"the light falls upon the face. It is perfectly white - perfectly bloodless. The eyes look like polished tin; the lips are drawn back, and the principle feature next to those dreadful eyes is the teeth - the fearful-looking teeth - projecting like those of some wild animal, hideously, glaringlywhite, and fang-like." ['Varney the Vampire', Chapter I]
The above extract comes from James Malcolm Ryder's Varney the Vampire or The Feast of Blood, which originally appeared in serial form between 1845 and 1847. An exciting story, full of sensationalism, Varney the Vampire is especially noteworthy for being the first vampire novel written in English. The writing is not of any particular literary merit, but Ryder's vampire, with his dead eyes and dripping fangs, is memorable to say the least; he has also had a profound influence on his literary successors. Just think, if it hadn't been for Sir Francis Varney, there might never have been a Count Dracula.
Strange though it seems, almost every nation in the world has its own version of the vampire legend. Why does the idea of a corpse returning from the dead to feed on the blood of the living, strike such a universal cord? Some would say that it is because it represents a complete inversion of human nature. Others would argue that it is more to do with a deep-rooted human fascination with the power and seductive influence of the vampire. Whatever the reason, the vampire mythos goes from strength to strength, with new books and films continuing to appear at a phenomenal rate.
The word "vampire" is of Magyar origin, and Bram Stoker borrowed many of the ideas for Dracula from traditional Eastern lore. According to legend, vampires reproduce by infecting the living with their blood. Becoming a vampire means gaining the gift of eternal life. The downside is that a vampire's immortality is accompanied by a buring deisre to drink human blood. It is the blood of the living that supposedly sustains the body of the vampire indefinitely.
The combination of necrophilia, seduction of virgins, and an atmosphere heavy with sex and violence, have made vampirism very popular. Traditionally the morality of the stories would centre around the destruction of the monster. More recently there has been an increasing desire to explore the vampire's side of the story, as we see in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. The purpose of the Nosferatu Experience is to allow you the chance to delve into the world of the vampire. I have included the following: a vampire hall of fame, a Dracula chronology, my university dissertation on the influence of Dracula on modern popular culture and a few of my favourite vampire short stories. If you still want more after working your way through all of that, why not check out my very own collection of vampire fiction? Click here for further information.
The Vampire Hall of Fame
Dracula and Modern Popular Culture - C.J. Carter-Stephenson
Streaming Vampire Movies
Ligeia - Edgar Allan Poe
The Mysterious Stranger - Anonymous
Carmilla - J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Good Lady Ducayne - Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Luella Miller - Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
For the Blood is the Life - F. Marion Crawford
The Transfer - Algernon Blackwood
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