As long as anyone can remember, the coming of The Undertaker has meant the coming of death. Until one day the grim promise fails and tension builds as the God fearing townsfolk of Backwater wait for someone to die.
Check out The Backwater Gospel (2011), an animated – Horror/Thriller, Produced at The Animation Workshop. Check out their website HERE
Originally called the Villa Belle Rive, Byron named it the Villa Diodati after the family that owned it. The family was distantly related to Italian translator Giovanni Diodati, uncle of Charles Diodati, the close friend of poet John Milton. Despite the presence of a plaque at the Villa heralding a supposed visit of Milton in 1638, in fact the villa was not built until 1710, long after Milton’s death.
In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron settled at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva, Switzerland, with his personal physician, John William Polidori. There Byron befriended the poet Percy Blysshe Shelley, and Shelley’s future wife Mary Godwin. He was also joined by Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, with whom he’d had an affair in London.
Kept indoors at the Villa Diodati by the “incessant rain” of “that wet, ungenial summer” over three days in June, the group turned to reading fantastical stories, including Fantasmagoriana (Tales of the Dead). On the 16th of June, 1816, Lord Byron read Fantasmagoriana to his four house guests, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont, and John Polidori, and challenged that each guest write a ghost story, which culminated in Mary Shelley writing the novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, John Polidori writing the short story The Vampyre, the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre, and Byron writing the poem Darkness.
1816 was known as the Year Without Summer because Mount Tambora had erupted in the Dutch East Indies the previous year, casting enough ash in to the atmosphere to block out the sun and cause abnormal weather across much of north-east America and northern Europe. This pall of darkness inspired Byron to write his poem, saying he “wrote it… at Geneva, when there was a celebrated dark day, on which the fowls went to roost at noon, and the candles were lighted as at midnight”. Literary critics were initially content to classify it as a “last man” poem, telling the apocalyptic story of the last man on earth. Themes in Polidori’s tale would continue to influence Bram Stoker’s Dracula and eventually the whole vampire genre. Shelley’s Frankenstein is peerless.
The villa is featured in the film Gothic, the 1986 film directed by Ken Russell, which is a fictionalized tale based on the Shelleys’ visit with Lord Byron in Villa Diodati, the same event has also been portrayed in the films Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Haunted Summer (1988), among others. The villa also featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Haunted, where the frame plot takes place in a modern version of the Villa Diodati, and Tim Power’s novel The Stress of Her Regard has several scenes set there featuring Byron, Polidori and the Shelley’s.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s home is called “Belrive”
Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker was published on May 26, 1897. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham van Helsing.
Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, and the Gothic novel. It touches on themes such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexual conventions, immigration, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he defined its modern form, and the novel has spawned numerous theatrical, film and television interpretations.
Although Dracula is a work of fiction, it does contain some historical references. The historical connections with the novel and how much Stoker knew about the history are a matter of conjecture and debate.
When it was first published, in 1897, Dracula was not an immediate bestseller, although reviewers were unstinting in their praise. The contemporary Daily Mail newspaper ranked Stoker’s powers above those of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe as well as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
According to literary historians Nina Auerbach and David Skal in the Norton Critical Edition, the novel has become more significant for modern readers than it was for contemporary Victorian readers, most of whom enjoyed it just as a good adventure story; it only reached its broad iconic legendary classic status later in the 20th century when the movie versions appeared. However, some Victorian fans were ahead of the time, describing it as “the sensation of the season” and “the most blood-curdling novel of the paralysed century”.