- Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922). As Jeffrey writes, here's where it all begins, really. "An excellent choice for your first foray into Silent Film, whether you love horror movies, classic film, or movie making in general," adds chester. Suggestions for further reading: Our primer on German Expressionism and the accompanying article, "Where the Horror Came From." And for further viewing: Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht and, once again, E. Elias Merhige's Shadow of the Vampire.
- Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931). "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make." Yes, this is the template. What's more, the two discs of the Legacy Collection devoted to this classic are astoundingly rich in alternative scores and versions, commentary and docs.
- Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1932). "A masterpiece of world cinema," Jeffrey declares at his site, Combustible Celluloid.
- Horror of Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958). There's an essential trifecta when it comes to the Count: Max Schreck, Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. If a "Dracula for a new generation, in lurid color, more overtly sexual and garishly bloody," as Jeffrey puts it, is more up your alley, you're in luck. Hammer Studios and Lee worked the formula over and over; most agree this is one of the best of the bunch, if not the best. Suggestion for further reading: Our primer on Hammer Horror.
Variations and Deviations
- 70s: Two indies stand out as overt political commentaries in a decade that only grows more fascinating with time. In Deathdream (1972), "Cassavetes vets Lynn Carlin and John Marley receive news about their son's death in Vietnam, just hours before the lad knocks on the front door - churlish, uncommunicative, and very undead," writes Michael Atkinson in the Village Voice. "[Director Bob] Clark's metaphoric nerve is as astonishing as his filmmaking is crude, and there may not be a more quietly galling movie about the war's psychosocial devastation." Ganja & Hess (1973) "is not a vampire or horror film in any conventional sense," writes EFox. "It is an art film: a stately, meticulously composed, disturbing, and passionate meditation on the themes of addiction, lust, beauty and mortality.... It is a unique, low-budget radical art film for the sensuously and intuitively inclined. Don't miss it."
Jean Rollin's Lips of Blood
- Euroschlock: The vampiric excesses of the Italian maestro of the macabre, Mario Bava (Black Sunday), the Spanish director with countless aliases, Jesús Franco (Vampyros Lesbos), and the French filmmaker Jean Rollin (The Rape of the Vampire) must be sampled at least once in a lifetime. And who knows, you may develop a taste for them. Suggestions for further reading: Our primer on Italian Horror; Images: "The Weird and Wonderful World of Jesús Franco"; James Newman in Images on "The Cinema of Jean Rollin" and Kinoeye's special 2002 issue on Rollin.
- Hong Kong Hoppers: Start with Mr. Vampire (Ricky Lau, 1985). If that doesn't arouse your curiosity, we can't help you, but if it does, head straight to "Expect the Unexpected: Horror, Humor and Hopping in Hong Kong."
- Anime: "I'm impressed," wrote hneline1 of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. "I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in animation, vampires, or gothic action with a blend of science fiction." Suggestions for further viewing: Blood: The Last Vampire, Vampire Princess Miyu and Hellsing. And for further reading: Our Anime primer.
Come talk about vampires.
Bookmark/Search this post with: