Vampires: video games, books, comics and films not to be missed

Stephen King, in his essay on horror titled Danse Macabre, considers the vampire one of the three archetypes of terror on which the contemporary imaginary of the genre is based. The other two are the Nameless Thing which had its shapeless origin with the creature of Doctor Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the Werewolf, or the man who becomes a feral beast. It is curious that the first prose novel about nocturnal anthropomorphic leeches, a subject that had already appeared in some poems of the seventeenth century, had a suggestive literary origin that associates it with the rise of Nameless Thing: a stormy night in June at Villa Diodati, near Lake Geneva, around the end of the second decade of the 1800s. During this rainy stay in the Swiss mansion rented by Lord Byron, his personal physician, John Polidori, Percy Bysshe, and Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft, who would later marry the author of Prometheus Delivered by acquiring his surname. It was an inspired idea of ​​Byron to spend the night hours reading the macabre German tales taken from the Fantasmagoriana collection and to induce everyone present to write an equally gloomy and frightening text. John Polidori thus conceived his Vampirewhile Mary the story of Frankenstein. What an amazing night it must have been, imagine if we could have followed it live on Twitch! However, there is a hallucinatory and hallucinatory film by Ken Russel that tells it, a nightmare that spreads his dark, toxic and grandiose poetics: let’s talk about Gothic, dated 1986.
The passion for the vampire is almost as contagious as his bite, and he knows it well Hideo Kojima. The master of Metal Gear, in addition to having participated in the creation of castlevania lords of shadow narrated the tragic and dancing figure of Vamp in the second and fourth episodes of the saga. And do you remember in Snake Eater? Inspired during his imprisonment by the story of the Dracula film heard on the radio, Snake falls asleep and dreams of eliminating hordes of undead in a dreamlike “hack and slash” interlude. If you have let these creatures into your heart (and they are still there, like an ash stake), you absolutely cannot miss these works that we have decided to offer you, linked to the gaming, literary, comics and cinematographic spheres.

Video games

There are several suggestive vampire video games, some of them almost forgotten like Bloodrayneperhaps because this had the misfortune of being made into films since Uwe BolL. But the Terminal Reality game, and above all its sensual protagonist, are not waste material in the history of video games and have a “gore” and romantic value. The eclectic and rhapsodic Nocturne of 1999 should also be mentioned by the same authors. Darkwatch from 2005, which mixes – in a first person shooter – western with horror and even with steampunk, in an original and sometimes a little confused way. And let’s not forget about Vampire The Masqueradea role-playing game that has now become a real cult.

However, there are two sagas that are essential for fans. The first is that of Castlevania which finds its peak in Symphony of the Nightgigantic Japanese-Gothic marvel that surprises and overwhelms the player, “flipping” in a devastating way the game precisely in what seemed to be the final bars. Even the three episodes released for Nintendo’s dual-screen portables are unforgettable and still current video games, due to the way they enrich and deal with a complex vampire epic that develops over the years, tinging it with familiar melodramas and philosophical and psychological speculations.It is a saga which, radiating its sublime monstrosity from the Vampire, expands to become a sort of encyclopedia of every possible monster.

I have already mentioned that sometimes underestimated masterpiece that is Lords of Shadow, still today the most tragic and painful chronicle of Dracula’s origins, but I also defend its too much reviled sequel, container of notable and dramatic reflections on the figure of the vampire, understood as damned for choice, as well as thirsting for redemption. And dulcis (like blood) in the end there is Legacy of Kain and its multifaceted playful universe. Kain and Raziel’s violent and tragic series is one of the most powerful epics ever sung in video games, a fabulous new tale of a barbaric vampirism that never indulges in sentimentality, yet remains grandly romantic in its purest sense. Self Castelvania is defunct in Konami’s creative and uninspired wasteland, maybe there’s still hope for Legacy of Kain that could come back, an almost possible dream, the realization of which would make the wrists of millions of players tremble. I know, a few liked it, but I did, but in the end I want to quote The Order 1886.

Books

First of all there are the three classics: the aforementioned Vampire of the Origins by John Polidori and the “feuilleton” of hundreds of titled pages Varney The Vampire written by Rymer and Perst from 1845 to 1847. The latter, published for the first time in Italy by the publisher Gargoyle in its huge integral version, is a recommended read, despite sometimes lapsing into trite clichés of popular fiction and redundancy , due to its length, slipping into long uninspired paragraphs. However it is appreciable as a great product of the Z series, very important for the evolution of the modern concept of vampire and above all for Bram Stokerwho wrote the magna about the vampire, or Dracula. In 1872 Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu was published, which deals with a female vampire with a more than hypnotic sensuality, a magnificent leech which is impossible to resist and whose feminine charm became the carpet on which many beautiful and cruel dark ladies will germinate of fantasy, horror and noir imagery.

If you have never read the Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897, do it without delay because it is a classic that will never fade (or rather, given the theme, will never dawn) in its epistolary and diary form that transforms it into an obscure choral tale. It may seem that, after dozens of vampire movies and more, you already know everything about Dracula, but believe me in Stoker’s novel there is always something new to know.
In 1954 Richard Matheson, prolific and brilliant inventor of fantastic stories whose influence on literature, genre cinema and television was as important as Dante’s on poetry, wrote Io sono Leggenda. Apocalyptic vision on the loneliness of a single man who survives in a world populated by hordes of hungry and bestial vampires, Matheson’s novel inspired Romero’s zombies and, in his daily and methodical chronicle of the struggle for survival, anticipated the structure of survival videogame horror.
Two more novels, before the sun rises, even if the true vampire, Bram Stoker teaches us, does not die in the light of the star but only becomes weaker, losing part of his powers: Salem Nights by Stephen King, a masterpiece of thrill and horror that does not exclude an adventurous rhythm, and the much less known They Thirst by Robert MacCammon, a vampiric invasion of Los Angeles where, contrary to the silly sentimental tensions a la Twilight, the monsters of the night once again become ruthless machines of the undead. One moment, I forgot about what is one of George RR Martin’s best novels, namely the Delirium Boatabout the captain of a steamship cruising the Mississippi in the mid-1800s. There are vampires and slavers, almost the same thing.

Comics

From March 2010 the Vertigo series of DC Comics began the publication of the award-winning American Vampire, invented by Scott Snyder, in which Stephen King also participated in writing. In addition to its macabre visual and narrative splendor, what makes this series exemplary is its successful attempt to go beyond the literary tradition of the figure of the vampire, to vary its ecology in a coherent way, dividing it into different species, narrating mutations and evolutions. Furthermore American Vampire is rigorously integrated into American history, blending the fantastic with historical realism.

From the lands of the Rising Sun comes Hellsing, manga by Kota Hirano, irreverent and ruthless production with its black and blood red humor, excellent story of secret societies, real and exemplary characters even when totally over the top. One of the best and most shocking works about vampires ever conceived.

Two or three more movies

Everyeye has already published, edited by Luca Ceccotti, i five must-see movies about Vampires. Here, without the limits of a ranking, I’ll mention a few more, because there are really many that are worthy of interest. There is the contamination between vampirism and disease, in this case with AIDS, in the chilling black and white of The Addiction by Abel Ferrara. The immortal and youthful cruelty of Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow. John Carpenter’s Vampires desert horror western. The beauty and comedy of Please don’t bite me on the neck by Roman Polansky. John Landis’ mafia vampires in Innocent Blood. The bloody and ordinary psychosis of Wampyr by George Romero. The fury and the class of Dracula by Terence Fisher with Christopher Lee. The pulp delirium of From Dusk to Dawn by Robert Rodriguez. With still many others to catch up, a gloss I want to mention at least Vampire Hunter D, an animated film based on a series of novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. It almost seems like the transposition of Castelvania in anime sauce: unmissable and beautiful.

Vampires: video games, books, comics and films not to be missed