This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
Let’s play a game. Which novel, released in the 1970s by an author with the initials A.R., concerns itself primarily with the autobiography of a vampire whose undeath has spanned centuries, as relayed during a framing story set in the modern day?
If the first thing which comes to mind, given those clues, is “Interview With the Vampire” – or even “Oh, it’s by Anne Rice but I’m forgetting the title, Tom Cruise was in the movie wasn’t he?”, you’re probably not the target audience for The Vampire Tapes unless you are so over the moon about Interview that you would happily read any old pastiche of it. If your answer is “Gosh, I don’t know, but it sounds awfully interesting!”, you might be the sort of person that The Vampire Tapes was hoping to sell itself too. Penned by illustrator, editor, and part-time hack author Russ Jones under the Arabella Randolphe pseudonym (one which, sadly, would never be used for any other project), The Vampire Tapes is such a cheap, rushed hack job that it’s hard not to see it as the publishing equivalent of the movies of The Asylum – works optimised to rip off a more famous work as closely as possible whilst steering well clear of lawsuit territory, marketed mainly to those with uncritical tastes, unquenchable appetites for similar works, or who just buy the knock-off instead of the original by mistake.