La Fanu is, of course, most famous (on this blog, at least) for his story Carmilla but “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter” had a vampiric overtone as well as we shall see when we look at the story, later, as an “Interesting Short”.
|Cheryl Kennedy as Rose|
|Jeremy Clyde as Schalcken|
|Maurice Denham as Dou|
|Vanderhausen sits up|
So we have a dead man who is sexually active, clearly, animated and apparently erudite. However there is nothing overtly vampiric about the film, unfortunately. Being a close adaptation of “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter” it is, however, of genre interest as we shall see below. The imdb page is here.
Interesting Short: “Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter”
When Vanderhausen appears at the house for dinner we get the following description of the creature:
“the flesh of the face was coloured with the bluish leaden hue which is sometimes produced by the operation of metallic medicines administered in excessive quantities; the eyes were enormous, and the white appeared both above and below the iris, which gave to them an expression of insanity, which was heightened by their glassy fixedness; the nose was well enough, but the mouth was writhed considerably to one side, where it opened in order to give egress to two long, discoloured fangs, which projected from the upper jaw, far below the lower lip; the hue of the lips themselves bore the usual relation to that of the face, and was consequently nearly black.”
The description goes on to suggest that he never blinks through the meal nor does his chest rise and fall as it would if he respired. This, from our point of view, is important as Le Fanu gives this living corpse a set of fangs. Indeed the description reminds me a little of Barlow as he would be portrayed in the 1979 ’Salem’s Lot.
The other main difference between the two is more subtle but, when Rose returns, she is wearing a dress that included “a kind of white woollen wrapper, made close about the neck” - as though she hid bite marks? Perhaps, but it is the fangs that makes this seem vampiric to the modern reader and whilst it isn’t the clearest of connections one would have to accept this interpretation.