Varney the Vampire: Part 10

The tenth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

Chapter 86

Meanwhile, the Bannerworth boys tell Hunky Boyfriend that they all need to stop scrounging off his uncle, Old Admiral, and it’s insulting their masculine pride that they can’t provide for themselves and maybe they should get jobs.

OMG, SEARCH THE WANT ADS LATER, HIMBOS. Y’ALLS HOUSE JUST GOT ROBBED BY A FELON VAMPIRE WHO TRIED TO MURDER YOUR DOCTOR FRIEND

They go through a box of old crap belonging to their father that they brought with them to their new cottage and find a card with the name ‘Count Barrare’ on it, and Henry knows him to be a famous gambler from 25 years ago. There’s a note that he either owes, or is owed, £25,000 by Henry’s father, but it’s unclear.

HENRY: Hey, guys, you both clearly know the backstory of my dad and his connection to Varney. Will you please tell me what’s going on?

DOCTOR: Nope.

HUNKY BOYFRIEND: No.

HENRY: Oh, okay, fair enough.

Meanwhile in the town, a young kid goes ‘Oh, hey, you remember how we killed Varney in the ruins and burned his body? Yeah, I saw him the other day, he’s not dead, sorry, probably should have said something sooner.’ Then the whole town gets in a murderous mood again.

Chapter 87

Varney is shocked that the villagers able to find his back-up mansion. Query: how many isolated mansions are there within walking distance of this town? Because it really cannot be that many.

They break into the house and Varney confronts them valiantly with a staff, like he’s Gandalf fighting the fucking Balrog, why are we selling this guy as a hero now? He tried to murder someone about four hours ago.

There is an enormous chase/fight scene. This book should be retitled ‘Everyone just gets great cardio’. He leaves his backup mansion, escapes via a thicket, like Brer Rabbit, and runs and runs and runs until he crashes through the door of the first house he comes to—straight into the arms of Gothic Victim!

Chapter 88

He begs for Gothic Victim’s help in hiding him, and she goes, ‘But of course!’ So Varney chills with the Bannerworth crew for a bit and then decides to recap the entire last chapter to us, for their benefit. Great. I needed a play-by-play of something I saw happen in real time.

He’s so chuffed to receive a friendly reception from them that his heart grows three sizes and the next day the book turns into a Jane Austen scene where everyone wishes each other a good morning and inquires about how well everyone slept.

That evening he gets all moody and repents his ways and feels really bad, so he decides to get all Romantic Poetry about it (what a tedious fucking night for the Bannerworths, listening to him muse philosophically, Jesus, I’d kick him out the door after the first hour), but then they’re interrupted when the villagers show up on their doorstep.

They break in, and Varney says, ‘I know they just kicked down your door and are flooding your house toting pitchforks, and tried to burn your last mansion before the military stopped them, but there is ONE PLACE that they would never dare profane—Gothic Victim’s bedroom! Hide me there!’

All the Bannerworths are scandalized by the suggestion, even though we literally opened the book by seeing Varney break into her bedroom and feast on her blood while she was IN BED, but they tut-tut about it while in the next room some while angry villagers rifle through closets and shit looking for Varney. They finally agree to hide Varney there. Yep, guess he’s totally safe.

The villagers, incredibly, go, ‘Well, we couldn’t possibly search a woman’s bedroom! That is just beyond the fucking pale!’ and they go away when they can’t find Varney in the rest of the house. Varney is so grateful that he decides to tell the Bannerworths the story of their father being a murderer. I don’t know what’s wrong with a nice thank you card, or maybe some money, but nope: his gift is familial shame.

He tells us the story of the murder AGAIN, and at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he started retelling Varney the Vampyre from the beginning, in a full ouroboros of bullshit. I’m so, so glad I decided to spend my time in this cul-de-sac of relentless nincompoopery.

Varney says that Marmaduke Bannerworth cheated him out of the money they stole, in addition to the deeds of some property they stole off the corpse of that dude they murdered (did no one look into property transfers then? A guy goes missing and someone shows up saying they own his house now because they have possession of the deed?). Marmaduke killed himself from guilt, and Varney was the mysterious stranger who showed up the day of the suicide. It was after this point that Varney was found out for the murder, tried, executed, and brought back to life.

He then recaps the whole situation with the Doctor resuscitating him and his agreement with the Hangman—OH MY GOD, WE KNOW, GET ON WITH IT.

He finally gets to some new material: over the next several years, Varney has had the odd accident that should have killed him, but doesn’t, and he can’t understand why. He runs into a mysterious Hungarian who teaches him about vampire lore and says that vampires can’t be killed by normal human means, especially if they’re in the moonlight.

The Bannerworths ask why he looks so much like the ugly portrait of their ancestors and he says, ‘Oh, because I’m distantly related to you, and I wanted to scare you so I made myself up to look a bit more like that dude. Also, I did break into Gothic Victim’s bedroom that night on page 1, but I swear I never touched her in any way! She just fainted.’

And they all go, ‘Ok’, but I remember that home girl was covered in blood from a wound on her neck, and the third-person omniscient narrator said that he was ‘at his hideous repast’ so don’t try to rewrite history now, Author, you absolute fuck.

Varney then says he wasn’t able to find the money, but it’s probably still in the house and the Bannerworths have a right to have it (I mean, the guy they stole it from might have family who could use it, but no one seems to have moral objections so, fine).

Varney spends the next several days hiding in their cottage and, from his trials and tribulations he grows sick in body and mind. They spend a long time talking about trees and meadows. This chapter is 80 years long.

Then one day a carriage pulls up to the cottage, and it’s some London police officers looking for Varney, who rushes them and escapes. This book is nothing but foot chases, and I am DONE with it. Anyway, he runs off and the officers explain that they’ve finally caught on to the failed execution.

For reasons that escape me, after the officers leave and an exhausted Varney returns to the house, the Bannerworths decide to go dig up their father and see if he was buried with the treasure from the robbery. They find the deed to that estate Varney mentioned.

This chapter is longer than 10 or 12 normal chapters in the rest of this book.

Chapter 89

The Hungarian nobleman is having a good, recuperative moonlight swim. A ferryman thinks he’s drowning and rescues him, and the ferryman brings him back to his house to spend the night there with his family.

The Hungarian nobleman goes, ‘Your daughter’s hot. How old is she?’

She’ll turn 17 on Halloween, which isn’t at all a giant aphrodisiac to the man. He says to repay them for their hospitality, he’ll return on her birthday to give them a gift (which may or may not be his penis).

They all go to bed and in the middle of the night the daughter starts screaming that she’s been attacked, and the household wakes to find the girl covered in teeth marks that haven’t quite punctured her skin. The ferryman is like, ‘ARE YOU A VAMPIRE?’ and the Hungarian says no.

The ferryman picks him up, carries him back to the river, throws him in and watches him drown.

Wow, so close to a feast of blood, and yet so far.

Chapter 90

The doctor decides to go search Bannerworth Hall alone, in the middle of the night, purely because the author clearly needs to get him in that situation and can’t figure out how to do it more gracefully.

We stop for AGES to have the Doctor overhear two sailors in town talk about their own drama that is utterly tangential to anything (hey, we haven’t had a story-within-a-story in a while, so). He goes into Bannerworth Hall and checks out the creepy picture of their ancestor.

Just as he’s about to touch the portrait, it springs open on a hinge (it was a secret door the whole time!) and out pops a stranger, who immediately starts wrestling with the Doctor. The Doctor almost loses, but then the little sailor buddy pops up out of nowhere and helps beat the stranger up. The stranger runs away.

Chapter 91

The Bannerworths, meanwhile, are all fine because they found the deed to that other estate. To my mind, this doesn’t mean they have more money now–it just means they now have two dilapidated giant houses to care for and staff. And never mind the fact that we seem to have lost two family members: the mother and the younger brother haven’t been mentioned in dozens of chapters. Did they die, or…?

The Doctor’s wife shows up at the Bannerworth Cottage looking for her husband, who’s currently being attacked in Bannerworth Hall. She gets into a domestic squabble with the Bannerworths.

Varney, meanwhile, has just written ‘The Farewell of Varney the Vampyre’ on a piece of paper (which, I would like to point out, isn’t actually a farewell, but rather the title to an even shitter book than this one), and he’s packed up and left. Well that’s gratitude for you.

Chapter 92

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the little sailor buddy are sitting in Bannerworth Hall thinking, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ The Doctor decides that, since everyone seems so drawn to the creepy portrait, he should take it from the house and carry it to Bannerworth cottage. He does (it takes FOREVER, lots of logistics), and just as he’s about to knock on the cottage door, someone attacks him and runs off with the painting.

Chapter 93

We only have four chapters left, and I’ve got no clue how they’re going to wrap it up in time—especially because the one thing I do know about this book is that Varney ends up in Italy and we are still very much in England, mucking about in this one neighbourhood’s bullshit.

WE FINALLY GO TO A NEW TOWN, a place called Anderbury. We’re introduced to a whole new family (oh no stop please stop) called the Milltowns, and they’re a noble, rich family that had something weird happen a while back. It’s only described by the author as ‘an epidemic disorder’, whatever that means, which spread from the servants to tangential relatives, to the family itself, until no one was left alive except one son.

The son, unsurprisingly, got super depressed and decided to sell his house and go abroad. This fancy-ass Baron drives up to the abandoned Milltown Manor to buy it.

The Baron is creepy and foreign and probably a vampire, and we spend way too much time discussing what he might want for dinner.

Fuck my life. Fuck it long, fuck it hard.

Chapter 94

A stranger (STOP. INTRODUCING. NEW. CHARACTERS.) visits the Baron in his new digs, says he knows about the Baron’s secret, and blackmails him for £5,000. Is the Baron the Hungarian nobleman? Is it Varney? Is it someone else? I don’t fucking know, we are 2.5 chapters from the end and no closer to wrapping anything up.

The Baron stabs the stranger and dumps his body in a pit—although the author is sure to mention moonbeams shining on the watery pit, so I guess this dude is less dead than the Baron thinks.

Chapter 95

Two chapters left, what a nightmare.

The Doctor tells the Bannerworths that he thinks the money was hidden in the back lining of the portrait, and rather than take the money out at the house and give it to them, he stupidly carried the entire fucking painting across the countryside.

They’re like, ‘Oh, well, maybe it’s better off that it was stolen, because is it right for us to profit from our father’s ill-gotten gains?’ I mean, you didn’t have a problem with it before, and you’re happy to take the deed to that new estate you found, so.

The Doctor says, ‘You know what we should do? Find and CRUSH Varney, because even though we’re friends now, who else knew about it and disappeared as soon as the portrait went missing? He’s our enemy again.’

Everyone else goes, ‘Or nah. We have Gothic Victim and Hunky Boyfriend’s wedding to plan!’

It’s finally revealed that Varney had been the one who, waaaay at the beginning of the novel, sent the forged letter from the attorney to the Old Admiral saying Hunky Boyfriend was mixed up with Gothic Victim: The Wrong Sort of Woman. Wow, I’d completely forgotten that plot line. They brush it under the carpet because that was just one of Varney’s jolly japes back when he was the baddy.

We spend an inordinately long time discussing what the Old Admiral is going to wear to the wedding and what sorts of people they should invite.

IS THIS REALLY HOW YOU WANT TO SPEND THE PENULTIMATE CHAPTER, MY GOOD DUDE?

CHAPTER 96

Good thing there are no loose threads to wrap up in the last 5 pages, oh wait

In the next town over, no one suspects the Baron of having murdered that dude. The Baron does some sightseeing. Another new dude (we’re in the last chapter, you hateful bitch) named Sir John Westlake turns up wanting to rent the same house that the Baron is trying to rent.

While going over the estate with the letting agent, they discover the dead body in the pit (wow, so glad we had that whole diatribe about moonlight which came to nothing). The Baron is like, ‘Well obviously a man of my rank could never rent an estate where a murder’s been committed, also you’ll probably be suspected of the murder, letting agent, since you had access to the property, sorry and byyyyyyye.’

They open up an inquest into the murder. The Baron decides he would like to marry, and the woman he would like to marry is … Gothic Victim. *thunderclap*

THE END

Seriously.

My version of the book just stops there.

I’ve checked on Project Gutenberg and their version stops there, too.

WHAT THE HELL

I was always told that the book ends when Varney throws himself into Mount Vesuvius. Do I only have half of the book? Is there a sequel? This is the worst thing that has ever happened on my blog, or in my academic career, or in my life as an avid reader.

QUESTIONS THIS NEVER ANSWERS/ISSUES IT NEVER RESOLVES:

  1. Was Varney actually a vampire, or a dude who had something else mysterious happen to him because of post-execution science, or just a dude who sometimes pretended he had supernatural powers?
  2. What was Uncle Marchdale’s motivation for betraying them? What did he even want?
  3. Who is this Hungarian guy, what did he want, and did he die?
  4. Who was the Baron, and who was the guy blackmailing the Baron?
  5. What happened to Mother and Younger Brother Bannerworth?
  6. Who vamped on the Ferryman’s daughter, if not the Hungarian?
  7. Why was the coffin of one of the Bannerworth ancestors empty?
  8. Why was the coffin of the fat-skinny baker empty?
  9. Did Varney actually love Gothic Victim? He seemed to forget about it pretty quick.
  10. Why did they kidnap, and then release, Hunky Boyfriend?
  11. Why, after his release, did Hunky Boyfriend have to wait at the ruins for an hour?
  12. How did Varney disappear out of thin air, recover from gunshot wounds, etc., but only sometimes? Was it vampire-related, or did his house have trap doors,  and were just people bad shots?
  13. Are the police officers hunting Varney just never going to come back because he managed to escape them that time?
  14. What was that mysterious affliction that plagued the family in Anderbury?
  15. How does the Baron know Gothic Victim?

Everyone can fuck off, I’m going to go rage-bake something now. I hate you all. Good day.

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Varney the Vampire: Part 9

The ninth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 10

CHAPTER 76

The Hangman decides he wants to buy Bannerworth Hall. Everyone’s like, ‘Hey, wait a minute, are you trying to swindle us? Varney wants to buy it for devious purposes, but what about you?’

He says he just likes the way it looks. Uh huh.

They leave the hangman alone in the house for a hot five minutes and he busts out a saw and a hammer and starts remodelling the place. The Doctor and Henry Bannerworth (WHOSE HOUSE IT IS) just sort of hang around and let him do it and chunter about his impudence sawing into someone else’s house, rather than stopping him.

When he stops of his own accord and tries to leave through the garden, they pull a pistol on him, and he does a whole, ‘What? Who? Me?’ thing before jumping back into the window of the house and hiding inside. Then two seconds later Varney shows up by jumping over the garden wall. I’m so glad his rivalry with the wall from the beginning of the book is officially over.

The Doctor and Henry watch him from a distance and are like, ‘We guess he’s not that bad. Not like that traitor Marchdale, whose crime was aligning himself with Varney, the guy we just said wasn’t that bad. Let’s let him rob us or whatever and see what happens’

I hate this book. Very briefly that hatred curdled into love, but now it’s curdled back to hatred.

CHAPTER 77

They get some popcorn and watch Varney try to break into the house. The Doctor says, ‘I don’t know if I maybe should have mentioned this earlier, but I knew Varney back in the day.’

*record scratch*

The Doctor says, ‘Yeah, back when I was a med student in London, Varney got hanged as a criminal and I performed a bunch of experiments on his corpse to see if I could reanimate him. It’s like Frankenstein, but shit, and pointless. Anyway, my buddy, the Hangman, confirmed that we definitely killed him, and wouldn’t you know it, about thirty minutes of experimenting later, he came back to life! I was so scared, I ran clean out of London and never went back again, and I guess it was my science that turned him into a vampire. I could have thought to mention sooner that I am the Vampire Maker, but eh.’

*face-palm*

‘Anyway, the Hangman is the mysterious creep who comes and blackmails Varney every year, because that’s his payment for letting Varney escape London and not re-executing him’.

COULD YOU THINK OF A BETTER TIME TO TELL THEM THIS THAN WHEN VARNEY IS FINALLY HAVING HIS EVIL WAY WITH THE HOUSE, PLS

CHAPTER 78

The author is like, ‘Sooooo … wait … I’ve written myself into a corner. Does this mean that Varney’s not actually a vampyre, or…? Quick, make something happen to distract the audience!’

The Bannerworth party tuck away their popcorn and sneak up to the house to hear what’s going on. Varney is having an argument with the Hangman, who’s in the midst of sanding down the walls and reupholstering the carpets, idk.

They’re like, ‘NOW IS THE TIME TO TALK BUSINESS’, but the Bannerworth party doesn’t catch what the business is, and Varney and the Hangman just start some rogue carpentering again. The Bannerworth party sit outside and listen to it for TWO HOURS.

Henry Bannerworth is like, ‘Hooo boy, tonight I’m going to finally get some answers!’ Don’t hold your breath, honey. Then he hears footsteps in the garden and decides to sneak off to investigate without telling the rest of the group.

CHAPTER 79

Henry Bannerworth overhears some dudes—who are a few liquored up villagers—say that they’re here to murder Varney. Henry goes, ‘Murder? By god, I have to save him! The man who attacked my sister at least twice, drove us from our home, imprisoned Hunky Boyfriend, and who is now at this very moment breaking through the drywall in my house in order to rob me blind!’

Henry.

Bebe.

Let them shank his ass and be done with it. This solves all your problems for you.

They all see a figure flee the house and run back toward the ruins, and the villagers and the Bannerworth party give chase. This is like that hallway scene in every episode of Scooby Doo, but between Varney’s place, and the Bannerworth Place, and the town, and the ruins, and at the end they rip off the vampire mask to show a picture of me wasting my time with this book.

They get to the ruins and everyone looks at Marchdale’s mangled corpse again.

CHAPTER 80

We spend some more fucking time looking at Marchdale’s corpse. The villagers initially think it’s Varney, but then they realize it isn’t. They decide to burn his body anyway, just in case he’s a vampire. Then they spot the figure they thought had been Varney running toward the ruins. They capture him, but he claims to be a stranger in these parts.

It turns out to be the Hangman, and the villagers murders him. The author milks this whole scene for several thousand more words than he needs.

I still have more than 100 pages left. Why am I doing this to myself.

CHAPTER 81

Back at Bannerworth Hall, Varney finally emerges. Henry Bannerworth is like, ‘Halt, thief, you are my prisoner!’

Varney gives Henry the sickest burn I’ve heard yet in this novel, which is: ‘May I ask you, what there is to steal, in the house?’

OK, FINE, VARNEY, IT’S TECHNICALLY NOT A BURGLARY, IT’S JUST A ‘B&E’ BECAUSE THE BANNERWORTHS ARE SHIT-POOR OR SOMETHING

Also, the author has given Varney a strange twitch 350 pages in that is supposedly the result of his having been hanged and brought back to life, and all the characters are trying to gaslight the reader into thinking it was a prominent feature throughout the whole text by saying over and over again, ‘NOW WE UNDERSTAND HIS WEIRD TWITCH, THAT HAS DEFINITELY ALWAYS BEEN THERE.’

Varney resists being searched by the men and vows that he is not the hanged convict from however many years ago.

The Doctor says, ‘Would you like to know why this convict has such a passion for Bannerworth Hall?’

Yeah, dude, that would have been useful information for everyone to know a good 60 chapters ago.

But before the Doctor can tell us, Varney takes out a gun and flat-out smokes the Doctor at point-blank range. JESUS.

Varney runs away into the night, and the Bannerworth party pours one out for the good Doctor, who shocks everyone by sitting upright, like this motherfucker’s got a Mithril shirt on under his clothes or something. Turns out he (somehow???) managed to take the bullet out of Varney’s gun before Varney shot him, but lord knows how he managed that.

Everyone is like, ‘PHEW, so glad our newly beloved Varney isn’t actually a murderer. We can go back to trying to rehabilitate him!’ and I genuinely don’t understand why.

DOCTOR: Yeah, also, you might as well sell your house now because Varney got what he was after and your house is worthless, good luck finding a buyer.

HENRY: Can you tell us what he took, or what’s going on?

DOCTOR: …No.

CHAPTER 82

Hunky Boyfriend decides to chase after Varney after Varney’s attempted murder of old Doctor Plot Cockblock. He chases him to Varney’s back-up mansion, breaks into his place, and finds Varney sound asleep. This takes significantly longer than it should.

Varney starts sleep-talking about Marchdale being the villain and saying something about gold. Hunky Boyfriend wakes Varney up and says, ‘Brah, isn’t this whole secret thing weighing heavily on your conscience? You’ll feel better if you just tell me what you’re up to.’ They go on for PAGES about if Varney has enough human feeling to merit a conscience, blah blah, get to the good stuff.

Varney’s story is this: Several years ago, he was a young Regency rake (again, despite this being set in the early 1700s) with Marmaduke Bannerworth, the shitbag Bannerworth father. They would do anything for a lark. Even … *thunderclap* murder. Together they robbed and murdered a man who had won a lot of money off them at the gaming tables. It was Marmaduke Bannerworth who struck the fatal blow, not Varney, but Varney was the one who was executed for it.

Something spooky happened when the Doctor resuscitated him and now he’s a vampire, and he meant to wreck his revenge on the Bannerworth family by harassing Gothic Victim (because women only exist to be proxies for other men), but he also kinda fell in love with her, and she must never know that her father was a murderer!

Then Varney wants to go back to sleep, without telling us anything about why he wants Bannerworth Hall, so Hunky Boyfriend is like, ‘Okay, night-night!’

CHAPTER 83

Back at the town inn, a Hungarian nobleman arrives

OH DON’T YOU DARE START INTRODUCING CHARACTERS 15% FROM THE END OF THE NOVEL

WRAP THIS SHIT UP

He starts asking about Varney, and this new dude is definitely a vampire, but we don’t have time to investigate—we’re too busy listening to the innkeeper talk about fucking breakfast arrangements. Eventually someone tells Count Orlok where he can find Varney.

CHAPTER 84

The Old Admiral and his little sailor buddy pick on each other.

I drink.

Chapter 85

The Hungarian nobleman starts to arouse the townsfolk’s suspicion that he’s a vampire. He makes for Varney’s place, and the townsfolk decide to follow and murder him.

They shoot him as he’s crossing a stream, and the water washes the body away. When the townsfolk can’t find the body to properly stake/decapitate/burn it, they go ‘…this isn’t good, maybe we over-reacted and either murdered an innocent stranger or we just pissed off a vampire who’s going to reincarnate somewhere in the neighborhood.’

Sho nuff, we get an extremely long diatribe about what moonlight looks like on the landscape, and then finally a moonbeam touches the body and recharges the Hungarian noblevamp’s battery. He gets up and continues his pursuit of Varney.

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Varney the Vampire: Part 8

The eighth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 9

PART 10

CHAPTER 64

The villager guy who goes to the ruins starts to sober up and realize this isn’t a good idea. The guy interrupts Varney and Marchdale in their secret evil meeting and Marchdale (who kinda knows the guy from around town) pretends that he’s also there hunting Varney instead of up to shifty malarkey.

Varney and Marchdale stage some fake ‘rising from the dead’ act and scare the shit out of the guy so he runs back to town and tells everyone that Varney can’t be killed. COME ON, Y’ALL, JUST KILL THIS GUY

I WAS PROMISED FEASTS OF BLOOD, AND THERE HAS BEEN, AT MOST, A QUIET BRUNCH OF BLOOD, AND THAT WAS ON THE FIRST PAGE

FEAST OF BLOOD HIM

FEAST OF BLOOD THAT YOKEL

Anyway, Marchdale and Varney decide to keep a lower profile so they can lure the Old Admiral and the Bannerworths into a state of security and then break into the house when they loosen their watch on it

Or, I mean, you could properly break in now when there’s only one old man and no servants (not even a dog!) on the property, but ok, no, instead you wasted your time jumping through windows and rattling around in potted plants and getting the town all worked up

CHAPTER 65

Varney goes into the basement where they’re keeping Hunky Boyfriend tied up for Reasons.

Varney: Hey, if I let you go, do you promise not to be mad?

Hunky Boyfriend: No

Varney: Okay, but if I let you go, will you at least promise not to attack me back?

Hunky Boyfriend: Yeah ok

Varney: Cool, I’ve let you go but you have to promise to stay here for ONE HOUR, because

Hunky Boyfriend: yeah okay sure thing

Everyone’s motivations are a complete fucking enigma to me. Did David Lynch write this?

CHAPTER 66

Let’s have a look over at Gothic Victim, we haven’t seen her in a while. Since she moved away, it seemed like she was getting over her trauma, but PTSD is a sneaky beast and unfortunately we have a heroine who’s still kinda upset about being attacked several times and nearly killed and driven from her home by her weird possibly vampire grandpa boyfriend.

They find out that the doctor, who they left guarding the new Bannerworth house, has gone missing.

The Old Admiral and his little sailor buddy get in a fight and the buddy storms off. I summon the will to give a shit.

CHAPTER 67

Oh great, a tangent about the Old Admirals backstory 67 chapters in, how refreshing

The Admiral: I once loved a young lady

Gothic Victim: Ok

The Admiral: I kissed her once, it was hot

Gothic Victim: Huh

The Admiral: She was married, so we ran away together, but then her dad wrote her a sad letter and she killed herself

Gothic Victim: Golly

Little Sailor Buddy: I’m back. I forgot my hat. Now that I’m here, I might as well stay and not be mad at you anymore. I wonder what happened to the doctor.

CHAPTER 68

While Hunky Boyfriend cools his heels around the ruin for no discernible purpose, a storm breaks out. Marchdale chooses this time to go against Varney’s wishes and stab Hunky Boyfriend, who he dislikes for some reason. However, the storm makes it too dark to see, so Hunky Boyfriend is able to wrestle Marchdale’s knife away from him. He locks Marchdale up in chains (this has all the makings to be kinky, but isn’t) and is like, ‘I’m going to come back here with the Bannerworths and show them what an asshole you are!’

Hunky Boyfriend runs off toward Bannerworth Hall, not realizing the family has moved out. Jesus, how long was he prisoner? It took them 45 years to move out of that place! (or at least, like, 6 months in the reality of the book).

CHAPTER 69

The younger Bannerworth brother–who we’ve all pretty much forgot existed–is reading to Gothic Victim to calm her down after one of her spells. We get another story-within-a-story that’s some Medieval Revival knights-and-ladies bullshit.

FOR. FUCK’S. SAKE.

Then they hear a shout.

CHAPTER 70

Meanwhile, back in the town (WHO GIVES A SHIT) another person has died and people are like, ‘Wow, I hope we don’t begin grave robbing again. This town has been real tetchy since Varney showed up. I wonder if he actually died in that fire?’

A stranger shows up and is like, ‘Hey, anything weird been happening in this neck of the woods?’ and everyone goes, ‘Boy, has it ever!’

Then Mrs Doctor (I did not know the Doctor had a wife??) shows up and is like, ‘Has anyone seen my husband, Doctor, lately? I haven’t seen him in several days’.

The villagers decide to burn Bannerworth Hall to find the doctor, but the motivations are completely unclear. Basically the author needs to get the villagers to Bannerworth Hall and doesn’t know how else to do it.

CHAPTER 71

Then we backtrack to figure out what happened to the doctor. Turns out his master plan is: ‘Sit alone, in the dark, in the summer house, looking real intensely at Bannerworth Hall as a means of ‘protecting it’, and trying to figure out the mystery of what Varney wants with the house by thinking over and over to myself, ‘Gee, I wonder what the mystery of this house is’. He fails to tell his wife, or the Bannerworths, or anyone, where he is.

One night he hears a footstep on the path and is convinced it’s Varney. He looks at the stranger, who’s studying the house, and even though the stranger appears to be TOO FAT TO BE VARNEY, the Doctor decides to start stoning the man immediately, and manages to properly whack him on the back of the head a few times.

Turns out the guy is that dude who burst into Sir Varney’s breakfast nook (after the famous dark-room scythe duel proposal), who I’d completely forgotten was even in this book.

The man, who knew the Doctor previously and now decides to recap–purely for the benefit of the audience–his HIDEOUS SECRET that he had asked the Doctor to keep in the Breakfast Nook. He used to be a hangman in London, and the Doctor is like, ‘Yes, that is correct, you were. Thank you for restating this unnecessary information for the benefit of the audience’. The Hangman Stranger also knows what Varney’s plans are regarding the Bannerworth family.

CHAPTER 72

The Hangman says when he was in London he got swept up with some sort of Regency dandy type (even this is supposed to be set in the early 1700s, not the early 1800s, but ok) who took him out gambling one night with a bunch of players who are way, way wealthier. The Hangman did well for a while and started to get into the lifestyle, until he bankrupted himself. His wife begged him to stop, but he wouldn’t, and his wife and child started to waste away from lack of food.

She told him she was going to die from malnutrition, so he told her to hang on while he goes on a two day bender and gets enough money to feed them. He came back and the wife was dead.

After a while, he found decent employment as a hangman and was able to put his daughter in a boarding school. The chapter ends with him going, ‘And that’s how I became a hangman, and that’s why you should never gamble!’

Great, what does any of this have to do with Varney?

CHAPTER 73

Then out of nowhere, Varney shows up and is like, ‘Hey, there are some villagers coming this way to burn down the house, aren’t you glad I warned you? I’m not such a bad guy’—and the author is clearly trying to do some sort of redemption arc, even though Varney has a vested interest in keeping the house not arsoned, and Varney has done next to no work redeeming himself except to let Hunky Boyfriend go, and the whole redemption arc is apropos of nothing.

The military shows up and stops the villagers, so I guess that was all pointless.

Then Hunky Boyfriend shows up, like Clint Eastwood after his death march in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, all bedraggled and shit, looking for Gothic Victim.

Marchdale, who’s handcuffed in the basement of those ruins, gets real scared of the impending storm—as well he should! Lightning strikes part of the building, and it all collapses on top of him, and he dies a REAL purple prose-y death without us knowing why we should hate him so goddamned much because we have no idea what his goal or motivation or misdeeds were. RIP, Marchdale, we kind of knew ye but didn’t really care.

CHAPTER 74

Hunky Boyfriend and Gothic Victim are reunited and *mimes puking motion*

CHAPTER 75

There ain’t no foreplay quite like beating your enemies with sticks, so the whole Bannerworth crew runs over to the ruins to scorn and jab the perfidious Marchdale. They get there to discover he’s dead. The Old Admiral and his little sailor buddy make jokes about rum.

Turns out love is the only cure for PTSD, because the next day Gothic Victim has roses back in her cheeks and is cured of being violently attacked several times. Huzzah!

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Varney the Vampire: Part 7

The seventh part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 56

Meanwhile, the Bannerworths are still getting ready to leave Bannerworth Hall.

Look, Author, my good dude, do you realise that you don’t have to give us a second-by-second recap? Like, you can skip over the logistics and administration and get right to the plot? FML, I cannot believe I am still reading this book, but I didn’t make it 56 chapters in to stop now.

They finally leave and go to a new house somewhere.

Chapter 57

Back at Bannerworth Hall (fucking kill me), it’s all empty and creepy. The Old Admiral (who is now renting the place) and the doctor are sitting in Gothic Victim’s spooky former bedroom where she got attacked. They’re getting drunk, as you do.

The Old Admiral decides to recap some of the plot up to this point, reminding us that Varney really wants to get possession of Bannerworth Hall and has taken these steps to do so, in case we’ve forgotten. Like, I get that this was a serialized novel where some level of recap is necessary, but Christ in the nine heavens.

The Admiral and the doctor are trying to lure Varney into the house. Varney will think it’s totally empty, and they’ve been sure to lock up everything except one of the windows on the ground floor. They’ve put a bunch of crockery below those windows, so when Varney breaks in, he’ll smash plates all to shit and warn them of his arrival. I mean, they could have just sat in the dark in that room and watched the window, rather than listening for smashed crockery a whole floor above, but okay, whatever.

Just then they hear a crash and run downstairs, but find the window still closed. Turns out a cat knocked over the dishes.

This chapter is fucking pointless.

Chapter 58

They hear a whistle from the garden. It turns out to be the Old Admiral’s little sailor buddy, who’s gotten drunk and decided to join the watch party. The Admiral and doctor deal with his bullshit and put him to bed, when they hear footsteps on the gravel outside. They think it’s Varney, about to make for Gothic Victim’s bedroom again, so they go hide in the bed curtains.

It turns out it is Varney, and as he starts to climb through the window, the Old Admiral, instead of waiting until Varney’s inside and shooting him, just grabs his leg and manages only to pull his boot off.

Varney runs away, with only one boot on, and just once I’d like him to be able to leave Bannerworth Hall with dignity.

Chapter 59

The Old Admiral says, ‘I figured out where we went wrong! We keep trying to stop Varney from coming into Bannerworth Hall. Instead we should let him in to do whatever nefarious deeds he wants, and then try to catch him as he comes out!’

Wow, glad we have you on the case, Sherlock. What could possibly go wrong with that plan.

They get a note the next morning from Varney saying, ‘Hey, guys, come have breakfast with me. Also, my place burned down last night, so come to my back-up mansion.’

Chapter 60

The Old Admiral decides to have breakfast with Varney. The doctor wonders if the Admiral is maybe a little bit … stupid … but they both go to Varney’s new pad anyway.

They trade insults with Varney around the breakfast table and start bandying about ideas of a duel again. I personally resolve to duel the author in Hell itself.

Then Varney gives me perhaps the single best idea in all penny-dreadful literature: he proposes that he and the Old Admiral fight a duel by getting two giant scythes, locking themselves for one hour in a pitch dark room, and swiping at each other until one cuts the other in two.

I just.

I mean.

This is the content I’m here for.

It took 60 chapters, but a smile finally crossed my face.

Just as the Admiral is contemplating this BATSHIT idea, Varney knocks the Admiral down along with all the breakfast stuff. By the time the Admiral gets back up, Varney has disappeared into thin air again, leaving the Admiral and the doctor alone with a ruined breakfast in his back-up mansion.

Chapter 61

The Old Admiral and the doctor begin to suspect that Varney is toying with them (duhhhhhhh)

While they’re stunned silent in Varney’s breakfast nook, a man named Mortimer bursts in saying he has to see Varney urgently. He and the doctor take one look at each other and Mortimer is like, ‘I KNOW YOU, DOCTOR! DON’T REVEAL MY DREADFUL SECRET’.

Before Mortimer can leave, Henry Bannerworth bursts in because Varney’s breakfast nook is apparently the most happenin’ place this side of the Thames.

Mortimer goes, ‘Did you say your name is Bannerworth? I have secrets and ambiguities, gentlemen!’ Then he honest-to-god says, apropos of nothing, ‘Society at large is divided into two great classes [….] Those who have been hanged, and those who have not. Adieu!’

Thanks, guy. That clear shit up just swell.

Varney’s servant comes in and tells them they all have to leave now. Henry decides this is a good time to take the gentlemen over to the spot where his dad committed suicide. Henry tells us that his father was a proper wrong’un who got heavily into gambling and would disappear for months at a time, coming home either half-crazed or broken in spirit. One day he told the family he was going to leave the country, then he shut himself up all night in the room with the creepy portrait. The next day he went to the garden, committed suicide, and with his dying breath told Henry, ‘The money is hidden!’

I don’t know if the author forgot the earlier version of this, which is that the father died clutching a note saying, ‘The money is—’, or what, but this is the version we have to work with now.

Anyway, later the day of his father’s suicide, a mysterious man came to the house and, upon finding out the father was dead, rode away cursing him. Thankfully, Henry says, a man in London named Lord Lorne got murdered soon thereafter (!!!) so that took a lot of the public attention away from his father’s suicide.

The Admiral’s little sailor buddy turns up drunk for some comedic relief, and then Henry asks if they’d be willing to leave Bannerworth Hall (which the Admiral just rented and the Bannerworth family vacated YESTERDAY) to him for a whole week so he can look into some stuff. I don’t know what he’s doing now that he couldn’t have done for the last fucking year, but fine. Anything that keeps this plot moving at something faster than a glacial pace.

Chapter 62

LET’S BACKTRACK TO WHEN VARNEY DISAPPEARED INTO THAT RUIN AND GOT ATTACKED BY EDMUND DANTES OR WHO THE FUCK EVER

That night, Spooky Cloak Dude #1 was waiting for his some other Spooky Cloak Buddy to show. Spooky Cloak Dude #2 finally shows (it’s Varney), and he’s like, ‘A bunch of angry peasants are about to bust into our favorite meeting spot, fyi. They’ve been chasing me.’ They talk about Bannerworth Hall being turned into ruins, and how they should kill the prisoner below, and they also have to think of increasingly complex plots to get the Admiral out of the house, as he’s the ‘greatest stumbling block’ to their success.

Um, okay, first the fuck of all, if we remember correctly, Varney ran into the ruin being narrowly pursued by the villagers from the ‘Kill the Beast’ number in Beauty and the Beast. Why does he all of a sudden have time to have this leisurely chat with his friend? This is NOT how this happened.

Second the fuck of all, was Varney one of the original cloak dudes when they were first introduced? Is the other one that creep dude he meets once per year? Who are these characters? They have not been properly introduced to us.

Third the fuck of all, can’t you just kill the Admiral? You’re a fucking vampire! Tie him up or something, or break in when he’s sleeping! He is an ancient old man in an isolated house with no servants left! This should not be this hard for dastardly accursed cloak-wearers!

Then they decide, I guess, that Hunky Boyfriend (who I guess is the prisoner being held in the dungeon??) shouldn’t be killed.

And THEN

we find out

that the Spooky Cloak Dude #1

is actually UNCLE MARCHDALE

WHO IS CAHOOTSING WITH VARNEY FOR REASONS UNKNOWN

I am annoyed that this book got a genuine gasp out of me. I didn’t see that coming.

CHAPTER 63

We’re back at the local inn, looking in on the townsfolk, even though none of them have names or backstories or any individual effect on the plot. They’re getting themselves all drunk and worked up, as per usz. One guy decides to go back to the ruins at midnight and search for Varney as part of a machismo contest, and I hope he gets et real bad.

The dude takes about a thousand years preparing for this thing, I don’t really know why we need to get a step-by-step replay of him going one place to get his greatcoat, and another place to get his horse pistols, and then his opinions on social welfare in Britain, he was literally given a name half a page ago, GO AWAY SIR

We then get a little ghost story in the middle, because why not, there’s never enough filler, that’s my motto

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Varney the Vampire: Part 6

The sixth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 46

The Bannerworths FINALLY get ready to leave the Hall, and also finally decide to consult their mother on it as an afterthought.

The menfolk also decide to keep the news of the town grave robbing party a secret from the women, because it’ll only upset them. Great.

Chapter 47

The night before they’re supposed to leave the Hall, Varney sends one of his servants over to ask, ‘Heyyyy guyyyys, how ya doin’?’ and everyone collectively goes, ‘Tell your master to fuck off and leave us alone. Also, how in the heck did he escape the villagers chasing him?’

Meanwhile, the townsfolk are still all worked up about vampires and corpses and decide to do some more grave robbing.

Chapter 48

The townsfolk drive a stake through the heart of a recently deceased young man.

Chapter 49

Some of the villagers break off and decide to go back to Varney’s house and see if he’s home.

Chapter 50

They go to Varney’s house and sneak around like they’re about to break in or burn the place to the ground. INSTEAD OF DOING THOSE THINGS, they knock on the front fucking door and ask ‘Is Varney in?’ like a kid asking if someone can come out and play. The servant who answers the door says, ‘Go away’ and shuts the door in the villagers’ faces, and they all just stand around and shrug and don’t know what to do next.

Chapter 51

The villagers talk and talk and talk about how to break in and what to do next. The current ratio of ‘feasts of blood’ to ‘pointless conversations’ in this book is off the fucking charts.

They finally break in and have a skirmish with Varney’s servants.

Chapter 52

When the villagers find Varney, he goes all Hannibal Lecter and starts fucking with them by being incredibly polite and inviting them in, saying they’re honoring him with their visit. The unlettered rustics start scratching their heads about what to do next, and when one decides to rush at Varney, he disappears into thin air.

They search the house, end up in Varney’s cellars, and start drinking his wine. Then one man goes, ‘What if this isn’t wine, but bottled blood?’ and because they can’t tell the difference between wine and blood, despite them looking, tasting, and feeling different, they all get weirded out about potentially being cannibals.

Chapter 53

They burn Varney’s house and stand around saying misogynistic things about women and marriage, for some reason. The military shows up but doesn’t really do anything.

Chapter 54

The villagers are convinced that Varney died in the fire because they didn’t see him leave the house, despite the fact that he literally VANISHED INTO THIN AIR IN FRONT OF THEM, and then they spent a bunch of time getting drunk in the cellar. Logic is not their strong point.

Everyone goes, ‘Whey, Varney’s dead!’ The soldiers stand around twiddling their thumbs with a vague ‘Ok, but don’t do it again’ attitude as the house burns to the ground.

Chapter 55

They all walk back to town, and I shit you not, there is a huge section of this chapter about people attempting to cross a ditch

GET ON WITH IT, I AM SO BORED

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Varney the Vampire: Part 5

The fifth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 38

The doctor and the Old Admiral’s little sailor buddy go to Varney’s place to act as seconds, respectively, to Henry Bannerworth and the Old Admiral in their upcoming duels. There’s a lot of administration worked out about the duels and I cannot summon a single fuck to give about it.

They meet for the duel between Varney and Henry and talk and talk and talk and the men in this book never shut the fuck up.

Chapter 39

Because Varney doesn’t have any friends, the Admiral has to act as his second in the duel between Varney and Henry, before the Admiral goes on to fight Varney himself. Varney’s like, ‘If Henry shoots me, drag me up to this mystical old tree in the moonlight, for reasons.’ The Admiral is like, ‘No. Go fuck yourself.’

Henry misses his shot and Varney fires in the air. Henry wonders if they should shoot at each other again. Varney says, ‘What’s the point? Human weapons can’t hurt me. You didn’t actually miss, your bullet just didn’t do any damage. You can use the same bullet to shoot me again.’ And then he pulls the bullet out of his neck or something and hands it back to Henry, who is like, ‘Ok my honour is satisfied, byyyye.’

I guess the Old Admiral doesn’t care about his go, then.

They hear a bunch of shouting in the distance. It’s the villagers, who have been gossiping about the probable vampire and are there to tear Varney limb from limb.

Chapter 40

The author then says vampyres originated in Germany, instead of Scandinavia, like he said in his preface. Citation still needed. We talk a bit about other ghouls and ghosties.

Chapter 41

Meanwhile the villagers show up at Varney’s place, and when his servants say he’s not in, they go full Bastille on the place and tear it apart. They decide to go back to town looking for him.

Chapter 42

The villagers catch up with the duelling party, who have just barely finished their duel. Varney’s already left. The Bannerworth guys are like, ‘WTF is going on?’

The villagers say they want to poke Varney with a stick, as that’s the most humane way of killing him.

Chapter 43

Inexplicably, Henry and the other men in the Bannerworth party decide to defend Varney and say he’s not a vampyre and the villagers have merely listened to idle gossip. It’s not that killing Varney wouldn’t solve all the Bannerworth & Co’s problems, it’s merely that Varney is a gentleman and even vampires don’t deserve to be killed at the hands of common rabble.

Guys. You have no common sense and deserve to get et. I hope Varney goes buck wild at the Bannerworth buffet.

The villagers catch up with Varney and chase him. Instead of running into town and to the authorities, he runs to that creepy ruin where those two dudes in cloaks were having their meeting. Everyone chasing him goes, ‘The fuck is he doing there? We’re obviously going to catch him’. Except Varney the Vampyre has vanished!

Chapter 44

Hey, remember that prisoner in the ruin? Well, he’s still there and he’s weak and gross. The prisoner hears the villagers outside and Varney bursts through his cell door. Despite being so weak that he can barely eat, the prisoner jumps up, screams, ‘Villain, monster, vampyre! I have thee now!’ and does a flying tackle on ole tuckered out Varney.

We cut back to Bannerworth Hall and there’s a bunch of wheel spinning about ‘should we leave the Hall or not?’ and OH MY GOD, WE’VE HAD THIS CONVERSATION 15 TIMES, PISS OR GET OFF THE POT, FUCK’S SAKE

Gothic Victim and the Bannerwoth boys all say they’re starting to feel pity for poor Varney, and this is Stockholm Syndrome if I’ve ever seen it.

Back in the village, everyone’s all het up about the failed vampire killing. There is one ‘clever’ man among them (I guess he’s clever because he’s been to Germany, or something?) who is clearly going to be our Proto-Van Helsing. He’s like, ‘I know vampires, and your town is definitely plagued by one of them! You want proof? Remember Miles the Butcher? He was really fat, and then he wasn’t, and then he died. In conclusion: vampire!’ and everyone applauds him like a bunch of dolts.

He says they should dig up all of their dead and make sure the corpses are good and properly rotting. If not, burn them. The villagers LOVE this suggestion.

Chapter 45

The villagers start first with the grave of fat-skinny Miles the Butcher, who is getting a lot of flack for having changed his body shape. The author really milks the ‘are they going to have the stones to actually open the coffin or not?’ thing and I’m going to give a rare compliment and say that this is an effectively tense chapter.

They open fat-skinny Miles’s coffin to find it empty.

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Varney the Vampire: Part 4

The fourth part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 29

Nearby there’s a ruin called Monks’ Hall. It’s Gothic as shit, though the Bannerworth kids used to play there when they were little. Though no one is there to hear it, something shrieks in its depths. Someone is huge and wearing a spooky cape. Another ambiguously described spooky figure shows up, and the two spooky figures greet each other and have a good, cheerful natter for a while. Kinda undermining the Gothic vibes here, brah. Like two horsemen of the apocalypse having a gossip over coffee.

They go down to the dungeon where some poor, bloodied guy is being kept prisoner. They try to get him to sign something, but he’s too weak.

Chapter 30

The Old Admiral is like, ‘Hey, Gothic Victim, I like your family. Here, have some of my money.’

Chapter 31

Varney’s in his creepy-ass bedroom, all nervous because HE is coming tonight, HE the mysterious one who gave him his vampire powers. Then the author honestly says Varney gets ‘the fidgets’ while waiting. FFS, guy, are you writing a horror or a comedy?

Varney reads a Gothic novel, which is our THIRD text-within-a-text in 31 chapters. Great. More filler.

Chapter 32

An old man with a sinister expression shows up at Varney’s pad. Varney’s like, ‘I hate your yearly visits, they remind me of the nameless dread of my creation of which I do not speak. Here’s £1,000’. The man’s like, ‘Great, and the next time we meet, it’ll be the last time forever!’ I have no clue what’s happening. Neither does the author, because he comes in to say, ‘I REALLY HOPE EVERYTHING TURNS OUT WELL, WHO KNOWS WHAT’S HAPPENING, NOT ME, I’VE WRITTEN MYSELF INTO THIS MESS, CAN I WRITE MYSELF OUT?’

Chapter 33

Varney goes on a sad walk and the author says that Varney is simply too sad to be a vampire although mayyyyybe he has some supernatural powers, who can say? *wink*

Varney vows to himself to become master of Bannerworth Hall and discover the terrible secret that lurks within it, of which only he knows.

On his long walk, he runs into Gothic Victim and he doesn’t want to startle her (FOR FUCKING ONCE) so he hides in a bush or something. She’s sleepwalking and it’s so spooky he thinks she’s a ghost, but then realises she’s just a pathetic girl tormented by a lost love, like a weak little human, and he advances upon her sleepwalking form *thunderclap*

Chapter 34

She wakes up and screams, ‘The vampyre!’ and he says ‘Yes, Varney the vampyre; your midnight guest at that feast of blood’, like he’s Vincent fucking Price.

He then says he’s drawn to eat young and beautiful people, but she is such an ‘exquisite piece of excellence’ [ew, no] that he’s fallen in love with her. He says he’s 100% actually a vampire, and is under a Beauty and the Beast-style curse where if he can find a human woman to love him, he’ll be released from his vampire state.

Varney: Wanna get together?

Gothic Victim: NEVER! GROSS!

Varney: Guess I gotta eat you then, whatever, it’s all the same to me.

Gothic Victim: No! Please, I beg you!

Varney: You won’t even bang me, like, once? Even to save yourself and me?

Gothic Victim: Nope.

Varney: Okay, well, you’re really hot so I want to save you as much as I want to eat you, so the only other option is for you to run as far away from your home as possible, because I plan to stay in the neighbourhood for a bit, so go away now and I’ll forget about you probably. Oh, and don’t worry, you won’t become a vampire after you die, I haven’t nommed on you quite enough yet, but I totally will if you stay in the area.

Gothic Victim: Yeah, cool, I’ma leave NOW.

Varney: One quick thing—what room in the house did your dad die in? Just pure idle curiosity, not ulterior motive asking this question.

Gothic Victim: Oh, the bedroom with the ugly portrait, the one where you first attacked me.

Then Henry Banneworth appears out of nowhere with a sword and is like, ‘DIE, VAMPIRE’, but Varney manages to fling himself THROUGH the wall of the summer house where he and Gothic Victim were having their conversation, leaving yet another Varney-shaped hole in the Bannerworth property. I’m losing my goddamned mind.

Chapter 35

Henry’s like, ‘Fuck me, I didn’t expect him to crash through a wall’. All the men show up ready for a fight, and the Old Admiral has assembled an arsenal on his balcony and is firing randomly a Varney, but Varney’s long gone.

The men go and chase after him, and as soon as they leave Gothic Victim alone in the now busted-ass summer house, Varney shows back up and is like, ‘Yeah, I was hanging out literally two steps away, outside. Your brothers are just terrible at Hide and Seek. By the way, even though at our last meeting, the one where I crashed through your window, I said that Hunky Boyfriend didn’t really love you, I wanted to let you know that you’ll run into him again at some ambiguous point in the future and he definitely still loves you.

Gothic Victim: Could you be any more specific about when or where or what’s happened to him, or….?

Varney: Byyyyyyyyyyye

Chapter 36

All the Bannerworths are kind of bummed out that life sucks so bad. Uncle Marchdale and the Admiral get into a big fight about what happened to Hunky Boyfriend and everything is tense. They decide to rent out Bannerworth Hall to the Old Admiral instead of to Varney, and they leave.

Chapter 37

Rather than moving the fuck out, like I would have done CHAPTERS ago (and all their servants did, I might add), Henry Bannerworth is still fucking about. He barges into Varney’s house and is like, ‘Hey, I know you had something to do with the disappearance of Hunky Boyfriend. Did you murder him?’ They swap insults, and Henry challenges Varney to a duel and leaves.

The Old Admiral decides, about an hour later, to do the exact same thing. He marches to Varney’s place, says, ‘Hey, did you murder my nephew?’ and challenges Varney to a duel AGAIN. This book is tire-spinning like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Duels proposed: 4

Duels fought: 0

The Admiral goes home and dreams about a mermaid. The local doctor and the Admiral’s little sailor buddy decide to go talk to Varney. I weep, waiting for the plot to move.

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Varney the Vampire: Part 3

The third part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6 

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 20

We thought Varney had left the estate after insulting everyone there and punching Uncle Marchdale, but he instead bursts into Gothic Victim’s bedroom while she’s reading. Rude.

He’s like, ‘LISTEN TO ME! WHY ARE YOU SCARED? YOU’RE HOT AND ALSO I WANT YOUR HOUSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT, YOUR BOYFRIEND DOESN’T REALLY LOVE YOU, CONVINCE YOUR BROTHERS TO SELL ME THIS HOUSE OR I’LL WALLOW IN THEIR BLOOD, WHYYYY ARE YOU SO SCARED OF ME?’

He then grabs her and she faints, which normally I would hate in these novels but this feels like a fair response to being almost killed and then attacked twice.

Chapter 21

The old admiral threatens to disinherit Hunky Boyfriend if he marries an unsuitable girl. Hunky Boyfriend literally just recaps the plot up to this point, so now the old Admiral is okay with him marrying Gothic Victim, because I guess he can tell she’s a lady of quality from that one anecdote.

They hear a scream and all go running to the room Gothic Victim’s in. They hear a crash and see what amounts to a Varney-shaped hole in the floor-to-ceiling windows. Like, this dude is incapable of leaving a room gracefully.

The old Admiral takes one look at the traumatised Gothic Victim and is like, ‘You’re hot.’

Chapter 22

The boys talk finances and debate whether they should sell the house. Yawn. The doctor comes by to deal with Gothic Heroine and says, ‘Oh, by the way, I patched up Sir Francis Varney’s arm the other day. He said he shot himself cleaning his gun. I am unable to say if he’s a vampire or not.’

This chapter is totally pointless.

Chapter 23

Hunky Boyfriend wants to duel Varney, despite knowing Varney probably has supernatural powers. The Old Admiral is happy to jump into any drama feet first, so he says he’ll talk to Varney for Hunky Boyfriend.

When the Old Admiral is at Varney’s place, he’s like, ‘Look, duel me first, because I’m old and it’s not as sad if I die. Also, if you duel him first I’m going to come after you anyway.’

Varney goes, ‘COME AT ME, BRO’ and then the two of them spent a bunch of time going, ‘You’re a dick!’ ‘No, you’re a dick!’ ‘No, yooooooooou’re a dick!’

My god, this novel. It’s fine if you don’t expect much by way of characterization, plot, pacing, or general writing.

Chapter 24

The Old Admiral goes back to Bannerworth Mansion and tells Hunky Boyfriend that Varney agreed to duel one of them, but he wants to use swords, which is apparently a Whole Fucking Thing, idk.

Varney then writes a letter to Hunky Boyfriend saying, ‘Look, I’m going to fight one of you assholes and it might as well be you, since you’re the one with the beef. Get your house in order and meet me outside tonight’.

Chapter 25

Hunky Boyfriend: Is this dude I’m about to fight a vampire? Like, for real, though?

Old Admiral: Dunno. I’ve seen some weird shit in my time at sea.

Hunky Boyfriend: Can I have £50 to give to Henry Bannerworth, because he’s poor?

Old Admiral: Sure, here it is. Also, one time at sea I saw the very Devil himself, or some such thing. Here’s a whole Gothic story-within-a-story about it.

Hunky Boyfriend: Great.

Chapter 26

Late that night, Hunky Boyfriend goes out to duel Varney, alone without telling anyone where he is or what he’s doing. Henry Bannerworth sees him leave in the middle of the night and goes to follow, but first he discovers some letters in Hunky Boyfriend’s bedroom.

The letters say, out of NOWHERE, that Hunky Boyfriend decided he actually can’t love Gothic Victim if she’s a vampire bride and he’s only going to sort things out with Varney to find out if vampires are real, or something.

Both Henry and Old Admiral are like, ‘Wow fuck that guy’. Then the Admiral realises he gave Hunky Boyfriend £50 earlier that day, which he absolutely did not give to Henry Bannerworth to fix their poor-osity, and Hunky Boyfriend has just run off with it.

Chapter 27

The next day they show Gothic Victim the letters. Instead of thinking she’s been broken up with, she thinks the letters are forgeries and Hunky Boyfriend has been kidnapped.

Aww, bebe. I hope you do become a vampire bride, and a real streetwise, nasty one, at that. I hate your wide-eye sincerity. I hate it with a pure and fervent soul.

Chapter 28

Uncle Marchdale is like, ‘Well, Gothic Victim, if you’re convinced your very first boyfriend was improbably kidnapped and these letters forged (rather than a man you met like four times two years ago, who left you because he didn’t want to deal with whatever shit’s going on here), then that’s reason enough for me! I will vow my life to getting him back!’

The boys go looking for Hunky Boyfriend and they find a site of struggle near the property, along with a note that has an unclear message fragment written on it. They go, ‘I sure bet Varney was involved in this! I wonder if he was home last night and can verify his whereabouts. Unfortunately, there’s no way of asking him this politely, and we worry about insulting him even though literally yesterday he insulted every single one of us, punched Uncle Marchdale, burst into our sister’s bedroom to assault her, and then jumped through the closed window.’

Instead they decide to offer a reward around town for any info on Hunky Boyfriend.

Gothic Victim continues to be hot, the author reassures us, in case we were wondering.

Henry Bannerworth decides to go traveling on adventures to try to figure out what’s happening, byyyyyyyye.

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Varney the Vampire: Part 2

The second part of my Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood recap. Table of Contents below. Warning for swearing and sex jokes.

PART 1

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

Chapter 10

Turns out it’s Hunky Boyfriend who’s grabbed Gothic Victim, although what he’s doing showing up in the middle of the night inside her house after not seeing her for two years, I’m sure I don’t know. Gothic Victim has straight-up PTSD now and is like, ‘EVERYONE GET THE FUCK OUT’.

Chapter 11

The other menfolk show up and are like, ‘Hey, Hunky Boyfriend, we’re in a vampire novel now and your girlfriend, Gothic Victim, is probably a vampire too. *shrugs* So how are you?’

Hunky Boyfriend goes, ‘I will trap this vampire and cure Gothic Victim’s impending monsterhood with the power of my love! Quickly, lead me to her spooky-ass bedroom where she first got vamped, for that is where I will stay in case the vampire comes back!’

I mean, it just attacked her in the parlour, but okay, whatever.

Chapter 12

Hunky Boyfriend emos out his feelings about having a potential vampire for a bride, and I’m still not entirely sure what he’s doing there in the middle of the night after not having seen any of them for two years. I think his excuse is, ‘I was in the area, and also a deus ex machina’. The men have a tete-a-tete and there’s some dick-swinging between Hunky Boyfriend and Uncle Marchdale, although nothing ends up coming from it.

Chapter 13

The next day they get another letter from Sir Francis Varney who says, ‘Hey, I know I just sent you a message you haven’t responded to yet and y’all in the throes of some weird shit, so I hear, but I want to buy your dilapidated mansion’. All the servants start peacing the fuck out of there, like anyone with sense would.

Uncle Marchdale convinces Henry to try renting the mansion before selling it outright, because even though they’re trying to escape this serial vampire attack, how do they know the vampire won’t follow them? Is it attracted to them, or just whoever’s in this particular house?

Henry thinks that’s a great idea, so he goes to visit Sir Francis Varney who he realizes looks just like the ugly painting in his sister’s room, the one of their ancestor Marmaduke, and also Varney is mysteriously wounded, possibly from a gunshot. Henry asks himself if Varney could be the vampire (A+, Henry, YES, these are the questions!) but then abandons this line of inquiry to get right down to the rental agreement with his new neighbor who may or may not be a vampire. FFS.

Chapter 14

As they hash out the rental agreement, Henry notices that Varney won’t eat or drink anything. Henry’s like, ‘If we go through with this rental agreement, you have to agree to stay away from my family. My sister was attacked by a guy who looks a lot like you and she’d lose her shit if she saw your face’.

Varney’s like, ‘I heard your sister was hot, but okay, whatever.’

Henry is 100% sure Varney’s a vampire and wants to kill him, but Uncle Marchdale says, ‘We need to do our research on vampire mythology. What if killing him will harm your probably-now-vampire-baby sister? Let’s take a beat, my dude.’

Chapter 15

The servants have all fled and are gossiping in town about the Bannerworth house. We meet the Old Admiral and his young sailor buddy at a local inn, on a mysterious mission for a lawyer named Josiah Crinkles. The Admiral turns out to be Hunky Boyfriend’s uncle and was warned in a letter by Josiah Crinkles of Hunky Boyfriend’s engagement to Gothic Victim.

As she is now probably a vampire, their marriage would be entirely unsuitable (NO SHIT) as they might have ‘vampyres for children’. You can tell this is a comedy chapter, because we get Dr Johnson’s definition of a vampire. Then Josiah Crickles actually turns up at the inn and says he didn’t write the letter, it’s a forgery. Brace yourself because we forget all about this forgery subplot for a REALLY long time; it’s just an excuse to get the old Admiral over to Bannerworth Mansion.

Chapter 16

Hunky Boyfriend and Gothic Victim plan an awkward date. The author spends a long time discussing gardening. The two of them go back and forth on if they should break up, given she might be a vampire now, but decide to stay together.

Gothic Victim sees a figure outside the window and screams into a faint.

Chapter 17

The guy outside the window is Varney, who instantly rowed back on his promise to Henry to never go near his family, but in his defense, Varney just really likes hot chicks. Varney and all the men in the house start trading insults, but they’re interrupted when the front doorbell rings.

Chapter 18

It’s the old Admiral at the door, looking for his nephew, Hunky Boyfriend. After they greet each other, they walk back to where they’ve left Varney, who is now currently punching the ever-loving shitfire out of Uncle Marchdale, as they exchanged words while the narrator was focused on something much less interesting. Varney leaves and everyone catches up on everyone’s backstory. The Admiral is like, ‘Hunky Boyfriend, I’m in charge of your estate until you come of age and I’m here to inspect your possibly supernaturally polluted choice of bride!’

Chapter 19

Hunky Boyfriend is told, ‘to desert, as he would a pestilence, a vampire bride’. The author was definitely a super Extra theatre kid. Gothic Victim definitely has full PTSD but everyone is just like, ‘Buck up, woman’.

Henry gives Gothic Victim a Gothic novel to read to pass the time, because that’s the sort of content she definitely needs right now. We’re treated to a bullshit little story-within-a-story because this chapter is pure filler.

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Varney The Vampire: Part 1

Hey, guys–I know I never really post here anymore, but because I’m bored out of my goddamned mind during COVID, I decided to recap a gigantic Victorian penny-dreadful called Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood. I first heard about this 10 years ago on Cleolinda Jones‘s blog and thought it was the perfect shitstorm of unintentionally hilarious Victorian Goth camp that I’d have to read it.

Because this fucker is long, I’ll post it in about 10 parts, with each chapter summarised as briefly as I possibly can. The whole thing can be found as follows:

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

PART 5

PART 6

PART 7

PART 8

PART 9

PART 10

WARNING FOR SWEARING AND SEX JOKES, AS PER USZ. IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE SWEARING AND SEX JOKES, I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHY YOU’RE HERE

Preface

The author goes, ‘I’m popular. Also, all vampires are from Scandinavia [citation needed]. This whole story really happened in 1713 [citation needed].

Chapter 1

The setting is Gothic: raging storm, old manor house, raging storm, an isolated bedroom with an ugly portrait, raging storm, a beautiful, vulnerable young girl who is really hot (so hot that you wonder if the author was typing this one handed, if you get my meaning), also there’s a raging storm, also the girl is totally getting bitten by a vampire on her bed in a way that is NOT AT ALL SEXUAL, also there’s a raging storm, in case you weren’t aware.

Chapter 2

Two guys (Henry Bannerworth and The Other Bannerworth Brother Who’s So Lacklustre He Doesn’t Deserve a Name) come out of their rooms at night because they heard a scream. Rather than investigating immediately–AS YOU WOULD DO IF YOU HEARD A SCREAM IN YOUR HOUSE–they hang around and wonder if the scream could have come from their sister, Gothic Victim’s, room. Then their mother comes out and is like, ‘Did I hear a scream?’ and they start the conversation all over again. Then another guest, Uncle Marchdale, comes out and is like, ‘Did I hear a scream?’ and they start the conversation a third time, while Gothic Victim is literally getting eaten down to her bones, like this is some bullshit John Patrick Shanley play.

They finally bust down Gothic Victim’s door only to see a shadowy figure fleeing. They shoot at it, but the figure makes the most BUMBLING, LEAST TERRIFYING exit I’ve ever seen, trying and failing to jump over a wall in the garden:

‘They saw the hideous, monstrous form they had traced from the chamber of their sister, making frantic efforts to clear the obstacle [….] each time it fell back again into the garden with such a dull, heavy sound, that the earth seemed to shake again with the concussion […] and for some minutes they watched the figure making its fruitless efforts to leave the place.’

Like, they all just hang around for eight solid minutes in silence watching this dumbass try to hop a fence.

Chapter 3

The creature is gone, but at least Gothic Victim is still alive despite having been well and truly et. There’s a creepy portrait in her bedroom that looks just like the vampire.

Chapter 4

Uncle Marchdale is like, ‘Fucking hell, we’re in a vampire novel!’

Henry: Wot

They then wait 12 hours to call the doctor for Gothic Victim. The doctor goes, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I am a man of science and vampires don’t exist.

Henry: I saw something feasting on my sister’s blood, I think it was a vampire.

Gothic Victim: I’ve literally lost half my blood and have severe PTSD. I wish I were dead. I should get a haircut.

The doctor: IT WASN’T A VAMPIRE, IT WAS A DREAM, DO OPIUM ABOUT IT.

Chapter 5

They get a letter from a new neighbor, Sir Francis Varney, who is in no way the vampire. Henry is like, ‘FFS, I’m really not looking for new friends at the moment. Kinda dealing with some stuff.’

Uncle Marchdale and Other Brother are like, ‘Hey, when we were chasing that vampire out of the house last night, we tore off a bit of his coat, which looks super old and kind of like that jacket your ancestor wore in the painting. Didn’t your ancestor kill himself? Don’t suicides become vampires? Also, I know we totally shot that vampire, but we couldn’t find his corpse and I think moonbeams replenish vampires’ electrolytes or something, so he’s probably already healed up from that bullet. What are the chances you’d be interested in a little bit of light grave robbing?’

SHIT THIS IS MOVING AT A FAIR CLIP

Chapter 6

We get a little family history. Traditionally all Bannerworth men suck, but this generation is okay. Their father squandered their wealth and died in mysterious circumstances, clutching a note that just read ‘The money—’.

They used to go to the continent every year on holiday when they could afford it. One year Gothic Victim, true to the name I’ve just given her, fell off a cliff or some such shit and was rescued by a man I’ll now call Hunky Boyfriend. They quickly got engaged but haven’t seen each other in a few years because he’s been roaming Europe as an artist.

Also, Uncle Marchdale has the hots for Mother Bannerworth, who we almost never see, and he’s clearly sniffing around for an advantage.

Chapter 7

We return to the prospect of grave robbing and have a long discussion about how long it takes bodies to decompose, as well as the logistics of getting into the family crypt. Then they talk about matches for a fucking century and a half.

Since all the menfolk are off grave robbing AT NIGHT, instead of during the day, they decide to give Gothic Victim a gun to protect herself.

Then the author talks about architecture in Kent for a while. Great.

Chapter 8

The Bannerworth boys show their good breeding by being weirded out by roaming around the crypt of their ancestors in the middle of the night. I don’t know that that’s a good metric to determine someone’s moral fibre, but whatever.

They search the tomb of old Marmaduke Bannerworth (Marmaduke. Bannerworth.) and find no body!

There is a tedious conversation about religion.

Chapter 9

Gothic Victim and Mother Bannerworth are left alone in the parlour, so No Good Shit Is Going To Happen. Something immediately starts scratching at the window again and they get all, ‘Oh, protect us, great bearers of testosterone! Oh wait, they’re all out of the house! Oh no, our uteruses are so frail!’ The window opens and Mother Bannerworth instantly faints, because she is fucking useless, leaving her nearly comatose, blood-drained daughter to fend for herself. Gothic Victim shoots whatever is outside the window, and he starts ‘crashing […] among the plants’. I just picture this goofy motherfucking vampire thrashing around knocking over decorative plant holders like a fuckin dweeb. What is this book?

Suddenly someone’s arms reach out and grab Gothic Victim and she faints.

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