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Evolution of a Vampire
Director Tim Burton brought vampires back to the big screen in May 2012 with "Dark Shadows," a horror comedy based on a gothic soap opera from the late 1960s. Johnny Depp plays an 18th-century vampire freed into the disco-loving 1970s and plagued by a vengeful witch.
We've come a long way from the days of halting Romanian accents. Nevertheless, vampires have been staples of horror tales since at least the 1700s, with folklore about the hungry undead stretching back hundreds of years before that.
From Count Dracula to the glittery vampire hero of the "Twilight" series, here's a tour through pop-culture vampires we have loved, hated and been seriously spooked by.
The VampyreSlide 2 of 19
The first true literary vampire was a mysterious man named Lord Ruthven. As the titular character of John William Polidori's 1819 novella "The Vampyre," Ruthven seduces innocent maidens and proves himself an expert at vanishing without a trace. The book was a trendsetter for the vampire myth: Instead of terrorizing eastern European peasants, Ruthven was suave, genial and a stalker of London's high society from within. Even today, the image of vampires as sultry, high-class seducers remains.
"The Vampyre" owed its inspiration to the 1816 "Year Without a Summer." That year, temperatures plummeted globally, in part due to major volcanic eruptions in the prior months. Polidori was in Switzerland with the poet Lord Byron and other literary luminaries such as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Bored of rain and gloom, the group entertained each other with scary stories. Shelley's "Frankenstein" would arise from this same summer.Slide 3 of 19
DraculaSlide 4 of 19
If Ruthven transformed the vampire myth, Bram Stoker perfected it. His 1897 novel "Dracula"invented the most well-known vampire to this day. The novel tells the story of Dracula's move from the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe to England. There, he cements his reputation as a (literal) lady-killer before a climatic showdown back in Transylvania. The novel had it all: garlic, bats, stakes through the heart and spooky Romanian castles.
In 1931, Bela Lugosi put a face to the Count in the film version of the novel. His slow, accented delivery became the definitive voice for vampires, but unfortunately for Lugosi, he ended up typecast in the role of horror villain.Slide 5 of 19
Danny GlickSlide 6 of 19
What's creepier than a vampire? How about a vampire kid? Danny Glick is patient zero in a vampire "infection" that takes over the town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, in Stephen King's 1975 novel "'Salem's Lot." According to King's website, Dracula was the book's inspiration.
"One night over supper I wondered aloud what would happen if Dracula came back in the twentieth century, to America," King wrote. "'He'd probably be run over by a Yellow Cab on Park Avenue and be killed,' my wife said."
So King set his novel in rural Maine, complete with a creepy undead Danny Glick. The most famous scene in the 1979 TV miniseries based on the book featured Danny floating at a bedroom window, scratching to be let in. Good luck sleeping tonight, kids. [10 Scariest Movies Ever Made]Slide 7 of 19
Lestat de LioncourtSlide 8 of 19