Thursday, November 19, 2009

A VAMPIRE EXPERIENCE

This piece is sort of a response to Leslie Gornstein’s article “I’m Sick of Vampires-What’s the Next Big Monster?” @ eonline.com, as it reflects on the ridiculously huge success that followed the ‘Ghost-driven’ Paranormal Activity and the mighty hype that has followed The Twilight Saga; which could be a tad annoying to ‘non-Twihards’ as it has overshadowed movie news this year (that’s right ...... January till date). But Leslie’s article tries to drive attention away from the fact that Vampire flicks are here to stay ... at least for a few years.
Vampire movies debuted worldwide in 1909 (that’s right) as “Vampire of the Coast”, which was followed by The Vampire (1913), A Fool There (1915) and Nosferatu (1922). These (silent) movies marked the beginning of Vampire movies in the cinematic world.




Over the years Vampire driven movies have spawned like Dracula (1931), Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, (1979, was Werner Herzog’s remake of Murnau's silent classic) The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967, by Roman Polanski), The Lost Boys (1987, directed by Joel Schumacher and starred Kiefer Sutherland), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1993 starring Gary Oldman as Dracula and directed by Francis Ford Coppola), Interview with the Vampire (1994, starring Tom Cruise), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Blade (1998), Vampires (1998), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Underworld (2003), Van Helsing (2004), 30 Days of Night (2007) and Twilight (2008).


One notable similarity with most of these movies have been their adaptation from literary roots such as The Vampire (1913) drew inspiration from Rudyard Kipling’s poem called “The Vampire” composed in 1897; Nosferatu (1922) which was an unlicensed version Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which has also been used for other movies like Dracula (1993) and Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, (1979). Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) was based on the novel of the same name by Anne Rice, as well as Queen of the Damned (2002, starring Aaliyah) also by Anne Rice. Twilight (2008) was based on a book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. There have also been a few comic adaptations like Blade (1998) and 30 Days of Night (2007).
But as the Vampire films grew in numbers over the years, so has their genre also diversified; earlier into their making, they were made into Horror flicks, but this has changed over the years into Action, Comedy, and the newest of them Romance; with the introduction of the Twilight franchise which falls into the Romantic Fantasy genre, as it has gathered a teen following that has not been seen for while when it comes to vampire-driven movies.

TWILIGHT
Twilight is a 2008 romantic-fantasy film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer. It focuses on the development of a personal relationship between human teenager Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and the subsequent efforts of Cullen and his family to keep Swan safe from a separate group of hostile vampires.


Seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan moves to Forks, a small town near Washington State’s rugged coast, to live with her father, Charlie, after her mother remarries to a minor league baseball player. She is quickly befriended by many students at her new high school, but she is intrigued by the mysterious and aloof Cullen siblings. Bella sits next to Edward Cullen in biology class on her first day of school; he appears to be disgusted by her, much to Bella's confusion. A few days later, Bella is nearly struck by a van in the school parking lot. Edward inexplicably moves from some feet away and stops the vehicle with his hand. He later refuses to explain this act to Bella and warns her against befriending him.
After much research, Bella eventually discovers that Edward is a vampire, though he only consumes animal blood. The pair fall in love and Edward introduces Bella to his vampire family, Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), Alice (Ashley Greene), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), Emmett (Kellan Lutz), and Rosalie (Nicki Reed). Soon after, three nomadic vampires James (Cam Gigandet), Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), and Laurent (Edi Gathegi) arrive. James, a tracker vampire, is intrigued by Edward's protectiveness over a human and wants to hunt Bella for sport. Edward and his family risk their lives to protect her, but James tracks Bella to Phoenix where she is hiding and lures her into a trap by claiming he is holding her mother hostage. James attacks Bella and bites her wrist, but Edward, along with the other Cullen family members, arrives before he can kill her. James is destroyed, and Edward sucks James's venom from Bella's wrist, preventing her from becoming a vampire. A severely injured Bella is taken to a hospital. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom. While there, Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, which Edward refuses. The film ends with Victoria secretly watching the pair dancing, plotting revenge for her lover James' murder.
NEW MOON
New Moon continues from where twilight left off, which is the romance between mortal and vampire soars to a new level as Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) delves deeper into the mysteries of the supernatural world she yearns to become part of—only to find herself in greater peril than ever before. On Bella’s 18th birthday, Edward, the vampire she loves, and his family throw her a birthday party. While unwrapping a gift, she gets a paper cut, which causes Edward's adopted brother, Jasper, to be overwhelmed by her blood's scent and attempt to kill Bella. To protect her, Edward decides to end their relationship, and the Cullens move away from Forks. This leaves Bella heart-broken and depressed.


In the months that follow, Bella learns that thrill-seeking activities, such as motorcycle riding, allow her to "hear" Edward's voice in her head. She also seeks comfort in her deepening friendship with Jacob, a cheerful companion who eases her pain over losing Edward. Bella later discovers that Jacob is a werewolf. He and his fellow werewolves protect Bella from the vampires Laurent and Victoria, the latter of whom seeks revenge for her dead mate, James, whom the Cullens killed in Twilight.
Meanwhile, a series of miscommunications leads Edward to believe that Bella has killed herself. Distraught over her supposed suicide, Edward flees to Italy to provoke the Volturi, vampire royalty who are capable of killing him. Alice and Bella rush to Italy to save Edward, arriving just in time to stop him.

VAMPIRES IN TELEVISION
Television on the other hand has not been in a rosy relationship with Vampire-driven shows till now, mainly because it hadn’t occurred to producers on how successful they would actually become. Probably because they didn’t believe in the following it would gather, while Medical dramas were blooming (which are way too many, but nobody seems to be complaining), vampires were limited to features on a few episode on TV like Doctor Who, The Real Ghostbusters, Dragon Ball, The X-Files, Charmed, Smallville and Supernatural. It wasn’t until the emergence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which lasted 7 seasons) that studios realized that vampires on TV could be successful; it even got a spin-off, Angel, which was also successful as it aired for 5 seasons. But upon its (Angel) end no good and successful Vampire show has aired, at least not until True Blood premiered on September 7, 2008, and The Vampire Diaries which has been picked up by the CW for a whole season comprising 22 episodes after it emerged as The CW’s best performing new show.

TRUE BLOOD

True Blood is a drama series created and produced by Alan Ball. It is loosely based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. The show is broadcast on the premium cable network HBO in the United States. It premiered on September 7, 2008.
True Blood details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town. The series centers on Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress at a bar, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer)
The main mystery of the first season concerns the murders of women connected to Sookie's brother, Jason (Ryan Kwanten). Maudette Pickens and Dawn Green are both strangled shortly after having been alone with Jason. Though Detective Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) has little doubt that Jason is the killer, the town sheriff does not suspect him. Jason and Sookie's grandmother is murdered shortly afterward.
The first season also focuses on Sookie's relationship with Bill and Sam's relationship with Sookie's friend Tara. Bill explains the rules of being a vampire to Sookie and, after he finds himself killing a vampire to defend Sookie, he is forced to turn a young girl, Jessica, as punishment.



The second season explores Sookie Stackhouse's relationship with her vampire lover, Bill Compton. It also introduces a number of sub-plots involving the anti-vampire Fellowship of the Sun church and Jason Stackhouse's indoctrination into the church by its leaders, Rev Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) and his wife Sarah. It also expands the role of Maryann Forrester, a powerful supernatural creature who slowly gains control over the people of Bon Temps. Sookie and Bill travel to Dallas to help Eric find his maker, a two thousand year old vampire named Godric (Alan Hyde), who has gone missing and is suspected of being kidnapped by the Fellowship of the Sun.
The success of the show has been followed by critical acclaim and several awards including a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
The Vampire Diaries is a supernatural-fantasy horror television series developed by Kevin Williamson, based on the book series of the same name by L.J. Smith.
The Vampire Diaries follows the life of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), who falls in love with the vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). The series also strongly focuses on the lives of Elena's friends and other inhabitants in the town the series takes place in, dealing with teenage and mainly supernatural issues.
 

The story begins as the vampire Stefan Salvatore returns to his ancestral home in Mystic Falls, Virginia, to be near Elena Gilbert, a high school student who bears a resemblance to Katherine, a woman Stefan loved 145 years ago, in the year 1864.
Elena and her brother, Jeremy, struggle to get past the deaths of their parents, which occurred four months prior. Jeremy deals with the loss through drug use, while Elena tries to shut out her feelings. She and Stefan meet, and are instantly attracted to each other.
Trouble starts when the vampire Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), who followed his brother Stefan to Mystic Falls, begins feeding on the townspeople. At a party, he attacks Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ewell). She survives and remembers that a vampire bit her. Stefan attempts to cover his tracks by using his powers to make her believe an animal attacked her. While trying to visit Stefan at his home, Elena meets Damon, who tells her Stefan is still getting over his past love Katherine.
Damon later goes after Elena's friend Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola). He feeds off her, but keeps her alive and controls her with his vampire powers. He acts as her boyfriend and uses his relationship with her to interfere with Stefan and Elena by revealing more hints about Katherine.

Also, Twilight and True Blood have been nominated for 3 awards each for next year's Peoples' Choice Awards, the highest for the Awards.