In a previous article I talked about Irish writer Bram Stoker and how his famous novel Dracula set the stage way back in the 19th century for a brand new monstrous villain to emerge into pop culture, the vampire. Despite Dracula becoming the quintessential vampire novel it wasn't the first or even the second for that matter. In 1872 fellow Irish author Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu wrote the Gothic novella Carmilla and half a century before that John Polidori published the story The Vampyre. Famously this story was written as somewhat of a contest alongside his writer friends Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley from which the consummate and definitive gothic horror tale Frankenstein was produced.
The original description of Dracula in Stoker's novel was that of an old man with long and bushy white hair and a white Victorian type moustache. Absolutely nothing like what appeared on screen in Nosferatu (1922) and both the Universal Studios produced Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi and the lesser known Spanish version which was released in the same year.
There have been a plethora of different versions of the vampire on the big screen, some staying true to the ancient, traditional folklore myth and some bending the rules to fit into a more modern scenario. One thing is for sure, the vampire is still the coolest monster out there and it ain't going away anytime soon. Check out my video tribute to some of the best onscreen bloodsuckers in cinema history. Can you name all the films?