We've got a special treat for you with today's interview straight from his castle in Wallachia!
It was with great pleasure that Vlad received your list of questions. (Carrier vultures are so unreliable these days!) Vlad took a moment to reflect (which is rare since Vlad has no reflection anywhere else) and put some thoughts to parchment in the hope that you might find it somehow useful. And if not useful then feel free to use the sharp edges of this parchment to give your enemies the Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts! (Anything Vlad can do to help….)
For the peasants that are not aware of you, tell us a little about yourself.
I am Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler! Some might know me from a little thing called “world history!” (Really! Look it up or as people say today “Google” it!) Others might know me from Vlad’s old Internet show “Ask Vlad” and the more recent “Castle Vlad,” formerly found embedded at the Weird Hollow blog but now at Castle Vlad Facebook page and Weird Hollow Twitter page and, of course, on YouTube! “Castle Vlad” – your one stop on the Internet for monsters, mayhem and wacky hijinks via your viewing device thingies!
Besides new episodes and segments of “Castle Vlad,” Vlad will also be found appearing in Vlad’s second live show in conjunction with a local newspaper’s “Choose Your Own Doom” story writing contest for children and a local library! Last years “Castle Vlad Live And Undead!” was so successful, Vlad was asked to return with his creatures for a new show entitled, “Castle Vlad’s Mad Monster Party!” (And by “asked” Vlad, of course, means “sentenced to community service!”) The live show will be a one-hour story written, directed and starring yours truly with a cast of monsters, with music and madness for the whole family. (As long as that family happens to be named “Addams” or “Munster!”)
Vlad is also in talks to have a television program on local TV. Vlad also has plans for a fan(g) club kit and other merchandise with which you can fill your (not so goodie) goodie bags! (Oh, and Vlad continues to punish infidels and make plans to take over the world.)
What was Halloween like in your neighborhood as a kid?
Vlad was born in a small Transylvanian town called Sighisoara. One did not trick or treat there unless one wanted the treat of a sword, lance, axe, dagger or hammer on the skull! But Vlad digresses. Back to more recent times…one of Vlad’s favorite neighborhoods to visit on Halloween was a very, very long street in a neighborhood that ended in a circle drive. Hundreds and hundreds of children would trick or treat there, walking from house to house. Back in the day almost every house would decorate for the season and hand out candy. Best of all, right behind some of the houses was a very large cemetery, which only added to the ambiance!
This was in rural Missouri so one never knew what costume to pick as the weather was as unpredictable as Vlad’s temper! Vlad remembers trick or treating in heat, cold, rain and even sleet and snow! Today’s children with their “trunk or treat” do not know the joy of walking in darkness from house to house, through the leaves and among the shadows wearing an ill-fitting costume and asking for candy from strangers!
What do you remember most about Halloween from childhood?
When Vlad’s father Vlad Dracul was captured by the Turks, Vlad was just a young boy. To gain his freedom, Vlad’s father left Vlad to the Sultan Murad II. Amidst the strict regime of learning and tortures, there was not much time for a celebration like Halloween! But for the last hundred years or so, Vlad has remedied this by celebrating the season. Vlad has special fondness for the era of the late sixties and seventies! Disguising oneself, walking from house to house, scaring others and getting candy. Who does not love that?
Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?
Vlad will confess that there was a time in the seventies when he too would trick and treat. Vlad remembers well the wet, clammy feeling of the plastic mask with the sharp mouth and eye holes pressing into flesh as Vlad made his way around the neighborhoods of Weird Hollow and Neato Coolville. Vlad also remembers making and wearing latex gorilla prosthetics from a do-it-yourself kit back in the day and being virtually unrecognizable. Ahh, those were the days! (Vlad loves the classic Planet of the Apes!)
What do you think it is about Halloween that sticks with us as we get older?
What is there not to love about Halloween as a child? Those things of our nightmares became real and instead of running away, we embraced, celebrated and even became them! It was not about the candy (although to children, Vlad knows that was a huge plus!) It was about bringing those things that scared us in the darkness into the light of day and wearing their cloaks/fur/bandages/gills/skin! Halloween was the one season where the things we were told were foolish or “just our imaginations” became real - but in a safe way. How can any lover of monsters and spooky stories and things that go bump in the night as children NOT love Halloween, especially as they get older? There is a special dark and twisted place in the heart of the inner child in all of us that remembers and loves the feeling of Halloween, if we will only allow it to creep and slither out.
What's it like around Castle Vlad on Halloween night?
At Castle Vlad, EVERY night is Halloween! (Which happened to be the “moral” – if I may use the word loosely, of last year’s “Castle Vlad Live and Undead!” stage show.) But yes, Frankentina, Tonga the gorilla, Rasputin, Lazlo, Doctor Schlock, Handsful and Grabel as well as many of the other creatures help decorate the castle for a more festive and frightening feel. On Halloween night all of the residents of Castle Vlad usually gather on the top of the parapet of the Castle and help Vlad pour hot boiling oil on the infidels who are foolish enough to gather below with fire and pitchforks. And then we all dance macabre to their cries and lamentations as they scream out in pain. We then sing Halloween carols, listen to one of Vlad’s Halloween mix CDs, feast and howl at the moon. Then Vlad sometimes bathes in stag’s blood and runs with the wolves. (Full disclosure: Vlad OFTEN bathes in stag’s blood and runs with the wolves.) We then retire to the theatre room and watch old horror films (usually classic Universal or Hammer horror films) until the sun begins to rise.
Inside the Spooksters' Studio
The worst thing to get while trick or treating was a stake to the heart! Ha! Ha! Vlad kids! (But no, that would NOT be good!) The worse thing to get trick or treating was an apple, a penny, a homemade popcorn ball or that horrible and hard peanut butter taffy in that orange or black wax wrapping. That stuff is so horrible, Vlad will not even use it when torturing his WORST enemies! (The Geneva Convention should reconvene and add it to the list of things banned!) Plus it is murder on the fangs!
My favorite thing to get (back in the day) was a full sized candy bar. Not those tiny little one bite candy bars but a full sized candy bar. When you felt one of those fall into your Halloween bag, you knew you had something! It was worth your time! The residents feared and respected you! (Or it was very early in the evening before their candy supplies were diminished to nothing but the dregs and well before they realized the hordes of trick or treaters who would be knocking at their door!)
Dex, Vlad thanks you for the questions, your fangtastic blog and for helping keep Halloween alive (and undead) for the children of today and for the adults who are still those trick or treating children at heart! Vlad wishes you as well as all of your readers and followers a truly spectacular, monstrous and frightening All Hallow’s Eve!!!
Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!
And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!