CHAPTER 8
Hammering It Home

The film [Brides of Dracula, 1960] solves its family crises through
the figure of Dr. Van Helsing. He shows both concern about the
growing “cult” and understanding for those who would be drawn
to it; that is, his role in the film is paternal, rather than patriarchal.
Through him the film rehabilitates the figure of the doctor who
carefully and correctly diagnoses what is wrong.

—Ken Gelder (1994, 100)

Although they were British in origin, the Hammer horror fi lms domi nated the American horror market from the late 1950s into the late 1960s. They were financed in part and distributed by American studios. Christopher Lee was Hammer’s Dracula, starring in seven films. These were: Dracula (1958; American title: Horror of Dracula), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Scars of Dracula (1970 ), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973; American title: Dracula and His Vampire Bride). Hammer also produced other vampire films, notably the Karstein trilogy (The Vampire Lovers, 1970; Lust of a Vampire, 1971; Twins of Evil, 1972). These were based loosely on J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, and featured Danish actress Ingrid Pitt in the first two and twin Playboy playmates Madeleine and Mary Collinson in the third.

The Hammer studio developed a signature style that featured elaborate period settings and costumes, understated acting, bright colors (especially blood), and increasingly explicit violence and sexual content. They were materialistic in a very literal way, eschewing special effects— Lee’s vampire does not shape-shift—in favor of a clear focus on physical

-57-

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Vampires in the New World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Introduction - Taking Vampires Seriously vii
  • Chapter 1 - Vampire Scholarship 1
  • Chapter 2 - Dracula’s American 9
  • Chapter 3 - Early New World Vampires 17
  • Chapter 4 - Vamps in Hollywood 27
  • Chapter 5 - Blood and Pulp 33
  • Chapter 6 - Class-IC Horror 41
  • Chapter 7 - Urban Legends 49
  • Chapter 8 - Hammering It Home 57
  • Chapter 9 - Countering Vampire Culture 63
  • Chapter 10 - Black Vampires 69
  • Chapter 11 - Vampire Celebrities 77
  • Chapter 12 - Blood Consumers 87
  • Chapter 13 - Buffy Rules 99
  • Chapter 14 - Vampires for Children 107
  • Chapter 15 - White Trash and Teen Melodrama 121
  • Chapter 16 - Vampire Comedy 131
  • Afterword - Where Do We Go from Here? 143
  • Selected Chronological Filmography 149
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author 177
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