Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To Fear the Night or Date the Undead

Happy Valentine's Day! Today I am taking part in a vampire themed blog event. Every blogger involved has written a vampire themed post for Valentine's Day. You can see the other blog participants here:

The Sanguinary Soiree

As supernatural creatures go, vampires seem the most fitting for Valentine's Day. Besides the sexual element of their attacks, they're better dressed and more charming than other monsters. Yes, I said monsters. It's hard to even think of vampires as monsters anymore. Somehow over the past century they have gone from blood sucking demons, sleeping in their dirt filled coffins...

...to possible marriage partners.

I prefer my vampires somewhere in the middle. I'd rather watch an attractive vampire, but I don't want to forget that he's a threat. As many of you know, I've recently been binging on Christopher Lee movies. I think he's a good bridge between the handsome vampire and the bloodthirsty fiend. He looks great in his cape, but he's not a sweet character you can discuss your innermost feelings with.

Still, he's popular with the ladies... Maybe it's those hypnotic mind tricks. Every time a woman looks into his eyes, she's under his spell. Bela Lugosi (the king of spellbinding eye contact) also stands in the middle of horror and romance for me.

So how did we go from the bewitching (yet deadly) style of vampires to the sensitive boyfriend style of vampires? I think the link between Christopher Lee and Robert Pattinson is Frank Langella.

Dracula (1979) starring Langella has The Count in a more human role. Before biting his victims he has conversations with them, dances around a ballroom with them, and even has (human) makeout sessions with them. In other words, he's courting them before killing them. We never actually see him bite a neck, nor do we see his fangs. However, the old garlic tricks still work against him, as do crosses, and daylight. Well sort of. He can't be touched by the light of day, because it burns him. He can, however move about during the day, if he's in a dark room. As he says in the movie "It's daytime somewhere in the world." Sort of like the "It's five 'o clock somewhere" drinking excuse.

Langella actually explains the blood draining process to one of his victims, who acts more like she's his girlfriend. He uses lines like "I need your blood" and "You won't be like this much longer" and "It's your choice to be here". The Lucy character actually defends him as being sensitive and sympathetic! He's a more manipulative Dracula than I've seen in the older movies. Christopher Lee would have just picked his prey, and taken a bite. So it appears that the "vampire boyfriend" idea had its start with Langella in 1979.

He reminds me a little of a magician in this photo for some reason.

Frank Langella first starred in the stage presentation of Dracula. He was very popular in that, so he was asked to star in the movie version. Here he is on the set Edward Gorey designed for the Dracula play:

I would have loved to have seen the Edward Gorey set in person. I think I may have enjoyed Langella's Dracula in play form more than in movie form. Part of the problem was that the film's color had been doctored in a strange way. At least in the version I watched. The colors changed from scene to scene. There were distracting changes from vibrant color to sepia to black and white. Dracula was also a little mopey for my taste. I thought he might talk his victims to death!

Still, some people may find Frank Langella's movie performance perfect for Valentine's Day vampire viewing. Just ask him...

Listening to this interview makes me wonder who Langella has been discussing his movies with...

I thought it would be fun to compare the lines vampires have used on their victims/girlfriends in the movies. This also helps support my timeline of when the vampire role changed from a monster to a romantic figure.

Max Schreck as Count Orlok (Nosferatu, 1922):
Is this your wife? What a lovely throat!
(Count Orlok offers that compliment after seeing a photo of Harker's wife, but he never actually speaks to women. He just sneaks in and bites them.)

Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931): To die, to be *really* dead, that must be glorious!
Mina Seward: Why, Count Dracula!
Dracula: There are far worse things awaiting man than death.

Christopher Lee as Dracula (1958-1970's): *chomp*
(He didn't exactly have any lines with the ladies. Although, he did make a lot of facial expressions and commanding hand gestures.)

Frank Langella as Dracula (1979) : Now it is you, my best beloved one. You will be flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. You will cross land and sea to do my bidding. I need your blood. I need.

Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen (Twilight 2008-now): Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very Dark, but there were stars--points of light and reason...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn't see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything.

See what I mean?

After watching Langella's version of Dracula, I decided to watch Dracula Dead and Loving it, starring Leslie Nielsen. This Mel Brooks movie was just the lighthearted viewing I needed after Langella's performance! Funny enough, a lot of what was spoofed was Langella's Dracula.

After months of watching vampires stalk around and seduce people, it was actually fun to watch a goofy Grampa type vampire. You might recognize Mel Brooks as Professor Van Helsing in this clip.

Some people always need to have the last word!

For those who would rather be a vampire than date one, I ran into an awesome makeup tutorial! Basically, you draw two triangles with white makeup on your lips as the teeth.

Here's my stab at it:

Something to fall in love with this Valentine's Day, aside from vampires, is a site called Pinterest. I can't remember the last time I was so addicted to a web site! For those of you who don't know about Pinterest, it's sort of a virtual bulletin board where you can post whatever you're interested in. It's handy for storing reminders, inspirations, art reference, and how-to videos. At least that's what I'm using my page for. If you'd like to see what I've done with Pinterest so far, here's my page:

Justine's Halloween Pinterest

As of now, you have to get on a waiting list or receive an invitation to join Pinterest. If you want an invitation, post your email address in a comment and I'll send you one. Or just shoot me an email asking to be invited. It's lots of fun! One more thing I'd like to mention is that I acquired the domain name,


I'm letting you guys know in case you want to get here a little faster.

Have a lovely Valentine's Day, and watch out for the sweet talking undead!


  1. I've seen probably every vampire movie out there, but I refuse to watch the Twilight crap.
    Sorry, I'm a guy.

  2. What a great post, no wonder you were keeping it under wraps. Definitely an innovative way to approach the topic of vampires!

    Fun to see the evolution, or de-evolution as the case may be, of film vampires.

    I remember seeing Dead & Loving It in the theater and not thinking it was very good compared to the classic Mel Brooks stuff but at least I was versed enough in the lore to get all the jokes.

  3. PERFECT Valentine's Day post! Great job on the progression of vamps :) Don't forget Anne Rice's Lestat and Louie! They probably fall right before Edward. They were seductive, yet didn't really hold relationships either :)

  4. I love those old vampire movies. I am also addicted to the True Blood vampires, Bill and Eric. They are hot but still can be deadly.

  5. Max ~ Oh, no apologies needed on that one. Although, I think there are some guys out there who like Twilight. I haven't been able to get into the movies much, but I do like the werewolves! Aside from Taylor Lautner, Twilight is kind of meh for me. :) I like my vampire movies leaning towards horror a little more than soap operas.

    Dex ~ Thank you! :) Yeah, this was my deep, dark secret all week. It's funny, because I had already written the first part of the post before seeing Langella's Dracula. Then the pieces sort of fit together in my brain. Ah ha! This is when the romantic vampire trend started!

    True, some people would see it as an evolution. I don't see a problem with the newer movies if they're classified as Romantic Dramas. If I go into watching one of those expecting to see fangs and biting, it's a bit of a disappointment.

    Dracula Dead and Loving it was a lot less zany than the other Mel Brooks movies I've seen. Still, it was a serious breath of fresh air after what I had just been watching!

    Raymond ~ Haha! I know, right? After posting all these vampire quotes, I was shocked to see Edward's compared to the others. He does a whole lot more talking than he does biting!

    Countess ~ Thanks so much! :) Quite true. The Anne Rice vampires did a lot of self-reflection and had a lot of conversations. She hit home the point that being a vampire is downright depressing in some ways! As emotional as her characters were, they had no problem biting people. Rice's characters hold a place in the timeline as maybe the first conversational movie vampires.

  6. Adsila ~ Looks like I was typing at the same time you were! I'm familiar with True Blood, but I've never seen a full episode. I know enough to say that they're hot. Especially the Eric character. If he's not modeling, he should be! :)

  7. Bela Lugosi will always be MY vampire :) *swoon*

  8. Alexandria Web ~ It sounds like Bela's hypnotic ways have worked on you. :) He's the classic standard that comes to mind when I think of vampires!

  9. Excellent post. My friend owns a large framed piece of wallpaper from the Gorey stage set of Dracula. It's kind of amazing.

    Amazing post. It's fun to "party" with you at the Vampire's Soiree. :)

  10. Lady Bethezda ~ Thanks! :) Wow, How on earth did your friend get a hold of that? Were they a part of the production? Or did they win it in an auction? I bet it's a piece with a neat pattern on it.

    I'm glad you enjoyed this post! I'm about to see what kind of vampire party you're hosting on your blog. It's so fun to see what everyone wrote using this theme!

  11. Yeah, I gotta say, I'm not sure how I feel about vampires as marriage partners. Other than perhaps Angel, but then, he had a soul. Gotta love Christopher Lee though!
    Great post and happy Vampire Day!

  12. Great post! :)
    Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi were fantastic as Dracula! Also, I think after Frank Langella (who I agree has something of a David Copperfield vibe going on in that photo, haha) and before Twilight, Gary Oldman as Dracula was more on the romantic side as well. Though, he did still transform and use mind control a bit as well I guess.

  13. S. L. Hennessy ~ I agree! Talk about complicated relationships. Angel is another one that I think of as more human than vampire. I love Christopher Lee! I think he strikes the perfect vampire balance for my taste. Happy Vampire Day to you too! :)

    Lilia Tombs ~ Thank you! David Copperfield is exactly the magician I was comparing him to in my mind. :) Maybe it's the combination of that poofy shirt and poofy hair. I just looked up some pictures of David Copperfield, and there are some definite similarities!

    I liked how Gary Oldman looked with his dark sunglasses and top hat, but not so much with that butt of a white wig. That version of Dracula was one of the more sensual vampire movies I've seen!

  14. Haha. Yeah, "chomp" pretty much sums it up with Christopher Lee! I've seen the first 'Twilight' movie, but it just didn't grab me - teen angst on steroids! I enjoyed the Frank Langella 'Dracula', but I've always found it rather disturbing that any woman would find the line, "You will cross land and sea to do my bidding." romantic. Dracula, in all his incarnations on screen, has always seemed an incredibly manipulative character to me.

    My favourite eye candy vamps would be Spike, Angel, and Mick St. John ('Moonlight'). My favourite horrific vamp is Mr Barlow/The Master from 'Salem's Lot'. My favourite cheesy vamp comedy would probably be 'Love at First Bite'.

    Fab post! I'm going to go check out that makeup up tutorial now. Awesome result!

  15. Little Gothic Horrors ~ Yeah, I liked that too. *Chomp* sums it up! Somehow Christopher Lee is the most attractive vampire to me. I think that not being all that chatty, makes him more mysterious.

    Yes, there is a lot of mind manipulation going on. Some of these vampire relationships are verging on unhealthy codependent human relationships! The "do my bidding" part is not cool. Doesn't he already have Renfield for that anyway? Maybe Dracula needs a whole staff working for him!

    I'm more of a Spike than an Angel girl, although it helps that Spike got all the funny lines! I had to look up Mike St. John to see who he is. Yeah, he's pretty darn attractive too! Hey, as long as we're listing off hot vampires, I thought almost everyone was attractive in The Lost Boys! The Michael character was gorgeous, and Kiefer Sutherland was looking pretty cool too.

    I looked up Mr. Barlow and EEK! Those teeth! Those eyes! I'll have to watch that one. It appears that George Hamilton is in Love at First Bite. Oh, I REALLY need to see that. I like George Hamilton, although I have no idea why. Everything about him should be unlikeable, and yet...

    Thanks ~ I'm glad you liked this post! I had lots of fun with that makeup look. It's pretty easy to do, so long as you have some white enough makeup for the teeth. It was funny, because I forgot I had that look going and went outside wearing it to toss some trash. My elderly neighbor was outside and said hi, but I don't think he could see well enough to notice the fangs. He didn't respond to them anyway!

  16. I couldn't even bring myself to read the Twilight Quote. Never realized HOW anti-sparkly I am. Hmmm. Must become more welcoming to all bloodsuckers.

    Also- Leslie Neilsen! Soooooo funny. Forgot all about that. Thanks!

  17. Pensive Pumpkin ~ Haha, Well Edward did provide us with quite a bit to read! I really had to search for quotes from some of the vampires, but I had no trouble finding quotes from Edward. Anti-sparkly, eh? It's nice of you to open your mind to all blood-suckers, but I'm afraid Edward never sucks any blood! Not from humans, anyway...

    Yeah, Leslie Nielsen is so funny in that movie! He just sort of stumbles through the story in a clueless, goofball sort of way. I loved the guy who played Renfield in that and Dr. Seward! I'm thinking that's a movie I need to own, because I'd like to watch it a few more times.

  18. Wow, I wonder where vampires learned to be such poets!

  19. Yes, it's interesting how vampire's go from monster to sex-symbol. I mean, what could be more sexy then blood drinking beings!

    One thing I've learned today, there is so much more to vampire's than I thought there was. I'm going to have to get to watching some movies to catch up on my vampire lore.

    I absolutely love the pic of Christopher Lee and the ladies.

    I love the lips thing. It really works. Are those your lips!

    You might consider doing books, your writing seems to be getting better, although is was good before! In the futre I'd like to do vampire comic books with a romantic edge.

  20. Oh, I'd pick Spike over Angel too, but I did like the Angel character, and the show 'Angel'... especially when Spike joined the cast! ;) Yes, Mick St John was cute. 'Moonlight' was a good show. Shame it was cancelled after one season. Oh, and I forgot about 'The Lost Boys'. Michael was definitely gorgeous. Loved that movie.

    Yep, Mr Barlow is nasty! 'Salem's Lot' really is a creepy film, but it's one of my favorites. The vamps definitely aren't attractive though.

    I haven't seen 'Love at First Bite' in a long time, but I remember that I loved it. It's total cheesy fun! I'd buy the DVD, but for some lame reason they've cut out the Alicia Bridges song, 'I Love the Nightlife', which was the movie's theme music. It just wouldn't be the same without it.

    Here's a clip of the dance sequence with the original music:


    Haha. That's funny that you ran into your neighbour wearing the vamp teeth makeup. I wonder how many people would comment if you went and did all your errands still wearing it?!

  21. I really enjoyed this post Justine! My favourite vampire as of now has to be Damon from The Vampire Diaries. He's dangerous, can be a bad boy when it comes to protecting his loved ones and has human feelings, not to mention he's hot as hell.. perfect! Hahaha! *dreams*

    That's a fun thing to know about Edward Gorey, you know I'm a fan of his but I never knew that! I bet it would have been awesome to see that stage show in real life!! xx

  22. Charlotte the Terrible ~ Welcome to my blog! :) Hmm... Well, I figure vampires could pick up some poetry skills after being on earth for hundreds of years. Maybe it took some time for them to develop social skills. By this point the movie vampires are more socially capable than most humans!

    Spooky Halloween Arts ~ I guess it just depends on what people find sexy! Every style of vampire seems to have a fan.

    I like that photo of Christopher Lee and the ladies too. :) He didn't act anything like a vampire boyfriend, but he appears to be doing just fine!

    Yes, those are my lips in the photos. I didn't do the video, though. I might have to try that makeup trick next Halloween. It was fun to have an excuse to mess around with spooky makeup in February!

    I've been thinking about writing a book lately, so it's funny you say that. Thanks for the compliment on my writing. I haven't written so much since I was in school! It's good to keep practicing and stay in the writing habit. Blogging helps keep my vocabulary and spelling sharp.

    A vampire comic book sounds fun!

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ I wonder why Moonlight was cancelled so quickly? I'd actually never even heard of that show. Maybe I can find some episodes of that online.

    So, I ordered Love at First Bite from our library system today. After watching that clip, I can't believe that I haven't seen the movie. Another movie from 1979, although it looks much different from Frank Langella's version! George Hamilton is so suave, and he's also a great dancer.

    Haha! I can't believe I left the house with my lips looking like that. The neighbor I ran into has a funny way of popping out when I least suspect it. So, maybe he's a vampire? Just kidding. I think he's used to seeing me do goofy things and I'm used to him popping out or lurking around. So we've accepted one another. :)

    As far as running errands while wearing vampire teeth, I think people would just pretend they didn't notice and try to ignore me for the most part! It seems like people turn away from anything out of the ordinary while trying to sneak a peek out of the corner of their eye. Still it would be fun to try as an experiment. If I had the nerve...

    Vain Glory Sinner ~ Thanks! :) I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I haven't watched The Vampire Diaries. (I'm realizing how many vampire shows/movies I need to catch up on.) I do know what Damon looks like, though! Yeah, he's very attractive. Somehow these comments have become a list of hot actors who play vampires! :)

    Yeah, it would have been cool to see Edward Gorey's set. How fun for him to see his illustrations brought to life as full scale rooms!

  23. I really liked the "Renfield" performance in "Dracula Dead And Loving It"....especially the bug's leg kicking as he eats it....

  24. Dr. Theda ~ Yes, the timing was perfect in that scene! The bug leg was a great touch too. The Dr. Seward character is hilarious to me there. All that mumbling and disbelief over what he's witnessing! Not to mention Renfield's denial of eating a bug "Oh, that was a raspberry." :)

  25. I love vampire movies...even Twilight! I loved the books--don't judge me! That lipstick is sooooo awesome!

  26. I'm so very late getting in here to respond to this fantastic post. This is how it's done. All out, across the board vampire fandom.

    I always liked the Frank Langella version before I spied Gary Oldman's turn as The Count. The set and costume design were perfect and his vampire-as-boyfriend certainly struck the right chord with audiences.

    There's an essay somewhere I should track down for you on the origins and rise of the vampire-as-love-interest. You might find that interesting since its such a deviation from the traditional folklore role of the bloodsucker.

    Always love seeing what you put together! Cheers!

  27. Real Queen of Horror ~ Oh, I won't judge you... too much. ;) Those books are so incredibly popular, so you're hardly alone in liking them! Thanks for the compliment on my new lip look. That one was lots of fun to try. I might think about wearing that again if I go out as a vampire for Halloween. It's a lot easier to talk when you're wearing painted on teeth, than when you have those plastic ones in your mouth!

    King Unicorn ~ Thank you so much for your kind words! :) I'm glad that you enjoyed reading this. Yes, this post turned into across the board vampire fan love! I'd watch basically anything with a vampire in it, so it wasn't a chore! What's funny is that a few days after writing this I ended up watching an old episode of The Monkees. (There wasn't much else on TV that day.) Anyway, it was the special Dracula and Wolfman episode! So I can't seem to get away from Dracula, even if I wanted to.

    So, is Gary Oldman's portrayal of Dracula your favorite?

    I would love it if you could find that essay. I think that would be a very interesting read for me after putting together this post! I'm curious to see if the essay's writer agrees with me on the vampire/boyfriend timeline.

    How nice! Comments like yours motivate me to write more. I always look forward to your blog posts too. It's fun to learn about a new monster each week! :)

  28. Amazing post! I prefer my vampires violent and deadly, but I love the history of all kinds of vamps.

  29. Jessica ~ Thank you! :) I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Well, even if we don't prefer all the current vampires, it's still fun to look at their progression. Any style of vampires is probably a reflection of society at the time.