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Literature / Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha

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Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha (also published as Judgment of Tears and latter as both Anno Dracula 1959 and as Anno Dracula 1959: Judgement of Tears) is the third novel in the Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman, set in an Alternate History where Dracula's successful invasion of England led to vampires coming out of the shadows.

It's 1959. Every vampire who is anybody is flocking to Rome the wedding of Count Dracula and Princess Asa Vajda, but there is a mysterious vampire killer on the loose.

The collected edition contains the novella, Aquarius, that has Kate Reid investigating a young woman's murder by vampire bite in the turbulent year of 1968.

     Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha 
  • AB Negative: The vampire Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock boasts that he can only drink AB- blood.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Orson Welles is mentioned as exchanging magic tricks with Cagliostro. Welles played Caligostro in Black Magic.
    • The vampire secret agent Hamish Bond is described as resembling his father-in-darkness Sergeant Dravot. In the 1975 film of The Man Who Would be King, Dravot was played by Sean Connery. At the end of the book, after Bond has been affected by magic, other characters note the change in his demeanour and consider that he has become more wooden and seems to emote entirely with his eyebrows, in reference to long-standing jokes about Roger Moore's performance as James Bond.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: When Penelope kills Dracula, he appears to welcome final death, even driving the silver knife further in. Or Penelope is just trying to make herself feel better. Penelope paints a haunting portrait of Dracula after she kills him, as a relic of a lost world who cannot keep up with the faster, modern world, despite of Dracula's fondness for modernity. When she kills him, Dracula appears to welcome final death, even driving the silver knife further in. Or Penelope is just trying to make herself feel better.
  • Anyone Can Die: Charles Beauregard dies of old age, Dracula is murdered.
  • Asshole Victim: The elder vampires who died, died in brutal fashion but Genevieve noted those elders were all nasty people to varying degrees. Penelope frames Tom for the murder of Dracula and the case against him has shut, but Tom was already a murderer who had killed his own friend and stole his identity.
  • Big Entrance: The Mother of Tears loves making a dramatic appearance, she's always there when the Crimson Executioner murders an elder vampire (all the murders are in public places and always with witnesses). She was the one who removed Dracula's head and turned the wedding into a horror show and one of her appearances to Kate was by mindcontrolling Marcello and having sex with him while forcing Kate to watch. All these splashy appearances is how the heroes were able to determine that the Mother of Tears was involved in the murders.
  • Captain Ersatz: Secret agent Hamish Bond is one of the series' rare cases of finding it necessary to explicitly state that this is a different character with a different name from the character he strongly resembles.
  • Celebrity Paradox: An actor who played Tarzan meets the actual Lord Greystoke.
  • Composite Character:
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Gregor Brastov is Hamish's equivalent of Blofeld. He ticks every box in the Bond villain checklist: elaborate Supervillain Lair, No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine (Genevieve lampshades it; Hamish takes it in stride), and Right-Hand Cat although that last one comes with a pretty big twist.
  • Different World, Different Movies: Vampire Edgar Poe is called to Rome to write the film version of Jason and the Argonauts, starring Kirk Douglas, Orson Welles (as the ship), Fritz Lang (as the voice of God), and Clark Kentnote .
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In a dramatic scene, the Bond character shoots the Blofeld character. However, Bond had misread the situation. The real villain was a vampire shapeshifter. He was the cat and the Blofeld character carrying him around was just one of his minions.
  • Genius Loci: The Mother of Tears (or Mama Roma) is a spirit tied to Rome and occasionally demands a blood sacrifice (be it war or ritual or whatnot). Her beef against elder vampires is that they'll alter the nature of Rome if they stay too long.
  • Genre Roulette: Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha starts out as one of the "romantic adventure in Europe" American films of the Fifties before it gets hijacked by a giallo slasher flick. And then it becomes a Spy Thriller. Then a giallo again. Then a Religious Horror film.
  • Golem: In the attack on Bond and Beauregard, two of the attackers (the ballerina and the big man) were golems. The ballerina was an animated clockwork doll while the man was a clay golem that was powered by a Star of David medallion.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Merrin is a priest and a genuinely good guy. He might also hunt monsters in his spare time.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Kate, Penelope, and Genevieve seem to embody the Maiden-Mother-Crone dynamic, respectively. And the Mother of Rome has four aspects: Mother, Maiden, Crone, and a fourth one (Whore).
  • In Spite of a Nail: When vampires revealed themselves to the world in the first novel of the series, there were dramatic social and political upheavals, but now, fifty or sixty years later, they seem to have had no real lasting effect on history at all; they exist, but everything else is the same.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Kate has never created any vampires because of her tainted bloodline, she does weaponize the Dark Kiss to kill the Crimson Executioner once she gets an epiphany about Mother of Tears's connection to the killer. Kate was going to break Mother's control by converting the Executioner, but Mother would rather he die than turn and forced him to spit Kate's blood out while he lay bleeding.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The series includes a lot of characters who go unnamed but have familiar descriptions (or partly unnamed, like the conniving young man Tom whose surname is never mentioned).
  • The Lost Lenore: Charles Beauregard for Genevieve.
  • Mad Scientist: Herbert West returns from the previous book, to serve as medical examiner to Dracula's death. He's accompanied by Dr. Septimus Pretorius.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: A combination of characters from both Fifties fiction in general as well as vampire characters.
  • Mind Control: The Mother of Tears has powerful mind control ability, turning a missing actor Travis Anderson into the Crimson Executioner and even controlling Hamish Bond himself (though Kate notes that Bond would be unusually weak to Mama Roma, as he's rather devoid internally and made himself almost into a living stereotype). She also took Kate's lover Marcello.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Vampires, when they die, tend to revert to whatever shape they'd be if they hadn't become vampires (ie. rotting corpses, or if they're old enough, dust). Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha has a weird twist where a model, who became a vampire to preserve her youthful beauty, gets killed and immediately gains all the weight she would have put on if she'd remained mortal.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires come from a number of various "Bloodlines", but are considered biological entities with "just a touch" of magic (they don't cast reflections, for example). Some may be able to transform, while others have corpse-like features, and others suffer from blood frenzy. Religious symbols and even garlic only affect those vampires who believe they can. Sunlight only hurts younger undead, and silver only serves to counter their regeneration abilities; any sufficient organ damage (like, say, a stake though the heart) can kill them for good.
    • As in the last book, things get weird when vampires start drinking from elders of other bloodlines. In this case Hamish Bond starts mutating from Sean Connery into Roger Moore.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Classic Romero flesh-eaters. Actually a bloodline of brain-dead vampires that "chew" blood rather than suck it. Nobody seems concerned about the possibility of a Zombie Apocalypse; they seem mostly confined in a Roman slum.
  • Paranormal Episode: Yes, even in a series with vampires. Dracula Cha-Cha-Cha features a trio of witch-goddesses who control the city of Rome.
  • Physical God: The Mother of Tears is a truly immortal Genius Loci and essentially invincible in Rome, the main characters just try to survive her - not defeat her. Mama Roma does have an uneasy understanding with the Church and while she'll tweak their nose occasionally (she sent a bird to peck Father Merrin, it won't go any further than that).
  • Right-Hand Cat: Gregor Brastov is a Blofeldish cat-stroking archvillain who turns out to be just a puppet manipulated by the real archvillain — his cat. Hamish Bond should have remembered that some vampires have Voluntary Shapeshifting.
  • Serial Killer: "The Crimson Executioner" is running around Rome targeting elder vampires, just as dozens of them have been invited to the city for Dracula's wedding.
  • Shout-Out: Countless, as usual for the series.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After an entire novel of build-up to his reappearance, Dracula is killed and beheaded off-screen, his unlife ending seconds after appearing.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Travis Anderson was transformed into the Crimson Executioner by Mama Roma. He's warm but was given so much superhuman strength that he's far stronger than any elder vampire. This lets him skin Gregor Brastov with his bare hands and then rip him apart after and later he was on the verge of popping off Genevieve's head with a single hand. He also Feels No Pain, having one of his eyes gouged out by Penelope but doesn't even flinch.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Hamish Bond.
  • The Unmasqued World: After Dracula took over England, all the vampires come out of hiding. By the time this novel starts, their existence is regarded as an ordinary fact of life.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Some vampires are implied to have the traditional fangs and evening dress, but walk about in public without a second thought. Also, characters like Frankenstein's Monster apparently don't arouse any suspicion on the streets of Rome.
  • The Vamp: Several of the vampire women in the story. So much so that Genevieve and Kate stand notably apart from it.
    • Penelope has become this over the decades, an amoral immortal who's capable of corrupting the unsuspecting with her feminine wiles (she's even grown longer legs over the decades with her limited shape-shifting to improve her looks). Her code name at the Bat Soldier program was "Trampire"
  • Vampire Variety Pack: The different bloodlines each features a different subset of vampire characteristics; only some bloodlines are able to transform into other shapes, for instance.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Missing actor Travis Anderson was made into a masked wrestler by Mama Roma and he would use grappling techniques to kill some of his victims. Against the monstrous henchman Flattop, the Crimson Executioner snapped his back with a backbreaker.

  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Kate thinks that stunted sexual desire is part of why hate crimes against vampires exist.
  • Ascended Extra: Kate Reed is now the protagonist of her own story after being a supporting protagonist in previous ones.
  • Big Bad: Caleb Croft is now leading a youth cult that attempts to teach young vampires how to be predators.
  • Cop Killer: The police only go after the Circle of Light because they killed a vampire police officer.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Much of the central conflict between vampires and humans is driven by the ongoing racial and social strife of the time. It is also designed to deliberately invoke the sensationalism of the period.
  • The Dragon: Deboys serves as this to Caleb Croft.
  • Fantastic Racism: Vampires are subject to a lot of this but, interestingly, have a bunch of contempt toward regular humans.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: The Black Monks believe vampires should be this.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: Kate Reed is stunned that beauty standards have changed that freckled redheads like herself are considered sensual now.
  • Police Brutality: The police loathe the hippies and vice versa.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Kate Reed is especially disgusted for the fact that Caleb used his power to control women before feeding on them.
  • Take That!: Kate Reid comments on the "catsuit and karate chopping" beautiful women of the Diogenes Club.
  • The '60s: Even more so than Dracula Cha-Cha as it talks about the youth counter-culture, changes in spy culture, and more in London.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Kate Reed is stunned to find out that only a fraction of the vampires changed in her day made it to a hundred.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Van Helsing's descendants have an unsurprising reputation for anti-vampire violence, best seen exhibited by his grandson in "Aquarius". The Circle of Light is a bunch of vampire hating bigots motivated by sexual jealousy.
  • Voluntary Vampire Victim: Jessica Van Helsing thinks vampires are dreamy, which upsets her relatives.