But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent,
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race.
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life,
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse.
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go—and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From Spectre more accursed than they!
– Lord Byron, “The Giaour” (1813)
I finally got around to watching The Kiss of the Vampire the other night. The 1963 film was one of Hammer’s attempts to keep the bloodsucker mojo going until Christopher Lee took up Dracula’s dark mantle again, and it’s a perfectly adequate period horror jobber done in the studio’s signature mildly titillating yet oh-so-mannered style.
My biggest problem with the film is that Dr. Ravna, the suavely sinister leader of the vampire cult, kept reminding me of Henry Winkler playing Barry Zuckerkorn on Arrested Development. That’s entirely on my media reference damaged head, but damn was it distracting.
Recommended listening: I Monster – Lust for a Vampyr (from A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars, 2009)