Vampires; they aren’t what they use to be. Originating as tales to give European village folk the willies, talk of undead creatures with pointy dental work began to flow out of Romania and the Balkans in the early 18th century. It wasn’t until John Polidori’s 1819 novella The Vampyre
that their reputation spread a little wider. Then a few decades later Bram Stoker knocked up what remains still today the quintessential vampire story, Dracula
. Stoker knew a vampire’s true nature; a mysterious, sexual, calculating foe with a range of strange powers, as a supernatural villain it sat at the top of the food chain. The movie world was quick to see the dramatic potential, creepy gothic pictures that forewarned of the dangers almost as soon as the moving picture had been perfected, Nosferatu (1922)
. Universal and Hammer Horror kept the frights and cautionary tales coming, Dracula (1931 / 1958)
. But as time wore on a strange thing happened; filmmakers forgot that these ancient bloodsuckers were dangerous. Things got arty in the late seventies / early eighties, with cinematic vampires spending most of their time lounging forlornly amongst flowing satin sheets and breeze blown curtains, Thirst (1979)
, The Hunger (1983)
. Then vampires gave up shaving, dug out their leather biker gear and went punk with Near Dark (1987)
and The Lost Boys (1987)
. Writers and directors were just trying something new (even comedy Once Bitten (1985), My Best Friend Is A Vampire (1988)
) but the concept of the vampire as shadowy killer was getting diluted almost beyond repair. The odd poke at "old school” vampirism fell flat, Interview With The Vampire (1995)
, before Hollywood made high-octane arse kickings the vampire twist de rigour, Blade (1998), Vampires (1998), Underworld (2003)
. But things hit an all-time vampiric low in 2008 when the toothy villains were reinvented as love struck, woe-is-me, "emo” teenagers in Twilight (2008)
. It prompted a slew of offerings on the big and small screen where vampires were a lot more pedestrian and a lot less scary True Blood, Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, The Moth Diaries (2011)
. Bela Lugosi rather ironically spun in his grave. So to turn the tide on those seeking to reap a quick post Blade
buck here are teen toothy offerings that present the vampire as nature intended; terrifying and beguiling in equal measure.
- DRACULA / HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)
Nosferatu and Universal’s Dracula earned their dues laying the vampiric groundwork that future toothy outings built upon. But for entertainment value they are more curiosity pieces these days rather than solid nominations for an evening spent on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn. What the genre needed to get things moving was some glorious technicolour and newly minted kings of horror Hammer Film Productions were apt to oblige. Moving on from their early film noir offerings Hammer hit pay dirt in 1955 with a cinema adaptation of Nigel Kneale’s The Quatermass Experiment. More traditional horror followed, The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), as did further box office success. Hammer set its sites on the ultimate gothic thriller next with a stripped down take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Their masterstroke was to bring back Frankenstein headliners Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The slight Cushing made for a sympathetic Van Helsing, but it was Lee’s casting as the Count that made Dracula (1959) (titled The Horror of Dracula in the States) such an enticing prospect. Towering over the rest of the cast, the lordly looking Lee had presence to spare and created the definitive onscreen Vlad that will very likely never be topped. Audiences got their technicolour horror hit as well, Hammer dripping bright red crimson all over the Count’s tomb mere seconds into the picture. The only concession director Terence Fisher made was removing the more costly scenes from Stoker’s original text. But as Francis Ford Coppola found thirty four years later with his sprawling Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) a more faithful adaptation wouldn’t necessarily translate into a better movie. Fisher’s movie is lean, atmospheric and simply much creepier.
Tasty Morsel – Lee’s original Dracula cape was missing for over thirty years until 2007 when it somehow turned up in a London costume shop.
- BLACK SUNDAY (1960)
By 1959 forty-five year old cinematographer Mario Bava had gained a reputation as the Italian cinema go-to-guy if you were struggling to get your picture finished. Having already saved I Vampiri (1957) and Caltiki – The Immortal Monster (1959), he also took over the helm on The Giant of Marathon (1959) after Jacques Tourneur was unable to complete filming. Bava turned the movie around quickly and with great flair. As a thank you Nello Santi the then head of Galatea Films gave Bava the option of making any movie he liked for his first official stint in the director’s chair. Bava, who had yet to become a big name in the cult horror world, chose to shake up scary cinema by combining the aesthetics and atmosphere of established gothic horror with a forward thinking attitude towards increased violence and shock. To do this Bava went to one of his first loves, Russian horror fiction, for a very loose adaptation of the late nineteenth century Nikolai Gogol tale Viy. Using only the bare outline of Gogol’s story La maschera del domonio (Black Sunday – 1960) begins in Moldavia 1630 where striking witch Asa is executed by her brother for forbidden use of sorcery. She vows revenge but is quickly silenced by a having a mask full of inward facing metal spikes hammered into her phizog. Two hundred years later two doctors unearth her tomb, blood from one of the doctor’s cut hands landing on Asa’s perfectly preserved corpse. The witch returns to life, reanimating her murdered loved for some handy back-up on her mission to take a messy revenge against her brother’s descendants. Bava dressed his push for stronger horror in the familiar black and white trappings of traditional gothic cinema, but he was only partially successful in fooling viewers. American distributor’s AIP were suitably shocked and sliced three minutes off the running time to cut down on what thry believed to be unacceptably shocking footage. In the UK the film, under the title The Mask of Satan, remained banned until 1968 when it was resubmitted and passed by censors with cuts under the new moniker Revenge of the Vampire. The full uncut version was finally released in 1992. The violence does curl the toes even today, but the gothic trappings Bava tried to wrap his hard hitting vampire tale in actually worked to improve the movie’s standing; a moody, black and white tale, the modern horror viewer gets the best of both worlds, a thriller dripping with blood in the style of a Universal horror classic.
Tasty Morsel – Bava eventually become a pioneer in Italian horror cinema directing the likes of Blood and Black Lace (1964) and Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971). He also passed his skills on to his son Lamberto who delivered the classic cult picture Demons (1985).
- MARTIN (1978)
With a back catalogue including Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978) you’d be surprised to learn that director George A Romero’s favourite personal flick is the understated Martin (1976). Almost three decades before John Ajvide Lindqvist won plaudits for his literary take on the everyday trials of life as a vampire, Romero became a one man filmmaker, writing, directing and editing the story of Martin Mathias. Martin follows the titular teen as he travels back to Romero’s moviemaking backyard of Pittsburgh. Once there Martin is met by his granduncle Tateh, the only one aware of Martin’s secret, that he is a vampire. Reluctantly Tateh lets him move into his home, but suspicious of Martin’s behaviour he forces all of the old beliefs about vampire protection on to Martin, digging out crucifixes and stringing up garlic to keep him away from his cousin Christine. Despite dismissing his granduncles outdated attitude Martin struggles to fight his urges as he tries to fit into a mundane life working in Tateh’s butcher shop. As his need to feed becomes overwhelming, rather ironically it is the risks in his love life and an affair with a married woman that lead to the most serious consequences. Throughout the film Romero plays down the romantic and enigmatic traits of the vampire figure, making their elements even more intriguing by their absence. Seeing how someone with this affliction might cope (or not) in real life also makes for a fascinating character study. Much of the kudos should go to rookie actor John Amplas in the title role; Martin as a central figure is a tough sell but he handles the prospect like a seasoned pro. Book ended by two scenes equally shocking in different ways, those expecting a vampire version of Romero’s schlock zombie outings might be surprised by the films more measured approach. But the horror is of a different kind, a young man eaten up by an undead disease, using razors and syringes to extract what he needs from his victims in a manner so undignified it’s the polar opposite to Lee and Lugosi’s slicked back hair and swishing capes.
Tasty Morsel – Romero’s original script followed a much older vampire struggling to fit in to society, but so startling was Amplas’ screen test Romero rewrote the story to follow a more younger, innocent vampire.
- LIFEFORCE (1985)
Want to know where vampires really originate from? Outer space according to Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985). Adapting Colin Wilson’s dubiously titled 1976 novel The Space Vampires, the opening five minutes of Lifeforce plays like a condensed version of Alien (1979), little wonder when Dan O’Bannon the co-writer of Alien was onboard as one of Hooper’s screenwriters. The space shuttle Churchill is on a six month mission to track Hailey’s Comet, and when it discovers a two mile long spacecraft in the comet’s wake a team from the shuttle heads in to investigate. Discovering long dead bat-like creatures and three preserved humanoids on board, they nab a sample of each and bring them back to the shuttle. But something goes wrong and when a recon shuttle is sent up to find out why the Churchill failed to return to Earth they find a toasted crew and the three humanoids still in stasis. When the humanoids are brought to London (a refreshing change of venue for a big-budget Hollywood horror) they reveal their true nature; vampires, minus the fangs, that hypnotise and suck the life essence out of their victims. You’d think that a movie with such a barmy premise wouldn’t work, let alone be able to take itself seriously, but it does. The melding of space sci-fi and vampiric horror makes for a queasy, creepy coupling. The dried out husks of the vampires victims are enjoyable gruesome, while the cat and mouse game as lead vampire Mathilda May goes on the run makes for a tense and intriguing first half. Things get more bizarre when Patrick Stewart turns up as the administrator of a mental institute and bad guy body-hopping comes into play. Then before you know it Hooper has completely trashed London in some of the most authentic scenes of inner city apocalypse seen on film. There’s even a sprinkling of zombie horror as new victims, undead like in appearance, multiply in number rapidly and take over the streets desperate for fresh "lifeforce” to keep them going. All told, it’s a plotline that even hardened horror fans would be hard pushed to predict. And as fresh takes on the genre go it’s one of the most unique horror films of recent times, scary and well executed by all concerned. It also doesn’t hurt that Hooper keeps his lead villain, the gorgeous May, in the nude for most of the running time. You won’t know whether to reach for the Kleenex or grasp for a sofa cushion.
Tasty Morsel - Bleached blonde rocker Billy Idol was considered for one of the vampire roles.
- FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)
A jobbing actor and writer, the closest Tom Holland got to mainstream success prior to 1985 was writing the script for Psycho II (1983) the long awaited sequel to the Hitchcock classic. Holland had been stewing on a story idea for a while though; what if a full-on neck munching vampire was living in white picket fence American suburbia and the only person that knew was the teenage boy next door. It was a winning idea and having convinced Columbia Pictures to stump up the $9million budget Holland got behind the camera to direct for the first time. The result was Fright Night (1985) an intriguing film that swings back and forth merrily between a self aware horror comedy and a genuinely creepy vampire thriller. With a strict budget Holland wasn’t able to go for a big name above the marquee. Instead he made shrewd choices for his main players. Chris Sarandon was cast as the bloodsucker next door. Having been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1975 for his very first acting role in Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Sarandon subsequently put in quietly solid work in various highbrow pictures. But his vampire Jerry Dandridge is anything but quiet. Slick, menacing, self-assured Dandridge toys with Charley Brewster the boy next door almost unafraid of his secret getting out at all. The role of horror fan Charley was given to rookie actor William Ragsdale, but it was the role of veteran horror actor Peter Vincent who Charley goes to in order to defeat Dandridge that completes the films wonderful trio. Holland cast Roddy McDowall, a veteran of over ninety movies by 1985 and one of those faces you always recognise but can never name. McDowall plays up the Vincent Price / Peter Cushing-esque Peter wonderfully, providing just the right amount of cute aside to Dandridge’s mental and physical abuse of Charley, his unwanted confidant. The film was well received by critics and audiences pulling in a more than respectable $25million. It was enough to spark studio interest in a sequel, with Fright Night Part II (1988) appearing three years later. Ragsdale and McDowall reprised their roles, with Charley now entangled with the beautiful but deadly Regina, the vampire sister of Jerry Dandridge; the sequel sunk at the box office but due to a very limited DVD release in 2003 it is now considered something of a collectors item.
Tasty Morsel – A very reasonable remake with Colin Farrell on vampire duties and David Tennant as Peter Vincent was released in 2010, itself receiving a direct to video sequel three years later, Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013).
- THE LOST BOYS (1987)
All hail saxophone man. In a movie chock full of memorable characters and decade defining moments it takes something special to stand out. But singer and sax swinger Tim Cappello is now a bona fide cult icon thanks to his stand out ten second slot a third of the way through Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987) as the oily muscled, chain wearing maestro belts out a cover version of The Call’s I Still Believe at an after dark beach party. Rarely has there been a vampire more with so many standout moments of cheese. Soaked in that very eighties brand of cocksure excess, we join two brothers and their divorced mother as they move to Santa Carla, California. A boardwalk beach town, it seems pleasant enough until youngest brother Sam discovers the town is ruled at night by a gang of youthful blood guzzlers intent on living the good life forever. A standout cast of eighties stars including Jason Patric, Keifer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, Jami Gertz and Alex Winter all do their best to make the big hair and bigger plot twists believable. For the most part they achieve their aims handsomely. Amongst all the fun and cool of night time motorbike rides through the surf, Schumacher made sure to include the requisite frights to, from the creepy first half to the thrill ride finale. The alluring but sinister vibe of a vampire in bloom has also never been so perfectly captured as when Sutherland and his crew are teasing the Emerson brothers. We almost didn’t get Sutherland though; the first screenplay was written around a much younger group of child vampires. Screenwriter James Jeremias first struck upon the idea when he realised that classic child’s character Peter Pan showed all the signs of a vampire lifestyle (he always visits Wendy at night, he flies in through the window, and he never grows old). Off this notion The Lost Boys script grew, including the obvious nod in the title, eventually becoming a more teen orientated outing to justify having a darker, more fright filled film. Schumacher followed the eighties tradition of peppering his film with standout rock and pop songs, including INXS, Echo and the Bunnyman, and Gerald McMann’s Lost Boys theme Cry Little Sister. The film eventually took $32million on an $8.5millio budget, pleasing fans and critics alike. Calls for a sequel were strong, and Warner Bros. soon got the ball rolling on what was to be The Lost Girls with a returning Keifer Sutherland (his character, though impaled during the climax, doesn’t explode or dissolved like the other vampires). Sequel talks broke down though, until 2008 when a disappointing follow-up Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) limped straight on to dvd. Corey Feldman returned as budget vampire hunter Edgar Frog, but it wasn’t until the closing credits that he encounters Sam Emerson (Corey Haim) now a vampire himself. This last minute tease was the only bright spot in an otherwise poor offering, but fans never got to see the resulting story play out as Haim passed away before filming on Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010) started.
Tasty Morsel – The vampire hunting Frog Brothers were named Alan and Edgar after gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe
- NEAR DARK (1987)
Vampires were undergoing something of a renaissance by the mid eighties. The surprise success of Fright Night (1985) and The Lost Boys (1987) coupled with the reasonable profits made by smaller pictures such as Once Bitten (1985) and Vamp (1986) got the studio bean counters salivating. Any movie pitch that involved pointy teeth and pot-marked necks stood more than a fighting chance of getting green lit. At the time the soon-to-be Mrs James Cameron writer/director Kathryn Bigelow was toying with the idea of shooting a Western with a modern twist for her second feature film. Finding the studios unwilling to stump up the cash for such a project Bigelow decided to cross-pollinate her western with the new flavour of the month, the vampire movie. Near Dark (1987) was the result, a cinematic flop at the time but now considered one of the best films in the genre. Caleb Colton meets the attractive Mae on a night out in his small home town. Mae is just passing through, but at the end of the night as they canoodle before sunrise Mae takes an inadvertent nibble on Caleb’s neck before legging it off into the early morning murk. As the sun rises Caleb is stunned by the sunlight that now burns his flesh. Mae returns with her vampire clan to take the now vampirerised Caleb away. The group are a particular unsympathetic bunch though, a western-esque biker gang who swoop from dusty town to quiet hamlet under the cover of darkness, chomping on locals to feed their habit. They don’t take well to Caleb’s unwillingness to fully convert to their carnivorous ways but Mae’s guilt at transforming him saves Caleb’s bacon until his sister and father turn up to save the day. Bigelow’s movie had an enclosed plot that didn’t stray too far from the slim premise of Caleb finding himself mixed up with the wrong night time crowd. But it’s the way the story is sold that elevates the film. In the early days of her Cameron romance, Bigelow borrowed heavily from her future husband’s casting rolodex with three of the brightest stars from recent Cameron smash Aliens (1986) making up the band of vamps. Lance Henriksen plays Jesse the strong, largely silent but charismatic leader, Jenette Goldstein fills the fangs of the slinky Diamondback, while Bill Paxton steals another of his early career outings as the brash and aggressive Severen. They make for a dazzling evil trio and together with Bigelow’s wonderful eye for lighting and unique setting combine to make the movie a must see for anyone interested in offbeat movies. A Tangerine Dream soundtrack adds aural delights, and their slightly sinister blend of psychedelia is the perfect accompaniment to the films titular visual cue, the unsettling purple glow of night approaching and the blue hum of night’s end, strange times of the day when strange creatures go about their business.
Tasty Morsel – Despite being the best offering from the eighties vampire revival the movie tanked at the box office, failing even to recoup its $5million budget. A remake was mooted in the late noughties but perceived similarities to Twilight put pay to that; yet another reason Twilight should never have graced cinemas.
- CRONOS (1993)
The late eighties vampire craze fizzled out and by the early nineties Hollywood was searching for another bandwagon. Vampire fans were left trawling the straight-to-video dustbins, Subspecies (1991), and foreign markets for their next fix. One of the best offerings was the first full length feature film from a Mexican director who would quickly make a name for himself as a filmmaker to watch, Guillermo del Toro. As with many first outings Cronos (1993) had del Toro on both writing and directorial duties, allowing for a project that was relatively free from studio interference and creative differences. Starting in 1536 we meet an alchemist who as created a small mechanism that could provide eternal life. Jumping forward to present day Jesus Gris, an old antique dealer, has discovered an ancient device in the base of a statue. Winding up the device mechanism the small machine sprouts legs and quickly injects something into Jesus’ skin. As time passes he discovers that his health improves and his youth slowly starts to return. But he also realises that he has a growing need to consume human blood. When the wealthy but unhinged businessman Dieter realises the device he has been researching for so long has been found, Jesus finds himself fending off those that would kill for its secret and his own vampiric urges. What was clear from del Toro’s first film was that he had a knack for combining sci-fi fantasy and horror in a way that both intrigues and terrifies, all presented with a certainty of style most filmmakers take a decade or more to fashion. Del Toro’s cast were equally fresh faced but came armed with an acting style that belayed the stories vampiric attributes; no one looks like their about to sprout fangs anytime soon, which is just what Cronos required to ensure that its alternative take on the thirsty undead stood out from an already crowded horror sub-genre. The one familiar face amongst the crowd is Ron Perlman, who would go on to be a favoured collaborator of del Toro; the gruff actor makes the most of his role as Angel, Dieter’s son sent to track Jesus down. Other artistic choices push the film further out of familiar territory, the switch between English and Spanish language, the vein of symbolism running throughout, the strong contrasts between the two onscreen families. Those looking for a gore-fest or popcorn dropping scares might go away empty handed, but what they will find in its place is a movie that, ironically, wastes no time getting under the skin, before heading to your head and your heart strings to have a good old poke around.
Tasty Morsel – What prompted del Toro and Perlman’s long term friendship and collaboration was Perlman’s offer to take a large salary cut when it became apparent that Cronos was heading for a significant overspend on its budget.
- FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)
Some movies you struggle to sum up in one sentence. Some you’d struggle to sum up in a two thousand page tome, and the only way you could possibly appreciate them fully is to sit and experience them. With Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) having thoroughly wooed Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino was free to take as many risks as he liked by the mid-nineties. He decided to team up with three other maverick directors who were causing critics hearts to flutter, Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez, for Four Rooms (1995) an anthology comedy movie based on the adult short fiction of Roald Dahl. It had classic written all over it, but the whole was nowhere near the sum of its parts. Despite this a new film friendship had been forged, Tarantino finding a kindred spirit in fellow writer/director Rodriquez. Shirking the mainstream even after the critical and box office mauling Four Rooms received, the offered up a movie that truly defied description, From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Written by Tarantino and directed by Rodriguez, we are served the ultimate tale of two halves; brother Seth and Richie are criminals fleeing for Mexico. To aid their flight they kidnap a pastor, his daughter and son, stealing their motor-home as the perfect cover to make it across the border. Hitting Mexican soil they head to their designated meeting point, the Titty Twister. Despite needing to meet their contact, all five are reluctant to enter the bar, an ominous looking edifice, rising out of the sand, surrounded by motorbikes and inhabited by salty looking types. But as Rodriguez leaves kidnap heist territory behind and moves into the realms of madcap horror, it becomes clear, via the greatest onscreen bikini and snake dance courtesy of a shapely Salma Hayek, that the Titty Twister is a front for an ancient race of Aztec vampires. Some of the best chaos and mayhem ever captured then ensues as the brothers and their kidnappees must fight their way out of the cavernous bar by any means necessary. Rodriguez needed an equally barmy cast of performers to pull off such an audacious story, so assembled one of the most variedly watchable casts of the nineties. George Clooney makes for a fine anti-hero, sharing some great back and forth with a surprisingly good Tarantino as brother Richie. Harvey Keitel is on form as always, while Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu provide solid back up as his kids. The wider cast push things to the next level though, with make-up wizard Tom Savini and blaxploitation legend Fred Williamson joined by Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo and Salma Hayek. All told nary a moment passes that isn’t riotously enjoyable. And this is all on top of vampire effects that at the time set a new benchmark in fang fuelled horror, and a final parting shot that remains one of the best in cinema.
Tasty Morsel – Though only just scraping a profit at the box office, cult status beckoned, with a sequel From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999) and a prequel From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter (2000) released. A television series digging into the Aztec backstory has also been greenlit.
- LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
To true vampire aficionados the year 2008 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Stephenie Meyer’s 2005 novel Twilight was a worthwhile read but the resulting 2008 adaptation was the cinematic equivalent of listening to a whinging teenager bang on about how hard life is when their only problem is a slight case of acne and an unfulfilled crush on the class tortured poet. The same year Tomas Alfredson showed how vampire adaptations should be done with his wonderful take on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel Let The Right One In. Though it made most horror fans movie of the year lists, there was very little in Let The Right One In (2008) that got the pulse racing, despite the obvious subject matter. Vampirism here was just the tool used to realise one of the most honest and affecting onscreen friendships since Red and Andy reunited by a very blue Pacific ocean. In a bleak suburb of Stockholm twelve year old Oskar lives alone with his mother in an apartment block with few friends and few outside interests. Bullied at school Oskar fills his time collecting stories from newspapers on murders and grisly crimes. Some of these crimes are actually being committed by two of his apartment block neighbours, Eli a young vampire girl and her father who kills to feed his daughters habit. As Oskar becomes more intrigued by Eli’s night time habits he finds an unlikely companion, despite Eli’s reluctance and her grisly feeding needs. With nary a wistful glance in sight, Alfredson rather embarrasses Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke by showing how an effective vampire / non-vampire relationship should really be forged. Refusing to stray from the awkwardness of two adolescents coming together across the undead divide, or the dirty reality of someone with a killing addiction, the story feels all the warmer for not following the obvious genre clichés, both romance and vampire wise. The setting certainly helps, Stockholm never once feeling the glow of sunlight it seems, just different levels of night. In such a colourless, lifeless world, the viewer is drawn to the warmth of feeling between the young pair as it lights the grey straight lines of concrete flats and snow doused, iron bar playgrounds. The work of Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson has to go down as perhaps the finest onscreen child acting of all time, somehow topping the nuances of character even the most accomplished adult actor could have achieved. Such success brought an obligatory American remake, but rather than a lazy translation for those stateside cinema goers who were just too stupid to read subtitles, Matt Reeves’ Let Me In (2010) was a worthwhile offering in itself. While Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grave Moretz didn’t quite hit the same high notes as their Swedish counterparts, Reeves did manage to inject a little more menace into proceedings without affecting the central relationship. Credit to Reeves also for standing up to the studio when their insisted on making the central pair older than in the original film, no doubt in some daft attempt to coin in some extra Twilight inspired box office takings.
Tasty Morsel – The controversial scene where Oskar sneaks a peek at Eli while changing only to reveal a scar in place of genitalia left some puzzled as to what sex Eli was supposed to be. In Lindqvist’s novel it is revealed that Eli is a boy who was castrated centuries earlier by callous vampire kinsmen.