From One Circus To Another – Vampirella: Bloodstalk

Bloodstalk is the first novel in a series starring Vampirella from Warner Books released in 1975 and written by Ron Goulart, a man who would also go on to write every subsequent book as well. Clocking in at one hundred and thirty-four actual story pages, it would not be a long story, but one that was short and to the point, with no excessive verbiage or dialogue filling its pages though a lot would end up happening throughout its meagre length.

It would begin on a snowy mountain-top after a plane crash and Vampirella’s thirst out of control. Soon after she would awaken in an insane asylum, prisoner to a man who has figured out what she is and who demands her flesh in return for a blood substitute he has created, a mixture that will cure her of her need for blood. Whoring herself out is not on the top of her list of priorities and so she decides to escape and discovers the Cult of Chaos within the bowels of the institute, a group also in need of a sacrifice. Her travels soon take her to Feldonville where another chapter of the Cult awaits her, one that is aware of what she has done and lies in wait, though unprepared for just what she is. Finally, she heads to Blackston’s Mammoth Carnival, towards a head-on collision with the Cult of Chaos and the demon Asmodeus and all the while, through every pit-stop, the Van Helsings are there, hunting her.

The book is a quick read, exceptionally so, but there is a lot of action with the various cult members, a good dose of horror throughout and some interesting drama with Adam and Conrad Van Helsing, the latter of whom wants her dead and the former believing that she has no evil intentions. Vampirella also meets a broken-down magician by the name of Pendragon who just may have some real magic at his command, though Goulart never goes into depth on that particular subject. Also peppering the book is a slight bit of humour which almost always comes from Vampirella, though Pendragon himself becomes the source for a few chuckles with his constant mutterings.

Though the books ends with Vampirella coming away a winner, the Cult of Chaos still lives and the Van Helsings, though admitting that Vampirella did indeed help with the destruction of a few chapters, in the case of Conrad, he is still not completely convinced that she is as good as Adam might think. For those that love Vampirella, Goulart and Bloodstalk will definitely satisfy.

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