Did you know there was a silent vampire film? No? That’s because there isn’t, not unless you count Georges Melies’ THE HAUNTED CASTLE (1896), the first official Horror movie, which featured a vampire-like character transforming into a bat, or DRAKULA HALALA, aka DRACULA’S DEATH, a 1921 Hungarian/Austrian silent film that beat NOSFERATU by a year as the first appearance in a motion picture of the character Dracula. (DRAKULA HALALA is sadly believed to be a lost film.) The 1913 film THE VAMPIRE doesn’t have a vampire in it, rather a “vamp”. Confusingly, a vamp is a seductress, a wicked woman who leads decent men to their dooms. A sexpot, in other words, devoid of supernatural qualities or blood-drinking.
The 1916 French silent film serial LES VAMPIRES doesn’t have vampires in it either. (Although one babe does dress up in a bat suit.) It features Apaches. But not the American Indian tribe of that name. “Apache” here is used as slang for a member of the French underworld, a street criminal. Confused yet? During the “Belle Epoque,” the period of time between the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 and the outbreak of World War One in 1914, “Apache” subculture in France was so pervasive that it even inspired clothing (the “Apache shirt”) and had a popular dance named after it; this latter was meant to represent the interactions of a prostitute and her pimp. All very interesting from an historical standpoint, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the Apache Nation, and it sure as hell doesn’t have anything to do with vampires!
We wouldn’t see a genuine vampire on film until NOSFERATU.
I’m not sure how long it took before a genuine Apache put in an appearance.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!