1979: Outspoken women take centre stage in the Dracula narrative

There are many films based on Dracula by Bram Stoker. Few of them closely follow the novel. Instead they are adaptions that reflect the times they were made in. One of the most noteworthy is Dracula directed by John Badham in 1979. Kate Nelligan’s Lucy is portrayed as an outspoken woman who is in control. She is no longer a passive victim. The men who are the traditional heroes of the narrative are portrayed as corrupt, incompetent and oppressive.

Kate Nelligan takes the lead as Lucy

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The Vampires’ Journey Part VI. Vlad the Romancer and women in love

SPOILER ALERT: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dir: Dan Curtis, 1973, Dracula, Dir: John Badham, 1979, Bram Stoker’s Dracula Dir: Francis Ford Coppola, 1992

Impaling. Just nasty

Everyone knows that Dracula was really Vlad the Impaler right? Well no, probably not. Stoker may have used the title Dracula, which also applied to Vlad Tepes or Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler) but “Dracula” was a title rather than the specific name of that historic figure. “Dracula” means “child of the dragon” or “devil”. Stoker had made notes that “Dracula in WALLACHIAN language means DEVIL”. But he may not have known much of the legends of Vlad the Impaler.

In 1972 Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu wrote In Search of Dracula, claiming that Stoker’s Count Dracula and Vlad the Impaler were one and the same, lending historical weight Continue reading

Daybreakers – Capitalist Vampire Oppressors

I thought I would take a short break from The Vampires’ Journey series of articles to bring you a short film review. The Vampires’ Journey will be back soon with some Hammer Horror.

But now for something completely different… At the weekend I watched Daybreakers, a movie from 2010 about pretty much vampocalypse. I am always at least a year behind current releases, but here’s some thoughts… Continue reading

The Vampires’ Journey IV. The undead comes to the movies

SPOILER ALERT: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, Dir: F W Murnau 1922, Eclipse (movie and book), BtVS (Seasons One and Five), Dracula, Dir: Tod Browning, 1931

Max Shreck as Nosferatu in 1922

Ken Gelder observes of Dracula (and James Bond) movies that “these films each bear only a nominal relationship(s) to their literary source(s). Moreover as they begin to comprise a distinct genre, these films speak to themselves … much more than they to speak to any ‘original’ novel(s)”.[1] Each appearance of the iconic figure of Dracula in the cinema has seen a departure from Stoker’s novel. Each time this creates new sources of reference for what a vampire or Dracula should be.

Nosferatu and the heroines willing sacrifice

Dracula’s first appearance in film in the 1922 German production Nosferatu, directed by F W Murnau, retained the monstrous characterisation of the count. He appears as a Continue reading

The Vampires’ Journey III. Stoker’s Dracula kills romance

SPOILER ALERT: Dracula by Bram Stoker!

Buffy: in Dracula's thrall?

Because we have become accustomed to the established model of romantic vampires in contemporary vampire fiction it may come as a shock to many to discover that Count Dracula (as Bram Stoker originally wrote him) was not at all romantic. Modern conceptions of the Count, created by the many representations of him in film and TV, usually show him being driven by emotional desires to connect with a female victim. Even in BtVS, Dracula is represented as needing to Continue reading

The vampires’ journey – From Byron to Bella – Has vampire fiction lost its teeth?

I. Introduction

Note: This is the first part of a serialised article which will be developed over future posts.

Exploring Hammer Horror … Ouch!

A few years ago I began to wonder where certain trends in current vampire fiction originate. Specifically I was curious about the plot that goes — girl meets boy, he is a bit pale and moody, he turns out to be a bit older and oh yeah a bloodsucking fiend (but a nice one). My curiosity took me to the 18th century, Byron, some pretty dodgy Hammer Horror films and a newfound interest in the interior decorating tastes of the undead.

Here’s what I found out: Continue reading