Last night I watched Scars of Dracula for probably the seventh or eighth time. These old horror films pull me in each time. From wondering at the incredibly young and boyish Dennis Waterman and the iconic Patrick Troughton to enjoying the sultry female vampire and the ultimate Prince of Darkness himself, the late lamented Christopher Lee, it was a classic Hammer Horror delight. It got me wondering how these old movies cling on and why we continually watch over and over again only to switch channel when the new ones come on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of horror as a genre and include Stephen King, Anne Rice and James Herbert among my favourite writers, but I am not such a fan of modern horror. I could easily be hooked by The Walking Dead as a movie rather than a series but I am not fond of series because I miss an episode and lose the plot. I loved Interview with the Vampire which I thought was a modern film classic as well as the modern versions of Frankenstein with Kenneth Brannagh and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) with Gary Oldman, which I still think is superb. The problem for me is modern horror. Teen slasher movies are a particular turn off, not because of the horror but because the link up between gratuitous human violence and teenage self importance is simply boring. If a film ever has “teen” or “slasher” in the description, I switch over to watch crime or history. These films are not commercially targeted towards me of course, but to kids who probably shouldn’t be watching things that violent, and on the occasions I have tried to watch one I have usually fallen asleep on the sofa – literally.

I think, when it comes down to it, I would far rather watch something with a story than rapidly changing violent images that are hard to understand. I enjoyed the Twilight series, which to me was the redemption of modern horror films – despite teen characters it has a story even adults can relate to. I haven’t read the book yet because I don’t want it to impact on the vampire novels I write but I suppose that when I have done with vampires – sparkly or otherwise – I might dip into some Stephenie Meyer. I also enjoyed The Mummy films. I would rather hear dialogue than an endless stream of sound effects, musical groans, bad language and screams. I have been scarred forever by Dracula and his story with all its stereotypical paranoid peasants, beautiful, wicked women, evil seducers and the ultimate sticky end. When offered a choice between a modern horror and an old classic I will take the old classics like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein any day – I am just a sucker for a good vampire yarn.


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