Dave Thompson | If You Like True Blood (Hal Leonard)

trueblood 75You can pick it up and start reading anywhere, even if you’re not in the market for a new vampire film or novel at the moment.

 

There aren’t many television shows that I pay attention to, but I’ll go to the mat any time to defend the merits of True Blood, with Alan Ball, Anna Pacquin, and Denis O’Hare being just a few of the reasons it’s in my pantheon of pantheons. Unfortunately, like all human creations, there’s only a fixed amount of True Blood for fans to enjoy. This is where the If You Like series published by Limelight Editions comes in, and the full title really says it all: If You Like True Blood…Here Are Over 200 Films, TV Shows and Other Oddities That You Will Love.

If You Like True Blood… is fun to read even if you aren’t looking for new movies to watch or books to read, because author Dave Thompson constructs it around a series of little essays, with specific recommendations embedded therein. Topics covered include early vampire tales, gothic fiction, songs used in True Blood (the series’ unusual yet always appropriate use of music is one of its strong points), Hammer studio horror movies, films featuring female vampires, and vampire shows on television. He also includes occasional sidebars (e.g., holiday destinations for the vampire-lover or vampire-curious), and an appendix includes lists of the top 100 vampire movies, the top 100 vampire novels and book series, a list of 150 more songs used in True Blood episodes, and a bibliography.

Thomson is British, and If You Like True Blood… will be particularly useful to Americans who may be less aware of the many European and British treatments of the vampire theme. It’s a fun book and great for browsing—you can pick it up and start reading anywhere, even if you’re not in the market for a new vampire film or novel at the moment. (He even includes a description of his own teenage efforts as a vampire hunter.) My main criticism of this book is that True Blood is not just a show about vampires, and while Thompson acknowledges this in his introduction, the rest of the book pretty much assumes that it is. | Sarah Boslaugh

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