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Review: `Cirque du Freak' A Vampire Frankenstein

October 22, 2009

You have your traditional vampires ("Nosferatu"), your blond slayer foils ("Buffy: The Vampire Slayer"), your sexy vamps ("True Blood"), your Euro children vampires ("Let the Right One In") and your melancholy teenage variety ("Twilight").

The undead are not only alive, they're also multiplying and creating new vampire species and subspecies faster than fruit flies. Each has its own version of the mythology: Fangs are optional, bloodthirstiness varies.

The latest entry to this overcrowded field is "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," which arrives with quixotic dreams of a franchise of its own. The source material this time is a series of young adult books known as "Cirque du Freak" or "The Saga of Darren Shan," written by Darren O'Shaughnessy — who writes under his protagonist's name, Darren Shan.

We meet the world of "Cirque du Freak" through Darren (Chris Massoglia), a popular, straight-A high-schooler whom his rebellious best friend, Steve (Josh Hutcherson), calls "Mr. Perfect." His parents lecture him on the path to a "happy, productive" life with the depressingly rigid mantra: "College. Job. Family." Read More