The Undead in the kingdom of shadows
The rise of the cinematic vampire
in Open Graves, Open Minds
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In 1896, Maxim Gorky described the experience of watching the newly invented cinematograph as entering 'the Kingdom of Shadows'. This chapter demonstrates that Dracula underwent a process of experimentation wherein vampire imagery was used across a wide range of genres and to convey diverse meanings before it became consolidated into a recognised horror formula. It considers how the reimagining of the vampire through the technological language of cinema also serves both to celebrate modernity and to bring the vampire 'up-to-date with a vengeance'. The ambivalence towards modernity embodied in the vamp continued to be a key component of the cinematic vampire as the genre developed beyond pure metaphor. In it, the vamp is presented as vampire-like and into a genre about vampires, drawing upon nineteenth-century precursors.

Open Graves, Open Minds

Representations of Vampires and the Undead from the Enlightenment to the Present Day

Editors: Sam George and Bill Hughes


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