As you read this, I will be wending my way home from the Grand Masquerade in New Orleans. It’s been an interesting trip, full of companionship and chaos, and was my first-ever visit to the Crescent City.
The Grand Masquerade is not held every year, and I can see why; the logistics involved in running a convention that moves around can be daunting to say the least. The last Grand Masquerade was also held in New Orleans, but five years ago. New Orleans has a spiritual connection to vampires thanks to the primary setting of Anne Rice’s novel Interview With A Vampire.
A conversation I had with my buddy Matt McElroy and a new friend, Shannon C. from the UK, leads me to post about some of my favorite vampires of cinema. Our discussion was much more basic, but as it progressed, I realized there were a plethora of vampires in film from which one could draw inspiration, both as vampires, but also as characters, forces of nature, and sinister antagonists to plague the living.
Perhaps my favorite vampire comes from the film Shadow of the Vampire starring John Malkovich, Carey Elwes, and Willem Dafoe. The film postulates that the star of the 1922 classic German silent film Nosferatu perhaps took his role a bit too seriously. It’s an interesting take — retelling the film with a different underlying narrative — and it left me wondering who the real monster truly was.
Another favorite of mine is Let the Right One In, a Swedish-made film which was adapted two years later into the English-language version, Let Me In.
The film is about a boy, Oskar, who finds he has a new neighbor. The neighbor is a young girl who appears to be the same age as Oskar, but only comes out at night.
An excellent, suspenseful film, Let the Right One In is worth dealing with reading the subtitles if that sort of thing bothers you.
What We Do In The Shadows is a more light-hearted look at the genre. A documentary crew gains rare access to a secret world, following the exploits of four average, New Zealand flatmates — who also happen to be vampires — through their nightly lives. Filmed in the now classic mockumentary style, What We Do In The Shadows is a brilliant parody of both documentaries and of vampire lore.
Only Lovers Left Alive is a Jim Jarmusch film starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. At first it’s unclear that the two main characters are vampires. Later we see Hiddleston buying bags of blood on the down-low from a unscrupulous medical practitioner at a hospital, and after a mishap or two and an unfortunate death, the two are forced to rely on more traditional means to obtain their unusual sustenance. The story is told in a dreamy, almost trance-like fashion, and though the action unfolds slowly, I found myself drawn into the world of these characters, and caring about what happened to them.
There are many more excellent vampire-related films — enough to fill a dozen blog posts, or more — but these are a few of my favorites among the more recent releases. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have.