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Related: Carmilla (1872) - horror - Dracula - lesbian vampire - vamp

Count Orlok from Nosferatu (1922)


A vampire is a mythical or folkloric creature said to subsist on human or animal blood. Usually the vampire is the corpse of a recently dead person, reanimated or made undead by one means or another. Vampires are often described as having a wide variety of additional powers and character traits, extremely variable in different traditions, and are a frequent subject of folklore, cinema, and contemporary fiction.

Vampirism generally refers to a belief that one can gain supernatural powers by drinking human blood. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire, Apr 2004

Vampires stalking nightclubs

DR. MYSTERIAN has already written about the growing cliché of vampires stalking nightclubs, and wondered why an ancient, undead creature might be so gauche as to spend eternity surrounded by bad music and unpleasant scenesters. The Bollock Brothers, as it turns out, have their own answer in the song "Drac's Back." Nightclubs, they point out, might very well be a vampire buffet table. --http://drmysterian.com/2005/07/dracs-back-bollock-brothers [Jul 2005]

SOMETIMES, FILMS ABOUT VAMPIRES give the sense that the undead have nothing better to do with their eternal lives than malinger around discotheques. Vampires are so often presented as preening, self-absorbed monsters with few interests outside fashion and music: Consider, for example, David Bowie and Catherine Deneauve in The Hunger preening in a discotheque as Peter Murphy sings “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Or the slaughterhouse rave of leather-clad nosferatu that opens Blade. Or George Hamilton in Love at First Bite, flinging aside his cape to reveal a white polyester three-piece suit, a la Saturday Night Live.

One would suppose that a creature that had lived through a few fads might avoid getting entangled in new ones — after all, vampires have long enough memories not merely to be embarrassed by the bell bottoms of the Sixties, but by the codpieces of the 15th century. Nonetheless, there they are: Chris Sarandon, with a foppish scarf tied around his neck, seduces Amanda Bierce in a dance club in Fright Night while Nicolas Cage, in an Armani suit, chases his victim through a different club in Vampire’s Kiss. --http://drmysterian.com/2005/07/soul-dracula-hot-blood [Jul 2005]

via http://groovyageofhorror.blogspot.com/2005/07/whats-going-on.html [Jul 2005]

see also: cliché - disco - vampires - nightclub - Dracula

Lesbian vs gay

The lesbian vampire movie has developed into a distinctive subgenre while the gay vampire movie has not.

Carmilla (1872) - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [...]

  1. Carmilla (1872)- J. Sheridan Lefanu, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    I first became acquainted with Carmilla from the Hammer Studios Karstein Trilogy of The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, and Twins of Evil. The Vampire Lovers is the only one that draws from this book. The book starts getting into the movie from about the fifth chapter. I recognised dialog and descriptions in the plots of both. It's quite a liberal adaption, but the essence of the story remains intact. For example, the dialog isn't verbatim. The single line from The Vampire Lovers, of "You must die, everybody must die" is about a paragraph's length of dialog in the book. It's a fantastic tale. Most of the lesbian is implied, and I caught gratuitous nudity added to the movie, which does add to the movie's appeal. I love the short length of about 150 pages. It never drags, and the chapters are no more than 10 pages each, making for easy reading. I put Carmilla above Bram Stoker's Dracula. Carmilla is a must-have for people with more than a passing interest of the vampire myth. I highly recommend this book. It's excellent. --amazon.com

I Vampiri (1957) - Ricardo Freda

    The golden-age of Italian horror began in 1957 with Riccardo Freda's I Vampiri (American title: The Devil's Commandment). This marvelously photographed tale of rejuvenation by blood transfusions took its story from the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, who as legend has it, preserved her beauty by bathing in the blood of virgins. Most significantly, however, I Vampiri was the first movie to give us the monster-woman character, a frequently reoccurring (and crucial) ingredient of the Italian horror cinema--borne of the culture's paradoxical attitude toward female sexuality, which combined equal parts of love and fear. --imagesjournal.com

Vampire Lovers (1970) - Roy Ward Baker

    Vampire Lovers (1970) - Roy Ward Baker [Amazon US]
    The first and the best of Hammer's erotic vampire films
    "The Vampire Lovers," directed by Roy Ward Baker in 1970, is the first in the Karnstein trilogy of Hammer films, all based quite loosely on Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's story "Carmilla." The Karnsteins are a clan of vampires, represented in this version by a bunch of scantily clad women. Ingrid Pitt stars as Carmilla, who also goes under the anagram names of Mircalla and Marcilla at various points in the story (yes, there is a story). The last of her clan, Carmilla is trying to rebuild, turning first to Laura (Pippa Steele), the daughter of General Spielsdorf (Peter Cushing) and then Emma (Madeleine Smith), the daughter of Roger Morton (George Cole). Along the way she turns Mademoiselle Perrodon (Kate O'Mara) into a sexual slave. In the great tradition of Dracula and most other vampire films, Laura dies before anyone recognizes the marks of the vampire and then the goal is to save poor Emma from the same fate.

    There is a lot in "The Vampire Lovers" that never makes much sense. Who is the countess (Dawn Addams) who travels with Mircalla? What is up with the black-clad vampire (John Forbes Robertson) who keeps hanging around? Supposedly Mircalla is the last of her clan, but maybe not. Mircalla keeps saying she loves her victims, but they all end up dead, which certainly does not help out her clan much. In the end it is clear that Hammer, aided and abetted by American International in this instance, was making a flat-out lesbian vampire film. As such, I can honestly say that you are not going to find a better one out there. Ironically, "The Vampire Lovers" ends up being more erotic than the vast majority of films featuring heterosexual relationships between the undead and their victims. --Lawrance M. Bernabo, amazon.com

Immoral Tales (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk

    Immoral Tales (1974) - Walerian Borowczyk [Amazon.com]

    The next two stories are significantly better. The third story, Erzebet Bathory, has the notorious Blood Countess going to a village to round up young girls for her dastardly pleasures, under the masquerade of granting eternal bliss and grace for those touching her pearl-encrusted gown. This has about twenty or so girls in the altogether, and they go into a crazed frenzy when they see Bathory in her dress. Does Bathory have a bath? Find out for yourself (Rating: 4 out of 5) --Daniel J. Hamlow for amazon.com

Dracula Was a Woman (1987) - Raymond T. McNally

Dracula Was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess of Transylvania - Raymond T. McNally [Amazon US]
One crucial element is a little out of whack with this book: it is almost 250 pages long, yet only the first 92 are dedicated to the Bathory tale, and only about 50% of that is about Elizabeth.

I'll repeat that because it sounds vaguely important: out of a 250 page book, only part of the first 92 pages have to do with the subject matter. There is more info on the political upheavals going on at the time, and much of it has seemingly nothing to do with Elizabeth. It's sort of a "meanwhile, in another part of the country..." type of digression. The focus is largely on what was going on "around her" instead of what was going on "with" her. As if McNally is saying "look at me, I'm a professor of eastern European history and you're not!"

After page 92, it gets a little ridiculous. Notice how each chapter afterward begins with a sentence which includes Elizabeth's name in it (just to remind you who the book is supposed to be about and poorly attempt to tie her in to the subject matter), then goes way off course and discusses Werewolves, Necrophilia, and then vampire movies. Apparently she fits into these somehow, but I think it is all in McNally's mind. He just needed to fluff up the book by a couple hundred pages with pointless sensationalism, since the actual part about Elizabeth had none and made her seem rather boring, believe it or not. He actually begins to champion her by book's end, as if he were her hero who will clear her name of these acts.

By the end of the tale, I still did not understand why she did it. There is no explanation or barely even a speculation. It's presented in a "yeah, she just kinda got into it for no apparent reason" fashion. McNally even alludes to the possibility of it all being a conspiracy against the Countess by other aristocrats who wanted to have their debts to her cancelled by having her imprisoned.

McNally says Elizabeth *probably didn't* bathe in blood since no official records tell of that, and that much of the killing was done by her servants. And there is nothing more than a glancing touch on her sexuality, which is a subject that could have helped paint a better picture of her as a person. Of course, with such little documentation available, some topics are going to suffer if there is a lack of speculation on the author's part.

Ultimately I was left thinking, this is it? that's all? Not that what she was accused of wasn't bad, but, if this is closer to the truth, it doesn't come near the drama of the legends. A bit of a let down for those fascinated by the myth.

If the legends were true it would have made for a more interesting psychological evaluation of the Countess, and subsequently a more interesting book.

Sorry to burst any bubbles out there, but I personally was a little perturbed about spending a pretty penny on a book that is less than halfway full of what I bought it for. --e-5-i-50, amazon.com

Dracula (1897) - Bram Stoker

  • Dracula (1897) - Bram Stoker [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    A naive young Englishman travels to Transylvania to do business with a client, Count Dracula. After showing his true and terrifying colors, Dracula boards a ship for England in search of new, fresh blood. Unexplained disasters begin to occur in the streets of London before the mystery and the evil doer are finally put to rest. Told in a series of news reports from eyewitness observers to writers of personal diaries, this has a ring of believability that counterbalances nicely with Dracula's too-macabre-to-be-true exploits. An array of voices from talented actors makes for interesting variety. The generous use of sound effects, from train whistles to creaking doors, adds further atmosphere. Lovers of mysteries and horror will find rousing entertainment in this version of a classic tale? Carol Katz, Harrison Public Library, NY, amazon.com

    Interview with a Vampire (1976) - Anne Rice

  • Anne Rice - Interview with a Vampire [Amazon.com]
    [1976, question to self: read it in China or Indonesia?]
    In the now-classic novel Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice refreshed the archetypal vampire myth for a late-20th-century audience. The story is ostensibly a simple one: having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholic stupor. At his emotional nadir, he is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. The two prey on innocents, give their "dark gift" to a young girl, and seek out others of their kind (notably the ancient vampire Armand) in Paris. But a summary of this story bypasses the central attractions of the novel. First and foremost, the method Rice chose to tell her tale--with Louis' first-person confession to a skeptical boy--transformed the vampire from a hideous predator into a highly sympathetic, seductive, and all-too-human figure. Second, by entering the experience of an immortal character, one raised with a deep Catholic faith, Rice was able to explore profound philosophical concerns--the nature of evil, the reality of death, and the limits of human perception--in ways not possible from the perspective of a more finite narrator.
    While Rice has continued to investigate history, faith, and philosophy in subsequent Vampire novels (including The Vampire Lestat, The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Memnoch the Devil, and The Vampire Armand), Interview remains a treasured masterpiece. It is that rare work that blends a childlike fascination for the supernatural with a profound vision of the human condition. --Patrick O'Kelley

    I Am Legend (1954) - Richard Matheson

  • I Am Legend (1954) - Richard Matheson [Amazon.com]
    One of the most influential vampire novels of the 20th century, I Am Legend regularly appears on the "10 Best" lists of numerous critical studies of the horror genre. As Richard Matheson's third novel, it was first marketed as science fiction (for although written in 1954, the story takes place in a future 1976). A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease, but the grim irony is that now he is the outsider. He is the legendary monster who must be destroyed because he is different from everyone else. Employing a stark, almost documentary style, Richard Matheson was one of the first writers to convince us that the undead can lurk in a local supermarket freezer as well as a remote Gothic castle. His influence on a generation of bestselling authors--including Stephen King and Dean Koontz--who first read him in their youth is, well, legendary. --Stanley Wiater for Amazon.com

    Blood and Roses : Vampires in 19th Century Literature (1992) - Adele Olivia Gladwell

    Blood and Roses : Vampires in 19th Century Literature (1992) - Adele Olivia Gladwell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The definitive collection of 19th Century literature in which the vampire, or vampirism - both embodied and atmospheric - appears. Seventeen seminal texts by legendary European authors, covering the whole of that delirious period from Gothic and Romantic, through Symbolism and Decadence to proto-Surrealism and beyond, in a single volume charged with sex, blood and horror.

    Includes: Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Machen, Le Comte de Lautréamont, Count Stenbock, J-K Huysmans, Jean Lorrain, Théophile Gautier, Charles Nodier, J Sheridan Le Fanu, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Oscar Wilde, Ivan Turgenev, Charlotte Bronte, J.M.Ryder --amazon editorial


    1. I Vampiri (1957) - Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda
      Italian horror godfather Mario Bava almost single-handedly ushered in a whole new genre with this moody mix of murder mystery and kinky horror. The prolific cinematographer made his (uncredited) directorial debut when Riccardo Freda stormed off the set with the picture only half finished, leaving Bava to rewrite the script and complete the picture in two days. It became the first Italian horror film since the silent era and a classic of the genre.

      The vampire of the title is not a literal bloodsucker of Dracula's lineage but a mad-scientist twist on the legend of Countess Bathory. In this modern take, the bodies of beautiful young women drained of blood leave the police baffled, while an ambitious journalist traces a chain of clues back to the familial castle of the aging Duchess Du Grand and her beautiful niece (the elegant and sultry Gianna Maria Canale). Set in Paris but shot in Rome, it's a handsome little black-and-white picture that belies its 12-day schedule with gorgeous locations, shadowy lighting, a stylish elegance, and a couple of startlingly effective transformations executed with brilliant simplicity. In later films, such as Blood and Black Lace and Lisa and the Devil, Bava's style would develop into an elaborately choreographed dance of death in black shadows and glowing color, but here he's smooth and suggestive, a model of restraint that looks to his "official" debut, the striking Black Sunday.

      The DVD features a clean, sharp B&W widescreen transfer, with a photo and poster gallery (including stills from the scenes added to the "Americanized" version of the film entitled The Devil's Commandment) and a collection of Mario Bava trailers among the supplements. Extensive liner notes and a director biography are provided by Bava historian Tim Lucas. --Sean Axmaker, amazon.com

    2. The Hunger (1983) - Tony Scott [Amazon US]
      Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie are rich, beautiful, and oh-so chic as denizens of the night. Dressed in sleek outfits and stylish sunglasses, they haunt rock & roll clubs on the prowl for young blood, whom they bring home to their impossibly luxurious mansion for a late-night snack. Being a vampire never looked more sexy, but there's a price: Bowie starts to age so fast he wrinkles up in the waiting room of a doctor's (Susan Sarandon) office. The agelessly elegant Deneuve, evoking Delphine Seyrig's Countess Bathory from Daughters of Darkness, is perfectly cast as a millenniums-old bloodsucker who seeks a new mate in Sarandon and seduces her in a sunlight-bathed afternoon of smooth, silky sex. Tony Scott's (Ridley's brother) directorial debut, adapted from the Whitley Strieber novel, revises the vampire myth with Egyptian inflections and removes all references to garlic and crosses and wooden stakes--these bloodsuckers can even walk around in the daylight--but the ties between blood and sex are as strong as ever. Scott's background as an award-winning commercial director is evident in every richly textured frame and his densely interwoven editing, but the moody atmosphere comes at the expense of dramatic urgency. At times the film is so languid it becomes mired in its hazy, impeccably designed visual style. In its own way, The Hunger is the perfect vampire film for the '80s, all poise and attitude and surface beauty. Sarandon talks candidly about the film in the documentary The Celluloid Closet. --Sean Axmaker

    3. Irma Vep (1996) - Olivier Assayas [Amazon US]
      In the tradition of films about filmmaking, Irma Vep takes its own special place among such films as Fellini's 8½. A has-been director decides to remake the silent French serial film Les Vampires starring a Hong Kong action film superstar. The production is falling behind schedule and its star, Maggie Cheung (who plays herself), finds herself an outsider with the film's crew save for a woman costumer (Nathalie Richard) who has a crush on her. Rene the director (Jean-Pierre Leaud) cast Maggie after viewing one of her many martial-arts fantasy films. Although he finds her perfect for the part of the jewel thief in Les Vampires, the rest of the crew cannot see the reasons for casting Maggie beyond her beauty and how she looks in her tight-fitting latex costume. Rene's vision is soon lost on everyone and he suffers a mental breakdown. The film is reassigned to Jose (Lou Castel), a seemingly more commanding director (although he takes the job because his welfare is about to run out), whose first decision is to fire Maggie. Irma Vep is presented as a comedy, but at its heart lies an examination of the art and craft of filmmaking. In a clever turn, Maggie creeps around her hotel getting into character, in essence remaking Irma Vep for real-life director Olivier Assayas. Assayas wrote the film in 10 days and shot the film in a month after meeting Maggie Cheung at a film festival--a fascinating case of life imitating art... or is it the other way around? --Shannon Gee for Amazon.com

    4. Martin (1978) - George A. Romero [Amazon US]
      Martin (John Amplas) is a modern sort of vampire--he gains his victims' cooperation with the use of a hypodermic needle instead of hypnotism, and uses razors in the place of fangs. "There's no real magic," he says. "There's no real magic, ever." He says this to his elderly Romanian cousin, Tati Cuda (Lincoln Maazel), a true believer in the old religion, and self-appointed keeper of Martin, who threatens to do away with the boy if the vampirism doesn't stop. According to Cuda, the boy is actually 85 years old--young for a vampire. Truly, the supernatural element of the film is always at odds with psychological explanations that make Martin out to be a sexually disturbed teen, not an ancient bloodsucker. Martin's vampiric episodes are intercut with sepia footage of similar exploits from some gothic era, which may either be Martin's memories or his imagination; take your pick. Garlic, sunlight, mirrors--these are devices of Hollywood, and have no effect on a hypo-toting vampire like Martin, as he explains the rules in his role of frequent call-in guest on a radio talk show where he's known as "The Count." These ambiguities are left teasingly unresolved by the film, which is more interested in establishing the relationship between the traditional vampire and the modern-day psycho. Along with the film's narrative economy, these ambiguities make Martin Romero's midnight-movie masterpiece.

      At the very end Romero borrows an image from Carl Theodore Dreyer's classic silent film Ordet, ratifying a moment of religious ritual. Knowing this as you watch the film only deepens the chill. --Jim Gay for Amazon.com

    5. Vampyres (1974) - José Ramón Larraz [1 DVD, Amazon US]
      "Naked girls and lots of blood, that's what Vampyres is about," says Joseph Larraz in the notes to the film. He rewrites the vampire myth to make his bloodsucking lovelies the restless ghosts of lesbian lovers murdered while making love in their shadowy castle. Reappearing nightly in the twilight forest, they lure men to their castle for blood feasts until the brunette vampire, Fran (Marianne Morris), falls for her latest victim (Murray Brown) and decides to keep him alive, a sex slave she slowly drains dry. "You're playing a dangerous game," warns blonde Miriam (Anulka), perhaps just a tad jealous. As the local cops watch a veritable wrecking yard of car crashes fill up the sleepy back roads (all with naked dead men behind the wheels), you have to wonder if anyone finds this a bit suspicious. It's a slim story filled with misty forests, candlelit castle interiors, and the above-mentioned blood and naked flesh. Larraz adds a few poetic flourishes--blood dripping down pale faces, clouds crawling past a castle--but, more important, gives the living dead girls a genuinely passionate relationship and a zest for nightlife. The DVD features commentary by Larraz and producer Brian Smedley-Ashton. --Sean Axmaker for Amazon.com

    6. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) - Klaus Kinski [1 DVD, Amazon US]
      Werner Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's original vampire classic is at once a generous tribute to the great German director and a distinctly unique vision by one of cinema's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Though Murnau's Nosferatu was actually an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Herzog based his film largely on Murnau's conceptions--at times directly quoting Murnau's images--but manages to slip in a few references to Tod Browning's famous version (at one point the vampire comments on the howling wolves: "Listen, the children of the night make their music."). Longtime Herzog star Klaus Kinski is both hideous and melancholy as Nosferatu (renamed Count Dracula in the English language version). As in Murnau's film, he's a veritable gargoyle with his bald pate and sunken eyes, and his talon-like fingernails and two snaggly fangs give him a distinctly feral quality. But Kinski's haunting eyes also communicate a gloomy loneliness--the curse of his undead immortality--and his yearning for Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) becomes a melancholy desire for love. Bruno Ganz's sincere but foolish Jonathan is doomed to the vampire's will and his wife, Lucy, a holy innocent whose deathly pallor and nocturnal visions link her with the ghoulish Nosferatu, becomes the only hope against the monster's plague-like curse. Herzog's dreamy, delicate images and languid pacing create a stunningly beautiful film of otherworldly mood, a faithful reinterpretation that by the conclusion has been shaped into a quintessentially Herzog vision. --Sean Axmaker for Amazon.com [features Roland Topor and Klaus Kinski]

    7. Daughters of Darkness (1971) - Harry Kümel [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Art-movie goddess Delphine Seyrig (Last Year at Marienbad) slinks through the plush Eurotrash settings as the deathless Elizabeth Bathory, Vampire Countess, in Harry Kümel's minor Dutch classic of lesbian erotic-gothic. Blood mingles with water during the languorous shower scenes. Set at an upper-crust seaside resort, the 1971 film recounts Bathory's plot to replace her current consort (Andrea Rau) with a fresher specimen, an abused newlywed whose brutal young husband is an inconvenience waiting to be eliminated. Although both the bi-sex and the neck-biting violence are tame by today's standards, the film has a graceful, gliding sense of pace that gets under your skin; something unspeakably kinky always seems to be just about to happen. It never quite does, but the mood lingers. See it with someone you love--or would like to. --David Chute for Amazon.com [...]

    8. Vampyros Lesbos (1970) - Jess Franco [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Countess Nadine Carody, a vampire with an insatiable thirst for female blood, lures women to her isolated island to love^Ethen kill^Eher victims! Linda Westinghouse comes to the island and falls under the vampire ^Rs seductive spell, only to find a living nightmare she may never be able to escape. A tripped out mixture of nudity, soft-core lesbianism, vampires, outrageous sets and a world famous soundtrack, Vampyros Lesbos is now available for the first time ever on home video in the United States. Recently resurfacing as a cult classic after almost thirty years, Vampyros Lesbos has restarted a dance craze phenomenon across the globe with its psychedelic musical score! So, be sure to watch Vampyros Lesbos today for Countess Carody just might SUCK YOU DRY!! --amazon.com [...]

    9. The Rape of the Vampire (1967) - Jean Rollin [Amazon US]
      Cult director Jean Rollin's first feature mixes existentialism and vampirism with the added ingredient of chaos. Originally made as a short, it was expanded to feature length with the dead cast inexplicably returning to life half-way through (having been killed off at the end of the original). That said, "Le Viol du Vampire" is a masterpiece of the bizarre, mixing blood, a naked woman in a convertible, coffins and some fencing, semi-naked nymphs in a fragmented melee.

    The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) - Roman Polanski

      The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967) - Roman Polanski [Amazon.com]

      The Fearless Vampire Killers is a 1967 movie directed by Roman Polanski. It has been produced as a musical, named Dance of the Vampires.

      The film takes us into the heart of Transylvania where Professor Abronsius (Jack McGowran) and his apprentice Alfred (Roman Polanski) are on the hunt for vampires. Abronsius is old and withering and barely able to survive the cold drive through the wintry forests. Alfred is bumbling and introverted. The hunters come to a small Eastern European town seemingly at the end of a long search for signs of vampires. The two stay at a local inn, full of angst-ridden townspeople who perform strange rituals to fend off an unseen evil.

      Straight from Polanski's international success with Repulsion, it was mounted on a lavish scale - color, huge sets in England, location filming in the Alps, elaborate costumes and choreography suitable for a period epic. Previously accustomed only to extremely low budgets, Polanski chose some of the finest English cinema craft artists to work on the film: cameraman Douglas Slocombe, production designer Wilfrid Shingleton. Polanski engaged noted choreographer Tutte Lemkow, who played the actual Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof, for the film's climactic Danse Macabre minuet. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fearless_Vampire_Killers [May 2005]

      see also: Roman Polanski

      Capitalism and vampirism

      "Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks." --Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, p. 224

      inspired by Richard Davenport-Hines, Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin (1999) - Richard Davenport[Amazon.com]

      see also: 1867 - capitalism - Karl Marx

      Vampyr (1932) - Carl Theodor Dreyer

      Scene from
      Vampyr (1932) - Carl Theodor Dreyer [Amazon.com]
      Image sourced here.

      In this chilling, atmospheric German film from 1932, director Carl Theodor Dreyer favors style over story, offering a minimal plot that draws only partially from established vampire folklore. Instead, Dreyer emphasizes an utterly dreamlike visual approach, using trick photography (double exposures, etc.) and a fog-like effect created by allowing additional light to leak onto the exposed film. The result is an unsettling film that seems to spring literally from the subconscious, freely adapted from the Victorian short story Carmilla by noted horror author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, about a young man who discovers the presence of a female vampire in a mysterious European castle. There's more to the story, of course, but it's the ghostly, otherworldly tone of the film that lingers powerfully in the memory. Dreyer maintains this eerie mood by suggesting horror and impending doom as opposed to any overt displays of terrifying imagery. Watching Vampyr is like being placed under a hypnotic trance, where the rules of everyday reality no longer apply. As a splendid bonus, the DVD includes The Mascot, a delightful 26-minute animated film from 1934. Created by pioneering animator Wladyslaw Starewicz, this clever film--in which a menagerie of toys and dolls springs to life--serves as an impressive precursor to the popular Wallace & Gromit films of the 1990s. --Jeff Shannon , Amazon.com

      Shadow of the Vampire (2000) - E. Elias Merhige

      Shadow of the Vampire (2000) - E. Elias Merhige [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

      Clever, engaging, and boosted by the sublime casting of Willem Dafoe as Nosferatu actor Max Schreck, Shadow of the Vampire is a film full of good ideas that are only partially developed. Its premise is ripe with possibilities, but the movie's too slight to register much impact, so you're left to relish its delightful performances and director E. Elias Merhige's affectionately tongue-in-cheek homage to a landmark of German silent cinema. John Malkovich is aptly loony as the eccentric director F.W. Murnau, whose passion in filming the 1922 classic Nosferatu leads to the extreme casting of Schreck as the vampire, a vision of evil who, in this movie's delightfully twisted imagination, actually is a vampire, sucking the blood of cast and crewmembers who've dismissed Schreck as an overzealous method actor.

      As these on-set maladies and "accidents" continue, Schreck wields greater control over Murnau, who descends into a kind of obsessive art-for-art's-sake madness until diva costar Greta Schroeder (Catherine McCormack, doing wonderful work) is served up as the actor's ultimate motivation. Merhige and his actors (including Cary Elwes, as intrepid cameraman Fritz Wagner) have great fun with this ghastly escapade, and the humor is kept delicately subtle to balance the movie's artistic aspirations. To that end, Dafoe is just right, his bald pate and gaunt features a perfect match for the mysterious Schreck, his grimace and talon-like fingers suggesting a human vulture on the prowl. Likewise, the re-creation of Nosferatu's expressionist style is both fanciful and brilliantly authentic. Too bad, then, that this movie suffers a mild case of vampiric anemia; if it shared the depth and richness of, say, Ed Wood, this might have been a cult classic for the ages. --Jeff Shannon for Amazon.com

      Director E. Elias Merhige's debut feature Begotten is a stark, expressionistic retelling of the creation myth that, upon its debut in 1991, was lauded by critics as diverse as Time's Richard Corliss and Susan Sontag. This cult favorite was also silent, so it seems like kismet that — nearly a decade after Begotten — Merhige's second assignment is Shadow of the Vampire. This witty, black comic horror tale stars John Malkovich as pioneering auteur F.W. Murnau, who proves he will go to any length to achieve his obsessive artistic vision when he hires Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) to play the title character in 1922's Nosferatu. --http://www.reel.com/reel.asp?node=features/interviews/merhige [Nov 2005]

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