“There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of ... in the police officer's training manual."
We pick up back at the lair of the Vamp Hottie who is satisfying his curiosity by picking through Vicki’s handbag. Vicki awakes, and after some bantering back and forth is informed and then convinced that Hottie, aka Henry Fitzroy, is in fact a vampire. They eventually come to a working agreement to hunt their killer, a demon, together. Vicki doing the day work and Henry the night.
Over the course of the next couple of days, we learn a few things about Henry including:
- He’s THE Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry the Eighth
- Vampires can eat garlic, touch crosses (Henry even has a rosary as a bracelet) and can be seen in mirrors
- He was turned by a woman he was very in love with, but vampires are very territorial and after a few months they had to part company or they might attack each other
- He had a prior encounter with a group of demon worshippers and stole their grimoire to keep it hidden
- He abhors dark magic (a tie back to his religious nature)
- He writes and draws several series of supernatural graphic novels, including one titled “Blood Price”
When conventional methods fail, Henry is forced to use the grimoire and black magic to hone in on the area of the next attack. They are unable to stop the demon before he kills and to add insult to injury Demon Dude puts a total smackdown on Henry. With Henry weakened by his wounds and desperate for blood to heal himself, Vicki offers up her own blood. Henry drinks enough to gain the strength to stumble home with Vicki’s help and as sun rises falls into his death like sleep. Vicki watches over him, even protecting him from the overly curious doorman by pretending to have Henry “tied up” in the other room, a move that leads to a very pleasant awakening for the now fully healed Henry (and proving that he’s not completely dead) when he gets an eyeful of Vicki redressing.
Some more detective work, including a consultation with an old friend of Henry’s, who is a professor of Occult Studies, and a call from Coreen, leads to a showdown at Nerdy Norman’s tricked out loft. Norman has managed to kidnap Coreen, attacks Vicki and has designs to use her as his final sacrifice. Norman brands Vicki with the marks of Astoroth (which become permanent when the spell is invoked) and calls up first the minion and then the big boss himself. Henry busts in and casts a spell that sucks the demons and Norman back into Hell.; But not before Mike busts in, gun drawn, in time to see a glimpse of the demon.
The next day Coreen (who knows the truth about Henry) blackmails her way into Vicki’s open assistant position. That evening Henry comes to see Vicki explaining that they are now connected through their common demonic enemy and the blood Vicki gave Henry. They are interrupted by the arrival of Mike, leaving Henry (who ducked away before Mike saw him) to watch wistful as the old friends walk away laughing.
Although sharing the name of the first novel, these two hours do not 100% faithfully follow the original plot. Several locations are changed, along with a slew of minor details. But most of these changes are forgivable as they do not change the core of the story. The only major change is the exclusion of Tony, the street punk, and sometimes male hooker, Vicki has been friends with since her beat days. He plays a major part in the book’s original attack scene when Henry needs more blood than he can safely take from one person. This exclusion was, it has been reported, necessary due to another company having the rights to Huff’s later Shadow Trilogy which features Tony as one of the major players. In exchange for this loss, we gain Coreen, who in the books disappears after the case is over. Time will tell if the substitution plays well although I feel it should provide some humor from Coreen’s interest in Henry and a possible little sister vibe with Vicki. Plus the inclusion of an occult fanatic will help with case research when things get ‘interesting’ (which will likely be more often than Vicki wishes now that she’s been touched by a demon). On a minor note in the books Henry is a romance novel writer, but this seems a tad odd for a fellow of 23 in the 21st century so the switch to graphic novels works well. One could even guess that perhaps for a time he was writing said romance novels and moved on to something new, perhaps at the same time as a move in homesteads so no one would notice his lack of aging.
I personally like that Huff did not lock step to the various vampire myths. Huff has been quoted in interviews saying that she took each idea one by one and dismissed the ones that didn’t make sense to her. In her mind, vampires are not all evil so the whole aversion to crosses and no reflection (believed to be because vampires had no soul) were gone. Instantly bursting into flames seems a bit much, but certainly a quick and nasty sunburn is plausible (change in skin chemistry creating a kind of albino condition). And so on. Another item of note that I love is the use of Henry Fitzroy. History records that young Henry (a mere 17 when he died) was the victim of a wasting disease, later thought to be tuberculous which includes coughing up blood as a symptom. There are even tales that his father had a charge of witchcraft placed on Anne Boleyn, saying she cursed Henry to die so her own daughter would inherit the throne. Huff is recorded as saying she thought it would be fun to start off with the ‘what if’ of Henry being food to a vamp who later turned him as an explanation for recorded history. I have to agree it was a wonderful idea.
As with the first hour, Part 2 is good campy supermarket trash fun. It is sexy without being smutty, just violent enough entertain and quippy without being too corny. In some ways it is almost a Scream like riff on the vampire romantic suspense genre. If the show can keep up this style and tempo it will be a delightful guilty pleasure.