Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fantasy Literature for Children and “Young Dracula”

Fantasy literature is another area of interest for today’s children too. The most read and highly anticipated children’s bestseller (though it’s not enough to call it as only a children’s book) is Harry Potter, a series of 7 books by J.K. Rowling, which is also among many beautiful works of fantasy literature and cinema. “Corpse Bride” and “Nightmare Before Christmas”, the wonderful animations of Tim Burton, are unforgettable fantastic musicals for kids as well as adults. On the other hand, “Adams Family” or “the Munsters” from the past are still in our memories as the fantastic sitcoms of our childhood. So the vampires which inhabit a significant space in fantasy, attract the attention of children too as they do for the grown-ups. One of the most famous and succesful written works in this area is “The Little Vampire”, a series of 16 books by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. Besides, some parents who think that the vampires are too gloomy for the world of a child, dont hesitate to put these fun pieces of fantasy on the black list. However, neither Harry Potter aims to fill the minds of children with pagan superstition, nor The Little Vampire (Rudiger) desires to scare them. Right at this point the fantasy literature just get out from under the label of being “the literature of escapism” as some say so. The children learn to face with their fears, the importance of friendship, sacrifice and struggle from these books.
One of these examples is a BBC TV series, a “young” tribute to maybe the most famous persona of the horror genre, Dracula. The series directed by Joss Agnew, as a 14 episode production in 2006 to dish up for the taste of children, tells the story of the friendship between Vlad, Dracula’s son “who doesnt want to be a vampire” and Robin, a “breeder” (mortal) child “who is a die for fan of vampires”. Gerran Howell acting as Vlad, Keith Lee Castle acting as the sanguinary father Dracula and Clare Thomas acting as the pretty vampire sister Ingrid, are quite hot shots for playing as a funny vampire family. The story begins as Vlad moves to a small town in Britain with his father Count Dracula, his sister Ingrid and loyal housekeeper Renfield. While Vlad makes friends with town kids Robin and Chloe Branaugh in no time, he tries to spend his last few years as a “normal” human before becoming an adult vampire. Besides as the trio drive a roraing trade to “keep a low profile” infront of their suspicious vampire hunter school teacher Van Helsing, they share the fun of “childhood” and “being normal”. The funniest characters in the series are Keith Lee acting as a Dracula as scary as Michael Jackson can be and Vlad’s mummified sarcastic (with an accent) pet wolf Zoltan (a puppet). The series are not for adults, so I have to give fair quarters for the low budget production, simple editing and shallow account. But as I watched it with the eyes of a child, I must say I had great fun. I hope that the series will continue in 2007 fall as expected.