My enthusiasm for Halloween can be traced back to my childhood, which at times was a tough one. My father passed away when I was a young boy, leaving my mother to raise five kids on her own. I still can’t fathom how she managed, but she made ends meet, and was the glue that held our family together—in spite the enormous challenges she faced on a daily basis. She excelled as a single parent, and made damn sure her kids had the best childhood possible, despite our heartbreaking loss.
Part of my mom’s weekly routine was spent in the basement sewing room, which was right next to the toy room—a storage space, built behind a stairway, that housed a treasure trove of toys going back twenty odd years. I have many fond memories of hearing the drone of the sewing machine as I played with the eclectic collection. This activity increased exponentially during the month of October, when she somehow found the time to make Halloween costumes—from scratch!—for her younger children. Every year she’d ask me what I’d like to dress up as, and since I never questioned her abilities, the sky was always the limit. My increasingly-challenging requests were often influenced by popular culture of the day—from Superman to Star Wars, and everything in between. This was the 1970s, and even though mass-market costumes were becoming available for purchase, they were primarily made from cheap vinyl that fit over your clothing and barely lasted through Halloween night. Definitely not money well spent.
My mom’s creations, however, were something to behold, and often began with a store-bought mask—such as in this photo of me (c. 1976) dressed as the chimpanzee Cornelius from the Planet of the Apes film franchise. Aside from the mask, everything else was made by her; she was accurate down to the finest detail. And, because she’s the best mom in the world, she’d make a second costume for her, so we could be dressed the same when out trick-or-treating. These outfits were so well-made that they lasted for years, and were stored in what became the family’s “Halloween Trunk”—which meant we could play dress-up anytime of the year! My own creativity and sense of imagination flourished during this formative period; to this day, Halloween brings back great memories from my childhood.
As I entered adulthood, my interests branched into a broader fascination with horror entertainment, and vampires quickly became my monster of choice. As websites started cropping up in the early 1990s, I became captivated by this new form of information exchange. I decided to teach myself how to make a website, and I picked my favorite monster as the subject. This resulted in the first vampire pop culture website, “Vampyres Only,” which I created in 1994—and it kicked off a chain of events that eventually led to my foray into professional writing fifteen years later.
In 2009, I wrote about television vampires for the third edition of J. Gordon Melton’s The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. I uncovered a lot of interesting information, and was surprised to discover that not one single book had been dedicated to vampires on the small screen. So I decided to write my own! After three years of additional research, Un-Dead TV: The Ultimate Guide to Vampire Television was born. It’s the first book to explore this fascinating area of television history, which stretches back to 1949, and in no other medium will you find such a diverse group of bloodsuckers. Un-Dead TV has been touted as an “invaluable resource” that will “become the foundation volume of future study in the field,” and “vampire lovers and scholars should find much to like in these pages.”
For more information, please visit the following sites:
- Un-Dead TV website: http://un-dead.tv/
- My Bloody Obsession (Brad’s blog): http://bradmiddleton.ca/
- Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Un-Dead-TV-Ultimate-Vampire-Television/dp/1935303392
- Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/un-dead-tv-brad-middleton/1108349575
- Chapters/Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Un-dead-Tv-Brad-Middleton/9781935303398-item.html
Now for the contest: One lucky commenter will win a print copy of Un-Dead TV. Just say “I love Brad” in the commenter’s box to enter the contest. The deadline for the contest is Nov. 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm Eastern time. Contest is void where prohibited by law. Good luck, everyone!