Blood in the Water
Dead, your Magesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, Right Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with Heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day.
—Charles Dickens, Bleak House
- The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. One of modern fiction’s most popular entries in the vampire genre, these books are probably more widely read than their seminal forerunners. The first three titles in the series are the most suitable for Vampire, as later books in the series grow more epic in scale and more involved with the stranger fringes of the supernatural world.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. This is the one that started it all, drawing on real-world history and Eastern European lore to make the vampire a contemporary monster.
- “The Vampyre” by John Polidori. This short story arguably marked the first modern usage of the vampire as a sentient creatures (as previous incarnations of vampires were little more than blood-drinking corpses). Possibly homoerotic, this story came out of a group of friends that included Lord Byron (upon whom the vampyre, Lord Ruthven, is modeled), Percy Shelley and Mary Shelley, who made no small contributions to the gothic and romantic movements themselves.
- “Carmilla” by Sheridan LeFanu. A wonderful example of the idea of vampires hiding among their prey, Carmilla (or Millarca, or…) moved in and out of the lives of her prey, coming back and reinventing herself as their memories left her depredations behind. “Carmilla” has sexual overtones in the same manner as Polidori’s “the Vampyre,” further establishing the vampire as a sensual metaphor.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.
- Trainspotting and Filth by Irvine Welsh.
- The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.
- The Unburied by Charles Palliser.
- The Great Gatsby and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Nosferatu, either the original F.N. Murnau version featuring Max Schreck or the Werner Herzog version featuring Klaus Kinski. For weird, unsettling vampires with their own strangeness and derangements, you can’t beat the tale of Count Orlock.
- Shadow of the Vampire starring John Malkovich and Willem Defoe. Speaking of weirdness, this movie depicts the filming of the original Nosferatu, casting many elements of the production into question. Was the movie cursed? Did the supernatural really plague the crew? Was Schreck really a vampire himself?
- The Lost Boys starring Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim, and Corey Feldman. While it occasionally lapses into lampoon and camp, this is a horror movie at its heart, especially in regard to its treatment of the vampires. It almost single-handedly establishes the modern vampire as a hip, cool, and counterculture icon, much like the rebels and antiheroes of the romantic movement.
- Near Dark starring Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton. Want to be scared to hell by vampires who don’t have any moral accountability for their actions? See this movie.
- The Hunger starring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie. Bringing the vampire-as-sexual-metaphor notion to the big screen, this is one of the most sensual vampire movies ever made. It also opens with a cameo performance by Bauhaus, for those who like a bit of musical counterculture in their film.
- Interview with a Vampire starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, deserves a mention, as does Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula – both works mentioned in the fiction section.
- Dangerous Liaisons
- Blade Runner
- Mulholland Drive
- The Manchurian Candidate
- The Sixth Sense
- Classical – Any elder who has spent over a century among the undead probably has a greater knowledge of classical musical than popular music. With its intricate arrangements of instruments and careful composition, classical music is the archetypal sound of both refinement and conspiracy spanning centuries. As you might expect, requiems are excellent examples of these types of music, as well. Recommended composers include:
- Punk Punk’s original sound rose out of a desire to rebel against the status quo and be seen and heard doing it. While punk hasn’t aged particularly gracefully, it has at least retained its hooky pop sensibilities, losing only the irony of such accessibility. Punk bands not to miss include:
- The Sex Pistols
- The Damned
- The Misfits
- Black Flag
- Goth It doesn’t get any more vampiric. Lyrics about bats, blood and vampires flirt with religious, pagan, or even blasphemous overtones, all put up against a bombastic wall of sound that’s heavy on percussion and discordant guitars. Key goth bands (even though many of them deny it) include:
- Sisters of Mercy
- This Mortal Coil
- Faith and the Muse
- Switchblade Symphony
Caesar has his due, yet even Caesar is but king among Men.
—The Testament of Longinus.