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!]
NOSFERATU – F.W. Murnau – 1922 (Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder)
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.
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?
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.