Showing posts with label vampires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vampires. Show all posts

29 May 2013

VAMPIRES From The Myth To The Big Screen

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When it comes to mythical creatures in the world of film, nothing has cemented their place as firmly as vampires have. Spanning an impressive 90+ years of legendary screen appearances, vampires started in horror and have since then covered just about every genre imaginable – and sparked the imagination of screenwriters inspired by the myth and its connection with historical figures like Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory.

Surviving periods of saturation, the vampire genre is still very much “un-dead” and kicking, with filmmakers fighting to bring new approaches that have seen a tremendous boost of popularity for the world’s favourite blood-drinkers. Neil Jordan, director of the critically acclaimed and hugely successful Interview With The Vampire, returns to UK cinemas on May 31st with Byzantium, a fresh take on the genre that sees Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan playing a mother and daughter vampire duo.

To celebrate Byzantium’s release, we’ve taken a look back at the birth of the vampire myth and its evolution through the ages to become one of the greatest cinematic icons.

Origins of the Myth
Legends of vampires have existed for millennia, with cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient
Greeks, and Romans having told tales of demonic entities and blood-drinking spirits that are precursors to modern vampires. Although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures, the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe; this lead to mass hysteria, corpses actually being staked, and people being accused of vampirism.

While the appearance of folkloric vampires of the Balkans and Eastern Europe ranged in description from nearly human to bloated rotting corpses (perhaps the equivalent to today’s zombies?), it was the interpretation of the vampire by John Polidori in his 1819 novella The Vampyre that established the archetype of the charismatic and sophisticated vampire. Polidori’s work was arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century, which eventually served as inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Bram Stoker and the Modern Vampire
Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula quickly became the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar legendary demons and was to “voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy". The success of this book spawned a distinct vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century; with books, films, video games, and television shows drawing on the tome. The vampire is such a dominant figure in the horror genre that literary historian Susan Sellers places the current vampire myth in the "comparative safety of nightmare fantasy".

From The Novel To The Screen: The Early Adaptations
1922’s Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau’s German Expressionist cult classic, is one of the most famous early adaptations of the Dracula character. However, something that most people don’t know is that, back in the day, it attracted a (successful) lawsuit from Stoker’s estate for copyright infringement, which meant that all existing copies of the film were ordered to be destroyed. Thankfully, a few copies were saved and escaped
the pyre constructed by the copyright lawyers. Today, the film is out of copyright, and can watched legally in its entirety online.

Nosferatu, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t the first attempt at bringing Dracula to the silver screen. Dracula's Death — sometimes known as The Death of Drakula — was a 1921 Hungarian horror movie (currently believed to be a lost film) that was written and directed by Károly Lajthay. The film is notable because of the fact that it marks the first screen appearance of the vampire Count Dracula, though recent research indicates that the plot does not actually follow the narrative of Bram Stoker's novel. After originally opening in Vienna in 1921 and enjoying a long and successful European run, the film was later re-edited and re-released in Budapest in 1923. This second theatrical run, coupled with the fact that scholars are only now uncovering reliable information about the film, may explain why the Internet Movie Database erroneously lists the film's original release date as April 1923.

There are reports of a 1920 Soviet silent film Drakula (Дракула), based on Stoker's novel. The film would have predated Dracula's Death and is thus claimed to be the first film adaption of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Nothing regarding this film is known to survive; there are no known production stills, and there is very little information about the film available.

The Soviet film is said to be about a woman who experiences frightening visions after visiting an insane asylum where one of the inmates claims to be Count Dracula (here following the Hungarian spelling Drakula), and she has trouble determining if the visions were real or if they were merely nightmares.

Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee: The Making of a Cultural Icon
The 1931 film version ‘Dracula’ was based on the 1927 stage play dramatized (this time with the Stoker estate's endorsement) by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. It starred Bela Lugosi up against Edward Van Sloan, both of whom had originated their respective roles on the stage in the aforementioned play, and was directed by Tod Browning. It is one of the most famous versions of the story and is commonly considered a horror classic. In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally
significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The audience heard music only during the opening (the famous main theme from Swan Lake, which was also used at the beginning of other Universal horror productions) and closing credits, and during a brief sequence set at an opera. In 1999, Philip Glass was commissioned to compose a musical score to accompany the film. The current DVD release includes this soundtrack

At the same time as the 1931 Lugosi film, a Spanish language version was filmed for release in Mexico. It was filmed at night, using the same sets as the Tod Browning production with a different cast and crew, a common practice in the early days of sound films. George Melford was the director, and it starred Carlos Villarías as the Count, Eduardo Arozamena as Van Helsing and Lupita Tovar as Eva. Because of America's movie industry’s censorship policies, Melford's Dracula contains scenes that could not be included in the final cut of the more familiar English version.

1958, Hammer Films produced Dracula, a newer, more Gothic version of the story, starring Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. It is widely considered to be one of the best versions of the story on film, and was named the 30th greatest British film of all time in Total Film’s 2004 feature. Although it takes many liberties with the novel's plot, the creepy atmosphere and charismatic performances of Lee and Cushing make it memorable. It was released in the United States as Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the earlier Lugosi version. This was followed by a long series of Dracula films, usually featuring Lee as Dracula.

The 1990s: Bringing The Beast Back to the Mainstream
In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola produced and directed Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, and Anthony Hopkins. Coppola's story includes a backstory telling how Dracula (who is the historical Vlad Ţepeş in this version) became a vampire, as well as a subplot not in
Stoker's original novel in which Mina Harker was revealed to be the reincarnation of Dracula's greatest love. Dracula serves as a tragic hero instead of being a villain.

Interview with the Vampire is a 1994 American drama horror film directed by Neil Jordan (who is bringing us Byzantium at the end of the month). Based on the 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, the film focuses on Lestat and Louis, beginning with Louis' transformation into a vampire by Lestat in 1791. The film chronicles their time together, and their turning of a twelve-year-old girl, Claudia, into a vampire. The narrative is framed by a present day interview, in which Louis tells his story to a San Francisco reporter.

The film stars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Dunst, with Antonio Banderas and Stephen Rea co-starring. The film was released in November 1994 to positive critical acclaim, and received Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Original Score. Kirsten Dunst was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.

The late ‘90s brought us Wesley Snipes in the ‘Blade’ trilogy. The Marvel take on the vampire myth featured Snipes as the titular Blade – and chronicles his emergance as a vampire hunter, out to destroy the lives of the vampires who killed his mother. As the films progress, the traditonal gothic architecture of vampire films gives way to neon-lit hyper-stylised future underworld, where vampires are having their own battles between pure-bloods and vampires who used to be human. The box office treated the films more kindly than the critics, and they three films have so far made over $415million. Blade paved the way for the juxtoposition of the vampire myth and unfamiliar surroundings.

Turn of the Century: New Takes on the Genre
The 21st century has brought with more diverse and popular vampire films – popular both critically and commercially. Russian production Night Watch kicked off a series of films that portrayed a secret society of
protectors who have throughout history guarded humanity from the darkness. It’s vampires hunting vampires in this complex tale – and some of the greatest set-piece stunts ever dreamed up for the big screen.

Possibly as far as you can get from the insanity of Night Watch while remaining firmly in the vampire genre, Let The Right One In was one of the most highly acclaimed films to come out of Scandinavia in 2008. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel was faithfully adapted for the screen by the author himself, and sensitively directed by Tomas Alfredson. The vampire in this snowy film is the young girl Eli, who struggles to balance her vampiric affliction with a regular life, and her burgeoning relationship with fellow outsider Oskar. The film brought a new and strangely human angle to the vampire story, captivated audiences, and spawned a US remake starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

Perhaps the most popular (although whether this popularity is informed by vampirism or just the lead actors is debatable) vampire film series of all time is Twilight. Based on Stephenie Meyer’s four Edward Cullen novels, the series spans five films that have sent fans crazy since 2008, and has grossed over $2billion. Seen by some as a dumbing-down of many generes from horror and drama to action and romance, Twilight borrows from the mythology of vampires and werewolves to frame a teenage love-triangle (where one is a wolf, and the other is several hundred years old – and dead). These are just three of the more diverse vampire films already released over the last few years – honourable mentions go to Korean vamp-flick Thirst and the clever vampire-friendly premise of 30 Days of Night.

Byzantium: A Fresh Approach
Next up on the vampire slate is Neil Jordan’s Byzantium. Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan. The ladies play a mother and daughter pair surviving in a rundown seaside town – Mother Clara (Arterton) poses as a
prostitute and feasts on some of the clientele. Clara relishes her vampirism, played down from the often exaggerated supernatural aspects of more traditional and tired vampire films. These vampires lack the fangs and supernatural powers that have become a trademark of the genre – the only giveaway to their true identities is a sharp thumbnail that reacts to arousal – at the sight of blood or otherwise. Jordan is no stranger to vampires, having directed the acclaimed Interview With The Vampire, but his new film places the blood-thirsty beings firmly in our reality. They could be anyone of us.

Byzantium promises to delve into an exploration of not just modern vampires, but the challenges of being a vampire for the two leading ladies. Saorise’s Eleanor struggles with the life as many young women would, all the while keeping her dark secret locked within. This is vampirism rethought for the second decade of the 21st century – It’s dark, sexy, emotionally authentic, and real – Twilight it is not.

Byzantium hits UK cinemas on May 31st.

24 May 2013

Gemma Arterton – Her Career So Far In Pictures (Byzantium Feature)

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Gemma Arterton will be next appearing on cinema screens as Clara Webb, a centuries-old young mother who also happens to be a cool and sexy vampire, in Neil Jordan's alternative vampire flick Byzantium. We've taken this opportunity to take a look at some of Gemma's diverse roles - including some you'll know and some you may not. This one-time Bond girl has the acting skills, looks, and sensibilities for a long and successful career in the movies. Let's see what Arterton has been up to so far...

Capturing Mary

Gemma Arterton's first screen credit was in Stephen Poliakoff's Capturing Mary - a co-production of the BBC and HBO. In this made-for-TV movie, Gemma plays Liza - alongside Maggie Smith, and Ruth Wilson (who we'll see in August in The Lone Ranger).

St. Trinian's

One of the top grossing independent British films of the last decade, St. Trinian's sees Gemma's big screen debut playing the role of St. Trinian's Head Girl 'Kelly Opposum Jones'. This prominent role allowed Arterton to show off her skills and cemented her place among the rising stars of British cinema.

Quantum of Solace

Fast forward one year and Arterton is gracing the silver screen worldwide as 'Strawberry Fields' - the beautiful MI6 agent sent to assist Daniel Craig's second James Bond in The Quantum of Solace. By playing the sophisticated British Bond girl, akin to Eva Green's Vesper - and to many out-sexy-ing Olga Kurylenko's Bond girl - Gemma secured a place in the minds of moviegoers across the globe. Reviving Goldfinger's famous 'gold dipped murder' - this time with oil - was a masterstroke.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Staying loyal to the British film industry, Gemma took the title role of Alice Creed in this 2009 kidnap thriller. Tied to a bed, often naked, for a lot of the film, Arterton's role wasn't the easiest, but she brought a convincing level of anguish to the kidnapped Creed - playing devilishly good in the film's final act.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Who would turn down a Hollywood Disney film alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Sir Ben Kinglsey? Not anyone serious about raising their profile in Hollywood and certainly not Gemma Arterton. Gemma's Tamina is an action-packed role that saw her show off a wide range of talent and prove she has what it takes to nail a Jerry Bruckheimer film!

Tamara Drewe

In 2010 Stephen Frears brought much-loved comic staple Tamara Drewe to the big screen with Gemma Arterton as the titular character. A role that could have been written for Gemma - the hot-pant wearing city girl returning her to countryside home, mingling with writers, and setting aging hearts aflutter - Tamara again showed the unique creativity of the British industry, and Gemma's fondness for home-grown projects.


Neil Jordan returns to the vampire-genre 19 years after Interview With The Vampire with this wildly different, fresh take on the vampire myth. Arterton plays Clara, a vampire struggling with the aches and pains of a normal society in decline. Clara and her teenage (200 year old) daughter Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) are poor, homeless, and doing what they have to in order to survive. Arterton's Clara is a sexy and determined young woman who isn't afraid to take what she needs.

Byzantium arrives in UK&Irish cinemas from 31st May.

18 April 2013

Do You Have Secrets? Watch the New Trailer for Neil Jordan's Byzantium

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From Interviewing vampires to dancing with wolves, Byzantium is Neil Jordan's long awaited return to the horror genre which has given the Irish director his better critical moments and tonight we get another look at the film in a new UK trailer.

Byzantium is an new look on the vampire genre from a female perspective , its a look into an ancient world that follows no popular crazes or even traditional/familiar  constraints you expect from the genre. Starring Gemma Arterton, Saorise Ronan as Clara and Elanor mother/ daughter on the run from the male only Brotherhood which sees the pair constantly on the run. They find refuge in a small coastal run down hotel (Byzantium), things start to look up for Clara&Elanor however as Elanor decides to reveal her secret to a local ill stricken boy (Caleb Landry Jones ) their 200 year secret comes under threat which sees the past catch up on them.

I was fortunate to see the UK premiere which took place at Film 4 Glasgow Frightfest back in February, I did enjoy it, an ambitious, visually wonderful looking film, it wasn't just quite there in terms to regard it as a classic like Jordan's previous stint in the genre.The trailer does reveal some new footage not seen in the last trailer, showcasing the films atmospheric and melancholic tone. In this video you even get a homage to another 'vampire' legend from Vlad Impaler times Countess Bathory when Gemma Arterton baths in blood.

Byzantium opens in UK&Ireland on 31 st May (28th June USA) co-starring Sam Riley,Jonny Lee Miller,Tom Hollander and Barry Cassin.


Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.

[Update 19th April 2013 - Studiocanal have sent us a brand new UK Quad poster check it out below]

source: Yahoo! (via The Peoples Movies)

24 August 2012

Frightfest 2012 – Meet The Thompsons aka The Hamiltons,World Premiere This Sunday

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The premier European horror film festival Film4 Frightfest is well under way today and over the weekend here and at our other site we will be bringing you our coverage. This Sunday will see the return of  Horror’s favourite dysfunctional vampire family The Hamiltons now with a new name The Thompsons.  Set and filmed mostly here in the UK, horror movie The Thompsons is receiving its World Premiere this Sunday at FrightFest in Empire Leicester Square at 10.30am. There will also be a cast and crew Q&A before the screening at 10am.
The Hamiliton siblings were a dysfunctional, orphaned family living in sunny suburbia. On the outside, they appear normal enough but they harbour a very dark secret…the need to drink blood in order to survive. A bloodbath at a local gas station means the family has to go on the run, eventually seeing them resurface in the U.K. with a new identity as The Thompsons. Desperate for protection in this unfamiliar country, the deadly family seeks out the help of a shadowy underground group rumoured to be sympathetic to vampires.
THE THOMPSONS is a new release from acclaimed horror writers and directors The Butcher Brothers and is being screened at FrightFest on the 26th August 2012. On October 15th You will be able to own The Thompsons on DVD, stay tuned for review and possible competition nearer the release date.

5 September 2010

Trailer For The King Of Vampires

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 source QuietEarth
Is this Rambo with vampires? Iwonder its a trailer or looking at the length of it a promo trailer for KING OF VAMPIRES set in the darkest realms of the Cambodian rainforests I wonder if John Rambo will be around to kick some vampire ass?
trailer after the break.....

18 July 2010

Trailer For Dennis Gansel's WE ARE THE NIGHT

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source DreadCentral
2008 German director Dennis Gansel had a worldwide hit with The Wave the true story of a school experiment in fascism gone badly wrong proving how weel he canblend young person's pop culture with major issues. Roll on 2 years and he's back with WE ARE THE NIGHT possibly a new look on the young adult vampire genre less Twilight more The Lost Boys (or girls) crossed with gossip girl maybe,movie stars Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich, Anna Fischer and Max Riemelt

One night 18-year-old Lena is bitten by Louise, leader of a female vampire trio that are as deadly as they are beautiful. Her newfound vampiric lifestyle is a blessing and a curse at the same time. At first she enjoys the limitless freedom, the luxury, the parties. But soon the murderous blood lust of her comrades in arms proves too much for her, and she falls dangerously in love with Tom, a young undercover cop. When she resolves to turn her back on the bloodsucking band of sisters, Louise's fury knows no bounds. Lena will have to choose between immortal love and immortal life...

13 March 2010

We Will We Will "SUCK" you!! Trailer for the vampire rock comedy

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source GordonTheWhale
When I first saw this I thought someone was taking the piss, but no SUCK just looks a fantastically funny comedy directed by Rob Stefaniuk . Basically its a story about a failed band who will do anything to become famous and rich of course they do, they all become vampires!!!
The movie has a polethra of musical talents involved icluding Iggy Pop! Alice Cooper who just looks at home in this movie and even vegan proud Moby as a character called Beef! oh I forgot the king of modern B-Movies Malcom McDowell is in it with a great dirty eye patch, this just look silly but also a fun movie as well.
This movie debuted at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and has did the rounds at a few other festivals hopefully this year maybe the odd UK or Irish festival as well. Talking of festivals it will be one of the many movies playing at the SXSW Festival  which kicked off today in Austin Texas USA.