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The Little Vampire (original title: Der kleine Vampir) is a children's fantasy series by German author Angela Sommer-Bodenburg that follows the adventures of young Tony Peasbody and the child vampire Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (Anton Bohnsack and Rüdiger von Schlotterstein in the original German version, respectively).

The series has sold over 12 million copies and has been translated into over 30 languages. Sommer-Bodenburg states that her "vampire is not a bloodthirsty monster, however, but an affectionate little vampire with fears and foibles who will perhaps help free children of their own fears."[1] The novel, written in 1979, spawned a series of books, and the plot has been adapted to theatre, radio, cinema, and television.

Sommer-Bodenburg wrote the first chapter of The Little Vampire as an experiment to get to see what types of literature could hold the interest of her students.[2] In 1984, she retired from teaching and dedicated herself to painting and writing. She has written more than 40 books for both children and adults, from poetry to novels. She calls the success of the Little Vampire series a "mixed blessing" to her career as an author, stating on her website: "I was pigeon-holed as the author of children's books and, within this pigeon-hole, I was further classified as the author of vampire books."[2]

Contents

Original book series

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Plot

9-year-old Anton Bohnsack has a special passion for vampire horror novels, but he wouldn't have dreamed of meeting an actual vampire himself until one shows up on this windowsill one night. This rather juvenile vampire by the name of Rüdiger von Schlotterstein, however, soon loses any interest in biting Anton when he spots Anton's book collection and promptly "borrows" some volumes. Anton and Rüdiger quickly become friends, and soon Anton gets acquainted with selective members of Rüdiger's ancient family, particularly Anna, Rüdiger's little sister. Time and again, Anton must act as the vampires' liaison to the human world and as their daylight protector against the predations of Geiermeier, the keeper of the graveyard where the Schlottersteins reside.

Main characters

Anton Bohnsack
An only child and passionate fan of the horror genre, though in real life handicapped by a certain nervousness. After meeting actual vampires he has become more or less fascinated with them, although he is unwilling to become one himself -
Rüdiger (Ruldoph) von Schlotterstein
The middle child of the ancient Schlotterstein vampire clan, age about 150 years. Friends with Anton, although a certain selfishness puts a strain on their relationship at times. He claims to be brave, but in his own way is just as timid as Anton. He has a big, though unrequited crush on Olga von Seifenschwein, a cousin from his late uncle Theodor's side.
Anna von Schlotterstein (aka Anna the Toothless)
The youngest child of the Schlottersteins and Rüdiger's younger sister. She was initially nicknamed "die Zahnlose" ("the Toothless") because she had not yet developed her fangs when she first met Anton, and so had to sustain herself on milk. She quickly develops a crush on Anton, which is reciprocated, but their respective natures as vampire and human prove rather problematic in them getting closer together.
Lumpi von Schlotterstein (aka Lumpi the Strong)
The eldest son of the Schlottersteins, and Rüdiger's and Anna's older brother. Because he became a vampire during his puberty, Lumpi is naturally short-tempered and quick to anger. Frequently makes menacing allusions to Anton about wanting to bite him, though he respects Rüdiger's and Anna's friendship with him and has kept it a secret from the rest of the family.
Aunt Dorothee (Dorothy) von Schlotterstein-Seifenschwein
Rüdiger's aunt is a widow; her spouse Theodor von Seifenschwein was killed by Geiermeier long before the start of the series. She is extremely blood-thirsty and the most dangerous member of her family, but is so old that she already has to use dentures.
Uncle Theodor (Theodore) von Seifenschwein
The husband of Aunt Dorothee and Rüdiger's, Anna's and Lumpi's uncle was destroyed by Geiermeier before the start of the actual story. His empty coffin still stands in the family crypt, where it serves as the cover for an emergency exit. His robe (which like the robes of all other vampires enables its wearer to fly) is frequently used by Anton on his vampire-related adventures.
Hans-Heinrich Geiermeier
The rat-nosed keeper of the graveyard where the Schlottersteins hide. After encountering and destroying Uncle Theodore, he has become a relentless vampire hunter. He habitually eats garlic as protection against the vampires and carries a hammer and several wooden stakes with him on his night-time patrols.
Anton's parents
Anton's father works in an office, his mother (named Helga) is a schoolteacher. Both do not really believe in vampires, though they have met Rüdiger and Anna several times. While Anton's father is more easy-going and adventurous, his mother is short-tempered and touchy, especially about Anton's hobbies and his 'peculiar' friends.
The Schlottersteins
In addition to Rüdiger, his siblings and his aunt and uncle mentioned above, the Schlotterstein clan includes:
  • Sabine the Horrible (Sabine die Schreckliche), the family's matriarch and Rüdiger's, Anna's and Lumpi's grandmother
  • Wilhelm the Rakish (Wilhelm der Wüste), Sabine's husband
  • Ludwig the Terrible (Ludwig der Fürchterliche), Rüdiger's, Anna's and Lumpi's father
  • Hildegard the Thirsty (Hildegard die Durstige), Ludwig's wife and mother of Rüdiger, Anna and Lumpi
Olga von Seifenschwein
The daughter - and only survivor - of a prostigious Transylvanian vampire family, which was destroyed by a raging mob, who escaped to her aunt Dorothee. Extremely spoiled, selfish and vain, she has become the object of attention of Rüdiger, but expresses some interest in Anton instead, much to Anna's chagrin.
Schnuppermaul
A gardener hailing from Stuttgart who has become Geiermeier's partner in hunting vampires. However, Schnuppermaul is more easygoing and dumper than his partner and has an extreme cleanliness quirk. He has become a close friend of Lumpi, but is unaware that the latter is one of the vampires he is supposed to be hunting.
Jürgen Schwartenfeger
A jovial and broad-minded psychologist to whom Anton is sent when his parents eventually become suspicious of Rüdiger's and Anna's vampiric nature. Schwartenfeger is a specialist in treatment of phobias; in fact, he is working on a program which is supposed to de-sensibilize vampires from their fear of the sun.
Igno von Rant/Professor August Piepenschnurz
At first Igno von Rant appears as a mysteríous vampire patient of Schwartenfeger's de-sensibilization program, but later he is revealed as a professor in "vampirology" who is in cohorts with Geiermeier. In order to get closer to the Schlottersteins he has been courting Aunt Dorothee and tried to win Rüdiger's and Anna's confidence.

Television series

1985 (Canada)

A 13 episode TV series that was adapted from the first two books of the series: The little Vampire and The Little Vampire Moves in. The production was shot in Edmonton, Canada and was a co production of Norddeutscher Rundfunk, TVS UK and Norflicks Canada. The show was dubbed into German and was broadcast in Germany by Norddeutscher Rundfunk.

The series starred Joel Dacks in the title role of Rudiger, Christopher Stanton as Anton, Marsha Moreau as Anna and Canadian musician Jim Gray as Lumpi, who sang the show's theme song "They Can See in the Dark". Gert Fröbe, known for the role of Goldfinger in the James Bond series, appeared in the series as the vampire hunter Geiermeier. It was one of Fröbe's last roles before he died in 1988.

1993 (Germany)

A 13 episode sequel to the Canadian series was produced by Westdeutscher Rundfunk in 1993. The series was adapted from the third and fourth books of the series: The Little Vampire Takes a Trip and The Little Vampire on the Farm.

The series starred Jan Steilen in the title role, Matthias Ruschke as Anton, Lena Beyer as Anna and German theatre star Angelika Milster as Aunt Dorothy.

Film (2000)

The Little Vampire
Directed by Uli Edel
Starring Jonathan Lipnicki
Richard E. Grant
Jim Carter
Alice Krige
Pamela Gidley
Release date(s) 2000
Running time 91 minutes
Country  United States
Language English

The Hollywood version of the story was released in 2000 and stars Rollo Weeks, Dean Cook, Anna Popplewell, Jonathan Lipnicki, Richard E. Grant and Alice Krige. The film premiered on ABC Family and now frequently runs around Halloween on the Disney Channel and ABC Family. It was written by Larry Wilson

Plot

Tony Thompson (played by Jonathan Lipnicki) is an only child whose family has moved to Scotland from California. As would be expected, he has no friends in the new country, and he is picked on by bullies at school, who happen to be the grandsons of his father's boss. It seems as though he is destined to suffer through his first year at the new school. However, he starts having recurring nightmares about vampires.

Life starts to get very interesting for Tony when he meets a young vampire named Rudolph (played by Rollo Weeks) who soon becomes his best friend. Rudolph has a sister Anna (played by Anna Popplewell) who develops a crush on him, and a brother Gregory (played by Dean Cook). His family have been looking for a mystical stone to turn them human, but an evil vampire hunter named Rookery (played by Jim Carter) wants the stone to send all vampires down to the Underworld. A battle ensues on a cliff with Tony, his parents, Rudolph's family and other vampires versus Rookery. Rookery is shoved off the cliff to his death and Tony turns all the vampires back to being human and later reunites with the human Rudolph and Anna. However, there is some question as to whether it worked on Gregory seeing that he looks the same, minus the fangs.

Soundtrack

Original Score by Nigel Clarke & Michael Csanyi Wills

The soundtrack was released on October 17, 2000 by New Line Records.

  1. "Iko Iko" — Aaron Carter
  2. "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" — A*Teens (Cover from the original ABBA song)
  3. "Let's Get Funky Tonight" — Dream Street
  4. "Best Friends" — Angela Via
  5. "You Can Get It" — Baha Men
  6. "Let Your Soul Shine" — Bosson
  7. "Shalala Lala" — The Vengaboys
  8. "Here I Am" — No Authority
  9. "Flee Fly Flo" — Fe-m@il
  10. "Reason I Live" — Ace
  11. "Cool In The Wind" — Michael Reiss
  12. "Requiem (The Fifth)" — Trans-Siberian Orchestra

References

  1. ^ Source: Angela Sommer-Bodenburg Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2002.
  2. ^ a b Author's website

External links

Nigel Clarke & Michael Csanyi Wills at www.moviefonics.com


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