Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tommy's Take on The Light At The End

It is real easy to have "vampire fatigue" anymore, since they became the "hot ticket" a few years ago...and so it becomes easy to forget why vampires became "cool" in the first place.

I just finished "The Light At The End" (read it on my book), a novel from 1986 about a punk with a chip on his shoulder who gets turned into a vampire by an 800 year old vampire and turned loose in New York City. While it helped to define the "splatterpunk" genre, "The Light At The End" has been far surpassed on the "gore" scale in books, even by author John Skipp himself, but despite the 80s setting, the narrative still holds up well 25 years later...(in fact, the third act hinging on beepers and payphones is the only real reminder that it is definitely set in the pre-cellphone era).

It has been said that the primary antagonist, Rudy Pasko, served as inspiration for Spike from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and it is REALLY easy to see that, from description to personality and mannerisms.

The cast, even at their worst, are at least stereotypes from horror central casting, and Rudy himself is alternately portrayed as (depending often on the perception of the characters dealing with him) as the alluring Hawt Vampire, a sickening servant of Death itself or a tiny man who suddenly got a lot of power.

The climax is very thematically appropriate and viscerally satisfying, with the tension ratcheted up hour by hour in the third act over the course of one night when the rag-tag group of would-be vampire hunters can't stand back and let a monster like Rudy run wild.

"The Light At The End" quickly shot up the list as perhaps my favorite vampire novel. Highly recommended if you want to remember why vampires were a big deal in the first place and don't mind some mature content.