Saturday, 24 September 2011

Nic Cage, vampire?

An eBay seller recently offered photographic proof that American actor, Nicolas Cage, is actually a vampire: 'Original c.1870 carte de visite showing a man who looks exactly like Nick Cage. Personally, I believe it's him and that he is some sort of walking undead / vampire, et cetera, who quickens / reinvents himself once every 75 years or so.'

The 'proof' went on sale for US$1,000,000. 

It's been a popular news item, and even featured on Perez Hilton's blog. Where do I start?

Firstly, Cage—birth name, Nicolas Kim Coppola—was born on 7 January 1964 to August Coppola, a professor of literature, and Joy Vogelsang, a dancer and choreographer. Cage's first film role was 'Nicolas' in 1981 TV movie, Best of times. As is common in the entertainment industry, Cage adopted a stage name. Not as a sinister ruse, but to avoid nepotist associations with his famous uncle: Francis Ford Coppola.

Cage's family tree should be convincing evidence of his (human) age and genealogical descent, though, admittedly, the Coppola family does have some 'bats in the belfry'. Christopher Coppola, Cage's older brother, directed Dracula's widow (1988), while Francis Ford Coppola—best known for The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse now—directed Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Cage, himself, starred in Robert Bierman's Vampire's kiss (1989) as Peter Loew, a man who thinks he's a vampire.

Interestingly, the eBay pic has been 'debunked' as being out of step with vampire lore: 'Unfortunately, there’s one small problem with this bold claim. Vampire experts have been buzzing since the news about Mr. Vampire Cage broke — because a vampire cannot be photographed!' This 'lore', however, is quite modern; being a riff on the vampire's lack of reflection in mirrors. 

Both these traits originated with Bram Stoker, the first person to 'note' [devise] the vampire's lack of reflection, as well as the inability to capture its likeness on film: 'Could not codak [photograph] him – come out black or like skeleton corpse'.1 However, this latter trait did not feature in the finished novel, Dracula (1897).

The online photographer
It's strange that a lot of the news coverage relating to the picture overlooks the wording embossed on the picture. 'THE THANATOS ARCHIVE' is pretty hard to miss.

It took a couple of seconds to source The Thanatos archive through Google. It's based in Seattle, Washington, and 'houses an extensive collection of early post-mortem and memorial / mourning photography dating back to the 1840s.'

From there, I found its discussion forum and checked to see if the picture had been discussed there. Sure enough, I came across a thread called 'Nicolas Cage is a vampire'.

The first post, by the forum's site admin—diabolus—is quite telling: 'I think I've posted this before, but my Nic Cage is a Vampire" eBay listing has really taken off. It's been on several major sites that I'm aware of including AOL, The Hollywood Reporter, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. Pretty hilarious.'

The thread's contributors praised diabolus for cracking the 'big time' due to the item's extensive news coverage. He later added, 'It's supposed to be on "The View" today. And this morning I saw it on the Today show. Why isn't some rich asshole contacting me to buy it for a million? I'm sure they've spent a million on much more ridiculous things than this!'

Another member suggested he reveal himself as the source after its appearance on a popular blog. He replied, 'Hey, that's one I hadn't seen yet! A lot of people aren't crediting me though, I've noticed. It was on PerezHilton and he cropped out my watermark and put his on the image. Ah well. All that really matters is that I made it to the front page of Epic WIN!'

While the news coverage has been tongue-in-cheek—and the listing, itself, inherently ridiculous—I can't help wondering whether it'll kick off its own Birther movement,2 especially as so few news agencies have bothered acknowledging the pic's source. After all, there are people who think the FVZA is an actual thing, even though its 'founder' admits it's a sham. Time will tell.

As it stands, it's a classic demonstration of the importance of paper trails.

1. B Stoker, Bram Stoker's notes for Dracula: a facsimile edition, annotated and transcribed by R Eighteen-Bisang & E Miller, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, N.C., 2008, p. 20–1.

2. A movement brilliantly parodied by The Onion, 'Afterbirthers demand to see Obama's placenta'.


Little Socks said...

Nicholas Cage isn't the only 'immortal' actor -- see "". Never fails to amuse! I don't think Keanu made such a big splash in the news though - probably he's not a vampire, which is much more exciting.

Anthony Hogg said...

Hahaha, I gotta say, the evidence with Keanu is far more convincing!

I'm guessing it hasn't caught on as much, is because the eBay thing is a bit of a novelty thang. It's just so...ludicrous.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...