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There Will Be Blood: A short history of vampire films

Posted June 23, 2009 to photo album "There Will Be Blood: A short history of vampire films"

From Nosferatu to Thirst, films have tried to capture the shadowy, seductive figure of the vampire. Writer Anne Billson chronicles the creature’s evolution.

Slide One: Intro
Slide Two: Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Slide Three: Dracula (1931)
Slide Four: Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932)
Slide Five: Dracula/Horror of Dracula (1958)
Slide Six: Dance of the Vampires/The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
Slide Seven: Daughters of Darkness/Les lévres rouges (1971)
Slide Eight: Martin (1977)
Slide Nine: Near Dark (1987)
Slide Ten: Twilight (2008)
Slide Eleven:  Let the Right One In/Låt den rätte komma in (2008)
Slide Twelve: Writer Anne Billson
Slide Four: Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932)

Slide Four: Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932)

Vampyr, Carl Dreyer's loose adaptation of two stories from Sheridan LeFanu's In a Glass Darkly—“Carmilla” and “The Room in the Dragon Volant”—was conceived as a silent, and while sound was added during production, its trancelike visuals have more in common with Nosferatu than with Browning's Dracula. Dreyer shrugs off conventional linear narrative and plunges into the world evoked by that famous inter-title from Nosferatu, so beloved of the surrealists: "And when he crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him.” If ever there were a film which exemplified the idea of dreaming with one's eyes open, it's this; the influence on vampire cinema is oblique but present in every subsequent image of floaty chiffon or misty graveyards which bypasses the brain and proceeds directly to the subconscious. An occult investigator called Allan Grey (David in the English version) is our guide to this realm of shifting shadows, which take on lives of their own, and off-kilter corridors which lead, in a roundabout way, to a chateau where an evil doctor is helping a vampire prey on the Lord of the Manor's two daughters. Grey dreams of being buried alive, and the evil doctor really does end up buried—in flour.