What would take place from the mid-1970s to the present day, given the precedent set by Hammer Films, was the vampire genre both benefiting and suffering from the inevitable overload that comes with the testing of various plotlines, taking creative license, and making use of technical advancements. With Hammer bowing out of the horror genre, it was as if a Pandora's box was opened, and what arose from the dead, or undead as the case may be, was a virtual cornucopia of vampiric entertainment.
While each decade would contain a host of cinematic vampire gems, they would also feature films that tested the boundaries of the traditional Dracula by crossing over into the comedy, sci-fi, and Western genres, and even a version created for the hearing-impaired community, a 1975 film called Deafula (see Chapter 17). The sixties and seventies also marked the beginnings of vampires on television, with the serial Dark Shadows and made-for-television versions such as the 1979 Dracula starring Jack Palance. Vampires were now slinking their way directly into our living rooms — and audiences loved it.
From there, Dracula and a healthy coven of converts would only serve to fly wherever the film would take them, whether they were transformed into Catherine Deneuve's Egyptian vampire in The Hunger, a brood of raucous teens in The Lost Boys, a vampire hunter named Blade, or continue in the vein of Stoker's revered incarnation of Vlad the Impaler as was retained by Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the following chapters, we present to you a host of legendary silver screen blood drinkers and a two-part filmography that's certain to have you reaching for your cape and a set of fine-tuned fangs. But first, Dracula and his minions as they are best known for their performances.