Vampire Commentary Part 1

16 Jul

If you’re looking for rational, sensible commentary on the vampire in cinema, allow me to recommend Early Vampire Cinema 1916 to 1974 by Robert Hood– a short but excellent look at how Murnau’s Nosferatu shaped the first Hollywood vampires.

I’m in a stupid kind of mood, so I’ll toss up what will likely be the first of a few installments of Vampires on Vampire Movies: the first three Vampire Awareness Month movies through the (maybe slightly drunken) eyes of two of my own bloodsuckers. Gianni is a little over a century old, and likes music, murder, and long walks on the beach– provided it’s spring break and there are lots of confused college kids around, as he also likes a nice cocktail. Liam’s sudden and recent death at Gianni’s, er, teeth, derailed his plans to acquire a BA in literature, but he’s all right with that. Somehow being undead makes writing a thesis on Dune seem less immediately important. [SPOILER ALERT on Nosferatu!]

Don't look at me like that. It's not my fault that your wife has a lovely neck.

Don't look at me like that. It's not my fault that your wife has a lovely neck.

NOSFERATU – F.W. Murnau – 1922 (Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder)
Gianni: Perfection.
Liam: Visually, yeah, but what’s going on with that ending? Hutter’s slightly less of an idiot than Jonathan Harker, but that’s not saying much. Why would a perfectly decent woman sacrifice herself for his dumb ass– or that dumb ass town?
Gianni: Count Orlock became obsessed with Ellen before he even had a whiff of her blood; it’s safe to say that the moral of the story is that love– as in obsession– renders all sentient beings idiotic.
Liam: She does have a lovely neck.
Gianni: It’s our most charming weakness: sometimes we just can’t help ourselves wanting the silliest of humans.
Liam: Har-dee-fucking-har.

Seriously, guys, has anyone seen my armadillo?

Seriously, guys, has anyone seen my armadillo?

DRACULA – Tod Browning – 1931 (Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye)
Gianni: I’ve always liked Dracula. He’s a glorious, self-indulgent, beautiful monster.
Liam: He’s kind of overblown, but at least he’s unapologetic. We still haven’t gotten to the supposedly sympathetic emo movie vampire yet– takes a few decades.
Gianni: Dracula gets a kind of sympathy; women swooned for murderous Lugosi as easily as that penitent brat in Twilight. Evil has been seductive since Eden. You ought to know.
Liam: Mina’s pal Lucy seems to agree with me, there.
Gianni: I like her in this movie– she’s one of those Great Depression proto-goth girls. Makes me want to play with my food.
Liam: But let’s get to the real issue: how the fuck did an armadillo get to Transylvania?

Don't worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough.

Don't worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough.

BRIDES OF DRACULA – Terence Fisher – 1960 (Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur, Martita Hunt)
Liam: I recognized Governor Tarkin’s foul stench when the opening credits began to roll.
Gianni: If you make one more Star Wars joke, I swear to Christ–
Liam: Just be glad we’re not marathoning those, man. So, I thought this was going to be about– I don’t know, Dracula. And the brides that came after Harker. Maybe I need to lower my expectations.
Gianni: Me too. I have a hard time believing any vampire would let that French dish escape him on the first night, let alone repeatedly. Even one with an improbable English public schoolboy accent.
Liam: Remember kids, women are easily swayed and will do stupid things that get them in stupid trouble from which they need to be rescued by smart men. Like Peter Cushing.
Gianni: Don’t blame the whole sex– blame the French.
Liam: I see what you did there.

I would just like the say that these views do not necessarily represent my own. In fact, they’re pretty far from my own. Nor do they claim to represent all vampires. Just the bored ones stuck in a room with a pile of vampire movies.

Now playing: Interpol – NYC
via FoxyTunes

15 Responses to “Vampire Commentary Part 1”

  1. Tricialew July 16, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    This made me die laughing. Seriously, I will have to call in dead to work today. I cannot wait to read what Gianni and Liam have to say about recent vampire cinema.

  2. jamie July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am #


  3. KVTaylor July 16, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    Tricia, yay for calling in dead! Well, not for you being dead, because that’d suck, but you know. Ha!

    Jamie, I can’t take them anywhere.

  4. KVTaylor July 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    PS- Getting some conversation about this– I should add that the “Your wife has a lovely neck” thing is actually a caption from Nosferatu. And it is awesome.

  5. Reenie July 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Hehehe… I second the request to hear what they have to say about modern vampires (and True Blood!)

    Also, in the spirit of vampire awareness month – as we were waiting in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park this morning (which we didn’t get in the end, dammit) a couple of people in front of us ended up having a big debate about vampire mythology, and whether the shunning daylight thing was critical to the concept of vampires or not. You should have been there!

    (especially since at least one of them was being insanely pretentious about it and needed their pseudo-scholar bubble popped… But also because it was still a good VA month convo).

  6. Cate Gardner July 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    More please. Brilliant.

  7. Meghan July 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    … personally, I’d prefer to call in rich. “Hello, I’m too rich to come in to work today. Looks like tomorrow will be out, too. Heck, you can just cancel me for the rest of my lifetime. Thanks!”

    But… er… back on topic, that was awesome. Especially since we’ve had conversations on the running commentary that happens in the back of one’s head that actually belongs to other people.

    I wonder how long it will take before one of them starts chucking popcorn at the screen…?

  8. KVTaylor July 17, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    Reenie, how I wish I had been there to hear that conversation with you! I’m sure you enjoyed it for me, though. (Gianni wants an Eric. Liam wants a Vampire Rights Act.)

    Cate, this is what I think about. Sad but true. And they’re the nice ones in my head :/

    Megh, too bad James isn’t there– he’d definitely be chucking some popcorn. Ha! We really must consider their feelings when watching movies though. It’s only polite.

    Yeah. Calling in rich sounds about right. Wish I could cause that!

  9. Alan W. Davidson July 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Liam is such a little upstart. I bet Gianni is regretting changing the boy to the ‘undead’. Hilarious stuff, katey!

  10. Danielle Ferries July 19, 2010 at 12:50 am #


    I’m very fond of anything with Bela Lugosi in it.

  11. KVTaylor July 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Alan, G likes to pretend to regret it, at least. But Liam knows better. Upstart little brat– good description! Thanks!

    Danielle, me too. Can’t lose with Bela, not even in an Ed Wood film!

  12. Mark Deniz July 21, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    Oh, please keep this up, this month is just getting better and better!

    I wondered about the armadillos too!

  13. KVTaylor July 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Best month ever, Mark! I’m so glad you started it :D

    I guess the Count has them imported…

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