From scary to sexy: this is how the vampires evolved in film history

On March 4, 1922, the first vampire film ever premiered: the German ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens’, an unofficial narrative of Bram Stoker’s book ‘Dracula’. Vampires have since become a dreamed subject for films and series, although their appearance has changed considerably over the years.

According to professional literature, you can describe a vampire as an undead, who feeds on blood (and preferably a human being). He would have sharp upper teeth to bite his victims and not grow older. Vampires sleep in a box during the day and go hunting at night. Some beings have supernatural powers and can change shape. Just think of the bat, which is often associated with vampires. But each filmmaker also gives his own interpretation to the undead creatures, as can be deduced from this (incomplete) list.

‘Nosferatu’ – 1922

From scary to sexy: this is how the vampires evolved in film history

The film classic ‘Nosferatu’ confronted viewers with a fearsome vampire. Count Orlok has extremely long limbs, claws, pointers, and a creepy look. Director FW Murnau is also responsible for adding a new element to the Dracula myth. His Count Orlok dies when he is struck by sun rays, and that never happened in earlier stories.

‘Dracula’ – 1931

Where ‘Nosferatu’ was an unlawful interpretation of Bram Stoker’s book ‘Dracula’, ‘Dracula’ by Tod Browning, with Bela Lugosi in the leading role, was made with permission from the heirs. For many viewers, Lugosi is the ultimate Dracula: a handsome, charming nobleman, with no extreme external characteristics. He was a bit pale, tribute happily in a satin cape (still often the best piece of clothing for those who want to dress in an undead) and regularly changed into a bat.

‘The Lost Boys’ – 1987

The vampires in ‘The Lost Boys’ are not comparable with those of the previous vampire’s films. Here no dusty robes and pale skins anymore, but young, attractive people who look as if they can just sit in a heavy metal band. Think: leather jackets, an abundance of jewels and luxuriant hairs. Tiens, can a vampire be sexy too?

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ – 1992

In ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, vampires cannot be distinguished from ordinary people in terms of appearance, although they can also change that appearance. Then they also look monstrous, with yellow eyes, sharp teeth, and a pronounced eyebrow arch. However, older vampires do lose their human parables. In the series, the vampires have supernatural powers, such as accelerated healing and more strength.

‘Interview with a Vampire’ – 1994

From scary to sexy: this is how the vampires evolved in film history

The romantic vampires from ‘Interview with a Vampire’ are most often characterized by the blue veins twining over the faces of the actors. To imitate those veins as naturally as possible, the actors had to hang upside down for half an hour, so that the blood would rise to their heads and their veins would emerge more clearly. The make-up artists could then simply trace the natural veins.

‘Blade’ – 1998 – 2004

In the first ‘Blade’ film there was not too much difference between vampires and people. The whole universe shouted a certain 90-coolness: leather outfits, pale skin, the typical sunglasses from that period … The sequel to ‘Blade’ was directed by Guillermo Del Toro and added some extra horror elements. Suddenly there were also vampires who hunted their own species, and for example were able to stretch their bloody jaws, which gave them a frightening view.

‘True Blood’ – 2008

From scary to sexy: this is how the vampires evolved in film history
©KOS – The promo image of ‘True Blood’ already clearly shows that the vampires here are naughty and sexy.

Also, the fiction series ‘True Blood’ fully devoted to the idea of the sexy vampire. The vampires in the series are even so desirable that people volunteer to serve as a food provider. The main difference with the legend is that the vampires in ‘True Blood’ live freely among people, as a separate population group, and a large part of them survive on synthetic blood.

‘Twilight’ – 2008

From scary to sexy: this is how the vampires evolved in film history
©AP – Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”

‘Twilight’ was the ultimate fantasy for teenage girls. The romance between an ordinary girl and a vampire turned out to be a blockbuster but still made vampires fans prance. Because no, these vampires do not die when they come in the sunlight. Instead, they start to shimmer.

More vampires?

Anyone who wants to watch more vampires films in the future can expect a whole bunch of remakes. For example, new versions of ‘Blade’, ‘Dracula’ and ‘Interview with a Vampire’ are planned. New films such as ‘Morbius, The Living Vampire’ and a new ‘Underworld’ film are also in the making.

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