The Changing Vampire of Film and Television

A Critical Study of the Growth of a Genre


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About the Book

Vampires have been a fixture of film since Bela Lugosi brought Bram Stoker’s Dracula to life on the big screen in 1931. Over the decades the genre has been far from static, as vampire narratives changed and evolved with the appetites of their viewing public. First depicted as formally dressed villains, vampires would later be portrayed as supernatural beings with some human characteristics, and still later as sympathetic figures.

Focusing on 19 representative films and television productions, this critical study tracks the evolutionary changes of the screen vampire. It explores the factors that cause a genre to change and examines the alternating cycles of audience expectation. The author identifies three distinct modes of depiction: the Malignant Cycle (1931–1948), comprised primarily of the Universal films; the Erotic Cycle (1957–1985), which encompasses Hammer films and popular television shows such as Dark Shadows; and the Sympathetic Cycle (1987–present) including recent offerings such as The Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Each film is evaluated in seven key areas including the act of the vampire biting the victim; process of the victim’s infection; physical appearance and demeanor of the vampire and the vampire expert; and the eventual destruction of the vampire. Appendices include a complete filmography of the films examined. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Teacher Tim Kane is an avid horror movie fan and lives in Chula Vista, California. More information is available at the author’s website at

Bibliographic Details

Tim Kane

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2676-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0904-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. The Malignant Cycle (1931–1948)      21
2. The Erotic Cycle (1957–1985)      43
3. The Sympathetic Cycle (1987– )      88
4. The Future of the Vampire      128

Appendix A: Synopses of Films      135
Appendix B: Semantic-Syntactic Timeline      192
Works Cited      219
Index      221

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “complex examination”—Big Reel
  • “superbly scholarly study…well written”—Scary Monsters Magazine
  • “a worthy addition to the growing corpus of horror non-fiction”—Fortean Times