Vampires of today have evolved into romantic figures in books and on the screen, but they didn’t always have this appeal. In 1922 movie, Nosfertau: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A symphony of horrors.) This German movie starred Max Schreck as the vampire with hairy palms, large bat-like ears and beastly appearance. Definitely a memorable character for very different reason than the heartthrobs we read about in our vampire books today. This vamp would cause your heart to beat faster, but not because of his romantic appeal.
In the US we had our own vampire. Bela Lugosi had fangs and an air of seduction going for him. In 1927, he starred in a Broadway production of Dracula based on the Bram Stoker novel and adapted for the stage by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. The production ran 261 performances before touring. In 1930, Universal bought the rights and started filming Dracula. This Dracula portrayed in the movies wore two pieces of jewelry, a silver medallion and large signet ring. In the Legosi’s betrayal of Dracula it seemed the ring had a significant roll. Dracula would walk with his arms bent and slightly in front of him as if the ring led the way. The 1930’s vampire was still a villain but with a sensual charm to lure his
Christopher Lee was England’s image of Dracula. His hair was black, his cape was a long opera cloak and his eye glowed blood red. His film credits states he was the Dracula who had very little to do, but look menacing. Movie titles: Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969), and Scars of Dracula (1970)--All classics. Lee stared in other Dracula films in the 1970’s, where Hammer tried to bring the character into the modern era. These films didn’t do well. It seemed audiences liked the dark villain that didn’t say much. Christopher Lee stood 6’ 5” definitely a foreboding Dracula.
In 1987, The Lost Boys hit the screens. Now these vamps had fangs! Their eyes were greenish-red and they didn’t like the sun. The vampires are still the vicious villains but the cape has been put away and the vamps sported a leather jacket and rode motorcycles. David played by Keifer Sutherland.
Francis Ford Copolla remade Dracula in 1992. Gary Oldman played the leading role. Dracula was seductive, strong, very bad and scary but also with a romantic flare. It’s pegged as an Erotic Vampirism in stunning Gothic style.
In 1994, Interview with the Vampire was filmed and was based on the Anne Rice’s novels. It soon became a favorite for the genre. Her vampires had a human tragic side to them as well as still being savage with their blood lust. Lestat is played by Tom Cruise and Louis de Pointe du Lac is played by Brad Pitt.
In 2002, the Vampire Lestat made another appearance in Queen of the Damned. The brooding vampire was played by Stuart Townsend. The vampire Lestat becomes a rock star whose music wakes up the queen of all vampires. He's still lethal and tragic, but he falls for a human.
The Kindred: The Embrace was loosely based on the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. The series aired on TV on April 2, 1996. The vampires survive among the humans through the ‘masquerade’—disguising themselves as humans. Julian Luna played by Mark Frankel, is the prince of the city and ruler of five clans of vampires, which they call the Kindred. Most of the clans can pass as human, dark and mysterious, but some look more like the Nosferatu vampire though they have human attributes. They stay clear of human interaction. Mark Frankel’s character is charming, lethal (when need be) and all rolled into a beautiful package. The vampires can also turn into animals. With a last name like Luna, it was only appropriate Julian's animal was the wolf. Julian is a vampire women would want to date. Sadly the series was cancelled after eight episodes due to the tragic motorcycle accident that claimed Mark Frankel’s life.
Angel aired in 1999-2004. The vampire, Angel is cursed with a soul. So he has fangs, can’t be in the sun or he’d burn into flames, but he has human traits because he possesses a soul. Dark, brooding and sexy was played by David Boreanaz. His poster still hangs in our garage behind the dryer. lol
And then there was Spike played by James Marsters. Spike was a vampire out of charater. He was the villain, the comic-relief and the anti-hero. He also was romantic. His love for Drusilla stayed true--well at least until she left him.
Moonlight aired in 2007 with Mick St. John staring the gorgeous Alex O’Loughlin was turned into a vampire on his wedding night. This strong but vulnerable vampire also has a thing for a human. Here the vampire who still has fangs, still has to drink blood to survive, the sun makes him ill but it doesn’t make him immediately burst into flames. This vampire has all the traits of the earlier vampires that were betrayed on film, but now he’s the romantic hero that makes the heart beat a little faster.
2008 Twilight hits the theater. The characters are based of Stephenie Meyer’s popular Twilight Series(2005.) Her vampires are gorgeous and lethal though the members of the Cullen Clan try to keep the beast leashed inside. Stephenie Meyer’s vampire’s eyes turn dark brown/black when they’re hungry, light brown when they’ve fed on an animal. The villain's eyes turn blood red when they feed on human blood. Their skin also sparkles in the sun. Edward Cullen is played by Robert Pattinson, and the vampire James was played by Cam Gigandet.
In my vampire tale, I put a new spin on the Chinese vampire, the chiang-shih. Jairec was bitten by the chiang-shih and has three days to find the cure. Jairec fights the urge to give into the monster lurking inside of him. He also finds he's fallen for Autumn Moon and will do all he can to keep her safe. Tall, dark, lethal and romantic. :)
As you can see vampires have evolved from a villain with no control over their blood lust to romantic leads that try to keep their lethal attributes leashed. Which vampire appeals to you?
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