Halloween is here. Maybe not literally yet, but editorial less than twenty days is nothing. Especially if you have a series of articles in mind to suggest movies on the subject for those who, trick or treating aside, want to spend a bit of time to see something anyway. Hoping that the resurgent aftermath of the pandemic does not make what we would like to be just one option among many become an obligation.
So be Halloween. And, of course, the themes could only be taken from horror cinema. So let’s start with vampire movies. Attention! Not the five best films because that is a question de gustobus and, as you know, non est dispuntandum. Here we will suggest, instead, five titles that are five different ways to interpret what is, perhaps, the noblest figure (from a literary point of view) of the pantheon of classical monsters.
Here are five vampire movies:
The first title is also the most provocative because a silent film from 1922 it’s something you should never recommend to anyone. Still, the film directed by Friedrick Wihlem Murnau it cannot be missing from such a list because it is the first happy example of a fruitful marriage between cinema and art. Considered the masterpiece of expressionist cinema, Nosferatu it is one of the first demonstrations of how cinema, then still in its infancy, could deserve the title of seventh art.
Loosely based on Bram Stoker’s novel, Nosferatu will become a reference point for the horror cinema of the thirties who will take the vampire as the ideal model Count Orlock in the iconic interpretation of Max Schreck. We could therefore say that without the Nosferatu of Murnau, the vampire myth would not have been one of the staples in horror cinema.
And, if you really can’t handle a silent film, you can always recover the almost namesake Nosferatu – the Prince of the Night directed by Werner Herzog in 1979 with Klaus Kinski to resume the mask of Count Orlock by Max Schreck.
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Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Let’s jump exactly 70 years to get to Bram Stoker’s Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola. A stellar cast puts themselves at the American director’s service for a film that aims to be faithful to the Irish writer’s original novel. Gary Oldman is Count Dracula, while his archenemy Van Helsing is played by sir Anthony Hopkins. The couple Jonathan and Mina Harker have the faces of young people Keanu Reeves And Winona Ryderbut also unforgettable will remain the three brides of Dracula di Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick.
Despite the allusive title and the declared intentions, Coppola’s film it departs from the novel in many important parts. But, in reality, it is this choice that earns him a place on this list. Oldman and Coppola redefine the figure of the count who he retains his demonic powers and devotion to evil, but also acquires a romantic streak. The interest in Mina is, in fact, fueled by the memory of the wife that the count had before becoming the prince of darkness. No longer, therefore, a one-dimensional characterbut a person capable of experiencing pure feelings as well.
A rewrite also underlined by the elegant clothes and refined manners that make the Count Dracula a sort of Victorian high society dandy. The first step towards what comes next.
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Interview with the vampire
An after that begins much earlier. In that 1976 in which the novel of a newcomer who will become arrives in the bookstore a reference point for fans of the genre. That writer was Ann Rice and the title of the novel was Interview with the vampire. Eighteen years after the publication and two after the release of Coppola’s film, the time is ripe for that book to become a film. Directed by Neil Jordan, Interview with the vampire carries out the mutation initiated by its most illustrious precedent. Just read the names of the interpreters: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderasbut also just 12 years old Kirsten Dunst it’s ours Domiziana Giordano. Distinguishing marks of the entire cast: the charm.
Rice’s vampires are still bloodthirsty and confined to the hours of the night. But when the sun goes down they become above all gods irresistible beings dedicated to the good life and irresistibly attractive. They are capable of experiencing true feelings such as love for mortals, the torment of their condition, the suffering of not being able to have lasting affection if not among themselves. Mostly, they are no longer just beings to be feared and destroyed, but are admired by those who aspire to their eternal life and are fascinated by the libertine ethics that characterizes them. In fact, the figure of the journalist played by Christian Slater who fails to understand the underlying pessimism of the vampire Louis is significant.
Perhaps, neither Rice nor Jordan had realized this, but Lestat and Louis will open a long road that will ultimately radically change vampire films, with the monsters of the past who can also be protective lovers who choose violence only to defend their most intimate affections. True Blood on the small screen and the saga of Twilight at the cinema they are the most famous examples.
Neil Jordan’s film, while being directed as a series of long flashbacks, begins and ends in the viewer’s present. On the other hand, if vampires are immortal, they must also live among us now. But, if so, how would they be organized? What would they do? He indirectly thinks about answering these questions Blade. Directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David Goyer, Blade arrives in theaters in 1998 when no one had yet invented the term cinecomic. And of cinecomic ante litteram it comes because the protagonist is taken from a comic book series of the same name from Marvel.
Played by a Wesley Snipes then on the crest of the wave (before the problems with the taxman that will take him to jail), Blade is a human-vampire hybrid capable of living in the open, but forced to inject a serum to curb bloodlust. Trained by his human master to fight vampires, Daytime is both the nightmare of the lords of the night and the target of a game hatched to summon a bloodthirsty god. Particularly interesting is how here both Blade and the vampires fight like modern warriors mixing martial arts, swords, guns and sci-fi technologies. A mix of genres that gives a pop dimension to an ancient myth.
The trilogy of Blade has the merit of having modernized the figure of the vampire creating a kind of parallel society with their own laws and equal power struggles based not only on blood nobility, but on intrigues and alliances. An idea that will be revived a few years later by the saga of Underworld where vampires in super sexy modern clothes and wild and dirty werewolves will compete with hyper-technological weapons with humans acting as an unconscious background.
let me in
If we exclude the little Claudia by Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the vampire, all the films mentioned have adults as protagonists. But What if a teenager was a vampire? What if a slender, petite girl had to feed on human blood? What if a being destined to live forever were to get stuck in a child’s immutable body? To wonder is let me innovel written in 2004 by the Swedish John Ajvide Linqvist from which the 2008 film of the same name is based, directed by Tomas Alfredson.
let me in it has very little to do with the other films on this list not being able to consider itself a real horror. But the friendship between little Oskar, a victim of bullies, and the mysterious Eli, a vampire in the body of a thirteen year oldis a masterpiece of delicacy and intelligence. Vampirism as a condemnation to loneliness and sincerity as a cure. A metaphor of not being afraid of the monster and an invitation to look at what lies beyond the commonplace. A search for what unites us rather than stopping at what divides us.
The critical success of this small Swedish film will allow him to fly across the ocean and find admirers even in Hollywood. Only two years later it will arrive in theaters, in fact, Blood Story that of let me in is a faithful remake. The names of the characters change and the snows of Stockholm are replaced by the arid expanses of Los Alamos, ma the plot and above all the message remain the same.
The best way to close this article on vampire movies, demonstrating that even fear can arise sweetness and delicacy.
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