Not teen idols with fangs

Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories is like a long-awaited and terribly refreshing gulp of water with which to rinse out one’s mouth after eating a dish that wasn’t particularly well-prepared—not that the Twilight series is poorly written, but really, baby vampires chewing their way out of Mum’s womb? Instead of a dark, brooding, “vegetarian” vampire (and isn’t Edward Cullen just a wimpy rip-off of Angel?), these precursors of modern-day bloodsuckers were freaking evil with a capital “E.” Sims gives a brief overview of the contemporary understanding of death, which gave rise to the vampire mythology, then kicks into overdrive with stories like John Polidori’s “The Vampyre.” Here’s the deal: There is an inverse relationship to amount of fang shown and the height of terror reached. Read Anne Crawford’s “A Mystery of the Campagna,” or M.R. James’ “Count Magnus,” and then see just how romantic vampires remain.