Dracula's Daughters: The Female Vampire on Film

Dracula's Daughters: The Female Vampire on Film

Language: English

Pages: 318

ISBN: 0810892952

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Almost as long as cinema has existed, vampires have appeared on screen. Symbolizing an unholy union between sex and death, the vampire—male or female—has represented the libido, a “repressed force” that consumed its victims. Early iconic representations of male vampires were seen in Nosferatu (1922) and Dracula (1931), but not until Dracula’s Daughter in 1936 did a female “sex vampire” assume the lead. Other female vampires followed, perhaps most provocatively in the Hammer films of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Later incarnations, in such films as Near Dark (1987) and From Dusk till Dawn (1996), offered modern takes on this now iconic figure.

In Dracula’s Daughters: The Female Vampire on Film, Douglas Brode and Leah Deyneka have assembled a varied collection of essays that explore this cinematic type that simultaneously frightens and seduces viewers. These essays address a number of issues raised by the female vampire film, such as violence perpetrated on and by women; reactions to the genre from feminists, antifeminists, and postfeminists; the implications of female vampire films for audiences both gay and straight; and how films reflected the period during which they were created. Other topics include female vampire films in relationship to vampire fiction, particularly by women such as Anne Rice; the relationship of the vampire myth to sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS; issues of race and misogyny; and the unique phenomenon of teen vampires in young adult books and films such as Twilight.

Featuring more than thirty photos spanning several decades, this collection offers a compelling assessment of an archetypal figure—an enduring representation of dark desires—that continues to captivate audiences. This book will appeal not only to scholars and students but also to any lover of transgressive cinema.

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Brode_WEB.indb 44 11/19/13 2:43 PM 3 Alienation, Essentialism, and Existentialism through Technique An Analysis of Set Design, Lighting, Costume, and Music in Dracula’s Daughter and Nadja Paige A. Willson, Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith, and Anthony J. Fonseca DAUGHTERS OF DRACULA, DAUGHTERS OF DESOLATION A lthough it is not technically a remake of Lambert Hillyer’s 1936 classic Dracula’s Daughter (Universal Pictures), Michael Almereyda’s 1994, David Lynch–produced Nadja (Kino Link) is

both the light and the dark, seemingly synched up to match whichever of the two women with whom he shares a scene. Despite his domineering male presence, he needs Janet’s help in scenes like those in which she ties his necktie; this also gives viewers a dichotomous, symbolic, intimate moment featuring the trust of tidying a loved one and the threat of hands placed close to the vulnerable throat area. As a contrast to these scenes, Marya gets her victims to reveal their vulnerable throat area by

his death then possibly la petite mort. Moments later, she steps out of the building into natural surroundings, Little Red Riding Hood–like, though her own peasant blouse is virginal white. She will not reach grandmother’s house or any safe haven. The stern gaze of the mysterious stranger (played by Mike Raven) is cast on her, the virginal (perhaps) victimizer of the village lad herself about to fall into an aristocrat’s trap. Though this recalls a similar sequence in Vampire Lovers, here

step-bystep degenerate into a nightmare.32 Mircalla’s reaction to all of this? She appears horrified by Richard’s declaration, about to hurry by. Then, in a glorious moment, she pauses, albeit briefly, to stroke his cheek, while casting Richard an ambiguous glance. Could she also be in love? Or is she the cold, calculating vampire, playing with a male she now knows to be in her power? We will not know for certain until the finale; even then ambiguity will rule. For the time being, Mircalla is so

it cannot be reciprocated. In this instance, her character is not ahead of her time, but fits squarely within the stereotypes of women whose only access to power relies on an absent or feminized man. The finale of the film’s epic narrative follows Elizabeth as she begins to dress like a man and train to kill Thurzó, her enemy. Interestingly, historical documents of her private letters do not stray far from this cinematic portrayal. Her response to those who attempted to appropriate her property

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