I grew up a Universal Monster kid, I loved and still love those black and white thrillers with Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Lon Chaney, Jr. and many more. I devoured the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland monthly, looking at Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But it was Bela Lugosi’s performance of Dracula that had the biggest impact. His accent, his stiff movement and his piercing eyes captured the undead nobleman and forever became the benchmark of Bram Stoker’s celluloid Count. Thus the vampire was raised into modern cinema, a creature of the night, using his powers to suck the blood of the living and, in some instances, add more members to his fanged flock. And that’s the way it was, Christopher Lee and other bearers of the Dracula crest were creatures to be feared, created to scare the beegeezus of children and adults alike…until lately.
Now vampires are portrayed as brooding sullen romantics, who even in daylight, walk among us and become anti-heroes and young girl’s sexual fantasies. Blech, give me the redeyed, fanged devil scrathing outside the window, waiting to sneak into the home and lay waste on the unsuspecting. Give me the old school monster that sunlight destroyed not make his skin sparkle like diamonds. Give me a Dracula who would lay bloody havoc on a slumber party, not brood in the corner about why he shouldn’t be there, thus endearing himself as the new bad boy girls fall for. It was a leather jacket and a convertible, now it is pale skin, an aversion to solid food and a goth hairdo making the girls a twitter.
So yes, I miss Bela and his brothers and sisters, his children of the night and the things of nightnares. Now vampires don’t take you in bed, they’re more interested in taking you to bed… and tucking you in.