From ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ to ‘Carmella’, Lesbian Vampire Photos Prove She’s Immortal

Sexual fluidity has been a hallmark of vampire portrayals throughout history. But lesbian vampires, in particular, enjoy a certain popularity. From early cinematic adaptations of 19th century novels to the advent of the small screen today, this subgenre has proven to have serious staying power.

Lesbian romance novelist Evelyn Dar, who runs a popular magazine, said: YouTube channel Dedicated to Lesbian Entertainment. “It’s mysterious and dark. It’s taboo and sexy.”

However, this appeal was a double-edged sword for the representation of lesbians. For decades, and especially during the subgenre’s heyday in the ’60s and ’70s, vampire novels have been a dominant way to showcase lesbianism on screen. And the relationship between the love affair of the wicked blonde and the bloodthirsty villains is stuck.

“They were evil. They were sexual perverts. They almost always had to die,” Dar said of those popular images.

Movie poster for “Vampyres”. Everett Group

“It was about the angst of the situation that straight men felt during those years, between the rise of the second wave of feminism and after Stonewall. There was a certain amount of time there,” said Andrea Weiss, professor of film at City College in New York and author of Vampires and Violets: Lesbians in Film. A kind of fear about lesbians that can be expressed in the vampire movie: “And also suppress that anxiety by destroying the vampire or eventually becoming heterosexual.”

The association between gay love and brutality has proven to be pervasive in film and television, and this—plus the undeniable “camp” factor—has contributed to why horror has such a unique place in gay culture. On the one hand, horror is unparalleled when it comes to seeing weird. On the other hand, it has been demonized badly and has perpetuated harmful stereotypes about gays.

Early Hollywood loved her horror, but she wasn’t too keen on lesbians – or Non-Orthodox women, for that matter. Hence, most of the big horrors of the era revolved around savage men, such as “Frankenstein”, “Wolf Man” and of course, “Dracula”. Hays Code restrictions, which attempted to monitor the ethics of film production, forced the portrayal of women as asexually innocent at the border. This means that any discussion of sex, let alone homosexuality, must take place via the subtext.

“Every time you turn on a TV show now, it’s almost mandatory to have a lesbian in it. It was just the opposite: It was mandatory to not have a lesbian in it,” Weiss said. “A large part of lesbian appeal has been looking for these moments in overwhelmingly heterosexual cinema and repurposing them, refurbishing them for their own use.”

The first, most famous, and perhaps the only example of an early lesbian vampire movie in Hollywood is 1936.”Dracula’s daughter, Universal Pictures for its hit 1931 hit “Dracula.” In it, Dracula’s descendant, Countess Maria Zalesca, played by the stone-faced Gloria Holden, attempts to free herself from her father’s curse but eventually succumbs to temptation, as a young woman is kidnapped and held Hostage in Transylvania.

The film’s subtext is not about romance but rather an early on-screen example of a predatory homosexual. Much of that had to do with the studio bending to the will of censorship requirements, revising script and making propaganda efforts to demonize Link. But despite the watchful eye of censors, Universal couldn’t control the monster it made, and the film became a pervasive example of early cinema’s gay fascination.

golden age

“Dracula’s Daughter” and other cryptic lesbian series sparked a cultural conflagration in the 1960s and 1970s. With censorship and restrictions on nudity waning, lesbian vampires have transformed from closed predators to bloodthirsty seducers.

The portrayal of their victims has also changed. The men were either followers of slaves or stray prey. However, women were seen as potential companions – more than just food, if not equal.

“One of the reasons people might love the lesbian vampire metaphor is that it has a good girl built in. You see that a lot in Lesvik too.” She said Dar referring to the novels of lesbians. “He plays with that sense of danger that so many of us love.”

“Who else would you be quiet by climbing through the window at night while you slept? I’d leave my window open, but only for a vampire,” Dar, who recently produced a Video about lesbian vampire moviesHe said with a laugh.

Early films from this golden era of evil blonde vampires had the good girl and bad girl erotica that would dominate and engulf the genre. One of the most famous is the movie “Blood and Roses” by French director Roger Vadim (1960). It’s a sumptuous depiction of a woman driven crazy by jealousy and her obsession with the vampire legend. It was one of the first adaptations of what would become the genre’s most popular source: Sheridan Le Fano’s novel “Carmella”.

In the 1970s, industry enthusiasm for sex and violence reached its peak. Exploitation films such as 1974’s “Vampyres” and 1973’s “The Devil’s Plaything” spread, which had more in common with soft pornography than cinema.

“You can get away with a certain kind of borderline pornography in a horror movie that you can’t get away with in other movies,” Weiss noted.

A still from the movie “Vampire Lovers”.hammer movies

The Vampire Lovers (1970) stands out as one of the most “humane” romantic films of the era. It’s the first in a trilogy based on Le Fanu’s “Carmilla,” produced by the legendary Hammer Films. Although considered daring at the time for his depiction of a naughty blonde seduction, the so-called Karenstein trilogy, named after Countess Karenstein in Le Fano, feels misogynistic by contemporary standards. But The Vampire Lovers, widely regarded as the best of the three, certainly has its temptations – not least star Ingrid Peet.

Sexual exploitation titles, a subgenre of exploitation films, were aimed at men rather than lesbians. Weiss said the characters “acted like lesbians, but were so largely encoded as heterosexual women that they appealed to male audiences.”

During this period, some international directors were able to make films that had one foot in the world of exploitation and others in the art house – and were more attractive to women. “Vampyros Lesbos” (1971) by Spanish director Jesús Franco is an elegant and engaging film. The result is anesthetic. The director’s favorite leading lady, Soledad Miranda, is portrayed as Dracula’s heiress, who chases the dreams of Linda, an American lawyer working in Istanbul. Where its more common contemporaries have drifted into the absurd or the funny, “Vampyros Lesbos” has a superior, sophisticated quality that is credited to Franco’s expert eye.

Other cult favorites of the era that took a more elevated approach are “Daughters of Darkness” (1971), “Bride of Scattered Blood” (1972) and “Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary” (1975).

Banished to the parties

Things have calmed down considerably in the decades following the lesbian vampire boom of the 1960s and 1970s. The horror of the big franchise dominated the scene, and lesbian vampires were largely kept out, and they often appear in adult films. But, at times, it caught the attention of a more subtle eye.

Perhaps the most popular lesbian vampire movie came at the start of this transformation: “hunger(1983). Although some debate its merits as a standalone film, it It features one of the most elegant and talented love triangles in cinema: Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon and David Bowie. He introduced a new kind of vampire decadence with his superb costumes and adorably cool cast, the influence of which can be seen in later films such as “Interview with the Vampire” and “Only Lovers Left Alive.” But she is famous for the famous sex scene between Deneuve and Sarandon.

Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve in “The Hunger.”© MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

This sex scene became a coveted gem for lesbian audiences during the oppressive ’80s. When Dar a . was made Classic Lesbian Movies Video Which included the movie “Hunger,” she said she was reminded of the importance of the movie, which is also her favorite of the genre.

“I’ve had a lot of people much older than me who say, ‘I’ve seen this movie so many times because that was really all we had,'” she said.

Weiss also stated fervor about “hunger,” like “Daughters of Darkness” before him: “In a way, this was a parody on a lesbian vampire iconostasis, made in the art house tradition. They still played with acting that attracted men, but they also appealed to Women. They were more ambiguous about the message embodied in the character of a lesbian vampire.”

A lesser known but also noteworthy film is Michael Almerida’Nadia(1994). It combines surreal black-and-white imagery with plenty of existential angst. Its impressive cast includes Peter Fonda, Martin Donovan and Elena Lewinson—plus executive producer David Lynch, who makes a cameo as a mortuary officer. Even without lesbian vampires, you’d be Watching “Nadja” is a staple of the ’90s.

feminist transformation

In the past few decades, vampires have undergone a massive cultural shift, becoming more inclusive and socially aware. The Departed made one of the most intricate vampire films ever made: the Swedish gendered romantic horror film “Let the Right One In.” And in the most popular entertainment, Lesbian vampires got a feminist update.

Beginning in the late 2000s, Alan Ball’s widely popular HBO series “True Blood” (2008-2014) was a precursor to the now-captured, progressive mainstream content.

Pam from the movie “True Blood”.HBO

True Blood has it all: vampires, fairies, witches, pets and, of course, Pam. With solo bites and a wilting stare, Pam ruthlessly rules over the small Louisiana town and vampire cabaret Fangtasia. Thanks to its character and a host of other quirky storylines, the series has garnered high marks for its acting and won numerous awards from LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD during its star-studded period. It was also one of the first productions to feature a black lesbian vampire in a central role.

Recently, there have been a large number of shows characterized by progressive values ​​and questionable quality. The female-led Canadian web series “Carmilla” (2014-2016) has generated enough interest to be adapted into a feature film.

“It’s a camp, it’s cheesy, but I love the fact that they’ve reallocated the lesbian vampire so that he’s no longer dealing with this vicious predator to pet men,” Dar said. “It’s still exciting, it’s still tickling, but in a different way.”

Still image of “bit”.Nick Kavritz / Provocation

A growing body of young adult content has also helped to renew interest in the genre. In the feminist revenge thriller “Bit” (2019), the main character, played by transgender actress Nicole Maines (“Supergirl”), travels from Oregon to Los Angeles and connects with a group of feminist vampires who target predatory men. And the upcoming Netflix Teen vampire series The movie “First Kill” is causing a fair amount of buzz among lesbian audiences.

While the messages for the new set of lesbian-inclusive vampire content are more progressive, many of the newer titles lack the rich cinematic history of earlier fare — even if the classics had problematic themes.

“In the end, we have to stop being happy about the existence of things. Things must already be good,” Dar said. “I don’t think the appetite has been satiated. If I were to say my favorite vampire movie was made in the ’80s and it’s 2021, there’s still plenty of room there.”

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