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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 Three: Dracula (1931)

Slide Three: Dracula (1931)

Tod Browning's version of Dracula wasn't adapted directly from Stoker's book, but from Hamilton Deane's play, which perhaps explains why it seems stagier and more stilted than either Nosferatu or Vampyr. But the early, eerie scenes in Dracula's castle are exquisitely photographed by Karl Freund, who had formerly collaborated with F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang. Dwight Frye's definitive Renfield usurps the narrative functions of Jonathan Harker's character before ending up in the asylum, eating spiders and babbling about the master, but the cast is dominated, of course, by Bela Lugosi, who first played the role on stage and is the very incarnation of a menacing but seductive foreigner—Rudolph Valentino's evil id. Lugosi's portrayal has fixed forever the image of a vampire in the popular imagination; that heavy-browed stare, East European accent and formalwear with cape have since been recycled in everything from Abbott and Costello comedies to Sesame Street and the breakfast cereal Count Chocula. Additions to the vampire movie handbook include Dracula's ability to turn himself into a bat, an aversion to crucifixes and a full complement of classic one-liners, some drawn directly from Stoker's novel. "Listen to them! Children of the night - what music they make!"