Here Come the Brides
Until the onset of the modern era of vampire cinema, most females were often relegated to portraying Dracula's “brides,” typically chosen from a contingent of barmaids, peasants, travelers, or various amalgams of Stoker's Lucy Westenra or Mina Murray.
In the usual Dracula format, one or more of these women perish either due to having been bitten or at the hands of a vampire hunter, with the last bride's vampiric condition often reversed with Dracula's demise. But over the years, a small brood of leading actresses crept from their coffins to begin the evolution of the female vampire as a legitimate dyed-in-the-cape threat.
Over the decades, it was common for lead actresses to make their vampiric debut playing roles adapted from the legendary exploits of the bloodthirsty Countess Erzébet Bathóry or as Carmilla, the notorious lesbian vampire made famous by author Sheridan Le Fanu.
Not until the 1970s did the female vampire begin to fly onto the big screen with regularity, a fact partially attributed to filmmakers featuring more nudity and branching out into mixing the traditional female vampire with other genres.