There’s something alluring about vampires that whets our appetite. Blood, sex and death surrounds them like a green mist, living for years, centuries in the dark. They are frequently imbedded in our literature, film and tv, backing us into a corner with little chance of escape. Although…admittedly, we like it and can’t help ourselves, we always want more…I want some more…
Today on the blog I am reviewing Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies (Published April 27, 2019) Edited By Vanessa Morgan. A big thank you to Morgan for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated. Hungry? Thirsty? Let’s tuck in shall we? I guarantee this will be a most satisfying meal.
Strange Blood: 71 essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies
This is an overview of the most offbeat and underrated vampire movies spanning nine decades and 23 countries. Strange Blood encompasses well-known hits as well as obscurities that differ from your standard fang fare by turning genre conventions on their head. Here, vampires come in the form of cars, pets, aliens, mechanical objects, gorillas, or floating heads. And when they do look like a demonic monster or an aristocratic Count or Countess, they break the mold in terms of imagery, style, or setting. Leading horror writers, filmmakers, actors, distributors, academics, and programmers present their favourite vampire films through in-depth essays, providing background information, analysis, and trivia regarding the various films. Some of these stories are hilarious, some are terrifying, some are touching, and some are just plain weird. Not all of these movies line up with the critical consensus, yet they have one thing in common: they are unlike anything you’ve ever seen in the world of vampires. Just when you thought that the children of the night had become a tired trope, it turns out they have quite a diverse inventory after all.
From the moment I began reading I was transported back to my film studying days at university. I love, LOVE film and dissecting it piece by piece. The history, the script, camera angels and locations. All of it!
The contributors who wrote each essay showed this same enthusiasm and passion for their chosen films. They shared their experiences, spoke about the actors/directors briefly before getting stuck in to the details and insightful observations of underrated and offbeat vampire films. I appreciated their respect and admiration as I could relate, I felt involved and hungry to learn more. I often felt as though I was listening to a friend casually chatting about vampire films. It was relaxed yet informative writing that encouraged me to learn more about our toothy fiends. It was also refreshing to read any criticisms that arose. Always constructive and explained of course but it gave a realistic opinion of the film which made it delectable reading.
“The best vampire stories have an atmosphere that is dripping with authenticity, which Angels of Darkness has in spades. With the shooting location in rural Hungary, the ambiance of the film couldn’t feel more authentic.”
What I adore about film is that you are always kept on your toes. There are thousands of hidden gems collecting dust in storage units just waiting to be watched. Most of the films discussed I had seen or heard of, but there was a select few that I wasn’t aware of such as Nadja. I am always one for adding to my film knowledge and these essays did not disappoint. I have already viewed a few, fangtastic! (I know, BAD pun)
I particularly enjoyed learning about how vampires have been portrayed throughout history on the big screen. Some directors choosing to stick to the old garlic and sunlight routine where others have gone down a more abstract path and chosen their own elements. Of course the main and obvious inspiration to any vampire film is the legend of Dracula but it was interesting to read beyond that and explore other myths and folk tales such as the Aswang, which I have to admit dear reader creeped me out. *shivers* But I still have every intention to watch it! Its just so…hypnotic.
“Ultimately, the most enduring aspect of The Lost Boys would be its lasting influence on how vampires are depicted in both movies and television, from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer to the Twilight series, True Blood to The Vampire Diaries. No longer monsters – or even villains, in some cases – many contemporary creatures of the night may not be sporting trenchcoats or rock star hair, but they’re nearly always young, sexy and display exemplary fashion sense.”
I give Strange Blood: 71 Essays on Offbeat and Underrated Vampire Movies Edited By Vanessa Morgan a Four out of Five paw rating.
This book is enlightening, educational and makes for pleasurable reading for any vampire or film lover. Once I started, I was sucked in (I know, I will stop with the bad puns). The contributors write with creative inspiration that encourages you to seek out these unique vampire films. An intriguing read that leaves you yearning for more, with a hunger, a desire to follow that cloaked figure into the dark. Children of the night, what music they make…
Hop hop wiggle wiggle