I seem to be on a vampire kick recently but it occurs to me that over the course of a hundred years of cinema, vampire movies fall into at least one of the following categories. I will provide examples but this is in no way the entirety of the vast (829 according to IMDB) number of titles that include “vampire” as a keyword. As I got to the end of this article it occurred to me that I had also demonstrated the cycle that all vampire movies eventually succumb to. Start as a horror element, become more humanized, become even more humanized and then become a joke. Five years later they are monsters again and the cycle starts anew.
Vampire As A Monster
Since the legend pretty much portrays them as something bad it is common sense that the majority of films would fall into this category. Whether it be scheming and playing a game of chess with people’s lives or just being a blood crazed animal, the vampire makes for a perfect villain.
Vampire As A Romantic Lead
Maybe it was a combination of Frank Langella and Anne Rice but in the 1970s vampires started to be portrayed as a romantic option for film’s female leads. Not to say they weren’t still monsters just now it was harder to fight them off when they were so beautiful. And why shouldn’t they be, the best predators are usually the most attractive. Whether it is a mushroom cloud, the Funnelweb Spider or the blossom of the deadly nightshade, the agents of death are beautiful.
Vampire As A Human Growth Story
So you’re a mortal who has somehow stumbled your way into vampire society and discovered the legends are true. What you didn’t know is that the undead have normal people problems like loneliness and feelings of betrayal. They still think of you as a food source but one of them has taken a liking to you and now you are on a journey to help a vampire be all they can be and not just a monster, or they just need a new human protector and need to form an emotional bond with you so you can’t say no…maybe this is just a different form of my first category. Oddly this is the hardest to pull off. When done right the film is a masterpiece but when done wrong it is painful to watch.
Vampire As A Comedy Element
When Universal had squeezed as much money out of their classic monsters in horror movies as they could they then started to make comedies featuring them. It is sad to see what was once a monster reduced to a punch line but as audience tastes change sometimes the things that once scared them are now considered blasé and childish. Not to fear though, for a few years after vampires get to this point the cycle starts again and someone figures out how to make them terrifying again.