Fang flicks for fun chicks. I did a very short (~12 mins) interview with Doxacast, the podcast of the Christian sf/f/horror convention Doxacon. (EARLY BIRD TIX STILL AVAILABLE! Do you know who both R.A. Lafferty and the Theotokos are? Do you want to know whether our God is a trickster God, or why the Eucharist is not a werewolf? GET YOUR DOXACON TICKET TODAY.) Anyway, we began with a brief riff on what might interest a Christian in horror films, which was the three-sentence version of an article I wrote for America magazine. Then we sunk our teeth into the bats-and-bloodbaths genre, with my top nine underrated Dracula dreamscapes.
NB: I didn’t list some films I love because they’re so well-known–this is why you won’t find the Lugosi Dracula, or either the silent or ’70s Nosferatu, or Let the Right One In. And I didn’t list some films because they are still crawling up the endless Netflix ladder, e.g. Vampyr and Daughters of Darkness and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary, so I have no idea if they’re good. Feel free to suggest chillers I missed.
Links go to my reviews.
#9. Cronos. By the way, if you want to watch a really bad movie which does a brilliant job with the whole “vampires go from fantasy to tragedy when you throw in a child vampire, because never growing old is a fantasy but never growing up is a tragedy” thing, Kristen Dunst is basically the one thing Interview with the Vampire has going for it. (Well, that and the frankly too-subtle suggestion that vampirism is wealth and power: the predatory camera in the opening scene prowling unseen among the San Francisco homeless people; the burning of the plantation.)
#8. Dracula’s Daughter. I had a still from this film, xeroxed out of my copy of The Celluloid Closet, scotch-taped into my locker in high school, next to the Newsweek photos of Kathleen Hanna (the ones that got her fired from her stripping job).#7. Near Dark. I know it’s basically fairly-rated, but I wanted the contrast where Near Dark is ranked just a tiny bit lower than 1987’s other vampire classic; and I wanted to talk about the undercurrents of the protagonist/audience-identification character. But really, this is a terrifically-crafted film, and has probably the single greatest child vampire this side of Elli.
#6. The Lost Boys. THIS FILM IS SO GREAT. If you can make your way through the three-count-’em-three phenomenal openings, any one of which would be a terrific opener–the long swoop across the Pacific surf with “Cry, Little Sister” playing; the carousel scene with the biker vampires; the car trip into town with the real ’80s punk children and “People Are Strange”–and not want to devour this movie, you need to have a real deep conversation with the Lord.
Also, a piece of Lost Boys trivia: One of the stuntmen/extras is my actual favorite figure skater of all time, Christopher “Bowman the Showman” Bowman.
#5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So beautiful… so dumb.
#4. Thirst. A strange, sad, hard-to-watch Korean film about a suicidal Catholic priest who becomes a vampire. Vampirism as desecration, as defilement of the sacraments–not only Communion but confession.
#2. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. A frequently-lovely Czechoslovakian movie whose visceral horror comes from the way it uses vampirism as a very, very blunt metaphor for clergy sexual abuse.
#1. The Addiction. “All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.”