Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guillermo Del Toro to Produce DC Comics Adaptation 'Dead Man'

Bloody Disgusting reports that Nikolaj Arcel (Island of Lost Souls ) is looking to direct Dead Man, a Crow-esque adaptation for Warner Bros. Pictures. Prolific multihyphenate Guillermo del Toro is set to produce. GDT is currently working on pre-pro for The Hobbit. How he has managed to fit another project onto his jam-packed production slate is anyone's guess.

The pic follows a a circus tightrope walker who is murdered and returns as a ghost with the ability to inhabit the bodies of others in order to find his killer. It is based on the DC character "Deadman" that first appeared in Strange Adventures #205 (October 1967).

For the latest GDT news join the Guillermo del Toro FaceBook Group.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Guillermo del Toro on 3D Hobbit Rumor | Casting Update

The internet has been flooded with all sorts of Hobbit rumors lately. Let's start with the casting rumors first. Sir Ian McKellen is probably one of the few people who’ll make the transition from The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit. The award winning actor made a recent appearance at London’s BFI IMAX cinema event where they held a Lord of the Rings marathon. While in the presence of the film’s die hard fans, he gave some casting updates on The Hobbit including the status of Bilbo Baggins!

According to SlashFilm, McKellen told the attending audience that he will be returning to his role as Gandalf in the upcoming feature. Filming starts early next year in March, and he will be on set ready for action. He revealed that the role of Bilbo Baggins had been cast and he believes fans will be “very, very pleased.” Who could it be?
Photo by John Shearer, courtesy

James McAvoy has been the most popular Hobbit casting rumor to date. McAvoy has recently signed on for I’m With Cancer and is negotiating for a role in Robert Redford’s Lincoln drama The Conspirator. It appears his calendar may be booked up for next year. If not McAvoy, then who?
Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood is still keeping an eye on Middle Earth. Wood recently spoke with HollywoodOutbreak and talked about [audio] how much he’s looking forward to the Peter Jackson/Guillermo del Toro collab on The Hobbit.

As for The Hobbit 3D rumours, TheOneRing asked Guillermo del Toro just what exactly, if anything, was up with the 3D Hobbit. He is the director of the films and the guy who picks the director of photography, the cameras and formats. For the record, del Toro told TheOneRing “I can safely say that, as of this moment, there are absolutely NO conversations about doing the HOBBIT films in 3D.”

For the latest Hobbit updates join the Guillermo del Toro FaceBook Group.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

'HATER' Update: Guillermo del Toro & Mark Johnson Project

Guillermo del Toro (left) and Mark Johnson (right)

Producer Mark Johnson, who is currently balancing duties between the next Chronicles of Narnia picture and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, told recently that progress continues on Hater, an adaptation of the David Moody novel he is co-producing with Guillermo Del Toro.

"The script is getting turned in this week, actually," he said. The Shield's Glen Mazzara is adapting the book. "I describe it as a zombie movie without zombies. So we'll see what we get. It's one of the few ones that focuses on an outbreak that affects people where it's never explained. A really good one. Others may do the same thing and be metaphors for AIDS or whatever, but, in this particular case you, can read all kinds of interpretations into it but at the end of the day it is what it is."

In Moody's 2006 tome society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened 'Haters' by the media, the attackers strike without warning. Their attacks are brutal, remorseless aDavid Moodynd extreme. There are no apparent links between the Haters or their victims and no obvious reason for their violence. In seconds rational, controlled people become vicious killers. Everyone - irrespective of race, gender, age, sexuality or any other imaginable difference - has the potential to become either a Hater or a victim. This is a terror which knows no boundaries. You can no longer trust anyone, no matter how well you think you know them. You can no longer trust yourself. By the end of today you could be a killer. By the end of today you could be dead.

The Orphanage's Juan Antonio Bayona is slated to direct.


Friday, August 21, 2009

'Capitalism: A Love Story' the Trailer!

Michael Moore's latest film Capitalism: A Love Story will headline the 34th Toronto International Film Festival which marks the 20th anniversary of his debut film "Roger and Me," which won the film festival's People's Choice award in 1989. Back then, Moore targeted General Motors. In his latest project, he takes aim at the whole system.

The documentary will explore the root causes of the global economic meltdown and take a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in what Moore has described as "the biggest robbery in the history of this country" – the massive transfer of US taxpayer money to private financial institutions.

The new movie is scheduled to appear in theaters on September 23rd, in limited release with a wide release planned for October 2nd. Visit the official Capitalism: A Love Story website for updates.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

'Inglorious Basterds' Kicks Ass! [Review]

Inglorious Basterds begins with "Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France..." an opening scene set in the French countryside, where we are introduced to the dreaded Nazi Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), a heinous murderer and scheming genius who refers to himself as a the "Jew hunter.'' Landa can make sipping a glass of milk or indulging in an apple strudel with whipped cream seems like an ominous, treacherous ordeal.

Lt. Aldo Raines, is played by Brad Pitt with a nice scar and a Tennesseean good-ol'-boy accent. Raines has assembled a group of Jewish-American soldiers named after an obscure 1978 Italian exploitation picture, to infiltrate enemy lines and make Nazis suffer for their crimes. He orders his men to bring back 100 Nazi scalps each.

"We will be cruel to the Germans,'' Raine reasons, "and through our cruelty, they will know who we are.''

The Basterds create a mythology about themselves, roaming the French countryside and killing without mercy, only saving a few survivors to tell the tale of the Basterds. These survivors often have a swastika carved into their foreheads, so that after the war they will never forget what they've done.

Part of the beauty of Inglourious Basterds is the speed and suddenness with which Tarantino masterfully shift gears from laughter to horror.

There are even more plots going on in the movie including the cinema owner Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), whose family was slaughtered by the Germans in the opening scene, is now living incognito in Paris where she runs a movie theater. Her cinema is selected by Frederick Zoeller (Daniel Bruhl) to premiere a movie based on his war exploits. It is expected that many leaders of the Third Reich will be in attendance, including Mr. Adolf Hitler. The Basterds plan to hit the theater and end the war in one swift stroke

Diane Kruger plays the German actress Bridget von Hammersmark who is working as an undercover agent for the British, and Michael Fassbender's plays Archie Hickox, the British operative sent to join Raines and his crew. Tarantino does a long, suspenseful sequence inside a tavern in which the two are part of a rowdy drinking game which turns serious, and then gets real ugly when a German major makes a surprise entrance.

Til Schweiger plays the badass Hugo Stiglitz, the German former SS member of the Basterds. His character backstory is presented before you, in a style that is purely Tarantino, complete with self-conscious voiceover narration by Samuel L. Jackson.

Mike Myers makes a wonderfully quirky cameo appearance in the film as British General Ed French. Myers' cameo fulfilled a childhood dream. His mother was in the air force and his dad was in the British army. He always wanted to be the British general who explains the mission, and in this movie he gets to live the dream.

Tarantino gets strong performances from his actors that match the story he's taking his time telling. Christoph Waltz's standout performance in his wickedly seductive portrayal of monstrous evil is worthy of an Oscar nomination!

Harvey Weinstein (The Weinstein Co.) (left)
Christoph Walz (Nazi Col. Hans Landa)

Tarantino once again incorporates the "Chapter structure" of his previous films. Cinematographer Robert Richardson paints a gorgeous landscape which is punctuated with spectacular music choices, including David Bowie's audacious kick-ass 'Cat People (putting Out the Fire)', and titles from Ennio Morricone. The soundtrack is available from the iTunes music store.

I love Inglorious Basterds! This bizarre hybrid of WWII movies and spaghetti westerns had me on the edge of my seat right from the beginning until the outrageous, combustible finale inside a movie theater which gives WWII an alternative ending. War has never been so much fun. A must see!

Inglorious Basterds explodes onto big screens on August 21, 2009.

Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Michael Fassbender, Mike Myers.

Writer-director: Quentin Tarantino.

Producer: Lawrence Bender.

A Weinstein Co. release. Running time: 152 minutes. Vulgar language, considerable violence, heavy gore, sexual situations, adult themes. In English, German, French and Italian with English subtitles.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TWC's 'Nine' will Kick Some Serious Butt Come Awards Season! [Trailer]

Judy Dench and Daniel Day Lewis in 'Nine'

The New York Times on Sunday published the definitive piece on the bleak state of the union at The Weinstein Company, where morale (and cash flow) remains low, Harvey is struggling to refocus after his mogul-add streak, and theatrical grosses this year are hovering right around $1.3 million. These factors will all likely change this week with the opening of Inglourious Basterds, or at least we should hope they do -- cinema is generally better for having the Weinsteins in it, and they've got to find some way to pay for the release of The Road and Nine later this fall.

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Day Lewis in 'Nine'

Nine is the musical re-telling of Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical 8 1/2. It tells the story of Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), a world famous famous film director as he confronts an epic mid-life crisis with both creative and personal problems. He must balance the many women of his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren).

The original 1982 Broadway production of NINE, with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Nine is directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) and opens in the US on November 25, 2009.

TWC has nothing to worry about. Inglorious Basterds, The Road and Nine will clean up come awards season. Congrats, you've done it again Harvey!

I can hardly wait!


'Avatar' Trailer Coming Out Before Avatar Day

August 21 has been declared by 20th Century Fox as an day, but the studio apparently will give out first taste of the sci-fi fantasy a day earlier. Promoting for the online debut of the movie's first trailer, Apple has put up a countdown clock which reveals that the sneak peek will be made available at 7 A.M. on Thursday, August 20.

Previously, it was announced that the first trailer for this James Cameron-directed feature film will be shown in theaters worldwide on the "Avatar" day. The trailer was planned to be outed to coincidence with the free screening of fifteen minutes of the film in 101 selected IMAX venues in the U.S. and Canada.

Days earlier, 20th Century Fox has come out with the ticket detail announcement for the scheduled Avatar day. The studio will be giving away free first-come, first-serve tickets through the official Avatar website,, starting on Monday, August 17 at noon PST for the film's 15-minute free screening.

The screenings will be run twice at 6:00 P.M. and at 6:30 P.M. The sneak peek itself will include an introduction from the director, footage shown at screenings at exhibitor events in Hollywood and Amsterdam, and some new footage that were not shown at 2009 San Diego Comic Con.

To be released in the U.S. on December 18, Avatar centers on a wounded ex-marine, who is thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, and eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival. Directed, produced and written by James Cameron, it stars Sam Worthington,in the lead role and supported byZoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Michelle Rodriguez.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Jackson Clothing Line Revealed [VIDEO]

NBC News has obtained designs for a clothing line the King of Pop was plotting with Ed Hardy before Jackson’s death earlier this summer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dan Gaud's 'Leap': Traveling Between Parallel Worlds With A Snorkel

Filmmaker Dan Gaud's (District 9, Watchmen) short film Leap is about the dangerous side of travel between parallel worlds. The concept design is beautiful, and the mundane-looking snorkel gear adds an odd sense of menace. Luc Godbout and Virginie Goulet star in the film.

He shot the whole thing in two days with a RED digital camera (the same camera that Peter Jackson uses for his work, and which was used to shoot District 9). The short film will be 6 minutes when complete. Gaud says "It's a story about a guy that discovers that he can travel between two parallel worlds, but traveling between the two worlds has deadly consequences".

He's hoping to show it at festivals and get support to do a feature-length film that he says isn't "as epic" as Leap, but is still a superhero story on a small scale. The Leap full short will be available next month.

Check out for more information. Follow Dan Gaud on Twitter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Free "Avatar" trailer tickets to be available online Monday August 17 at noon PST

Free tickets will be distributed online starting Monday for special Imax presentations of a 16-minute trailer for the 3D sci-fi action movie Avatar.

The extended trailer of the 20th Century Fox film, featuring an on-camera intro by director James Cameron, hits 101 Imax venues in the U.S. and Canada on August 21 in a promotional push that was announced at the recent Comic-Con International confab in San Diego. On the same date, theaters worldwide will begin showing 2D and 3D "Avatar" trailers of more conventional length.

Fans will be provided theater information and other "Avatar" tidbits via Visitors to the site also will see ticketing instructions and links to individual movie theaters.

"It will be two tickets to a customer to keep people from hoarding," Fox distribution boss Bruce Snyder said Wednesday. "We expect a tremendous amount of interest from the fans who are aware of 'Avatar.' "

The extended "Avatar" trailer will play just before and after separately ticketed screenings of Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." At most of the specialty venues, the trailer will be shown between 6 and 7 p.m., running twice within the hour span.

"I think it's going to be a bit of a stampede," Imax Filmed Entertainment chief Greg Foster said. "But I can't wait for everyone to see the footage."

The extended trailer will contain much of the "Avatar" footage shown at screenings this summer at exhibitor events in Hollywood and Amsterdam, and also at Comic-Con. But at least one unspecified new scene will be included.

"Avatar," Cameron's first dramatic feature since 1997's "Titanic," unspools worldwide December 18.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adam Lambert's SEXY New Upcoming Album [Video Interview]

If Adam Lambert has his way, you will see him performing live in a show with really big production values. . ."A show that has dancers, and fashion, and scenic elements, you know. Definitely bring my love of the theatre to a concert style performance. I think that giving people something to look at is just as exciting as giving them something to hear, and I want the two to be fused together." Words from an up-and-coming "Superstar" who totally gets it!

Besides talking about his upcoming album, Adam tells you where to throw the underwear/bras/or anything else you'd like to tease him with at his shows. Check out the Rolling Stone interview below.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'New York, I Love You': New Trailer

In the city that never sleeps, love is always on the mind. Those passions come to life in New York, I Love You – a collaboration of storytelling from some of today’s most imaginative filmmakers. Together they create a kaleidoscope of the spontaneous, surprising, electrifying human connections that pump the city’s heartbeat. Sexy, funny, haunting and revealing encounters unfold beneath the Manhattan skyline. From Tribeca to Central Park to Brooklyn the story weaves a tale of love as diverse as the very fabric of New York itself.

Said to be the unofficial follow-up to 2007 romance drama "Paris, je t'aime", New York, I Love You highlights on love stories in five boroughs of New York which are conjoined together to form one whole movie. Directed by 12 different helmers from the acclaimed Mira Nair and Shekhar Kapur, Brett Ratner to newcomer Natalie Portman, and features an all star cast which includes Bradley Cooper, Shia LaBeouf, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Hayden Christensen, Christina Ricci, John Hurt, Robin Wright Penn, Ethan Hawke, James Caan, Andy Garcia, Cloris Leachman, Julie Christie, Eli Wallach, Maggie Q, Anton Yelchin and many more.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Heath Ledger's 'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus': Exclusive Trailer

It looks like Terry Gilliam is back with The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present-day. It tells the story of Dr. Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium', a travelling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Doctor Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. An inveterate gambler, thousands of years ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr. Nick, in which he won immortality. Centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr. Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his daughter reached her 16th birthday, she would become the property of Mr Nick. The film stars Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as the character 'Imaginarium Tony' after Heath Ledger's untimely death.

Visit the official website for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In theaters Oct 16th.

Source: Yahoo Uk,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Guillermo del Toro Boards Spanish Thriller 'Julia's Eyes'

Guillermo del Toro (top)
Belen Rueda (left) & Lluis Homar (right)

According to Variety, Guillermo del Toro the prolific Mexican multihyphenate who is currently in New Zealand prepping The Hobbit, will produce the dark Spanish-language thriller "Los ojos de Julia", Julia's Eyes along with Barcelona's Rodar y Rodar.

The project, which sees del Toro and the Spanish shingle reuniting after their previous collaboration, The Orphanage, is the latest to draw on the seemingly bottomless well of young genre talent in Catalan capital Barcelona.

Julia's Eyes will be directed by Guillem Morales, who is co-writing along with Oriol Paulo. It will be produced by Rodar's Joaquin Padro and Mar Targarona and co-financed by Focus Features Intl. Belen Rueda (The Orphanage) and Lluis Homar (Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces) are attached to star in the film, which tells the story of a woman slowly going blind as she investigates the mysterious death of her twin sister.

"Eyes" is shot from Julia's POV, so the scare tactics include panic attacks as her sight fails. Says [producer] Padro, "The thriller's an excuse to talk about a woman who overcomes her limitations; it's a journey of self-discovery."

"Julia's Eyes" reps a re-teaming of del Toro with Focus. The filmmaker's shingle Cha Cha Cha, which he founded along with fellow Mexicans Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, has a five picture deal with Focus. del Toro also has a separate first-look deal with Universal Pictures.

Lensing begins on Oct. 5

Friday, August 7, 2009

Spirit Awards Move to Friday Night in 25th Anniversary Year

The Independent Spirit Awards are like the Academy Awards for indie filmmakers. This is the event where people who make some of the most brilliant and creative films in Hollywood with a very, very little budget go to ring in on their success. You win an award here, and the Weinstein brothers or Joel Silver will be knocking at your door.

This will mark the 25th anniversary of the Spirit Awards, which is a HUGE deal for indie filmmakers. The awards show started out in 1984 as a very small program for friends by friends called FINDIE (”Friends of Independents”), and has now blossomed to be one of the most sought-after awards show for movie geeks from all over the globe. To celebrate this incredible achievement, Film Independent and IFC (Independent Film Channel) will be broadcasting the ceremony live in a special primetime event. No venue has been announced yet. The awards had been traditionally held on the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards, in relaxed get-together in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Cathy Schulman, producer "Crash", 2006 Spirit Awards
(Red Carpet Arrivals: under a tent on the beach in Santa Monica)

Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson said: “In planning this year’s significant anniversary, we decided to venture away from our beloved day at the beach to a Friday evening where we hope an even broader audience discovers us as we kick-off the awards weekend.”

Previous Spirit Award winners include Paul Haggis, Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams, and many more.

Paul Haggis, writer/director (Crash)
Winner 'Best First Film', 2006 Spirit Awards

This year’s Spirit Awards will broadcast live and uncut on Friday, March 5, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. PST/11:00 p.m. EST on IFC. Call for entries begin on Monday, August 10 and the nominations press conference will take place on Tuesday, December 1.

Source: Film Independent

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Larry Fessenden to direct English language remake of 'The Orphanage'

According to THR Larry Fessenden will direct New Line’s English language remake of The Orphanage. Guillermo del Toro (who produced the original Spanish version) is producing and has co-written the script with Fessenden. A lead actress is currently being searched for.

The original version of The Orphanage (which is only a couple of years old) followed a woman who moves in with her husband and son to a house that used to be the orphanage that she grew up in. Before long her son starts to act strange, communicating with an imaginary friend.

Fessenden is well established on the indie-horror circuit, as an actor, producer and director. His resume includes the likes of The Last Winter, The Roost, I Sell The Dead and Wendigo. Del Toro handpicked Fassenden to direct The Orphanage remake, seeing him as a “filmmaker who understood the conventions of the horror genre and could execute a movie that would be as scary and disturbing as the original but in an American context.”

Fessenden being tapped as director also continues the trend of del Toro mentoring up-and-coming filmmakers, having already done so with Juan Antonio Bayona (director of the original Orphanage) and currently Andres Muschietti (who’s directing Mama for Universal).

The Orphanage remake is in the development stages and doesn’t currently have a release date.

Source: THR

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heath Ledger's Modest Mouse Video

Modest Mouse / Heath Ledger

The music video Heath Ledger directed for "King Rat" by Modest Mouse debuted online Tuesday. The six-minute, animated video is both whimsical and dark, showing whales and dolphinsaboard a ship, fishing for humans in the water.

The Dark Knight actor helmed the animated clip for "King Rat," a bonus tune off 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. The video was animated by Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

In a 2007 interview with VH1 frontman Isaac Brock spoke about the collaboration with Ledger.

"Heath and I have a mutual friend and when we were in Australia, my fiancé and some of us in the band went out on a boat with him and his family and friends and talked about the idea," Brock said of the video's origin. "The idea sort of dropped, but then he just sent me an email saying that he wanted to do it."

The video concludes with a message in white letters on a black screen: "This began with our friend, a great defender of life, and was completed in his spirit."

Ledger was 28 when he died last year. Modest Mouse announced in March that it would release the video "in honor of Heath's last piece of work as a director," according to spokeswoman Lisa Markowitz. The actor previously directed a video for one of Ben Harper's songs.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Guillermo del Toro on Our Obsession with Vampires

Photo: Pahko Moreno/

First came news that Buffy alumna Marti Noxon and her partner, Dawn Parouse Olmstead (Prison Break), are working on a TV adaptation of The Strain.

Now the multitasking, multimedia storyteller and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy), and author and co-writer with GDT on “The Strain,” Chuck Hogan (Prince of Thieves) have delivered to New York Times readers an op-ed contribution about “Why Vampires Never Die.”

Why Vampires Never Die
By Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Published: NY Times July 30, 2009

It all started nearly 200 years ago. It was the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816, when ash from volcanic eruptions lowered temperatures around the globe, giving rise to widespread famine. A few friends gathered at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva and decided to engage in a small competition to see who could come up with the most terrifying tale — and the two great monsters of the modern age were born.

One was created by Mary Godwin, soon to become Mary Shelley, whose Dr. Frankenstein gave life to a desolate creature. The other monster was less created than fused. John William Polidori stitched together folklore, personal resentment and erotic anxieties into “The Vampyre,” a story that is the basis for vampires as they are understood today.

With “The Vampyre,” Polidori gave birth to the two main branches of vampiric fiction: the vampire as romantic hero, and the vampire as undead monster. This ambivalence may reflect Polidori’s own, as it is widely accepted that Lord Ruthven, the titular creature, was based upon Lord Byron — literary superstar of the era and another resident of the lakeside villa that fateful summer. Polidori tended to Byron day and night, both as his doctor and most devoted groupie. But Polidori resented him as well: Byron was dashing and brilliant, while the poor doctor had a rather drab talent and unremarkable physique.

But this was just a new twist to a very old idea. The myth, established well before the invention of the word “vampire,” seems to cross every culture, language and era. The Indian Baital, the Ch’ing Shih in China, and the Romanian Strigoi are but a few of its names. The creature seems to be as old as Babylonia and Sumer. Or even older.

The vampire may originate from a repressed memory we had as primates. Perhaps at some point we were — out of necessity — cannibalistic. As soon as we became sedentary, agricultural tribes with social boundaries, one seminal myth might have featured our ancestors as primitive beasts who slept in the cold loam of the earth and fed off the salty blood of the living.

Monsters, like angels, are invoked by our individual and collective needs. Today, much as during that gloomy summer in 1816, we feel the need to seek their cold embrace.

Herein lies an important clue: in contrast to timeless creatures like the dragon, the vampire does not seek to obliterate us, but instead offers a peculiar brand of blood alchemy. For as his contagion bestows its nocturnal gift, the vampire transforms our vile, mortal selves into the gold of eternal youth, and instills in us something that every social construct seeks to quash: primal lust. If youth is desire married with unending possibility, then vampire lust creates within us a delicious void, one we long to fulfill.

In other words, whereas other monsters emphasize what is mortal in us, the vampire emphasizes the eternal in us. Through the panacea of its blood it turns the lead of our toxic flesh into golden matter.

In a society that moves as fast as ours, where every week a new “blockbuster” must be enthroned at the box office, or where idols are fabricated by consensus every new television season, the promise of something everlasting, something truly eternal, holds a special allure. As a seductive figure, the vampire is as flexible and polyvalent as ever. Witness its slow mutation from the pansexual, decadent Anne Rice creatures to the current permutations — promising anything from chaste eternal love to wild nocturnal escapades — and there you will find the true essence of immortality: adaptability.

Vampires find their niche and mutate at an accelerated rate now — in the past one would see, for decades, the same variety of fiend, repeated in multiple storylines. Now, vampires simultaneously occur in all forms and tap into our every need: soap opera storylines, sexual liberation, noir detective fiction, etc. The myth seems to be twittering promiscuously to serve all avenues of life, from cereal boxes to romantic fiction. The fast pace of technology accelerates its viral dispersion in our culture.

But if Polidori remains the roots in the genealogy of our creature, the most widely known vampire was birthed by Bram Stoker in 1897.

Part of the reason for the great success of his “Dracula” is generally acknowledged to be its appearance at a time of great technological revolution. The narrative is full of new gadgets (telegraphs, typing machines), various forms of communication (diaries, ship logs), and cutting-edge science (blood transfusions) — a mash-up of ancient myth in conflict with the world of the present.

Today as well, we stand at the rich uncertain dawn of a new level of scientific innovation. The wireless technology we carry in our pockets today was the stuff of the science fiction in our youth. Our technological arrogance mirrors more and more the Wellsian dystopia of dissatisfaction, while allowing us to feel safe and connected at all times. We can call, see or hear almost anything and anyone no matter where we are. For most people then, the only remote place remains within. “Know thyself” we do not.

Despite our obsessive harnessing of information, we are still ultimately vulnerable to our fates and our nightmares. We enthrone the deadly virus in the very same way that “Dracula” allowed the British public to believe in monsters: through science. Science becomes the modern man’s superstition. It allows him to experience fear and awe again, and to believe in the things he cannot see.

And through awe, we once again regain spiritual humility. The current vampire pandemic serves to remind us that we have no true jurisdiction over our bodies, our climate or our very souls. Monsters will always provide the possibility of mystery in our mundane “reality show” lives, hinting at a larger spiritual world; for if there are demons in our midst, there surely must be angels lurking nearby as well. In the vampire we find Eros and Thanatos fused together in archetypal embrace, spiraling through the ages, undying.


Guillermo del Toro, and Chuck Hogan are the authors of The Strain, a vampire trilogy. The Strain TV series is currently in the works.