The Problem with Vampires Part 2: The exhaustive history of real vampires

 

How to properly vampire

If you read part one of this series, you may be asking “which sauce goes best with tortellini?” The answer, of course, is “you read the wrong article.” This is about vampires, not pasta.*

Now, once you’ve read the correct article, Einstein, you’ll see that we’ve scientifically proven that today’s vampires are boring. You’re welcome. But you may now be asking, “Okay, smart guys, how did this all happen? What are the best and/or worst vampire stories? And have you ever kissed a girl, because I’m betting you haven’t?”

Well, Mister or Miss Sarcastic, we present to you now a comprehensive, albeit poorly researched history of the evolution of the vampire from chilling demon to dull sex symbol. This history may be wildly inaccurate, but what it lacks in accuracy it makes up for in grammar issues.

Before we get started, though, there is something we want to highlight. You’ll notice a Grand Canyon-sized omission in this list: Bella Lugosi isn’t on it. The reason for this is we didn’t really watch Lugosi growing up, outside of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, where Dracula asks Bud Abbot, "How would you like to die?" and Bud answers. "OLD AGE!” We only just now remembered we meant to watch some of his movies so we could claim we always loved him. Our mistake. So please, mentally insert Bella Lugosi into the list as appropriate.

 

The OG vampire tale

 


In 1897, Bram Stoker published Dracula. If you’ve never read it, then addresses this oversight immediately. It is creepy, and there are some truly nightmarish scenes within. Dracula’s mysterious arrival in England is terrifying. The story is not without flaws, but nowhere within the novel will you find anything sensual about the living dead. Stoker’s Dracula isn’t looking for love. He’s evil. He’s after Lucy and Mina because he’s a monster. Yes, we know that Stoker’s work is often interpreted as having various sexual subtexts, but Drac wasn’t parading around with his washboard abs.

 

That's a regular vampire, not a vampiric anteater

In 1922, the vampire was brought to unlife in the silent film Nosferatu. And we can honestly tell you that this movie is creepy as heck. Not hell, but heck. It is well done, and although the story of Count Orlok is clearly just Dracula with a more humorous name, it gets credit here because the creature is not some kind of misunderstood misfit just looking for its place in this crazy old world. He’s looking for delicious blood.

That sound you hear is the scream of Count Studmuffin pooping his poser pants. 



In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s, Christopher Lee became Dracula. He might not have really resembled Stoker’s monster, but he was magnificent. There was no questioning his malevolence. He wasn’t looking for a date. Some of the imagery from these movies have scarred us for life (There’s one scene of a blood sacrifice to resurrect Dracula (Dracula: Prince of Darkness, 1966), and another where the vampire is impaled on a cross).

Side note: We admit that while doing rudimentary research we found a 1972 film titled Count Dracula’s Great Love. But I challenge anyone to say they remembered this.

Just as we thought.

The late 1960s and the 1970s produced some truly enduring and creepy vampires. In 1966,

 

Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows hit the airwaves. Two interesting things about this: first, the original show was not supposed to be about the supernatural. But somehow, within a few months, Barnabas Collins entered the story. The other point is that Dark Shadows was a soap opera, which, yes, opens the door to some of the wishy-washy human emotions stuff. And while we’re being honest, we admit to not remembering much of the Dark Shadows storylines. But look at the guy. That’s evil.

Jump to 1975. Stephen King published ‘Salem’s Lot. My first introduction to this was

 

In this scene, young Danny Glick is traumatizing the author for years to come.

through the made-for-TV adaptation which, although clearly flawed, caused a LOT of sleepless nights for kids whose negligent, possibly stoned parents let them watch it as a kid in 1979. The image of those vampires floating outside of windows, desperately trying to get in, still gives us chills. The cool thing is that in Stephen King’s book, his vampires are just as terrifying. They were everything vampires should be…evil and remorseless. Although the book incarnation of Kurt Barlow is quite different from the TV Barlow, there’s nothing sensual about either.

Then things start to change. To be continued...

*Marinara, of course.

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

One TV Theme To Rule Them All

If you’re reading this, I’m probably already “cancelled”