I have a thing for cult movies. So it should come as no surprise that when a movie called “Snakes on a Plane” came on the scene, I had to see it. In a theater. With a bunch of friends. (As theater-going experiences rank, it’s right up there with the time I saw “Star Wars: Episode II” on opening night.)
But I digress.
“Snakes on a Plane” was something of an oddball in the cult movie canon – a movie that tried really hard to BECOME a cult movie. To the point where the previously PG-13 film was reshot to add violence, nudity, and additional harsh language to achieve an R rating.
Unfortunately, the ultimate message that “Snakes on a Plane” gave to movie studios was that just because everyone is talking about your movie on the Internet, doesn’t mean they’ll actually go see it when it comes out.
In other words, “Snakes on a Plane” flopped.
Which brings us to a weird P.S.
Back in the 1980s, a lot of movies had a closing credits song that directly was tied to the movie in some way, whether it was appropriate or not. For example, the 1987 dystopian action flick “The Running Man” had a song called “(Restless Heart) Running Away With You” playing as the credits rolled.
“Snakes on a Plane” brought that trend back, if only briefly, with “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It),” a novelty number by a band named Cobra Starship. It was, quite literally, their only song.
And man, was it catchy.
Naturally, I expected the band, and the song, to sink without a trace. Just another bit of flotsam from the failed “Snakes on a Plane” cult experiment.
But that didn’t happen. Instead, Cobra Starship put out a full-length CD, and most stores that carried it sold it for about eight bucks. Curiosity got the best of me. I bought it.
And I totally fell in love with it.
And the next CD. And the next.
The irony is, Cobra Starship’s music is not designed for me. I’m a 30-something dude with a mortgage and a kid. Cobra Starship is the stuff I’m supposed to mock. But it’s a fun mixture of the 80s sounds I grew up with, with 00s studio polish.
But let us go back to the first CD.
One of the tracks on Cobra’s first album was a little number called “The Kids are all ####ed Up.” What’s it about? I couldn’t say. It sounds like an ode to two teenagers infatuated with each other, and also with drugs.
Or, if you’re me, it’s a Romeo-and-Juliet story about vampires, with lines like, “They don’t know about us, everyone’s asleep when we play,” and, “Now it’s too late to go, it’s getting light out.”
Over the years, I started to mentally put together a story about these two people, who they were. How they got to be vampires. How they ended up together.
And when it was time to write my second novel, I knew it was going to be about them.
I started writing, with the music of Cobra Starship as my fuel. I got about 50 pages into the novel, and life got in the way. Then I Had an Idea to help improve the story which, ironically, made it have pretty much nothing to do with my original inspirational source. This time I made it past 100 pages, and then stopped writing again.
Weirdly, it was not Cobra Starship that got me working on the novel for the third time, but a short story of mine in the works named “Baby Teeth” that ended up so long it turned into a novelette. Near the end of the tale, a character walked in and tried, and failed, to fix the troubles of the main character.
I realized that this same character was also part of “Blood Calling.” Her name was Emma, and she was a very old vampire.
I added her to the cast of “Blood Calling,” and after that, the story threads that wouldn’t quite knit together before all seemed to slip into place.
The thing is, most people go through phases with their media, and I am no exception. I haven’t listened to Cobra Starship in more than a year. I considered putting their music on as I wrote the final chapters of “Blood Calling,” but I write at night, while my little one sleeps in the next room, and waking her up just for a sense of closure didn’t seem like a wise decision.
But as I finished editing the book, it occurred to me that Cobra Starship hadn’t put out any new music in a long time. And so I pulled up Google, and to my surprise, they had put out a CD a few weeks ago.
I guess you could call this type of thing fate. Or you could call it a nifty coincidence. But either way, it feels right to me.
So what’s the book about?
When Lucy Leary turned 18, her life fell apart. She crashed her car, her best friend abandoned her, her parents divorced, and her grandfather passed away, leaving her a single possession: A vampire slaying kit with a note that said, “THEY’REREAL. FIGHT THEM.”
Now Lucy must stop the oldest, most dangerous vampire in history, before it can kill her family.
Just drop a name and email address in the comments below, and my charming four-year-old daughter will pick three lucky winners out of a hat. All three winners will receive a copy of “Blood Calling” in the e-format of your choosing, and one also will win a copy of “Baby Teeth: A Blood Calling Novelette,” a shorter work set in the same universe.