Monday, July 14, 2008

Scary Monsters, Super Creeps

At some point, movie vampires immigrated from Eastern Europe to Western Europe: the classic vampires were a bit of a stereotype of Eastern Europeans, particularly Romanians, although Dracula of course came from Transylvania, like Vlad the Impaler, who he is patterened after. Since Dracula, vampires have gone international. I've seen Indonesian vampires, Japanese vampires, even Canadian vampires. And, of course, in 1972 Blacula broke the vampire color barrier, an accomplishment that is sadly often overlooked during Black History Month.

Eastern Europeans invented the vampire. But, it's still a bit surprising to hear how far back there were legends of people stepping out of their graves under the pale moon light for a quick snack. Archaeologists have recently uncovered a grave from Mikulovice, east Bohemia, with remains of a person who might have been feared to be a vampire. The body was buried with heavy stones attached to the head and torso to prevent him from getting up and causing trouble after burial. This was done 4,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age, which explains why they didn't go with the stake in the heart- that was really more of an Iron Age technology.

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