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...
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.
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.
(He didn't exactly have any lines with the ladies. Although, he did make a lot of facial expressions and commanding hand gestures.)
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!