First Come, First Staked

In celebration of the season, instead of a book review today I list three of my favourite vampire films; and provide a photograph of my favourite costume.

Shadow of the Vampire

A fictionalised account of the filming of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. Showing Murnau as a person prepared to do anything to create his vision, the film suggests the director might be more of a monster than Dracula was.

Of particular note: the monologue about how difficult it must have been for Dracula, a centuries-old nobleman, to get supplies and prepare food for Harker’s visit.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Christopher Lee’s second outing as Dracula. Taking place after Dracula’s destruction at the end of the novel, the film tells the story of a loyal servant attempting to resurrect the master he loved and the narrow-minded travellers who attempt to stop him (a few radicals have suggested the travellers are the heroes, but that is a patent absurdity).

Of particular note: Lee does not speak during the film, instead conveying Dracula’s power and desires using understated body language.

Dave Higgins and Chris Hannam: House of Goth Costume Party 2003
My friend Chris dressing up as me for a party

The Addiction

A minimalist portrayal of vampires as humans who crave blood. Thirsting but otherwise still herself, Conklin must choose between maintaining her pre-vampire personality while constantly jonesing or acting like a monster because it feels good. Although the immediate parallels are with drug use, the absence of the overt religious framework common to vampire films makes this ironically more about good vs. evil than traditional horror.

Of particular note: Christopher Walken’s speech about brushing your teeth as a metaphor for living as a vampire instead of merely being alive.

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