Vampires in popular culture

Vampires in popular culture

Vampires in popular culture includes vampire movies, literature, theatre, opera, ballet, music, paintings and video games.


:See also Vampire movies

"The Vampire" (1913, directed by Robert G. Vignola), also co-written by Vignola, is the earliest vampire film.

Confusingly some of the first cinematic vampires were in reality 'vamps'. These were derived from the writer Rudyard Kipling who was inspired by a vampiress painted by Philip Burne-Jones, an image typical of the era in 1897, to write his poem 'The Vampire'. Like much of Kipling's verse it was incredibly popular, and its refrain: "A fool there was . . . ", describing a seduced man, became the title of the popular film "A Fool There Was" that made Theda Bara a star, the poem being used in its publicity. On this account, in early American slang the "femme fatale" was called a "vamp", short for "vampiress". [ Per the Oxford English Dictionary, "vamp" is originally English, used first by G. K. Chesterton, but popularized in the American silent film "The Vamp", starring Enid Bennett]

A real supernatural vampire features in the landmark "Nosferatu" (1922 Germany, directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau). This was an unlicensed version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", based so closely on the novel that the estate sued and won, with all copies ordered to be destroyed. (It would be painstakingly restored in 1994 by a team of European scholars from the five surviving prints that had escaped destruction). The next classic treatment of the vampire legend was in Universal's "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. Five years after the release of the film, Universal released "Dracula's Daughter", a direct sequel that starts immediately after the end of the first film. A second sequel, "Son of Dracula", starring Lon Chaney, Jr. followed in 1943. Despite his apparent death in the 1931 film, the Count returned to life in three more Universal films of the mid-1940s: 1944's "House of Frankenstein", 1945's "House of Dracula" and 1948's "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein". While Lugosi had played a vampire in two other movies during the 1930s and 40's, it was only in this final film that he played Count Dracula onscreen for the second (and last) time. Dracula was reincarnated for a new generation in the celebrated Hammer Horror series of films, starring Christopher Lee as the Count. The first of these films "Dracula" (1958) was followed by seven sequels. Lee returned as Dracula in all but two of these.

A distinct sub-genre of vampire films, ultimately inspired by Le Fanu's "Carmilla" explored the topic of the lesbian vampire. The first of these was "Blood and Roses" (1960) by Roger Vadim. More explicit lesbian content was provided in Hammer Studios Karnstein trilogy. The first of these, "The Vampire Lovers", (1970), starring Ingrid Pitt and Madeleine Smith, was a relatively straightforward re-telling of LeFanu's novella, but with more overt violence and sexuality.Later films in this sub-genre such as "Vampyres" (1974) became even more explicit in their depiction of sex, nudity and violence. Beginning with the absurd "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948) the vampire film has often been the subject of comedy. "The Fearless Vampire Killers" (1967) by Academy Award winner Roman Polanski was a notable parody of the genre. Other comedic treatments, of variable quality, include "Old Dracula" (1974) featuring David Niven as a lovelorn Dracula, "Love at First Bite" (1979 USA) featuring George Hamilton and "" (1995 USA, directed by Mel Brooks) with Canadian Leslie Nielsen giving it a comic twist.

Another development in some vampire films has been a change from supernatural horror to science fictional explanations of vampirism. "The Last Man on Earth" (Italy 1964, directed by Ubaldo Ragona) and "The Omega Man" (1971 USA, directed by Boris Sagal), both based on Richard Matheson's novel "I Am Legend", are two examples. Vampirism is explained as a kind of virus in David Cronenberg's "Rabid" (1976 Canada) and "Red-Blooded American Girl" (1990 Canada, directed by David Blyth).

Race has been another theme, as exemplified by the blaxploitation picture "Blacula" (1972) and several sequels.

Since the time of Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" (1931) the vampire, male or female, has usually been portrayed as an alluring sex symbol. There is, however, a very small sub-genre, pioneered in Murnau's seminal "Nosferatu" (1922) in which the vampire is depicted in the hideous lineaments of the creature of European folklore. Max Schrek's disturbing portrayal of this role in Murnau's film was copied by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's remake "" (1979). In "Shadow of the Vampire" (2000, directed by E. Elias Merhige), Willem Dafoe plays Max Schrek, himself, though portrayed here as an actual vampire. Dafoe's character is the ugly, disgusting creature of the original "Nosferatu".

The main tradition has, however, been to portray the vampire in terms of a predatory sexuality. Christopher Lee, Delphine Seyrig, Frank Langella, and Lauren Hutton are just a few examples of actors who brought great sex-appeal into their portrayal of the vampire. Latterly the implicit sexual themes of vampire film have become much more overt, culminating in such films as "Gayracula" (1983) and "The Vampire of Budapest", (1995), two pornographic all-male vampire movies, and "Lust For Dracula" (2005), a pornographic all-lesbian adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic.

A major character in most vampire films is the vampire slayer, of which Stoker's Abraham Van Helsing is a prototype. However, killing vampires has changed. Where Van Helsing relied on a stake through the heart, in "Vampires" 1998 USA, directed by John Carpenter, Jack Crow (James Woods) has a heavily-armed squad of vampire hunters, and in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992 USA, directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui), writer Joss Whedon (who created TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and spinoff "Angel") attached The Slayer, Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson in the film, Sarah Michelle Gellar in the TV series), to a network of Watchers and mystically endowed her with superhuman powers.

Video Games

" video game series, which features vampires set in an entirely fictional world called Nosgoth.

Other vampires seen in games include:
* "The Elder Scrolls" game series involves vampires created by demon lord. They have all the typical attributes, but some (though not all) can walk in sunlight if they have fed on a victim.
* "Mortal Kombat series", there's a species of vampires, although Nitara is thus far, the only vampire known in the series.
* In the tabletop wargame Warhammer Fantasy: "Vampire Counts" are one of the playable forces.
* Role-playing games such as "" (1992), in which the participants play the roles of fictional vampires (for specifics, see vampires in the World of Darkness).
* The "Darkstalkers" (1994) fighting game series (known as "Vampire Savior" in Japan) features a vampire along with other mythological and horror-themed characters.
* "Shadowrun" features vampires whose existence is explained by a resurgence of the Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus. As such, the afflicted are not "undead", but instead are still "alive" but radically changed by the retrovirus. They normally do not suffer from the supernatural limitations such as crosses, but still are vulnerable to sunlight.
*The comedy game Conker's Bad Fur Day features a Dracula-like vampire who is often insulted by Conker. He dies by falling into a grinder due to extreme blood drinking.
*, the second expansion pack for popular series The Sims 2, introduces vampires to the game. These vampires in this game follow many fictional conventions, such sleeping in ornate coffins, wearing gothic clothing, and being able to transform into bats. Vampirism can be spread between game characters through biting. If caught outside during the day, a Sim Vampire's will soon die.
*The video game series Castlevania establishes a new origin for Dracula and chronicles the never ending struggle between him and the Belmont clan of vampire hunters stretching from the 11th century all the way to the 21st century.
*The video game series Shadow Hearts have four known vampires (Three playable) in the games (though hardly stereotypical).
*The video game series Boktai revolves around the Vampire Hunter Django. However, even though the games sometimes equalize the terms of "Vampire" and "Immortal", there are only a few true vampires in the games, such as the Count of Groundsoaking Blood.
*The scrolling shooter "Embodiment of Scarlet Devil" features two vampire sisters as the final boss and the extra stage boss. The older of the two, Remilia Scarlet, became playable in two later games of the Touhou Project.
*Video game series such as Konami's Castlevania and role-playing games such as have been especially successful and influential.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

* Comic books and graphic novels such as "Vampirella" (1969), "Tomb of Dracula" (1972), the aforementioned "Blade" (1973), "30 Days of Night" (2002) Anita Blake Guilty Pleasures and "Dracula vs. King Arthur" (2005). In addition, many major superheroes have faced vampire supervillains at some point.


* First performed at the Limbo Lounge in New York City's East Village in 1984, the play "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" became so popular it was moved Off-Broadway in June, 1985. It ran five years at the Provincetown Playhouse.
* "Dance of the Vampires" (1997) is a musical from Jim Steinman.
* Playwright David Elendune infers in his play "Love & Darkness" that some vampires believe they are Nephilm, beings who are referred to in the old testament as the offspring of the first born of man and fallen angels.


* Japanese anime and manga features vampires in several titles, including "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" (1987), "Vampire Princess Miyu" (OAV 1988, TV series 1997), "Nightwalker" (1998), "Vampire Hunter D" (2000), "" (2000), "Hellsing" (2002), "Vampire Host" (2004), "Tsukihime, Lunar Legend" (2003), "Tsukuyomi - Moon Phase" (2004), "Bleach" (2005), "Blood+" (2005),"Trinity Blood" (2005),"Karin" (2006) ,and "Black Blood Brothers" (2006).
* [ The Fempiror Chronicles] (2004) is a Virtual series which uses the vampire mythology as a basis for its race of creatures known as Fempiror (which is a play on the word "vampire").


'The Vampire' (1897) by Philip Burne-Jones depicts an alluring female vampire crouched over a male victim. The model was the famous actress Mrs Patrick Campbell. This femme fatale inspired a poem of the same name (also 1897) by Rudyard Kipling. Like much of Kipling's verse it was incredibly popular, and its inspired many early silent films whose 'vampires' were actually 'vamps' rather than being supernatural undead blood-suckers. The poem's refrain: "A fool there was . . . ", describing a seduced man, became the title of the popular film "A Fool There Was" (1915) which made Theda Bara a star, and the archetypal cinematic 'vamp'. [David J. Skal "Fatal
] .


* Alternative rock band HIM has a song called "Vampire Heart" on their "Dark Light" album.
* Concrete Blonde has a song titled "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" on their "Bloodletting" album.
* My Chemical Romance has a song titled "Vampires Will Never Hurt You" on their debut album, "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love".
* Ash has a song entitled "Vampire Love" on their album "Meltdown".


* In , vampires are quite iconic creatures of the color black. Most of them share the ability to fly and to grow stronger (via +1/+1 counters) by dealing mortal damage to other creatures (according to the idea of gaining power from the blood of their victims).
* In Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, vampire are all zombie-type monster cards: "Patrician of Darkness", "Vampire Lord", "Vampire Lady" and "Red-Moon Baby" ("Vampire Baby" in Japanese version). In Yu-Gi-Oh! R manga, the character Tilla Mook uses the card monster "Curse of Vampire".


* Christopher Frayling (1992) "Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula" (1992) ISBN 0-571-16792-6
* Freeland, Cynthia A. (2000) "The Naked and the Undead: Evil and the Appeal of Horror". Westview Press.
* Holte, James Craig. (1997) "Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations". Greenwood Press.
* Leatherdale, C. (1993) "Dracula: The Novel and the Legend". Desert Island Books.
* Melton, J. Gordon. (1999) "The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead". Visible Ink Press.

External links

* [ Reviews of vampire films] at [ The Film Walrus]
* [ List of unusual vampire movies] at
* [ Comparison of Vampire Myths in Popular Fiction]
* [ Vampyrus]
* [ The Band Plogojowitz]

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