When it comes to just about anything, there is a big difference between how things used to be done, and how things are done now. There are a variety of things; too many to name. One of the things that comes to mind is a certain type of horror movie. Vampires. Vampires are perhaps one of society’s favorite type of horror movie, mine included. Growing up enjoying the whole phenomenon of the undead being forever immortal was always scary and intriguing to say the least. Even in today’s time where it seems like the re-invention of vampires has taken over, there is still a part of me that will always enjoy the basics that makes vampires what they are.
As you can clearly tell, when looking at a vampire film from the 70’s or the 80’s, there was very little humor involved. Mostly, a vampire film would be all horror from beginning to end, while the story in between was sometimes typical and other times unique. I always enjoyed seeing the type of story where a vampire comes to town and sees his or her long lost love, or lover reincarnation, while the vampire tries to seduce and turn him or her into a vampire themselves. Films such as “Fright Night” and “Blacula” had a plot with that similar storyline.
Other vampire films such as “Vamp”, starring Grace Jones has a different take on the vampire story. Here’s a film where it got downright scary at times, but it also had you on the edge of your seat just wondering what is about to happen next. This storyline was basically about a nightclub full of vampires that trapped lone customers that no one will ever wonder or suspect what happened to them. “From Dusk Till Dawn” was a little bit similar in that respect, although I think “Vamp” was much scarier.
What I believe made vampires of the 70’s and the 80’s so great to watch was the fact that they allowed you to enjoy watching them because it brought on a supernatural take on horror without it being too “magical” and unrealistic. Old school vampires had a story and an evolution of being just a regular person that was turned into evil, and kept growing and evolving, better adapting to their life as a vampire. It’s almost like going through stages, or a process of turning from a simple and plain mortal to something bigger than you can ever imagine. That brings on a type of fear and curiosity that never seemed to fail when it came to a vampire film. Unfortunately vampire films and/or tv shows hasn’t had the same take on the true essence of what a vampire should be lately.
I completely enjoy the tv shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” because, in a way, those shows kept the true essence of the evil vampire, while adding a little romance here, and a little humor there, while still paying homage to the old school vampires that I grew up with. The one thing that bothered me, though, was how vampires were beginning to be reinvented in an unrealistic way. In vampire films, the vampire went from having a slow evolution to the evil they truly become, to vampires automatically knowing martial arts the second they are bitten and turned into a vampire. That aspect on it is just too unrealistic to me, and it eventually would become downright annoying.
Then there’s the “Twilight” phenomenon. I completely understand how teenagers would be into that particular vampire series the most, and even some adults. But this is where it became a little ridiculous. Vampires went from burning in the sunlight, to glowing in the sunlight. They also went from being scary, to being heartthrobs. It doesn’t stop there. The vampires in the “Twilight” film series had special powers. I truly feel that, even though, it was a clever direction that the vampire story took, it still takes away a bit of the essence of the evil vampire. If I had to make a choice, I’d choose evil over glowing in the sunlight. I would definitely like to see more of the old school stuff rather than what I’ve been seeing lately.
Fright Night, Dracula, Blacula, Vamp, Interview with the Vampire, are much more preferable to me when I want to see something that just screams horror, and seeing these types of vampires go completely old school by sleeping in coffins is an even better touch. As a filmmaker, and a lover of horror, this is one of the things I plan on working on. The “Blade” series is in between for me, so I am still on the fence about that. And hopefully in the near future we will see a little bit more of the evil, mysterious vampire and a little less of the heartthrobs.