Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Interesting Shorts: No Such Thing as a Vampire

In 1959 Richard Matheson, who had previously given us I Am Legend brought us what, on the surface, seemed a more traditional vampire tale.

Alexis Gheria awakes one morning, feeling leaden, to discover blood across her breasts that has spilled from two punctures in her neck. Her husband Dr Petre Gheria assures her that there must be an explanation other than vampires – after all there is no such thing as vampires.

Sitting vigil, a cross and garlic; nothing seems to halt its nightly visitations. His man servant Karel suggests that he has staked such a creature and Petre has him swear that he will stake this one. His men tear up all the local graveyards to no avail. In desperation he calls upon Dr Michael Vares.

Once the younger man is there the reader is let into the terrible secret – there are no such things as vampires. Petre has manufactured the whole affair to convince the village that his house is being plagued by such a creature, drawing blood from his wife by syringe when she sleeps.

Why? Because he discovered the love affair that Vares and his wife had indulged in, making him cuckold. The pain and fear she has lived in is payment enough for her transgression but as for the younger man, he will be found, drugged insensible with her blood at his mouth and Karel will stake him through the heart…

This tale is a lovely indulgence in village superstition and, in this case, the manipulation of it. Cut forward to 1977 and Dan Curtis filmed this as a part of the anthology Dead of Night and thanks to the fact that Matheson wrote the screenplay we actually find an accurate filming of a story.


Zombie said...

I absolutely love this story - and I love the dramatization in Dead Of Night (which I picked up about four months ago or so). Great stuff!

The Dirge Of Gabriel said...

Hey Andy,

I actually bought that anthology on dvd a year ago and actually enjoyed that short. I found the twist to be quite inventive, and was impressed as I haven't seen that kind of twist before.
I haven't read the story it was based on though, didn't know it existed. So there you go :)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers guys

the dramatisation, I felt, lacked a tension that perhaps the story maintained - though it is absolutely accurate to the story as I mentioned.

I agree Gabe re the twist.

The story itself appears here and there and certainly in the anthology whose cover I used to illustrate the article (and I love that cover btw) for info the isbn is: 0426201647