Saturday, 24 January 2015

Book Review (BBC Edited Audio Version) - Carmilla by Sheridan le Fanu


I haven't read this book in many, many years. So I was delighted to hear this special audio version on BBC 4 over the Christmas holiday.

The book is famous for being published ahead of the even more famous Bram Stoker's Dracula, but Carmilla is no less powerful.

I read this book as a teenager, but saw the film version called The Vampire Lovers which could be said to be a loose interpretation of the book.

I felt that the Carmilla of the book was much younger in appearance than Ingrid Pitt's sultry vampire.

But this review is about the audio version, and our heroine, Laura, is acted well; showing her elation at the vampire being in her room, to a great show of fear when she realises the young woman is nothing short of a monster.

Carmilla is a short read, at just 108 pages long. The story does not need any more length, as it is a powerful, unsettling story. I would argue that it is far more frightening than Dracula.

Carmilla harkens back to a time when vampires were truly frightening. If you are in Laura's position, hearing people around you dying of a fever, knowing that you too are unwell, and yet unable to resist the vampire makes for an interesting spectacle.

I believe there is a modern day tv series featuring this character. I wonder can it work? For me, Carmilla is a throw back to those Victorian periods, and I am not sure I would work in a modern setting.

When Laura ends up in the house of Carmilla, she has already been warned not to ask Carmilla anything regarding her heritage.

Carmilla is rather too forward on Laura, and yet, when Laura finally plucks up courage to ask the reason as to why she cannot know about her past, the vampire naturally gets annoyed. Of course, she holds power over the young girl.

Laura could hardly get Carmilla out in the daytime. This book puts paid to the thought that vampires are burned to ash in the daytime sun. It is handled extremely well, with the vampire complaining of headaches because of the sun.

As other young girls start to die, the net begins to close in on Carmilla. In the end, she cannot outrun them, or can she?

Expect thrills, (blood) spills and drama aplenty in this brilliant adaptation. Seek this story out in whatever format you can, and enjoy it.