As sophisticated as they are, Miriam and John don’t appear to venture below 14th Street. The pair reside in an impossibly large apartment on the Upper West Side, near Central Park, while the clinic is on Sutton Place. The Addiction (1995), by director Abel Ferrera, was shot on location in Greenwich Village and on the New York University campus, capturing the downtown grit of mid-90s heroin chic. Christopher Walken’s vampire Peina may have found the bloodsuckers’ methadone, but Casanova (Annabel Sciorra) and her newly hooked best fiend forever Kathleen Conklin (Lili Taylor) prefer to mainline the pure stuff. As does Sam, the alcoholic vampire played by director and writer Larry Fessenden in Habit, also set in a seedy Lower Manhattan.
Meanwhile Eddie Murphy leads the bridge-and-tunnel crowd to the boroughs in Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), directed by Wes Craven. His Maximillian is the last vampire on Earth, and can only replenish his supply with the blood of a dhampir, a daughter of a human and a vampire. The mix is even better when it comes in the form of a New York City Police detective, Angela Bassett’s Rita Veder.
But you need to take the ferry if you want to visit the vampires on What We Do in the Shadows. Not only is that where Nandor, Nadja, Laszlo, Colin Robinson, and their familiar/bodyguard Guillermo live their undead lives, but where they work, rule, and occasionally expire. The office of the ancient Vampiric Council is also on Staten Island.
For vampire fans, London is best known as the city where Count Dracula set-up his coffin after the long rat-infested voyage from his native Transylvania, but it is also the setting of the most frightening early horror films ever lost to time. Tod Browning’s 1927 silent mystery film London After Midnight, also called The Hypnotist, starred Lon Chaney as the Man in the Beaver Hat. He leads Scotland Yard through a world of smoke, mirrors, and floating vampire women with lethal smiles. All is not what it seems, though it is exactly as planned.
In Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), the count gets down on swinging London. While he just misses the spectral heyday depicted in Last Night in Soho, the mods are also thrilled to go down for the count. It was the fifth sequel to Horror of Dracula, and the liberated early 1970s youth throws the venerated Christopher Lee an orgy of a party. One which his most trusted nemesis, Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing, feels the need to crash.
Bela Lugosi’s Count Dracula hit London during a romantic age, and The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998), directed by Po-Chih Leong, is a vampire-of-London rom-com. It stars Jude Law as Steven. He loves Chinese takeout, has no trouble going out during the day, and wants to settle down. He’s left a trail of bloodless corpses behind him, and is looking for someone who can look past all that. Elina Löwensohn’s Anne, who enthusiastically embraced her inner vampire in Nadja, resists the allure here. Maybe if Steven raised a boombox over his head instead of throttling people with dance moves, it may have worked out?
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