glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
arts

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Subjects of the Visual Arts: Vampires  

An invention of the nineteenth-century, the artistic vampire, as opposed to the vampire of folklore, is connected not with disease but with sexuality. For authors, artists, and filmmakers, artistic vampires represent a common sexualized metaphor--the release of insurgent passion and emotion--that includes such details as the erotic foreplay of vampires' attacks and the creatures' dependency on the bodily fluid of their victims.

From its inception, as an outsider within polite society, the artistic vampire has been consistently linked with homosexuality. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Christabel" (1797) portended a lesbian vampire, while John Polidori's "The Vampyre" (1819) depicted a young man's desire for the dominant male vampire.

Sponsor Message.

While this association pervaded much of the Victorian era, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the sexual vampire gave way to a more horrific image, and the first vampire films, F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1919) and Tod Browning's London After Midnight (1925), reflect this trend. Early vampire cinema is remarkably heterosexist, belying the literary tradition that spawned it.

The sexual revolution of the 1960s, coupled with the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and a new public awareness of homosexuality, soon altered things, and gay and lesbian themes became commonplace in vampire cinema.

The first important homosexual vampire film was Roy Ward Baker's The Vampire Lovers (1970), an adaptation of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla." Other gay vampires appeared simultaneously in Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Lancer Brooks' Sons of Satan (1973), Ulli Lommel's Tenderness of Wolves (1973), and Jimmy Sangster's Lust for a Vampire (1973).

This marriage of metaphor--vampire to homosexual--remained a constant throughout the 1970s, culminating in Tony Scott's The Hunger (1983).

Now permanently linked with sexuality in such films as Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire (1994), Abel Ferrara's The Addiction (1995), Michael Almereyda's Nadja (1995), and David DeCocteau's The Brotherhood (2000), homosexuality remains a common if not constant theme, a sexual metaphor that continues to bind representations of vampires with homosexuals in the arts.

Michael G. Cornelius

     

 
zoom in
Max Schreck as Count Orlok in a promotional photograph for F. W. Murnau's film Nosferatu.
  
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about The Arts
 
   
spacer
Popular Topics:

The Arts

 
Nyad, Diana
Nyad, Diana


Dattani, Mahesh


Baker, Josephine
Baker, Josephine


Cadmus, Paul
Cadmus, Paul


Caja, Jerome


Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall
Photography: Gay Male, Pre-Stonewall


Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators
Drag Shows: Drag Queens and Female Impersonators


Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male
Erotic and Pornographic Art: Gay Male


Halston (Roy Halston Frowick)


New Queer Cinema

 
 


   Related Entries
  
literature >> Overview:  Ghost and Horror Fiction

Both male and female homosexuality or homosexual elements appear throughout the broad scope of ghost and horror fiction.

arts >> Overview:  Horror Films

The monsters of horror films may frequently be read as mirrors of societal views of homosexuals as predatory, amoral, perverse, possessed of secret supernatural powers, and threatening to "normal life."

arts >> Ball, Alan

Award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer Alan Ball, whose work frequently features glbtq characters, has had great success in both film and television.

arts >> Murnau, Friedrich Wilhelm

Acclaimed as the greatest director of the German Expressionist period (1919-1933), F.W. Murnau created the first masterpiece of the horror film, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1921).


    Bibliography
   

Auerbach, Nina. Our Vampires, Ourselves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Beebe, John. "He Must Have Wept When He Made You: The Homoerotic Pathos in the Movie Version of Interview with the Vampire." The Anne Rice Reader. Katherine Ramsland, ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.

Benshoff, Harry M. Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1997.

Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book. Detroit, Mich.: Visible Ink Press, 1994.

"Queer Horror." www.queerhorror.com

Weiss, Andrea. Vampires and Violets: Lesbians in Film. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2001.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Cornelius, Michael G.  
    Entry Title: Subjects of the Visual Arts: Vampires  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated December 16, 2010  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/subjects_vampires.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.