I will start this post by stating for the record that I have not read the books that the Twilight movies are based on, nor have I seen the movies. So this post will not mention them, however, with all the attention that they’ve been getting I figured it might be nice to be reminded of some of the vampire characters that came along before it all became about “Team Edward”.
The idea of vampires has been around through most of human history and the word “vampire” started appearing in the 18th century, and while Bram Stokers Dracula set the tone for the vampire legends we know today vampires in cinema started with the still creepy Nosferatu.
Released in 1922 this silent film essentially follows the plot of Dracula, eliminating a lot of the secondary characters and focusing primarily on Thomas and Ellen Hutter (the Jonathan and Mina Harker characters) and their dealings with Count Orlok, the vampire.
Now, to jump ahead…. about 60 years. The 1983 strange night kin tale The Hunger which stars Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon.
This movie is based on a book, with the same title, that was published in 1981. It is unique because it is not the typical story people have come to recognize as “the vampire story”. Miriam (Deneuve) can only create vampire/human hybrids with extended lives, but who do eventually begin to decay. John (Bowie) her lover of around 200 years is starting to succumb and aging rapidly. When he seeks help from Dr. Sarah Roberts, who might be able to cure him, becomes the object of Miriams attentions.
In 1992, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was brought to the screen. Starring Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan and Mina Harker and Anthony Hopkis as Van Helsing.
This is a love it or hate it movie. It stays truthful to the book in many ways, which some people like and others don’t. The costumes are amazing, the film won Academy Award for the costumes and make up. On top of that Gary Oldman gives a stunning performance as the tormented Count Dracula. It is a wonderful return to the story that started it all.
Aside from defining may of the attributes we associate with vampires, Dracula also set in place the tormented-tormentor character psychology, the vampire who hates vampires and hates himself but on the other hand loves the power that comes with being undead.
Blade is a great example of the tormented-tormentor, and eve takes it one step further. In his half vampire state Blade uses all his abilities to destroy every vampire he can find. He revels in his ability to fight toe-to-toe with other undead but his rage at the vampires is unyielding.
However with every personality there is an opposite, in this case that is the vampire who loves being a vampire, and believes he is happier as a vampire than he ever was a mortal. Killing to feed, never seeing daylight and trusting no one is where he thrives.
Lestat De Lioncourt is probably the best example of this, from the start he loves everything there is about being a vampire and uses it to his constant advantage. People are playthings and the desires and wishes of other vampires are of no matter to him. Bringing vampires out into the light of day (so to speak) wasn’t enough, he needed them to see him and recognize him for the great vampire he was. Don’t worry though! He learns his lesson.
Now to bring this little vampire lesson to a close, I know I have not covered nearly all, or even most kinds of vampires and vampire movies. So below are some more vampire titles that you might want to check out, if Cullen isn’t enough.Some are better than others, but they’re all entertaining