Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dracula- 1931

I first saw this movie when I was a little kid, during one of my moms "gray" movie marathons. She would make popcorn and we would all curl up on the couch to watch whatever black and white movie happened to be on. I loved October best because the movies were always about vampires and werewolves- I loved them even then.

Dracula (1931) is credited with being the first American movie to be based off the Stoker novel, although most had already seen the foreign film Nosferatu and the subsequent remake. Bela Lugosi popularized the vampire character with the now campy phrase, " I vant to drink your blood" but he also embodied how vampires looked and acted (at least according to 1930's movie-goers). He had the creepy stare and the thick Hungarian accent, along with some seriously dramatic music. Lugosi may not be the best vampire, but he was our first.

In keeping with tradition, I try to watch this classic vampire movie every October and soon I will curl up on the couch with my own two kids, pop some popcorn and introduce them to the wonders of Bela Lugosi.

I'm going to be reviewing classic and modern vampire movies a couple times a month (next time with pictures), and I hope to include trivia and little fact bites (a did you know sort of thing). If you have a favorite that you want to talk about, let me know. I'd love to start a comparison between classic and modern movies- like an evolution of the vampire.

What I really need is a rating system! Coffins and fangs come to mind, but what do you think? You know you vant to tell me. What should it be?

Anna D. aka lunaticcafe


Lou Gagliardi said...

Did you know..the idea of turning into a bat, wolf, etc as well as having no reflection (therefore no soul) is purely modern invention that is brought on mainly due to Stoker?

In the earliest fiction, many vampires were just 'normal' humans who drank and went out at night.

Anna Dougherty said...

I love analyzing all the various vampire myths and legends. It's also interesting to see how more modern movies and books alter the original myths into something fresh and fun (or I suppose gory and scary).

In that movie 30 Days of Night (2007) the vampires were a seriously bloodthirsty lot with only one intent- to destroy an entire village in the most bloody way possible. The plot involves an Alaskan town so, of course, the sun doesn't shine for a long stretch of time. This put a new spin on the sun legend and also makes you wonder why the vamps would knowingly destroy the only food source- and so openly at that. No fear of discovery because all the town will be dead and the vamps move to another town. What happens when new folks show up? Are they hunted? I'm interested in seeing the sequel.


Lou Gagliardi said...

The sun myth is also a modern invention.

Stoker, Le Fanu, etc, all allowed their vampires to walk in the day time (with powers diminished), as well as the night.

In fact, in Russia, the vampire legends say that vampires attack from high noon till dusk--and they must go back to the grave before night.

It wasn't until Nosferatu (which predates Dracula as you noted) that the sunlight thing came into the myths.

Ana Revenant said...

It is a very interesting idea to trace the evolution of the vampire through the cinema. I am also curious about the new manifestations that are so easily encapsulated in film.

On my site (www.infectiousbite.com) I compare folklore with fiction regarding vampires, but I rarely delve into the realm of cinema.

There are a few books on the subject. One that I particularly enjoy is _Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture_ by William Day. If I can recall the names of the others, I will give them to you.

I would like to see how you treat this subject. It should be interesting, and I will certainly keep an eye on your blog.