The Holiday that Started a Trilogy
The Saul Trilogy is set in a dynamic period of history that was filled with gangsters and violence. We knew that we wanted to tell a story about a vampire that was set during this period, but where to start such a story? Luckily, history is filled with many events that remain, to this day, a bit mysterious. One of those events bears a name that will forever be tied to a February holiday that is associated with love, but was instead one filled with death. On February 14, 1929, seven men were brutally ambushed and killed in a garage on the north side of Chicago. The murders were horrific, even by the standards of the day, when gangland violence seemed to fill the papers daily. Nobody was ever arrested or charged for committing this crime, and the gruesome event passed into history. It became known as the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre and was believed, both then and now, to be a hit by Al Capone against members of a rival gang run by George “Bugs” Moran. There was never any real evidence that linked Capone to the tragic events of that day. At the time Al Capone was actually in Florida, entertaining guests at his mansion. But Capone had a lot of motive—Moran’s gang had attacked Capone’s gang many times, including massive drive-by shootings targeting Capone’s hotels and men—and Capone certainly had enough power for his reach to stretch all the way from Florida back to Chicago. But nothing was ever found to directly link Capone to the massacre.
While we may never know what really happened, or who ordered the hit that killed those members of the North Side gang, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre gave us an opportunity to tell the story that we wanted to tell, one that didn’t just involve gangsters, but vampires as well. What if, instead of being just members of a gang, these men were something else? Newly created vampires. And what if, knowing what would happen if these men were allowed to live, Al Capone ordered the hit in order to keep seven vampires from ever walking the earth? If a stake through the heart was enough to kill a vampire, then shotguns and Tommy guns would surely do just the same, especially if you fired enough rounds. That was the original premise that we had, which gave us an entry point into the world of prohibition, G-Men, and gangsters, and allowed us to add a bit of fun by including vampires into the mix. Now, we took a bit of artistic license with the original story. We added another attack outside the garage to have Saul’s girlfriend, the beautiful and mysterious Moira, be shot and “die” in Saul’s arms. We needed to have this hook to draw our main character into the story. But we continued to use the true events. Saul reads the headline shown in the newspaper above and wonders how the papers got it wrong. To him, there were eight victims, not seven, and Saul spends a lot of time trying to find out what happened. Capone arrives from Florida and, at one point tells Saul that he has a mansion full of people there that will swear that Capone never left. This was another chance to highlight not only Capone’s power, but some of his vampiric abilities. This wasn’t the last historical event involving Al Capone that we used in our trilogy, but the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre certainly allowed us to start Saul’s story off with a bang.