News & Politics

A Fascination With the Fanged Crowd

Eric Nuzum wasn’t a vampire aficionado. But he happened to be eating a bowl of Count Chocula cereal while watching a story on CNN about vampires and reading a magazine that included a story about vampires.

“It was like when I bought a Honda CR-V a couple of years ago,” says Nuzum, who is director of programming and acquisitions for NPR. “I didn’t think they were incredibly popular cars. Then I bought one and noticed CR-Vs everywhere. Vampires became the same thing to me.”

The new book that came from these frequent sightings is The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires From Nosferatu to Count Chocula. It’s a weird look at why vampires continue to be popular, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Halloween costumes.

Nuzum was chosen to be part of Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program. He lives in Rockville but visits Transylvania, Goth clubs, haunted houses, and a Las Vegas topless vampire revue. He even spent time in a coffin to figure out why people are so fascinated with pointy teeth and capes.

“They’re associated with almost all advanced civilizations,” he says. “What makes these monsters sinister or sexy or frightening tells you a lot about the people who made them and the people who read about them.”

Nuzum will be reading from his book at DC’s Wonderland Ballroom on October 2 and at Politics and Prose on Halloween.

This article can be found in the October 2007 issue of Washingtonian Magazine.