonard's most popular and successful works include:

3:10 to Yuma


The Moonshine War

52 Pick Up


Freaky Deaky

Get Shorty

Maximum Bob

Rum Punch

Out of Sight

Be Cool

As much as I enjoy Leonard's fiction, my absolute favorite piece of Leonard
Leonard's writing is his 2001 NY Times essay called: Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle which has spawned his 2007 book Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. Brilliant and a must read for anyone who's serious about writing fiction.

Elmore Leonard links:


Elmore Leonard at Random House

NY Times Article 3:10 to Yuma

Daddy Cool-Times Magazine

Dark Bites Datebook~October 8~R.L. Stine

Bite MeWishing a very happy 68th birthday to the King of Kiddie horror, R.L. Stine!

Honored by The Guinness World Records people in May 2011 as The Most Prolific Author of Children's Horror Fiction Novels, Stine has published more than 300 novels and sold over 350 million books and counting. 

Stine, who looks more like an accountant than someone who has given generations of kids' nightmares, started writing at the age of 9 when he found a typewriter in his family's attic and began writing stories and joke books. 

In 1965 after graduating from Ohio State University, Stine moved to New York City to become a writer. Under the name Jovial Bob Stine he wrote dozens of joke books and created a humor magazine called Bananas.

In 1986, Stine wrote his first YA (Young Adult) horror novel Blind Date which became a runaway best seller. The Fear Street series debuted in 1989 and The Goosebumps series in 1992.

Other novels and series include:

Space Cadets Rlstine

Ghosts of Fear Street

Goosebumps 2000

Give Yourself Goosebumps

The Nightmare Room

Mostly Ghostly


Rotten School

The Nightmare Hour

The Haunting Hour

Dangerous Girls I & II

Goosebumps HorrorLand

And, for everyone who says there's no money in children's 1997, Stine made the Forbes list of 40 Best Paid Entertainers, coming in at #36 with an income of $41million for the 1996-97 fiscal year. 

R.L. Stine Links: (yes the music can be turned off-top of the page to the right of marquee, hit the pause button, but you'll have to do that on every page)

HorrorScope Interview

Pittsburgh Post Gazette HorrorLand Interview

2003 NY Times Interview Hoping to Scare Grownups Too

BNStudios Meet the Writers YouTube Interview

Dark Bites Datebook~October 5~Clive Barker

Bite Me
Wishing a very happy 59th birthday to director, artist, screenwriter, author and imaginer, Clive Barker!

If you know horror, you know Clive Barker, it's as simple as that. Love or hate his work, his impact on generations of readers, writers and movie goers can't be denied. Personally, reading his Books of Blood series in the 80's felt like a bomb going off inside my brain, blowing out the boundaries of what I thought my writing and the horror genre were about. 

Thank you, Mr. Barker, and I hope you have a Fantastique Birthday!

To learn more about Clive Barker, the best resource on the Internet, Clivebarker
bar none, is Barker's own site The landing page gives you the choice of either clicking into his all ages Beautiful Moment pages or his adult site, Revelations. Beautiful Moment will give you access to Barker's YA work, including his Abarat series while Revelations includes interviews, information on his film, television, book, art, games and theater projects. 

Dark Bites Datebook~October 4~Anne Rice

Bite Me
Wishing a very happy 70th birthday to the Queen of the Damned Vampires, Anne Rice!

I'm going to say this upfront...I'm not a fan of coiffed and cultured vampires. In fact, I'm really not crazy about the bloodsuckers in general unless they're true badasses. I enjoyed Stephen King's take on them in 'Salem's Lot and Jonathan Maberry's Ruger & clan in his Pine Deep Trilogy. But the moment you start romanticizing them, or heaven forbid, dousing them in glitter, then I'm beating it back to Vlad the Impaler's forest of human shish kabobs and not coming out until all the vampire-lites have packed up their pixie dust and blown away. 

But that's just me...No offense to Ms. Rice and her fans. She's a fine writer and I've enjoyed many of her other works including Exit to Eden and her Anne Rice
erotic take on Sleeping Beauty written under the nom of A.N. Roquelaure (Anne under a cloak). I also have a lot of respect for her for publicly airing her moral problems with organized religion

Anne Rice Links


Stan & poetry by Anne's late husband

Christopher's son, NYT Best Selling Novelist

1988 People Magazine Interview

WSJ How to Write A Great Novel article