Vampire Puppets, two great tastes that go great together!

October 21st, 2010 by

I have loved puppets since I was a little kid.  I blame Sesame Street. (Jim Henson, the Muppets, and Sesame Street were a huge influence on me.  I have fur and felt coming out my ears).  One of my cherished childhood toys was a very authentic Grover puppet.  I’m still a little sad that it disappeared around the time my family moved.

I haven’t loved vampires quite as long.  However considering I have spent a little over a year writing a very silly series of novels about vampires, it’s fair to say that I love them now.  I do not love every book, move, or tv show that feature vampires, there are just far too many.  I do love an awful lot of them though, including Buffy, the Dresden Files, True Blood, and the Vampire Diaries.

So it should come as little surprise that I love love love, vampire puppets!  It’s just a perfect intersection of my interests, (much like space circuses are for Marty).

There has surprisingly been a lot of bloodsucking puppets over the years.

The most famous, and earliest occurrence of the phenomena that I can think of, is of course, the Count von Count, from Sesame Street. (I think I also had a Count puppet around the same time I had the Grover, but it wasn’t quite as treasured, or as true to life).  The Count has all the trappings of the classic vampire lifestyle, the gothic castle, the snazzy duds, and excellent grooming habits, but without the bloodlust.  He just thirsts for numbers.

There was also Count Blah a character on the short lived Greg the Bunny TV show.  The conceit of the show was that puppets were another race, that lived alongside humans.  If they were lucky they could get work on kids shows.  Blah was clearly inspired by the Count.  He wore a similar costume, and used a Bela Lugosi style accent.  He was called Blah, because he said “blah” at every pause in his sentences.

Most recently another short lived comedy gave us a Vampire Puppet episode.  ABCfamily’s surprisingly clever scifi/action spoof the Middle Man, did an episode where the spirit of Vlad the Impaler, was awoken in a ventriloquist’s dummy version of him.

Perhaps my favorite vampire puppet incident, is the Smile Time episode of Angel.  It was written by Ben Edlund, the creator of the Tick, who had some experience with bizarre humor.  In it, our vampire detective hero, gets magically turned into a muppet style puppet, and hijinks ensue.  It is a fabulous episode, that really had fun with the premise.  He had a removable nose!  It became a big favorite among the show’s fans.

It even inspired IDW to do a follow up comics in miniseries.  In which Angel’s rival Spike, also got puppetized. (Hey look!  This post does have something to do with comics after all!  Go me!)

It wasn’t just tv that has embraced the vampire puppet movement.  In the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the main character (played by Jason Segel who also wrote the screenplay) writes and performs a Dracula opera starring puppets.  The puppets were made for him by the Henson workshop!  It’s a hilarious sequence in an already extremely funny movie.

There is even an webshop called Dopplefangers that will make a custom vampire puppet version of yourself!

And a few years ago, a friend of mine performed in a play inspired by Nosferatu, featuring many great puppets.

(My pal Emily and Lil Orlock)

It may not the biggest sub-trend in the vampire fad, but I think it’s my favorite.

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One Response to “Vampire Puppets, two great tastes that go great together!”

  1. Florence Says:

    I hadn’t even spotted the trend, but it is awesome! Even better than space circuses IMHO.

    I don’t think I ever realized that the Count was a vamp as a kid. Smile Time is a fantastic episode, and works well as a stand-alone for those who have yet to appreciate the Angel series. The comics were also delightful.

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