MCA Home Video 55126
MCA Home Video 55126
Last year, for a few nights before Halloween, my roommate and I enjoyed a brief, Dracula themed movie marathon. Nested on the saggy couch in our 100 year old Chinatown flat, the two of us watched Dracula after bloody Dracula, eventually lighting on a few nuggets of pure entertainment delight. By the end of our brief waltz through several cinematic portrayals of Transylvania we discovered that we'd yet to hear a satisfactory soundtrack to F.W. Murnau's silent and beautiful Nosferatu (we alternated between two musical interpretations that were ultimately disappointing), that we loved the excellent extras that accompany the recent, two disc reissue of Francis Ford Coppola's heady and deeply symbolic Bram Stoker's Dracula (the mini-doc about the in-camera, naive effects employed in the film making is absolutely amazing), and that we sat awestruck in front of the TV while a brilliant collaboration between Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Canadian cult director Guy Maddin tantalized our eyes with their film Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary (a marriage of said ballet's interpretation of Dracula and Maddin's singular, super-charged visual style). I have seen and loved many dance movies, but this has to be one of my very all time favorites because the dancing is more than just a part of the film, it is the film! Add to this the touch of Maddin's hand and I swoon like Lucy ready to receive her eternal kiss. It's that entrancing.
Whilst descriptions of vampires historically have varied widely, certain traits now accepted as universal were created by the film industry. Where did vampires originate? Well, nearly every culture has its own undead creatures which feed off of the life essence of the living, but ancient Persian pottery shards specifically depict creatures drinking blood from the living in what may be the earliest representations of vampires. In the 1100s English historians and chroniclers Walter Map and William of Newburgh recorded accounts of various undead fauna. By the 1700s, an era often known as the Age of Enlightenment, fear of vampires reached its apex following a spate of vampire attacks in East Prussia in 1721 and the Hapsburg Monarchy from 1725 to 1734. Government positions were created for vampire hunters to once-and-for-all rid man of this unholy scourge.
Even Enlightenment writer Voltaire wrote about the vampire plague in his Philosophical Dictionary, "These vampires were corpses, who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomachs, after which they returned to their cemeteries. The persons so sucked waned, grew pale, and fell into consumption; while the sucking corpses grew fat, got rosy, and enjoyed an excellent appetite. It was in Poland, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Austria, and Lorraine, that the dead made this good cheer."
There were a couple of famous vampire cases. I, unfortunately, couldn't find any good pictures for this bit.
In Serbia Peter Plogojowitz died at the age of 62. According to reports he returned after his death asking his son for food. When the son refused, he was found dead the following day. His wife claimed that he came to her after death and asked for his shoes. Plogojowitz was, reportedly, identified by nine victims who died shortly thereafter.