"I know nothing of God, or the Devil. I have never seen a vision nor learned a secret that will damn or save my soul. And as far as I know, after 400 years, I am the oldest living vampire in the world.!" One of the oldest and most popular supernatural beings on the silver screen is the vampire...okay okay, you wont have to sleep in a coffin or fear a stake throught the heart, though maybe you should as that will kill you too...but sunlight, garlic and holy water wont! To pull off the this ‘fang’tastic creature of the night, fancy dress ball has just the right stuff for the occasion from the original Count Dracula costume (Hungarian accent not included) and for the ladies we have the new and sexy Evil Queen costume that is sure to send the guys bats! We also stock a large range of accesories to complete the oufit, the all important fangs, bat wings and gloved claws and vampire make up for that ghostly complexion and lots and lots of a vampires favourite tipple...blood, tho fake of course!
I WANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD
Vampiric beings have been recorded for centuries in many cultures and its said to go far back as the prehistoric era. Though it wasn't until an influx of superstition in Western Europe that the term Vampire was popularised from areas that were rife with legends and stories of vampires such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe.
The level of superstition in Europe grew to such a level of mass hysteria in europe that led to people being accused of being a vampire and actually being attacked as they slept and staked through the heart. The vampiric legends of Eastern Europe created an image of a vampire that ranged from something nearly human to rotted and bloated corpses (maybe they were seeing zombies?).
However the Christian church and increased vampire literature especially the novel The Vampyre published in 1819 by John Polidori brought about the the sophisticated and charismatic vampire we know today; its probably the most influential pieces written on vampires going on to inspire other works as Varney the Vampire; or the Feast Of Blood, a gothic horror story written by James Malcolm Rymer published in 1847. Though it is the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker that is the more well known and that which provides the basis of modern vampire fiction.
FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES
From the Silver Screen to TV screen over the years there have been many depictions of the Vampire, early films featuring vampires were not bloodsucking fiends of the night but vamps i.e. femme fatales inspired by the 1897 poem "the Vampire by Rudyard Kipling.
The german film Nosferatu released in 1922 featured the first supernatural vampire to be screened with Max Shrek playing the the creepy Count Orlok. However the film was ordered to be destroyed after a court ordering found it to be an unlicensed version of Bram Stokers Dracula, however from five prints that avoided being destroyed a group of european scholars painstakingly restored it which became influential in later films to appear in the genre as in the closing sequence of the film the vampire was destroyed by sunlight and became a common part of vampiric folklore as well as the common stake through the heart death.
Bela Lugosi's performance in the official adaption of Bram Stokers Dracula proved so popular that Lugosi's Hungarian accent became a characteristic now associated with Dracula even the count from Sesame Street has these very characteristics. Bram stokers cinematic adaption of Dracula is the most popular in Vampiric fiction with over 170 versions most played by Sir Christopher Lee as the Count in the Hammer Films series. Not until 1992 did Bram Stokers novel Dracula get a faithful cinematic adaption, directed by Francis Ford Coppola Dracula was also identified as Vlad The Impaler, as also in the adaption featuring Gary oldham and Keanu reeves.
Dracula was often seen as elegant, sophisticated and charming that is until the 1979 arrival of Salem's Lot directed by Stephen King where Vampire are depicted as mindless creature with the only desire to feed on blood, the film 30 Days of Night regarded as one of the best in the genre released in 2007 based on the mini series of comic books of the same name featured this type of Vampire, though way more aggressive!
VAMPIRES IN POPULAR CULTURE
After the 90s cult show television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off Angel The Vampire Slayer the genre slowed down towards the millennium. However the Vampire has taken a turn in trends with the arrival of Twilight and the darker hit TV series True Blood. Vampires have become somewhat sexy in the 'noughties' tho Twilight has a more softer Mills and Boon-esque romantic air about it and True Blood is a more adult themed blood fest and one the vampire purists do not like to be associated with the former mentioned Twilight series! The Underworld film series starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman and Bill Nighy has a similar plot line to that of the twilight series, though with a far more gorier and darker approach. With Kate Beckinsale playing Selene, a vampire whom hunts Lycans )an abbreviated form of Lycanthrope which translates from latin to werewolf) finds herself being drawn to a human who is the target of the Lycans and is then bitten, Selene is torn between doing her duty for her clan or save him.
The theme of Vampires features quite heavily in music, in particular in the heavy/thrash/new and death metal Bands such as Draconian and Theatres Des Vampires fully concentrating on issues and themes surrounding Vampires though not only in this genre, the Japanese vocalist Kamijo from Versailles a Japanese Visual Kei band openly says his appearance is that inspired by a vampire. Other artists like My Chemical Romance and HIm amongst many others have written songs themed on Vampires. Even the jaunty alternative rock indie band The Vampire Weekend deliberately chose their name to capitalise on the popularity of vampires in popular culture, though the name was chosen well before they became a band it was actually the title of a film project the lead vocalist Ezra Koenig created while at college. Even celebrity gossip magazines had Angelina Jolie down as a Vampire as during her marriage to Billy Bob Thornton she wore a vial of blood on a necklace, plus with her long dark hair and pale complexion and blood red lips she sure did look every part the Femme Fatale though the necklace wasnt actually a vial of blood (and shes not a vampire)! It was more like a flower press with a tiny pin prick of blood encased within. A romantic thing to do at the time as she puts it! The theme of vampires has now become present present in japanese culture featuring in anime like Blood The Last vampire and Features in Konamis series of games like Castlevania amongst many others. The film 30 days of night which was taken from the comic book miniseries of the same name written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith. Set in a small Alaskan town, so far north the town stays in darkness for 30 days of which vampires take advantage, as they were vulnerable to sunlight! Which becomes a poignant end to the film version. The films first pitch at being a film was unsuccessful which maybe was a good thing as when it was finally given the go ahead it became one of the most popular films in the genre!