Let the Right one in (2008, Swedish, Dir: Tomas Alfredson) — I start with this interesting movie because its one that I adore — – I saw the American version first and then was so blown away by this …..As with most incredible films, it doesn’t do much- there is so much mood, tension and design set up just through the place ( a frozen tundra with minimal daylight) that adding the actors and dialogue is like extra chocolate drizzle and two cherries on top of your incredible desert. Everything here works, the pacing, the editing, the sound, the actors, blending together to create a realistic spooky film that at the same time creates so much anticipation and is so mildly relaxing. Yet, its a complex human story about love, acceptance and fear. There are no answers just a beautiful story. So when comparing it to the American version, I’m tempted to say don’t bother ….but ……
Let me in (2010, USA, Dir: Matt Reeves) — What can I say..be scared…be very very scared. This film does what many can’t, replicates its original by using place (a hot, fun filled New Mexico) to juxtapose the idea of dark hidden feelings and lives led away from the sun. Doing almost the same thing as the Swedish version of using the allowance of space / place to lead the story. The casting is what changes this from a simple, oh yea, I saw this ..into a OH NO! What the h…..? Even when you already know what to expect, you spend the film sitting on the edge of your seat. Will it, won’t it, is it, can they…..I won’t tell you. Just watch both films and then go….Wow….so good.
Nosferatu (1921 Germany dir: F.W.Murnau) — While not really Dracula (they could not obtain the rights and changed names etc..the film was ordered destroyed after the law suit, but a few prints remained -what we see is probably not the entire director cut of the film) – and difficult to compare – this film is the essential vampyre picture and the birth of horror monster films as a genre. I think you will THINK, no its black and white AND foreign so ….but seriously….this is an absolute must watch movie, if you are a film geek or a monster kid or just like scary movies.
Dracula (1931, USA, dir: Tod Browning, Karl Freund) — someone recently ranted about using over the top sexuality in Vampire culture today- stating that as monster movie fans as kids we were never subjected to the idea. I laugh in your general direction. Every monster kid I know was in love with the Bride, and was there ever a better ill fated lust story than Dracula and Lucy? As a feminist writer I could certainly make a strong correlation between the idea of awakening sexuality in the last 1800’s and the death of female characters in monster movies. But ….I won’t..I will simply say that the German film Nosferatu took the story from Bram Stoker and visualized it in a way that every filmmaker since has not read the book for themselves but simply borrowed from the 1922 version. And that is not a bad thing. Bela is both gentlemanly and awkwardly seductive in this 1931 film – he knows what he needs and appears as most geeks would, surprised and yet determined to get the girl.