If the vampire comics sagas leave you indifferent – do not rush to give up on the whole genre. Today we will try to return to the origins and tell about the very great-great-great-grandmothers of “Twilight”, with whom it all began.
Michael Beheim “Dracul Voivode”
Although there is no direct mention of vampires in the poem, we could not ignore it. Because it was thanks to her that in the second half of the 15th century the whole world learned about Vlad Tepes. His life is shrouded in a veil of dark secrets. Some consider him a national hero and a strong politician who created Greater Romania, others a fanatic and tyrant. Beheim himself belonged to the latter. In the poem, he paints before the reader a utopian picture of the world, like hell on earth. This hell ruled by none other than Dracul (it is no coincidence that the Tepes nickname translated from Romanian as “Devil”). “Dracul-voivode” cannot claim historical accuracy and objectivity. But it is the only literary work in the world that gives us the opportunity to look at the era of Vlad Tepes’s reign through the eyes of his contemporaries.
One rainy summer evening in 1816, a small group of close friends gathered at Byron’s villa. Young people read stories about ghosts and talked about the supernatural. As a result, everyone encourages to try and write their own gothic horror story. It was after this that the legendary “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley was born. As well as the very first fictional work about vampires in history. Taking as a basis the plot outlined by Byron, Polidori turned the vampire from a folklore character into the very refined aristocrat known to us all, hunting in high society.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu “Carmilla”
Written half a century before “Dracula”, according to legend, it was “Carmilla” that inspired Bram Stoker to create his unsurpassed novel. This Gothic novel contains all the classic elements of the genre. A family castle set in a picturesque but remote misty area, a series of unexplained deaths, and a mysterious heroine drinking human blood. Le Fanu very subtly conveys the very atmosphere of gloomy mystery. For which we all love gothic literature so much. Fear rolls in not immediately, it grows gradually, line by line, at some point turning into chilling horror. Carmilla herself is not only the first vampire comics in the history of fiction but also the very first lesbian vampire. An archetype that later became extremely popular in film culture.
Bram Stoker “Dracula”
We will not twist our hearts if we call Stoker’s Dracula the most famous book about vampires in history. The paradox is that she usually remains out of sight of fans of modern vampire sagas. We are increasingly forgetting that the creepy dead Count Dracula and the famous vampire hunter Van Helsing are not a figment of the imagination of Hollywood directors. But the heroes of an immortal novel that even after a century makes the blood run cold. Stoker created a history that has become a real cultural phenomenon, and it is simply impossible to overestimate his contribution to the popularization of the “vampire” theme. It’s time to refresh your memory of this dark but in its own way beautiful fairy tale about the children of the night.