I do not claim that this tale will disturb many a heart, end an endless fear, nor lap up your blood. Besides, many have had stranger tales happen to them than this one of mine, wherein an unending fear reigns. Yeah? On Christmas Eve, no less? This is what you wonder. You, smiling, story-intoxicated reader souls. Should dark wonders emerge from the colors of Christmas trees, betwixt laughter and kisses, the flying confetti? People with no prejudice, I’m talking directly to you now, you that were touched by Pluto, perhaps cut off at the waist by his hand, or pointed by it to the road of an eternal weather wane.
During the Christmas Eve party, in the villa on Gravity Hill, I was invited by Oliver Daldry, a controversial horror director, a master in his field. His amorphous creatures were capable of shapeshifting human organs in Ineffigatius on the Blue Hill, which was selling out packed theatres. He weaved tales later in Reanimated Beasts, the colossal Amorphoso, and the cult classic Hand Shape. All four films were banned after the first screening.
I drove to the villa in my Polo, driving in neutral on the inclines of odd gravitational pulls. I saw streams flowing upstream. I heard rocks ringing. I spotted wavy trees, growing crookedly and its old, knotty branches pinned to the ground.
– Eh, nothing Escher had not already painted – I thought. I was hitting the brakes uphill, meandered circular roads of Danteian architectonics. At long last I made it to the top, parked, managing to wedge my car between two other vehicles. One was a Lamborghini of a plastic surgeon. An attractive purple-haired Mexican girl talked him into, just in case, turning the front tires “hacia el centro de la pista, con el fin de asegurarse de que nada va cuesta arriba”.
I laughed at her superstitious comments, shifted gears and stopped the car in front of the castle gates.
The castle towered over everything, surrounded by pine trees, towered over the villa, shining with the light of the intersecting light beams. Dressed in satin-like soil, umbra-hued villa was filled with numerous guests. The reflectors on the pyramidal roof were squirting droplets of light onto the limos, adding shade to the hue of the horizon.
I exited my car and, as my nose was assailed by the wind from the mouth of a sculpture on the porch, cast in bronze (a mere porch figurine, a misshapen Aeolus), I was welcomed by Daldry, a merry Hitchcock, in a strange way merging with this whole powder keg of a scene.
– My friend! Duck head, rhino neck, horse ears! We lose life illusions, but not optical ones, never those, ha ha ha – he clenched my hand heartily, while his eyes kept check, it seemed, of the items in the background. – Why do you think I chose Pasadena in the first place?
– I see you have no response. Strange things make up life, my friend, and the creepiest of those have long been swallowed by celluloid – he mumbled with melancholy, only for his face to again be adorned by a smile of a Santa Claus.
– But, do you believe…if you don’t mind me being so personal – he had his hands outspread and whispered to me in a conspiratorial manner – that I feel repulsion towards the dreamlike, to the banal dreamlike. In a paranormal experiment lies the key. I want to assault the world!
– And if the world strikes back? – I followed, hands in pockets. Daldry moved quickly, hunched again, like a determined primate.
– Bingo! – he drummed on my forehead with his finger. – When it strikes back, then, at the very least, the seats are full. – He giggled while we were climbing the stairs up into the inside of the castle.
I was welcomed by a sight of shiny dresses of the female Guests, interspersed with a cacophony of voices.
The ladies were nonchalantly handling the Swarovski glasses. The conversations of various frequencies were intertwined with a lush color palette of the inside of the castle. The enchanting aura of the eve was intersected by Auld Lang Syne.
At times my lust for the film was grand. Oftentimes, as a lad, I went to the local cinema which had a small yet always packed room whose walls were laden with movie posters. While I was sucking up the magic from the big screen, like a vampire, the images merged with one another, like one shape submerging into the next. Enchanted by cabaret dancing, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, I became a boy-worker in the dream factory. As a kid, I was distributing mail, did odd jobs which were still of importance, and as such had the opportunities to be part of casting tryouts – I was excited by the chair creaking when shooting began as well as the canned laughter. And the cameras… ever moving, living, fisheye. After the war, a strange set of circumstances and decisions led me somewhere else, thus having lost nearly all illusions about life, and consequently about art, I was satisfied with an occasional hangout with the film’s greats. After a decade spent in banking investment, with maps of financial schemes as focal points, my war siege on the Big Apple ended in a Caesarean manner, I became a benefactor and collector of film paraphernalia.
Recognizing this passion of mine from my words, the host, followed by a Jew-nosed butler with a tray filled with glasses where we drank large sips from while conversing, quickly and not too formally took me through the villa towards the upper rooms, where many a cinematographic miracle was hiding away: from a vast cinema-for-one built in a surrealist style, to museum props from some ancient and unknown times.
– You know, Jack, this castle belonged to a famous director who died under mysterious circumstances – he gulped – they claim he is the true author of Nosferatu!
I stared through him with an eye of an impressed interlocutor when my eyes rested on an old camera model in the middle of the showcase.
– An this?
– That’s…a very rare model – he said.
I felt the magic of the evening tightening. I took one look at the camera. It was an almost forgotten film projector model, made to shoot silent films, a 9.5mm recorder. I was looking at this appliance of unusual craftsmanship, its round fluorescent lens, its spiky rodent-like tip. As if it were shaped in magma and cast out of the boiling innards of this Earth by sulfur. What are eons but a whisper of living dreams? The reflection of the fluorescent night, snatched away from Nature, was caught in the Shape.
This camera is an artist’s revenge. Down the camera’s lens flowed tears of souls sleeping frozen in time. The walls were the dance floor of purple shadows, as Daldry scraped about in silence smiling.
– Reality checks and checks and checks! – a twisted giggle continued. A Daldrian surmountable gap of comedy and horror. Devil’s teeth.
– Is it working? – I downed another glassful of champagne.
– But of course. Push the button at the back of the thing and you get a frame. The most natural movie action, my friend. Using this Old Shatterhand I made a pure cinematic beauty last year on a… hmmm… a lady. The damned motor of this thing! – my merry host giggled.
– Who, the lady? – I downed the third glass too, but my sight was clear and sober inasmuch that I could not miss the fine print on the camera’s back. It said: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, 1922.
– This is one aging lady… for a Sony CA d50…
– RCP… HDV… HDCU… Ah, those modern ones, and yet her acronyms, opposite an old glow of Antiquity. I guarantee you that this age-old camera, and even the models predating it, contains the elixirs of cinematic youth. To replace living human beings with amorphous actors, or rather, to replace a seemingly staged order with a chaotic form, but with a very non-chaotic fixed function, does that seem not-artistic to you? A howling old machine contrasted with the power of new diagrams. The grotesque, bug-eyed larvae, shells of amphibians, formlessness, outline-lessness!
– But…where is the life?
– Life? – Daldry was confused. – Life is merely a function. I merely replace the logical function with an illogical one… I don’t understand…
– Life, a message to people, even if it bleeds, the artistic act and means, unacceptable to many, but safe in the hands of a humane master of horror.
It was as if he was holding back until that point, Daldry burst into laughter and covered his eyes, while his shoulders shook at the same time.
– A humane…master of horror… hahahahahaha, say it again, my friend! If they find it so confusing, why are there so many rows of ticket buyers, standing before the bizarreness…
Suddenly he got more serious, rubbed his bald spot, stared at me with his tiny peepers and mumbled with his lips tightened.
– Why do you think that Cronenberg did not make his new film with this camera in particular? –he pointed to my new metal mistress. – with Camera 22. Maybe a strap or coil were missing here and there, but Tesla managed to fix that for the filmmaker as well. – he said and devotedly looked at the ceiling.
For a moment I thought this man was not about his wits. Too much Socrates in the afternoon heat, perhaps.
– Because it is unbelievable! Those are two mutually exclusive alternatives – I rationalized.
– What if there’s a third?
Wishing to end this conversation that went nowhere, I said this with a funny accent.
– If so, I would love to use it to snatch the fruit of fortune on these faces – I was pointing, over the terrace ledge supported by steel columns, to the merry guests were, entranced as if tangoing, dancing a furious waltz.
– If the perforation between those two images (considering your stance) doesn’t bother you, go on ahead…But, a few more words. You say something is incredible. Is Necker’s cube impossible? It is, but again not as a product of optical illusion…Excuse me a sec. – Daldry went for a couple, a senior gentleman wearing a cylinder hat a la Vienna which, somewhat, covered the entire forehead of deeply sunken black eyes, accompanied by a gorgeous photo-model.
The last thing I caught with my camera’s Eye was Daldry’s hawkish semi-profile enough to uncover a wide smile and extended hands in order to greet the Newcomers. Both directors wore expensive black leather gloves and a similar earring whose shape I could not discern… I looked at the woman. She did not look back even though she was aware of her female power. She shook the hand of another director somewhat more intimate than before. A response, maybe?
– Dario, il mio amico, come stai. Benvenuti nel mio castello di Dracula 3D. Questo deve essere Tania, la nostra bellezza.Miriam, one of numerous Spanish actresses you wouldn’t believe!… Mirriam, darling! Abbi cura di lui. Se lui non è mangiato da un lupo o Dracula, Mina’ll lui mangiare.
While the voices swung like the gowns of gracious ladies waltzing like Furies, I was flipping the wooden box of the old Model, immensely curious yet without someone to share it with. I clicked the button. The camera buzzed.
It captured pompous faces in an unusual clarity of colors, or did the pompousness touch the mystic coil in the rotting idol of technology. It captured the flash of a firecracker, the shining of a distant star. I shot a lady with a generous cleavage trying to hide the dimness of melancholy sprayed in her eye, opening it widely, supposedly impressed. Her husband flirted with some minister’s wife, listening to her interested on the surface while she spoke of secret arrests.
I turned the lens towards a bearded man with gray eyes, inebriated generously, unaware of his surroundings, at the same time gritting his flimsy teeth to giggle, toothless, at the joke of a she-dwarf with a stiff and ridiculously bleached hairdo, mumbling all the way.
– A trinket lady, wee lady, lady…
The rest seemed almost happy. The minister and the she-dwarf danced a primordial tango. The children jumped out and let loose purple balloons from their launcher. It was a specific plastic funnel down which heads of water balloons rolled, sliding down the tube.
– Aim! Fire! – the children were dancing around the popped balloons, tapping their little hands. One tried to save the last balloon. The others chased after him. Someone spoke of da Vinci’s flying contraption, when suddenly, suddenly… The Camera stopped buzzing.
I looked at it from all sides, but found nothing that would stop the hum.
Recording was still happening. I had already downed the fifth glass of champaigne, then spun my head like a proper drunkard, sticking my camera anew into the she-dwarf, but instead saw a centipede crawling on the dance floor of Macabre! I shook my camera with all its might and looked at the recording. Instead of the insect, I saw a geometric abyss where it crawled, vanishing in the macabre darkness. I then spotted a female creature and pointed the camera at it, while my hand shook but faintly. I saw the miracle – instead of a smuggled smile, in the corner of the lips I spotted something inhuman, girlotesque, which increased until a spider crawled out of her mouth. The minute she saw me record, her tongue darted out while the spiders contracted their legs. I grabbed the doorway, frail, dazedly observing the tiny bubbles of the intoxicating drink, while water and latex balloons surrounded me.
– They must put something in this drink. It might be a better idea to go outside, to sober up. Fresh air, lighted area, that’s what I need.
I moved cautiously to the alley… But instead of crushed quartz, I saw a trail spotted with amphibians’ husks. I saw ancient things on the guests’ faces, The important director, an archeologist in his spare time, sat on the bench and slowly turned towards me giving me something resembling hands mumbling with his face in utter fear. The retired general was now a centaur. I set the camera down. The elder centaur was smiling at me, a bit confused because I was already lead by a dark force, on the road to horror, upright on my feet. He fixed his shoulder straps and turned his head to the side in disgust, mumbling.
The bench mumbler shrugged, pointed to my camera and giggled.
Again I raised my lens – instead of a mouth it had a small chasm. It was the blackness that sucked up trees while blood moistened his forehead… With dim swipes the black shades were running, animals from the eon of horror, ancient beasts, devourers of time, furious zombies of women with eyelashes, the size of a small sea star, three more othercentaurs.
A white-skinned child, whose face was chiseled into a mythological construct with two all-white eyes, was smiling at me. It was blond, with a red bump growing out of the top of his head and splashing around. It was his brain! I pointed my camera towards the second child which stumbled about, even more disgusting and deformed than the former…
– Diablo, Akuma, get away from that man – a voice of a concerned mother whose face was on the wrong side. Worms crawled in her hair.
– Why, mom?
– Something is wrong with him, on.
– Indeed, kids, look at his face.
– What’s with his nose? It’s bubbling up.
– A Tuber-man – the doppelganger of the first degenerate child laughed disgustingly.
I lowered the camera and turned it to me. I then recorded my own hands while getting confused, still going around and recording the monsters and the rot. They grew, matured, festered, mated, held hands, Hitchcock’s birds on a single wire.
All I could see was all the guests looking at me with open bemusement. I took the lens to me and recorded for a while. I caught nothing, for I had no face, but a fog, maybe a halo.
Horrified, I lowered the camera again, until maddening fear shook me by the shoulders, I saw corpses lined up and cannibals ripping their flesh, while merry people danced around them, and I was crushed by madness, it grew roots in me and was swallowing me whole…
– No, that’s not possible, no! – but, something still made me record it all, was it the summoning of evil in the heart of man, a built-in wicked matter egged on by curiosity and finally hope for an acceptable explanation? Maybe a quest for irony to justify my orgy with averageness. I was an artist, a fascinating Creator archetype, creator of symphonic fantasies at film studies. My shots even impressed prof. Eckhart, an old pro who was now less than a phosphorus mist of memory.
The tape branched into foils of engraved imprints of a decent master of my Nightmares. They were after me ever since I got rid of illusions? That maybe? Conscience?
No mythical foreheritage nor amphibian heroines. And he, Daldry, the merry beast, looked like my role model, the professor. A merry little imp. In a weird way things are becoming set, suppressed anguish grow through the cracks into optical legends viewed through the disfigured noise and theatrical Repentance. But why like this? How come?
I saw the recording, while guests looked at me strangely…Kids played about the corpses.
All of this outside the chasm, the dread, innocence replaced horror, and mouths breathed through the deepest pits.
Within them, oh how strange, in the rhythm and beat of the First of the Ancients, live modern men and civilized thought – fascinated, I looked at the camera. Instead of my face I saw a lichen.
– Where is my face? – I shrieked, to which some ladies fled, and the octopus-man crawling atop some Sisyphus-like rock, as recorded by me, was a gracious gentleman, sober, ever-sober and disgusted by my drunkenness.
– Sir, you’re scaring the children, step away!
– But they’re not children! – I lifted my camera again to see tiny monsters. I felt someone’s enormous hand on my shoulders. I jerked. It was Daldry.
I feverishly pointed the lens at him and saw, not without relief, that his face was his own. The only one, the only…
– My friend, please realize. These are not your friends.
My host fidgeted and looked at them with unease as they stepped away. A mother took her children staring at me with disgust and horror.
– This… – I did not even know how to say this to him. – These are not humans.
– If not, who are they?
Should a genius ask me this? Who are they? Monsters. The price of secrets, all of our hiding, which the lens uncovers. Camera is God, it contains truth of the Guests, this night, the noise, the glimmer, the cold night of warm colors…
– You had a whole bottle of Daniels, Jack.
I grabbed his lapels and shook him.
– Snap out of it, man, look for yourself, look at your friends through the lens of truth an you’ll see. Degenerates, passed through the wall of the paranormal, extended their hairy hands, found the broken window separating man from ancient beast!
A lucky firecracker exploded in the distance.
– It must have something to do with the story of the dead director. He saw what I saw, and THEY killed him – I was waving my arms, getting in his face.
– Shall we call the police, Jack? – he took me down the Amphibian trail, while a wrinkle of unease dominated his forehead.
– Grand idea! Two of us, it will be easier to prove?
– Two? – my friend turned to me, while his bald spot shone on the moon, tearing the whole of his head suddenly split in twain by the butcher’s knife of moonlight. I saw his head top and a tunnel dug through it – At least four, my friend, at least four – he laughed maniacally.
I fell to my knees, barely breathing, mind and body collapsed, with me, on the ground.
I was covered in husks. Daldry took the newly-abuzz camera. I looked at him with hope. He was recording a child. As its facial structure changed, an impish smile emerged on his lips, and tears of joy moistened his cheeks.
– Such wonderful amorphous shapes tailor-made for my flick. Such fungi! All dead, yet living, living! Ah, Rheta of Gable, you will dance again for me!
I was enveloped by non-epitomized fear. With feeling totally disoriented, I felt a sad apathy towards death. While nerves were running down to my feet, I ran as fast as I could, looking for my keys mid-flight in my pockets. I found them, but they fell out of my shaky hands and onto the ground. I got them back up, while a fish-scale monster was coming closer, but they fell again and several times more until the lock snapped them into place.
In that time, the Creatures were coming closer. Various creatures they were, from Volvoxes, following corals, to El Chupacabra.
– Get him! He’s ours! – a woman said who had cilia instead of hair. A half-man, half-sponge was following her. A producer-euglena pointed at me – There! He’s getting away!
At that moment my gaze was directed at the hidden tunnels of the Pasadena forests, so I went on with effort through the trees, chased by euglenas and ciliates, with antigravity tugging my legs back, towards the filthy visions.
My limbs were rods of concrete. Shaking, drenched in cold sweat, I went head first into some endlessly muddy pipe rotating around its axis, with neck-break speed, until it made a powerful gust of wind. Aeolus cast whirlpools, while my scream charged from my tortured consciousness’ deep, until the muddiness stopped, and nausea kicked in. Then, my nostrils swelled up and spread to make room for two nasty tarantulas.
They started lunging. Wicked spirits soon all in my face, shifting, stepping forth and back, hissing and tongue-darting of swollen snake jaws, iris-less eyes covered in cracked skim. What posed as faces would stay for a short while, only to disappear, sucked into the whirlpools.
With my remaining strength I hugged trees in order to use them to stand up to the power of inertia dragging me back. But the trees, demonic allies of my pursuers, either moved away or turned to plastic flowers. The moment I made a bigger step in my inert state, the more the Force would get me back. They were about to get me, but I managed to run uphill and roll down at the end of the path, at the very entrance to the circular forest, a circle above the Upper woods that surrounded the castle.
The Grotesques were sunbathing down roads. Midnight sun roasted the ice land. Pasadena turned to an oven. For a second it was as if I were at the very edge of Calahari, grabbing the mystic heat with bloody fingers.
– Some vector must have twisted, and the sexes switched, ghoulish points dug deep into the dark heart of Pasadena – I mumbled at the mirage, while pine trees rose, stately like tombs. Mid-laughing maniacally, I let out an eerie scream under the nightmarish sky of Gravity Hill.
I ran down the snowy road with tire tracks OF ONE CAR! – nigh fanatically images of a surreally packet Daldry villa parking lot came into reality, towards which only one road led, one tire track.
While running up one of round inclines, I was encouraged by a cynical voice – Daldry’s.
– Against the wind, yes, my Friend, run like the wind, for only Aeolus can save you. Hence why we cast him in bronze.
I was out of breath, while my desperate face was dyed titan-white by the ghoulish light of the moon.
– None can save you. No one. Ever. – spoke the spirit calmly, his voice sprayed by winds.
I pressed myself against a tree, sweaty, shivering, gradually calming my breaths, my heart pounding, when suddenly a leaf-cloaked serpentine apparition materialized and spoke.
– Go on, Forest, a good jump! Though you are already rather deep in the forest…
From the treetop an anaconda’s ancestor descended, wrapping my body along with the entire tree trunk. Shrieking I tried to get free from the powerful constrictions, while something within me was being choked, dehumanized. My mouth agape I too darted my tongue which fused with the Serpentine tongue, which made me puke on the wet grass. Suddenly, it let loose and I dropped to my knees, troubled, at the very edge of my life and sanity.
I got up. Anew. Followed by a symphony of shrieks and laughter mixed in with dread which condensed within, like a hot, culminating note.
I tried to move in a straight line, looking for anything to serve as a landmark. I looked skyward. No clouds, nothing other than the full moon. I moved north (or south, I thought desperately, amid the abnormal forest) when I saw the broad mountain path with marked rocks. I followed them whipped by icy wind, their red arrows and numbers going in this sequence: 4, 3, 2, 1 (spaces between rocks were about a hundred-ish meters each), and each number was punctuated by a geometric shape, only for the final stone to contain 01 and a figure of a tetraxis.
– It’s the reverse Pythagoras’ theorem of matter. It shows laws of matter don’t matter. Matter falls apart…into – ROTTING MEAT! – growled a dog-headed man and barked a few times, licking my face and breathing at me with the breath of a rotting corpse.
The creature lunged several times, and it was incorporeal and said – Have a grave!
TAKE IT! TAKE IT!
I was writhing in pain, screaming, my eyes already sunk and arms before my knees, waiting for the bastard to stop barking. When he did, a strong wind crushed the head in a whirlpool, which made me realize that trapped Aeolus was protecting me. I stepped into the forest and saw round water shining in the dark, and above it a far more shapely girl, bedecked in flowers.
Leaning above the lake, enchanted with her reflection, she touched the icy water with her breasts, dipping her sandy hair in it. I approached, enchanted, while twigs cracked under my light steps. Taken by these feelings, I moved my hands towards her, while branches bent towards the nubile body, wishing to pounce, to the safety of her hips, her wild eyes, o let her hands console me… Her indigo eyes looked at me askance and she got up, revealing a cow’s tail. At that moment, a rotten function started disfiguring the flesh of her face, shifting it into a complete mineral, polyhedron in shape, malachite green.
Fear not. It’s just me. Your Hydra. Marry me, marry me! If you don’t, I’ll turn you into an elephant – the degenerate nymph threatened.
No! Flee! As far from the cow bride, this Night, this merry, cadmium night, as soon as possible, leaving giant elephant footprints behind –while the mythical Hydra chased me with a desperate shriek “marry me, Jack!” I was destroying bushes and with my tusks plucked trees from their roots, but the green lined behind me suddenly grew from her vengeful hand, a nude girl alone for eons, threatening to cover me up and stop my elephant heart.
At that moment, in my unending joy, I spotted the Light shining through everything, and while my dark elephant skin was dyed in albinism and my trunk ripped, a degenerate baby passed by me with even steps, at least a thousand years old and forty-five centimeters tall, wishing me good luck, toasting me with a Swarovski glass, while a pungent cloud of champagne breath steamed from its fangs… Through all of the firecracker and banging noises, suddenly a car went for me, rammed into my semi-open body and I did not hear the Warlock’s final words to his butler, which were as follows.
– This Jack dude has no sense of art. Get the camera back to its place, Peter, and call the Next one. But, hold on…
He smiled watching the projected model on the Camera’s recording, isolated from nature.
The thing, stuck in the recording, forever at its new home, was yelling in the chamber.
-My friend, you’re having a catharsis Antigone would envy you for. – Daldry uttered these mellifluous words to the bizarre creature banging on the eternal glass with human hands, pushing it with its trunk.
– An antique ideal – he was impressed. Looking at the Elephant-man, the uncompromising director wiped a tear discreetly.
– Pure fascination! – a fourth person added, a woman with the brain of an amoeba in the body of a giraffe.
– Still, at the end of the day, he wasn’t that bad of a sample – the long-nosed butler joined the observation, touching my trunk in envy.
Daldry removed his gloves and scratched the glass.
– Do you hear him screaming? He speaks! He says I trapped him! No, I didn’t trap you, my friend. I put you in the film’s context, the context of the role, the impossible, heh, impossible. The things he comes up, I swear… Anyway, your reaction is merely a phase. I’m sure I’ll find a good role for you. I will install such a diffusing system in your body that every single hydra will envy you.
The Elephant-man was howling, trapped in the camera, while larvae crawled over his eyes, and tentacles of the bride-to-be-hydra jabbed into his salty wounds.
– Why lament? – Daldry wondered. – You’re not alone. Your darling is budding with you. You married her, and didn’t even invite me to the wedding. And he wants me to free him!
On the other hand there was a begging, muffled sound.
– Please let me go. I didn’t want to be an actor anyway, but a director. What will come of me now?
– Ah, my friend, you’ll get used to it, others did. Trust your Creator. It’ll pass. The Chinese said so – the giggles were now becoming howls – But if you insist, I love to mold you rebels into statues. Dionysius rebelled, and look what happened.
– Theater! – Daldry nearly swore.
Daldry then used harsh words to reprimand the present bastards, contextuals, actors, extras, all as Your Grace commands.
– What, you monsters? What is this procession silence? You’re not in Les Misérables, but in a stinking film on rotting tape. Let the fun continue, for…this’ll be a long New Year’s Eve – he mumbled, covering his bald spot with a Santa hat, going back inside with claws in his pockets.
 Towards the middle of the driveway in order to make sure that nothing goes downhill for them.
 (in Italian) Dario, my friend, how are you? Welcome to my Dracula 3D castle. This must be Tania, our beauty. …Miriam, darling! Take care of him. If he is not eaten by the wolf or by Dracula, he will by Mina.
 Directed at the reader