Bram Stoker International Film Festival and, as always, had a great time with some great friends. It was an unusual year in that I had already seen and reviewed all of the vampire films that were shown and so could take my critical hat off completely and just sit back and enjoy the films. Of the non-vampire films special mention must go to Dominic Brunt’s zombie flick Before Dawn – a zombie genre classic I feel.
One thing that was new, however, was a lecture entitled Dracula’s Phantasmagoria. In this David Annwn offered as a view of the phantasmagoria including a virtual tour of Étienne-Gaspard Robert’s phantasmagoria at the Convent des Capucines. The lecture also included a magic lantern show and the Whitby Spa pavilion was likely the location of such 19th century shows, begging the question did Stoker see such a show in that very theatre?
That is something we may never answer but Annwn argues the importance of the phantasmagoria form in the development of horror and the vampire genre specifically. LeFanu specifically mentions phantasmagoria in Carmilla “I forget all my life preceding that event, and for some time after it is all obscure also, but the scenes I have just described stand out vivid as the isolated pictures of the phantasmagoria surrounded by darkness.” and Stoker, in Dracula, describes the laughter of the “brides” as “a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand.” – the glass harmonica being an essential part of Étienne-Gaspard Robert’s show. Certainly the magic lantern may well have been used at the Lyceum as part of the performances, the technology having been first merged with traditional theatre in a production of the Flying Dutchman. One can also say that early trick motion pictures, such as the le Manoir du Diable, were very much a continuation of the phantasmagoria tradition.
In other news, welcome back to Everlost who, at the festival, announced the decision to resurrect Vampire News. Also, I was contacted by Princess X, asking whether I would like to review her vampire orientated video for her song Gimme All (Ring my Bell). I don’t actually review music videos but I’ll happily give vampire ones a mention and even include them on the blog. In this case the music isn’t my cup of tea but I am sure many visitors may be dance music fans and the video is embedded below. Normal programming resumes tomorrow.