Vampires over time

Lesson plan & documents Vampires over time instructions : answers

Watch the videos and answer the questions:

  • Which vampire scene do you find the scariest? Why? ( Comment using camera angles, actor’s performance, music, setting …)
  • Which vampire do you find the most charming? Why?
  • What is your favourite scene? Why?
  • Can you name 2 key elements of the setting that are used in most vampire scenes. What vampire feature do they reinforce? ( Power, animal side, human side, sex appeal…?)

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TLES The Imaginary > Two-Faced heroes > DRACULA October 8th, 2014

October 8th, 2014

English Literature

THEME – The Imaginary – > Two-faced heroes

Before today:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by O. Wilde

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Stevenson


Nosferatu by Murnau (1921)

Varney the Vampyre by James Malcolm Rymer (1845) before Dracula / Dorian Gray

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

I am Legend by Richard Metheson (1954)

Interview with a Vampire by Ann Rice (1976)

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (2006)

How do you know you’re not sitting next to a vampire?

Can see him in a mirror

doesn’t have any fangs

he / she can stand the sun light

he / she can stand sun light / crucifix

can’t turn into a rat / a sun light / a sun light

can’t fly / doesn’t drink sun light

doesn’t sleep in a sun light

> old folk legend from Eastern Europe / Vlad the Impaler

‘Dark Ages’ > Middle Ages

> evil / creature from Hell / death

> eternal youth / kill people to stay alive

> cannibalism and vampirism were ‘discovered’ by / fascinated Europeans during the Enlightenment.

> vampires encapsulated fear of the ‘other’, fear of death but also fascination for the underworld, dark ruins, old castles and they illustrate the decline of the aristocracy.

Vampires through time / over time have really changed / evolved.

Starting from Varney the Vampire / Nosferatu onto The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, vampires have become more attractive and their faces have become more human.

We delight in vampire stories because we like being scared.

Edward is more attractive / handsome / good-looking than Varney.

Ed is hotter / sexier than Varney.

They are the Beauty and the Beast version of the vampire myth.

It’s more and more difficult for the viewer / reader to see the difference between the sexy lover and the scary creature / monster.

HW – Finish your table / read your texts /

Find more similarities / differences between old and new vampires

Vampire Literature

Thalaba the Destroyer by Robert Southey (1801).

La Morte Amoureuse by Théophile Gautier (1836).

Varney the Vampire or The Feast of Blood by James Malcolm Rymer (or Thomas Peckett Prest) (1847).

Le Chevalier Ténèbre (Knightshade) by Paul Féval (1860).

La Vampire (The Vampire Countess) by Paul Féval (1865).

Carmilla (1872) by Sheridan le Fanu.

Bewitched (1927) by Edith Wharton.

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (1975).

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin (1982).

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (2004)

Vampire Series

Guillermo del Toro with Chuck Hogan The Strain (La trilogía de la oscuridad) (2009 – ).

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series series (2005–2008)

Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series (1976–2003).

L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries (1991)

Vampire TV Series

True Blood is an American television drama series produced and created by Alan Ball. (2008-)

Being Human is a British supernatural drama television series. It was created and written by Toby Whithouse for broadcast on BBC Three. (2008-)

Vampire Comics

Blade (Marvel, 1973)

Nosferatu (Viper Comics, 2010)

Vampire Movies

Nosferatu by Murnau (1921)

Dracula (1931) – the first Universal Studios Dracula film, starring Bela Lugosi.

Dracula (1958) – aka Horror of Dracula; the first Hammer Dracula film, starring Christopher Lee as the Count.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) – was Werner Herzog’s remake of Murnau’s silent classic.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Inspired by Dark Shadows and Dan Curtis’ Dracula, the 1992 film also merges a reincarnation romance with the medieval story of Vlad III; starring Gary Oldman as Dracula. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

The Wisdom of the crocodiles by Po-Chih Leong (1998)

A Vampire is a mythical being who subsists by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folkloric tales, undead vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the neighbourhoods they inhabited when they were undead.

Although vampiric entities have been recorded in most cultures, the term vampire was not popularised until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

Early folkloric belief in vampires has been ascribed to the ignorance of the body’s process of decomposition after death and how people in pre-industrial societies tried to rationalise this, creating the figure of the vampire to explain the mysteries of death.

The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori. However, it is Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula which is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend. The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, and television shows. The vampire has since become a dominant figure in the horror genre.

The notion of vampirism has existed for millennia; cultures such as the Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Ancient Greeks, and Romans had tales of demons and spirits which are considered precursors to modern vampires. However, despite the occurrence of vampire-like creatures in these ancient civilizations, the folklore for the entity we know today as the vampire originates almost exclusively from early-18th-century southeastern Europe, when verbal traditions of many ethnic groups of the region were recorded and published. In most cases, vampires are revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, or witches, but they can also be created by a malevolent spirit possessing a corpse or by being bitten by a vampire. Belief in such legends became so pervasive that in some areas it caused mass hysteria and even public executions of people believed to be vampires.

Many of the myths surrounding vampires originated during the medieval period. Vampires proper originate in folklore widely reported from Eastern Europe in the late 17th and 18th centuries. These tales formed the basis of the vampire legend that later entered Germany and England, where they were subsequently embellished and popularized.

During the 18th century, there was a frenzy of vampire sightings in Eastern Europe, with frequent stakings and grave diggings to identify and kill the potential revenants; even government officials engaged in the hunting and staking of vampires.

Despite being called the Age of Enlightenment, during which most folkloric legends were quelled, the belief in vampires increased dramatically, resulting in a mass hysteria throughout most of Europe.

Although many scholars reported during this period that vampires did not exist, and attributed reports to premature burial or rabies, superstitious belief increased.

In modern fiction, the vampire tends to be depicted as a suave, charismatic villain.

The reinvention of the vampire myth in the modern era is not without political overtones. The aristocratic Count Dracula, alone in his castle apart from a few demented retainers, appearing only at night to feed on his peasantry, is symbolic of the parasitic Ancien regime.

In his entry for “Vampires” in the Dictionnaire philosophique (1764), Voltaire notices how the end of the 18th century coincided with the decline of the folkloric belief in the existence of vampires but that now “there were stock-jobbers, brokers, and men of business, who sucked the blood of the people in broad daylight; but they were not dead, though corrupted. These true suckers lived not in cemeteries, but in very agreeable palaces“.

Marx defined capital as “dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks“. Werner Herzog, in his Nosferatu the Vampyre, gives this political interpretation an extra ironic twist when protagonist Jonathan Harker, a middle-class solicitor, becomes the next vampire; in this way the capitalist bourgeois becomes the next parasitic class.

No effort to depict vampires in popular fiction was as influential or as definitive as Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease of contagious demonic possession, with its undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord in Victorian Europe where tuberculosis and syphilis were common. The vampiric traits described in Stoker’s work merged with and dominated folkloric tradition, eventually evolving into the modern fictional vampire.

The legend of the vampire was cemented in the film industry when Dracula was reincarnated for a new generation with the celebrated Hammer Horror series of films, starring Christopher Lee as the Count. The successful 1958 Dracula starring Lee was followed by seven sequels.

Vampire lifestyle is a term for a contemporary subculture of people, largely within the Goth subculture, who consume the blood of others as a pastime; drawing from the rich recent history of popular culture related to cult symbolism, horror films, the fiction of Anne Rice, and the styles of Victorian England.

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