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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Monsters behind Painted Faces

Hello!

Next week, Painted Faces, my fifth novel debuts around the world!
Yesterday, I spoke about one of the important settings in the story: Budapest, Hungary.

Hungary is also a land associated with iconic horror figures. To me, horror as a genre, always alludes to classics of literature and the classic monsters of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, specifically those of Universal.

I also hinted at one of Hungary's most famous exports, who might just scare you out of your wits...
I can now lift the curtain and reveal that it's Bela Lugosi.who portrayed Dracula in 1931.


Pumpkin and lantern on a doorstep in Budapest


It's a tradition for me to revisit the classic figures each Halloween. Visiting Budapest just a couple of days before Halloween, and seeing the beautiful ripe pumpkins sitting on the steps, brought these figures to life.

So, how exactly do Universal monsters fit into Painted Faces? Without giving too much away, I'll say that one event is based in an interesting historical detail that I uncovered in my research. In 1938, several movie theaters ran a promotion to attract attention to the Universal monsters. Sequels were in the works and the original movies of Dracula and Frankenstein were shown as double features. The promotion went further than this, though. It offered any lady brave enough to watch by herself $10!
At the time, people were fainting from the horror.

The classic monster movies are more than just a scare or a thrill, though. Their creation, in the decades following WWI, tried to interpret the horror that the world saw and the grisly injuries that men returned from the trenches with. Exploring the appeal and the ramifications of the horror genre is a component of Painted Faces.

As an interesting side note, Bram Stoker, who wrote Dracula was from Dublin and I have visited the museum about him.

Never fear. Though these allusions do fit well with Halloween, Painted Faces runs from March to August, 1938 and tells the story of a summer. We'll explore one of those summer experiences tomorrow.


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My best to you all,
Megan

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