Vampires have been a part of human culture for hundreds of years now. Many regions in the world have their own take on the supernatural beast and these have all been used in different ways as time has gone by. Sometimes vampire myths will be mixed together, parts edited and others ignored until we have the stories that exist today. Vampires have always fascinated humans, as you can see in the countless stores, movies and games to feature them.
Vampires took shape as what we know them today as the pale, undead monsters that feed on blood starting in the nineteenth century thanks to literature. John Polidori’s The Vampyre and Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla would be very influential, with them being the basis for the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula, who appeared in the titular novel in 1897 by Bram Stoker.
It wouldn’t take long for film to adapt these creatures into their stories, with Nosferatu being the first. The legendary silent film was released in 1922 and became one of the Silver Screen’s first horror movies. The German movie, fully titled Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, was directed by F.W. Murnau and starred Max Schreck as the vampire. The film was an adaption of Dracula, however, as the rights to the novel weren’t available, names were changed to avoid similarities, such as nosferatu replacing vampire and Count Orlok replacing Count Dracula.
Despite the film nearly being one-hundred years old it is still considered one of the best horror movies of all time. The story and Dracula inspired adaption was fresh at the time, long before it became the staple of pop culture it is today, which helped the film immensely. It’s focus on imagery and a quality performance from Schreck created it’s undying legacy.
It’s hard to look at any piece of media without finding vampires. The influence of Dracula and Nosferatu has shaped many mediums and art forms. Just some of the movies to star a vampire as hero or villain include Interview with a Vampire, Blade, Salem’s Lot, The Lost Boys, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Twilight Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Underworld, Dracula Untold, Being Human, True Blood and Angel, not to mention all the Hammer Horror movies.
Video games have also heavily featured vampires. Darkstalkers, Guilty Gear and Killer Instinct all feature vampires as fighting game characters, with Metal Gear Solid has vampire themed villain and Legacy of Kain has you playing as the vampire hero Kain. You can find vampires in online slot games such as Ooh Aah Dracula and Vampires vs. Werewolves. platformers with The Adventures of Shuggy, tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade and of course Castlevania.
The Castlevania series has been around for thirty years. Known as Akumajō Dracula in Japan, literally Devil’s Castle Dracula, the series usually has you in control of a heroic vampire slayer from the Belmont clan as they traverse their way through Dracula’s stronghold to reach him and enrage in a final battle. The series has had many spin-offs that see you play as Dracula’s son Alucard, fight against other Castlevania characters and control Dracula himself in the cartoony platform games Kid Dracula. A TV series by Netflix was recently released, adapting the plot of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. The first season is only four episodes, but an eight episode sequel season is scheduled for next year.
Nosferatu is legendary film in it’s own right, but coupled with the legacy of vampires it helped to create, it cements itself as one of the most important films of all time.