• Disease and infection such as Catalepsy, Porphyria and Anemia all have
symptoms that led people in the middle ages and earlier to believe that
people were vampires.
• Catalepsy is a disease where the afflicted goes into a suspended
animation-like state that can resemble death
• There are similar symptoms among the varying types of porphyria. One of
these common symptoms is excessive hair growth. In Bram Stoker's
Dracula and numerous mythologies this was a positive identification of a
• Symptoms of anemia include weakness or faintness, loss of appetite, and
dizziness – all of which could make someone in the Middle Ages, and
earlier, think the anemic was actually a vampire victim.
• Horror films played on the fears of society at the time. Nosferatu
(1922) is a early vampire film that was released during the flu
epidemic of the 20’s. A film about a disease ridden looking vampire
biting people and spreading its infection was very apt at the time
because millions all over the world were dying of the contagious
• Also sexually transmitted disease's like syphilis was a major threat
during the time a lot of vampire films were getting released. There
was a huge connection between blood and disease and vampire
movies played wit people fear of infection.
The First Vampire
• Vampire films have been a staple since the silent days, so much so
that the depiction of vampires in popular culture is strongly based
upon their depiction in movies throughout the years.
• Although there were early cinematic vampires in such films as The
Vampire (1913), directed by Robert G. Vignola, these vampires
were not undead bloodsucking fiends but ‘vamps’
• Dracula (1931) film is regarded as the classic vampire film. It was
directed by Tod Browning and starred Bela Lugosi.
• Dracula became Bela Lugosi's signature role, he wore minimal
make-up and the many close-ups of Lugosi's face in icy silence
jumped off the screen.
• Lugosi was so attached to his role as Dracula that he became
forever typecast as the count.
• Dracula (1931) was a huge success, and was greeted to critical
• Dracula was a big gamble for a major Hollywood studio to
• It was uncertain if an American audience was prepared for a serious
full length supernatural chiller. Though America had been exposed
to other chillers before, such as The Cat and the Canary (1927), this
was a horror story with no comic relief or trick ending that
downplayed the supernatural.
• Newspapers reported that members of the audiences fainted in
shock at the horror on screen.
• This publicity, helped ensure people came to see the film, if for no
other reason than curiosity
• Christopher Lee's Dracula (1958 film) had something that was new,
Fangs. This first Hammer Film vampire production ushered in a new
look for vampire movies. They were in colour -- all the better to see
• It was also becoming easier to more openly display what had been
merely referred to before: the sexuality of vampirism. A lot of nudity
and sexual content was know involved in vampire films.
• When the film was originally released in the UK, the BBFC gave it
an X rating, being cut, while the 2007 uncut re-release was given a
Modern day Vampires
• Vampire films have become less of a scare factor in today's society,
mythical figures do not create the same fear it did before.
• Blade (1998) was one of the first all action vampire movies. He was
a half vampire half human who protects humans from vampires.
• One of the major plots of the film was to prevent Frost from raising
La Magra, the Vampire blood god, and causing a vampire
apocalypse. This is one of the first films where the vampire
background and story became more complex and detailed.
• 30 days of Night is a 2007 American horror film based on the comic
book miniseries of the same name. The story focuses on the
Alaskan town of Barrow, beset by vampires as it enters into a thirty-
day long period without sunshine. The film follows a group of people
who struggle to survive vampires until sunlight returns.
• Twilight is the vampire film of this generation.
• Based on the books by Stephanie Meyer, this vampire franchise has
become a worldwide phenomenon.
• Twilight would not be classed as a horror, it is based more on
forbidden love, lust and sexuality. We as viewers are not meant to
be scared of the vampires, they are somewhat seen as heroes.
• However in keeping with vampire theme there is still an element of
danger surrounding them.