Sunday, February 14, 2016

Vampire's Day Soiree 2016

Once again, the fang-tastic Holly of Holly's Horrorland is hosting the season's most sanguinary sensation, The Vampire's Day Soiree! I bid you all  welcome to my... er... neck of the woods, and hope you enjoy my little contribution to the evening's entertainment at this most bloody of bashes.

When Groovy and Gothic Collide!

My introduction to vampires began with Hammer's 1971 film Lust for a Vampire... or more precisely, the toned-down-for-television To Love a Vampire. After what was probably incessant pleading, my father let me stay up late to watch it on TV with him. It was the first horror movie I had ever seen, and had a massive impact on me. It really is spectacularly silly in parts, but it not only spawned a life-long love of the vampire genre, but also a soft spot for something that I personally refer to as "groovy-gothic".

Lust for a Vampire gave rise to a lasting impression in my youthful psyche that female vampires were seventies dolly birds who wafted through eerie graveyards in revealing, diaphanous gowns, and that crumbling castle ruins went hand in hand with far-out musical montages.

This groovy connection to the gothic was further consolidated with movies like Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), and The Return of Count Yorga (1971), which took the gothic vampire and placed him in a contemporary, swinging seventies setting.

Dracula A.D. 1972 even featured American band Stoneground performing two songs, Alligator Man and You Better Come Through for Me. For many, this was a decidedly low point for Hammer Studios, but I adored all the gloriously groovy nonsense!

The groovy-gothic vampire also bared his fangs on the small screen in the form of Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows soap opera (1966 - 1971). I didn't see the original show, in fact, I don't think it ever actually aired in Australia, but Tim Burton's 2012 Dark Shadows movie is an absolute favourite of mine.

Interestingly, I've seen interviews with Tim Burton in which he mentions not only how much he loved running home from school to watch the Dark Shadows series, but also that Dracula A.D. 1972 was a big influence on his career.

So as much as I thoroughly enjoy a traditional gothic vampire tale, I will always have a sentimental attachment to the sublime, and sometimes cheesy, groovy-gothic vamp. Even having Bela Lugosi's incarnation of Count Dracula juxtaposed with the 1976 cover design of Dracula Classic makes my heart sing.

Thank you for joining me for a little groovy-gothic, vamp-tastic fun! Please feel free to mingle with the other passionate-for-plasma partygoers here.