When I was 15, my family lived in Europe. My room, at the far end of the house, opened onto a patio through French doors that you could unlatch with a butter knife. I decided it would be fun to read Dracula late at night, after everyone else had gone to bed. Dumb – really dumb! I know I’m not the only one to seek the thrill of a scary movie or book and get a whole lot more than they bargained for. Let’s just say that for weeks after that, I took a clove of garlic to rub the French door frame every night before bed.
When I first went to college, we had a saying: “Wherever two or more are gathered, they will start a film society.” Friday nights on campus, I watched, Nosferatu, 1922, which made Bela Lugosi’s count seem tame.
Then there was Carl Dryer’s 1932, Vampyr, a movie whose plot I have never been able to decipher, but whose haunting imagery gives a truly creepy feeling of being in a coffin and seeing the face of the vampire who killed you peering through the glass in the lid.
Once upon a time, vampires were not sensitive hunks and hunkettes. Team Orlock? I don’t think so! And trust me, you don’t want a date with Dracula’s brides:
But alas, we are so besotted with undead who love poetry and walks on the beach that not even the current owners of Bran castle in Romania, the one that inspired Bram Stoker, are immune to draw of vampire fandom.
It turns out that the castle that overlooks the town of Bran is not even scary, although the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, is supposed to have passed through the valley in the 15th century. And NPR correspondent, Meghan Sullivan, says it’s a little disconcerting to see t-shirts on some of the pilgrims proclaiming that, “All Romanians are Vampires.” http://www.npr.org/2011/11/13/142256325/in-transylvania-sometimes-a-bat-is-just-a-bat
I guess it will just have to fall to the next generation to restore a fictional world where, to paraphrase Garrison Keeler, “All the women are strong, all the men are good looking, all the children are above average, and vampires are nobody’s sweetheart!”