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 V. Hammer Horror brings sexual liberation?

The post-war years saw a shift in vampire fiction – with women beginning to take more active roles than previously. The emerging women’s movement and the sexual liberation the pill brought had something to do with this. Though vampire fiction was still a long way from the point when Joss Whedon would decide to have the blonde girl in the alley fight back, it wasn’t really enough for women to be waiting around to get bitten anymore. One of the earliest examples of can be seen in the first Hammer Horror film about Dracula, directed by Terence Fisher in 1958.

In Horror of Dracula Christopher Lee’s performance as Dracula brings glamour to the role. The Count is well spoken, well dressed and his home is luxurious. 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 – 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