What makes the True Blood TV series, and the novels by Charlaine Harris it is based on, stand out from the current crop of run of the mill vampire fictions? For those of you currently enjoying Seasons 3 or 4 this article looks back at some of the fundamental starting points of the early episodes. And for those of you not yet hooked maybe it will inspire you to have a watch.
SPOILER ALERT: Twilight saga, books and movies
While some current horror films like 30 Days of Night show vampires as monsters who will rip your throat out and massacre entire towns, “ensouled” or other “good” vampires have taken to hanging round with high school girls and sulkily seducing them.
In the early 1990s The Vampire Diaries appeared. These novels by L J Smith featured an American teenager, Elena, who falls for the new boy at school, Stefan. He turns out to be a 162 Continue reading
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
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
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)”. 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
SPOILER ALERT: Dracula by Bram Stoker!
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
This is a blog for fans of vampire fiction who are interested in engaging in critical discussion.
I’ll be exploring contemporary vampire fiction – but also looking back at some of the influential books and films of the last two hundred years and attempting to uncover the roots of some of the current trends and popularity of all this vampire material.
So why discuss vampire fiction at the moment? Obviously it is popular, with vampires cropping up everywhere from teen romance novels like Twilight to house dramas like Continue reading