“Do you believe in destiny? That even the powers of time can be altered for a single purpose? That the luckiest man who walks on this earth is the one who finds… true love?” – Count Dracula (Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1992)
There was a time in horror when romance was an integral part of the story, where love and the actions that characters would take for it were what moved the plot forward. Films such as the aforementioned Bram Stoker’s Dracula spring to mind as do many of the classical Universal monster films, Cronenberg’s The Fly, Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China, and countless more.
With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, I thought that I would share my thoughts on the topic of romance in horror and why it seems to have faded. READ MORE
December 28th, 1888.
On this day, 124 years ago, F.W. Murnau was born in Bielefeld, Germany. If you’re not entirely familiar with his name, he directed Nosferatu, an iconic (and unauthorized) adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. He would later to go on to direct films for Fox after moving to Hollywood, though none of those resonate as much in today’s culture.
Of course, Nosferatu would be a tough act to follow for anyone. Changing the names (and a few plot points) from “Dracula”, it introduced us to Max Schreck’s indelible performance as Count Orlok, aka Nosferatu. The film was of course silent, so the onus was on Murnau and Schreck to create a villain that would not only be visually striking, but sympathetic as well. Of course, they succeeded. Nosferatu is one of the most famous vampire designs ever and, for my money, it’s a much more interesting take on the creature than what would become the standard modus operandi of just slapping some fangs on an actor and powdering down his face with foundation. It’s also worth noting that Nosferatu depicted sunlight as being lethal to vampires, while in the book “Dracula” the sun merely weakens them. I’m not entirely sure if this is the first instance of that revisionist biology or if Murnau lifted it from elsewhere, but it’s regarded as the first time this type of demise was depicted on film. Needless to say this helped cement the role sunlight would play in subsequent vampire lore.
In 1979 Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) directed a remake of the film called Nosferatu The Vampire that used the character names from “Dracula” but adhered more closely to Murnau’s plot beats and creature design. In 2000 Shadow Of The Vampire depicted a heavily fictionalized (ie Schreck is actually a vampire) account of Nosferatu‘s filming with John Malkovich playing Murnau and Willem Dafoe portraying Schreck. It’s kind of like The Girl but willfully dumb instead of unintentionally so.
Murnau was mortally wounded in a car accident on the PCH in 1931. He is pictured inside. READ MORE
The early 90’s were the time when I was figuring out exactly what musical styles spoke to me and what drew my interest. It was also a time when music was…well, music, unlike much of today’s offerings. Gone were the days of hair and speed metal as well as electronic and synth-based bands, replaced by grunge, the beginnings of nu-metal, an evolving and growing hip-hop/rap genre as well as the popularization of contemporary country music. It was the end of an era that had grown into stagnation and the beginning of a fresh, new time that brought many of my (now) favorite artists to the forefront of the music scene.
One of these bands is Alice In Chains, whose 1992 release ‘Dirt’, is considered by many to be one of those ‘timeless’ albums that appears over and over in Top (insert number here) albums of (insert however long here). So, do I agree? Does ‘Dirt’ deserve all of these spots and this recognition? Find out after the jump.
The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor’s fiance and inflict havoc in the foreign land.