Brief History of Vampire Movies

Franck DominiqueJuly 10, 2017Views 129

Brief history of vampire movies

There have been many movies over the last century made and even remade since the first on the entire topic of Vampires. And who doesn’t love the mystery to start off with, those that walk during the nights preying on their victims either to turn over into a vampire or just drain the life of them?

The basis for a vampire is one that is a corpse (the undead) who will rise during dusk and live off the blood of the living. In 1819 the world was turned over to the term vampire after the book The Vampyre was publicized by writer John Polidori, though most will remember Bram Stoker Dracula in 1897 which later gave us the modern basis of what a vampire truly is.

There have been many films made on this topic along though out the years, some not nearly as popular as others but each do tell an eerie tale of the one that walks the night.


Nosferatu (1922), the most terrifying vampire film ever.

nosferatu - vampire filmsThe movie ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens from 1922 (directed by F.W. Murnau with the actor Max Schreck) was one of the first to catch on with a varied audience that kept each viewer on the edge of their seats with the tale told of Hutter & Orlok. This was an unauthorized adaptation of Stoker novel so all names were changed, along with some character’s being omitted, a plot twist & the films locations due to not wanting to pay for royalty fees. Intentional copy or not, ‘Nosferatu, A symphony of horror’ was a success and became one of the earliest films of its time. Max Schreck the German actor forever listed as one of the first vampires to hit the big screen in this leading role, even with this movie being a silent one he brought terror to the audience with his character being a fully repugnant creature who was anything but similar to the one portrayed in Stoker’s novel. It has been stated over the years the main reason Max Schreck did such an amazingly terrifying job being Orlok is that he truly was a vampire offset.


“Dracula” (1931), Bela Lugosi terrifies the world.

dracula 1931 - bela lugosi free dracula movieMany would state that the second movie coming to mind on this topic would be Bela Lugosi’s Dracula which is based on the novel by Stoker, also starring Helen Chandler as Mina Harker. This plot is a great deal different that what some would expect. Dracula in this sense is charming and not nearly the hideous creature that is portrayed in the silent film Nosferatu, also taken place in this film is that Dracula does attempt to turn his victims’, as Nosferatu only wanted his for feeding.

As well in this movie Dracula has an enemy one that knows who he is and what he is capable of, this being Dr. Abraham Van Helsing who is during the story line able to see the reason for those victims after being bitten slowly deteriorating in health.

The film producer did go about this movie correct, getting the permissions’ of Stoker heirs. They originally had wanted this movie to compete against those around at the time like Hunchback of Notre Dame & The Phantom of the Opera. The film had ended up premiering on Valentines Day 1931 with newspapers around the world reporting of viewers fainting during the movie which ended up being free media for the film studio in hopes to have others come to watch just for curiosity’s sake. This movie ended up giving Universal a great stake in the film industry after box office hits and continued with their next film (Frankenstein). As of the current times now many movies have been influenced on just this one alone, and the National Film Registry has taken noticed selecting it in 2000 as a classic of its own era.


Vampire Movies (1910’s – today).

Even more vampire movies came out after Nosferatu & Dracula, some along the same lines and even more with a different take on the vampire story lines.

The movie which came out in 1913 titled The Vampire showed a different side of vampires for the world to see being females as the lead roles, originally inspired by a painted of a female vampire made by Philip Burne-Jones.

the satanic rite of dracula - free movieFive years after the making of Dracula Universal came out with Dracula’s Daughter and then with Son of Dracula. As the years went on many thought to reincarnate the feared night creature and a good example is that of Hammer Horror (now known as Hammer Film Productions) made a number of movies with Christopher Lee as the Count known as Dracula or the Horror of Dracula. The first airing in 1958 ended up being followed by seven sequels like The Brides of Dracula, Scars of Dracula and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. Lee was worried with the conflicts between correspondences in the films (esp. seen during flashback scenes) that he ended up quitting the series once after Satanic Rites of Dracula was made in 1973.

The 1960’s  movies like  Mad Monster Party and Planet of the Vampires were the rave.

During the 1970’s it was Dead of Night and Nosferatu: The Vampyre which was a 1978 remake by Klaus Kinski.

As the 1980’s came about The Lost Boys, Beverly Hills Vamp, John Carpenter’s Vampires and From Dusk ‘til Dawn were all out.

Atom age vampire - free horror movieWhen the 1990’s came around John Carpenter’s Vampires and also Bram Stoker’s Dracula finally made its way to the screen following most original to the novel.

As we moved into the new millennia came the sequels to Blade, Underworld and Van Helsing.

There are more than 200 versions current of from the Bram Stoker novel made, is there any reason why we don’t love these story lines as much as we do?

If you were to take any other fictional character and link it up with the number of films made you would have only one, Dracula. The plots are endless! All of these listed were influenced from the originals and it shows how very much an impact the early pioneers of vampire story telling and the movie industry has come with such a great choice of character.


Franck Dominique
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Franck Dominique

Franky is a cinema addict. He especially likes movies and TV Series from 50's, 60's and 70's. He writes about cinema (movies, series, celebrities). Please like, share and comment below. Thank you!
Franck Dominique
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