So obviously, Vampires took a big hit with horrendous movies and tv-series shitting on a once frightening and pretty hot image of the fanged beasts. I myself always found the more monstrous and less sexy vampires a lot more interesting, “Nosferato”, “30 Days of Night”, “Stake Land”, “Let the Right One In” and the awesome “Shadow of the Vampire” are unusual yet very effective oddities in the film-world and give their vampires each very haunting attributes.
So, in my Halloween-Balooza, let’s see what the music-world has to offer. No sparkling allowed
1. Little Vampire soundtrack
As a kid I was obsessed with “The Little Vampire”, I loved the books, the audio tapes and the British series that – despite some horribly awful remakes – still holds up. It had a dark wave punk look, decent kid actors and a lot of humor. Plus, the singer of the song – Jim Grey – was also the rebellious youth of the vampire family.
2. Arctic Monkeys – Perhaps Vampires is a bit strong…
I am honest, when they invaded the dancefloor with their respective hit-single, I never thought that of all the 2003 Britpop-bands, the Arctic Monkeys would stand the test of time. It blows my mind to see how much they developed since then, even though their debut was brilliant to begin with.
3. Maps and Atlases – Vampire
Oh hey, another Maps & Atlases-song. Well, it might be because they are fantastic. Also, I love the slight 80s tinge in this song, especially given that the 80s had some hilarious and wildly entertaining vampire movies. “Lost Boys”, “Fright Night” and “Near Dark” were all gritty yet stylish movies that showed that you in fact can add a lot of cheese to a vampire movie without burying everything in lame dialogues, no sense of humor and fucking glitter.
4. Neil Young – Vampire Blues
Do any of you watch “True Blood”? It’s somehow beyond being a Guilty Pleasure or something you love to hate because it is so out there that there is no way to describe it. However, one of the reasons why most people really dig Eric (a ruthless, handsome and egoistic vampire) and hate Bill (boring ole tortured soul) is the fact that Eric actually enjoys being a vampire. Think about it, many protagonists of vampire movies are these depressed dudes and dudettes that mope around and have awesome hairstyles. You’d think that being gorgeous, having super-powers and being able to glamour people would be something to celebrate but no, vampires apparently hate their wealth, youth and motor-skills. Stupid vampires.
5. Kyla La Grange – Vampire Smile
I always liked the notion that vampires couldn’t see their own reflection because they lacked a soul. There is a poetry to that imagery that is a lot more powerful than their aversion to crosses or – weirdly – garlic. Because losing your soul is like losing your sense of self and if you don’t know who you are and don’t know what defines you, you lack the power to define yourself, you appear invisible. Somehow, that’s even worse than falling to dust in the face of the sun or being staked through the heart…metaphorically anyways, if I had to choose, I would totally go for the loss of sense and danger of having something stuck in my teeth without seeing it in the mirror.
6. Powerman 5000 – V is for Vampire
It’s pretty unsettling to know that people in the 18th century actually exhumed bodies to stake them because they were so scared of vampires. As with zombies, there is a dissonance because resurrection from the dead should actually be celebrated as something God-given and maybe even sacred, instead, most of the things that come back from the dead are horror creatures, monsters and ghosts. Given that Christianity’s saviour rose from the dead and promised to raise all the dead to ascend to heaven one day…there’s quite a mix-up in themes and world-views here.
7. Gorillaz – Dracula
Given that there actually were people – quite a few aristocratic cases but we’ll come to that – who thought that human blood was rejuvenating, it shouldn’t be a surprise to have a story such as “Dracula” emerge amidst quite morbid times. I still think that the book is superior to all movies I ever watched because the terror of the different protagonists really shines through the letters and accounts and especially the sinister beginning is fantastic.
8. The Decemberists – Dracula’s Daughter
“Dracula’s Daughter” is one of the main examples why the Decemberists really work in a live environment. It’s one of the shittiest songs ever but it’s still a favourite because of Meloy’s telling of his worst song ever and the reaction of the audience. Can vampires recreate? In most movies and books, they can’t, “Twilight” even made it a weirdly bad example of pro-choice advertising, so I am not sure what to think about it. However, speaking of vampire kids, if you ever want to see a truly beautiful, heart-breaking and thought-provoking horror movie, I suggest “Grace”. I am not telling too much about the plot but it’s one of the most unusual movies in all genres I’ve ever seen and it really truly moved me.
9. Mozes and the Firstborn – Bloodsucker
Did you know that people thought that it would turn corpses into vampires if dogs or cats jumped over them? It puts the known myths of the biting and blood-letting a little into perspective because seriously, some animals playing hopscotch on my corpse is not really that morbidly romantic to be honest.
10. Deep Purple – Bloodsucker
You know what I hate about vampires? Some of the worst artsy-fartsy horror movies with actually amazing actors and actresses deal with vampires. David Bowie (“The Hunger”), Jude Law (“The Wisdom of Crocodiles”) and Lily Cole (“The Moth Diaries”) were trapped in gorgeous looking but initially lifeless movies that treated style over substance whilst pretending to be a lot more. Gahd, I hate when a movie thinks it is smarter than the audience.
11. Arcade Fire – Laika
Arcade Fire actually have a song that has “Vampire” in its title but then I remembered that “Laika” has one of my favourite song lyrics and is one of my favourite songs. I know that quite a few people are a little opposed to Arcade Fire but boy, did they have songs that clenched their fist right around my heart. I am not quite sure where I got the idea from but I always thought of drug addiction when listening to that song. Maybe someone told me or I read it somewhere…I don’t know. But I thought that drug addiction and vampirism work very well in a grueling way.
12. Atreyu – A Vampire’s Lament
In most cases, a vampire’s lament is being alone and/or being reminded of all the killings when the insatiable hunger became too much. I wonder if the real lament wouldn’t be the fact that you get fucking depressed without the sunlight (that’s a fact, y’all!). But given that their body-functions don’t work, maybe they wouldn’t even be able to use sunlight for happy hormones, so what do I know?
13. Marcy Playground – Vampires of New York
Ever thought that nowadays, it would be incredibly, nay, ridiculously easy to be a vampire? Sure, killing people would be a little difficult but there are enough fetishes out there to suckle on some masochistic “Twilight”-fan and nearly every bigger city as 24/7s and even night-shopping and whatnot. What I am saying is: I don’t see any reason why “Twilight’s” Edward was so freaking glum. CHEER UP YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE GLITTERBOMB!
14. John Gold – Vampire’s Kiss
We all know that crucifixes and garlic can ward off a vampire’s kiss. But what else, you might ask. Well according to my studies (aka one glance at Wikipedia), you could also use wild roses and hawthorn, mustard seeds (on the roof of your house…so you better not live in a tower block), and whatever holy stuff you have stolen from graves inherited from loved ones. Plus sunlight, so better keep that UV-lamp it not only helps against seasonal depression but also keeps vampires away, hurray!
15. Boysetsfire – Bathory’s Sainthood
Usually, I don’t think that life writes the better stories because in general, life is pretty boring and uneventful. However, the tale of Countess Bathory is truly a horrifying one which is why I kept her till the end of this list. Now, some say that Elizabeth Bathory was the origin of the European vampire myths. She lived in the 16th century and was high-born in Hungaria. She was obsessed with youth and believed that bathing in human blood would help her stay young. But not any gross old human blood but that of young fresh female virgins. Yeah, I guess we know where this is going. She started with her maids, later with daughters of the people in her village, when they started to suspect atrocities in her castle due to the fact that those daughters never returned from Bathory’s castle, she sent out her messengers to find maids from other villages farther away because those girls would not cause much suspicion if they wouldn’t visit their families all too often. Because she was high-born and the people were so happy that their daughters would live a better life in the castle than they did in the towns, it took a long time till they suspected anything. (to be continued)
16. Sun O))) – Bathory Erzsebet
(ctd.) But eventually they found out and the stories told in the villages turned out to be a lot less gruesome than the truth. Bathory was a sadist, she not only killed the girls but tortured them. After a short trial she was put into prison, a room with no door but only a wall of bricks with little slits for air and food. She died after four years in that room.
Now, there are speculations that Bathory might not have been the cruel monster she is thought to be, given that she was a woman who managed financial and economic affairs mostly on her own and therefore was quite powerful. She was known to help high-born women that had come into trouble through times of war, she was well-read and spoke four languages and bore several children. The stories of her blood-lust started a couple of years after her husband had died of an unknown illness and suspiciously coincided with her pretty much ruling over their people and gaining economical and political traction. I mean, we can’t know for sure what really happened but what’s more likely? A vampire queen bathing in the blood of her virgin maids to stay young or some douchenozzles starting a witch hunt to keep a woman away from politics? You decide.
By the way, don’t let that song run freely while you roam around in your flat late at night. It freaked me out like nothing the first time I heard it.
How about a less sucky (har har) songlist?