Vampires – Memories, it’s in the Blood
Horror film sub-genre – Vampire Films
As Gateward, Professor of Media Theory argues “[t]here are so many vampire films in fact, with so many shared conventions of iconography, theme, and character, that the vampire film has become a genre in itself. And as film studies have illustrated, no genre is stagnant – they are reshaped and re-articulated by cultural circumstance”. (Gateward, 2004).
Forming part of my earlier discussion on the concept of memories contained in the genetics of a human or bioengineered human such as Cyborgs and Clones, memory is in the DNA. This concept is also readily accepted in the assumption of the power of Blood memory in vampire films. There are examples in the Horror film genre in particular the myths and film conventions surrounding Dracula and Vampires. Conventions like the aversion to religious iconology, the cross, holy water a wooden stake, and more recently a wooden arrow to the heart as in Van Helsing (2004) Directed by Stephen Summers. As the Dracula myth is constantly reinvented and expanded upon one of the still true constants is Dracula’s fatal aversion to exposure to the sun, Dracula turns to ash as do all Vampires with just a few seconds of exposure.
Vampire – Blade
Blade (1998) is different as Blade is a Daywalker, immune from the terror of the Sun’s exposure. But this is a unique example of a vampire narrative where the vampire does not burn to ash upon exposure to the Sun. Blade isn’t a pure vampire he sits somewhere between vampire and human, he has all the strengths without the weaknesses. As Gateward states in her journal, “Blade, unlike the other vampires, who must rely on sunscreen to move about in the daylight, has no such sensitivity. The vampires in the film even use the term “Daywalker” as an epithet – analogous to half-breed throughout the film”. (Gateward, 2004).
Vampire – Dracula
The myth of Dracula remains true, Dracula on exposure to full daylight turns to dust but he is able to regenerate from his ashes using blood. Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) Directed by Terence Fisher. In the resurrection scene, Dracula’s ashes are poured into an open stone coffin. Swinging above the open coffin is the body of the blood sacrifice, with a scalpel the throat is cut and the blood flows into the coffin. Dracula reforms from his ashes under the cover of smoke until finally he climbs fully reformed, clothed complete with cape and everything down to the ring on his finger. Dracula regenerates with his memories intact. This theme is explored in alternative vampire films without Dracula central to the narrative.
In films like Underworld (2003) the Vampire elders are able to extract memories from their victims by forcefully drinking their blood. They are also able to pass their memories down through the centuries through the sharing of blood, blood sorting.
Conan the Barbarian (2011) Directed by Marcus Nispel. While not in the theme of vampire films the link to tasting blood to access memories is explored in the protagonist, Zyms daughter, Marique who inherited her mother’s witch-like powers and can extract memories of her victims by scratching them with her extended fingernails and tasting the extracted blood to see memories as visions in the quest to track down Tamara the last surviving pure blood descendent of the sorcerers of Acheron. The memory is in the blood, the genetic memory. To clarify the vampire retains the memories of the victim through the taking of the blood yet rejuvenates as themselves.
Anon (2017) Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Quotes – IMDb. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219827/quotes?ref_=tttrv_sa_3 (Accessed: 21 January 2020).
Bordwell, D. (2006) The Way Hollywood Tells It. University of California Press.
Burgoyne, R. (2003) ‘Memory, history and digital imagery in contemporary film’, in Grainge, P. (ed.) Memory and popular film.
‘Enterprise’ Similitude (TV Episode 2003) – IMDb (no date). Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0572236/?ref_=ttep_ep10 (Accessed: 7 March 2021).
Evans, J. (2011) Top 5 Sci-Fi Movies About Cloning. Available at: https://sciencefiction.com/2011/12/08/top-5-sci-fi-movies-about-cloning/ (Accessed: 7 February 2021).
Gateward, F. (2004) Genders OnLine Journal – Presenting innovative theories in art, literature, history, music, TV and film., Genders Online Journal. Available at: https://cdn.atria.nl/ezines/IAV_606661/IAV_606661_2010_51/g40_gateward.html (Accessed: 17 February 2021).
Grainge, P. (2018) ‘Memory and popular film’, in Memory and popular film. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-4726.2004.141_16.x.
Hayward, S. (2018) Cinema Studies The Key Concepts. Fitth, Book. Fitth.
Hiatt, B. (2003) Answers to ‘“Matrix Reloaded”’ burning questions | EW.com. Available at: https://ew.com/article/2003/05/23/answers-matrix-reloaded-burning-questions/ (Accessed: 6 February 2021).
Kilbourn, R. (2019) ‘RE-WRITING ” REALITY “: READING ” THE MATRIX ” Author ( s ): RUSSELL J . A . KILBOURN Source : Revue Canadienne d ’ Études cinématographiques / Canadian Journal of Film Studies , Published by : University of Toronto Press Stable URL : https://www.jstor.or’, 9(2), pp. 43–54.
Landsberg, A. (2004) Prosthetic Memory : The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=107227&site=ehost-live&authtype=ip,shib&user=s1523151.
Landsberg, A. (2016) ‘Prosthetic Memory: Total Recall and Blade Runner’, Body & society. SAGE Publications, 1(3–4), pp. 175–189. doi: 10.1177/1357034×95001003010.
Lopes, M. M., Ncc, I. and Bastos, P. B. (2019) ‘Memory ( Enhancement ) and Cinema : an exploratory creative overview’.
Lury, C. (2013) Prosthetic Culture, Prosthetic Culture. doi: 10.4324/9780203425251.
Opam, K. (2017) Ghost in the Shell review: a solid film built on a broken foundation – The Verge. Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15114902/ghost-in-the-shell-review-scarlett-johansson (Accessed: 21 January 2020).
Radstone, S. (2010) ‘Cinema and memory’, in Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates. Fordham University Press, pp. 325–342.
Radstone, S. and Hodgkin, K. (2003) Regimes of memory, Regimes of Memory. doi: 10.4324/9780203391532.
Radstone, Sussanah and Schwarz, B. (2010) ‘Memory’, in Radstone, Susannah and Shwarz, B. (eds), pp. 325–342.
replicant, n. : Oxford English Dictionary (no date). Available at: https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/162877?redirectedFrom=replicant#eid (Accessed: 22 April 2020).
Rife, S. (2014) Oblivion: Trouble with Cinematic Memory – Offscreen, Offscreen. Available at: https://offscreen.com/view/oblivion-cinematic-memory (Accessed: 4 February 2021).
Ripley 8 | Alien Anthology Wiki | Fandom (no date). Available at: https://alienanthology.fandom.com/wiki/Ripley_8 (Accessed: 6 February 2021).
Schwab, G. (1987) ‘Cyborgs. Postmodern Phantasms of Body and Mind’, Discourse, 9, pp. 64–84. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41389089.
Sloat, S. (2017) False Memories in ‘Blade Runner’ Could’ve Been Solved with Science. Available at: https://www.inverse.com/article/37496-blade-runner-2049-false-memories-ryan-gosling (Accessed: 16 March 2020).
Spies Like Us: Harry Palmer, the Everyday Hero of ‘The Ipcress File’ • Cinephilia & Beyond (no date). Available at: https://cinephiliabeyond.org/spies-like-us-harry-palmer-everyday-hero-ipcress-file/ (Accessed: 1 February 2021).
Sprengnether, M. (2012) ‘Freud as memoirist: A reading of “Screen Memories”’, American Imago, 69(2), pp. 215–239. doi: 10.1353/aim.2012.0008.
Treffert, D. (2015) Genetic Memory: How We Know Things We Never Learned – Scientific American Blog Network. Available at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/genetic-memory-how-we-know-things-we-never-learned/ (Accessed: 4 February 2021).
Warner Brothers (2017) Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – IMDb. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1856101/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 (Accessed: 5 May 2020).