Friday, February 13, 2009

Vampires from Bela Lugosi to Kate Beckinsale

I can't think of a better way to start off my blog on vampires and horror stories and the themes behind them, then with a picture of Kate Beckinsale. There may have been more beautiful woman who portrayed vampires in the movies, but none of them had her class. Without her, Underworld would have been just a lot of shooting and dead bodies. She gave the movie its verve and introduced us to an alpha female vampire whose credentials went beyond an exposed bosom. When she jumped out of the tower in her black vinyl suit, landing catlike on the ground, we were introduced to the image of the modern female vampire. When she picked up Scott Speedman like he was a small child and pinned them against the wall she certainly got my attention.

Of course, homage must be paid to the original "talking" Dracula. (The German movie Nosferatu preceded it.) Bella Lugosi's campy performance grows more intriguing as time goes by. I can remember the first time I saw the movie over 50 years ago. The movie, which took liberties with Bram Stoker's novel, introduced us to a creature of mythology from all over the world. Some of the campy lines from the movie have become legendary. The raw sexuality of the movie and the power of the vampire gave moviegoers an image of something most of them had never heard about. Enough of the movies for the time being. Next time I'll address the fundamental issues of the vampire and how it relates to the not so unconscious desires and fears of socie