Vamp was a Brazilian telenovela (1991-2) about Natasha, a singer-songwriter who surrenders herself to a very important record producer (Vlad) in order to get success. Unfortunately for her, “Vlad” is actually Count Vladimir Polanski, an ancient vampire who believes she is his true love, reincarnated. Natasha is immediately converted by Vlad into a vampire (of the very sexy kind), and, with her goth looks and depressive lyrics, she gets an instant fan base/huge success.

"Sympathy for the Devil"

Meanwhile, Captain Rocha, a former marine, a widower, 6 kids to raise, is now the proud owner of an inn in Armação dos Anjos, a small beach town near Rio de Janeiro. Carmen Lucia, a woman of intellect, a widower, 6 kids to raise, comes to town to investigate intellectual matters. Immediate sailboat passion ensues. They marry, family-merge. Clash between Carmen’s intellectually uptight kids and Cap’s militarly uptight kids. There's also a cluster of rebels on both sides. They learn to respect their differences and bond (but not quite).

Meanwhile, poor Natasha is visited by an angel called Rafa (Raphael) who tells her she can still save her soul if she retrieves a Cross which will destroy Vlad. The Cross seems to be located in Armação dos Anjos, so there she goes (vampires this strong can trot around in daylight, no sparkling).

Natasha is a huge star, so each and every teen boy and girl gets psyched out about her being around. But all the while she’s threatened by Vlad, and kept an eye on by her manager, Gerald. She can’t seem to find the Cross or get help at all; she's depressed, doesn't like feeding off blood(bags). So around the 5th chapter of the novela, Natasha commits suicide - she jumps off a cliff in full intention of dying, but she can’t die, so even though her heart, by all accounts, had stopped, she comes back.

In spite of all the comedy bits in the novela, I thought even at the time (I was eight) that it was a remarkable statement about the pressures of fame and of “staying in character” because of fame.

After getting scolded by Rafa for her failed attempt, Natasha gets new angel-intel about “a man called Rocha [Rock]”, which happens to be the surname of our Captain (and his older son, Felipe), a man who’s supposed to help her. So she tries and gets close to their family. Just-married Carmen Lucia is not happy about this, nor is her prim older daughter, who took a fancy in Felipe.

But the novela got even better. Before marrying Carmen, Captain Rocha was besieged by a resentful low-budget porn-star called Mary, his former sister-in-law, who gets the consolation prize of marrying a lewd, thieving coward called Matoso. His two former-marriage motorbiking sons soon come to stay, and the party (of villains) is complete. Then, one by one, they get vampirized, becoming even more vulgar, comic and villainous.

There’s a Godfather-type old man Matoso pays allegiance to. There’s an English vampire huntress called Alice Penn Taylor (complete with nerdy, goofy helper). There’s a circus with a female medium who unwillingly channels Rafa, the angel. There’s an alcoholic dad who beats up his son. There’s a gifted 10-year old called Sigmund. There’s a mute kid who’s like this because of a trauma. There’s a priest who’s actually a thief who robbed the wrong person and is hiding. He’s friends with the pai de santo [African-Brazilian religion priest].

Anyhoo. When Vlad finally gets strong enough to try and take the world (yes, that goes), Sigmund the 10-year old plays metanarrative chess against him. Like this.

Before "Harry Potter"

I can only say I cannot picture something like this getting greenlighted and carried out in any other place and time than post-dictatorship Brazil (1991-2). People were so caught up with their just-acquired freedom they just wrote whatever came to mind. And then filmed it.

Maybe I’ll be back someday talking about “Que rei sou eu?” [“What Kind of King Am I?”, novela] and Armação Ilimitada [“Artful Inc.”, series].

  link to this post ~ 12:09 AM
blog_sibylla (English version) - by Simone Campos

New novel

Don't bother to buy any of it, it's all in Portuguese.
Title:A feia noite
Style: obsessive, grotesque, baroque, fabulous
Plot: a political consultant with scruple and a libertine with a cause go awry.
Release: september/2006.

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