Celebrating 'Dracula' and other vampire flicks at TA Cinematheque

A festival in honor of Bram Stoker's Dracula will run until May 16.

 'INTERVIEW WITH a Vampire' is part of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque's vampire flick festival. (photo credit: WARNER BROS.)
'INTERVIEW WITH a Vampire' is part of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque's vampire flick festival.
(photo credit: WARNER BROS.)

It has been 125 years since readers first sunk their teeth into Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Tel Aviv Cinematheque (cinema.co.il) is celebrating with a festival of vampire flicks from decades past that will dazzle the night. The celebration of all things bloodthirsty and undead runs until May 16.

In the TV series True Blood, when Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in a small Louisiana town, asks her handsome, soft-spoken, vampire customer his name, she responds, “Bill, I thought it might be Antoine, or Basil, or-or-or like Langford, maybe. But, Bill? Vampire Bill!”

Sookie might have been a fan of Anne Rice’s novel, Interview with the Vampire, which was turned into a 1994 film starring Tom Cruise as vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, Brad Pitt as vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac and Antonio Banderas as vampire Armand. It features very sexy undead, plus a pre-teen Kirsten Dunst as a junior vampire. It mainly pleased fans of the book but picked up many prizes, including a Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Pitt and Cruise). It will be shown on May 12.

Tel Aviv resident Quentin Tarantino wrote and starred in Robert Rodriguez’s 1996 From Dusk Till Dawn, in which he and George Clooney played two brothers just released from prison who find themselves getting up close and personal with some vampires in the Mexican town where they hide out to plan their next heist. Salma Hayek is one of the most alluring of the undead they encounter. Her table-top dance in which Tarantino drinks beer dripping off her toes is one of the sexiest scenes in 90s cinema. Tarantino was supposed to attend a screening of this at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque earlier this year and had to cancel when he contracted COVID. No word about whether he will be able to attend this time around. It’s showing on May 13.

Shadow of a Vampire (2000), is playing May 9. It’s a fictionalized look at the filming of the first Dracula film, Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau, a classic that holds up well today and which starred an actor who called himself Max Shreck (German for terror). According to rumor, Shreck began to live the part off-screen. Willem Dafoe plays Shreck with appropriate creepiness and the film also stars John Malkovich as Murnau.

 Dracula bites Lucy Westenra. (credit: FLICKR) Dracula bites Lucy Westenra. (credit: FLICKR)

David Bowie was the perfect actor to star in Tony Scott’s The Hunger, a stylish vampire story that involves a love triangle between a cellist (Bowie), a rampaging, sexy vampire (Catherine Deneuve) and a gerontologist (Susan Sarandon). For years, this had the distinction of being one of the only mainstream movies to feature a lesbian scene with real movie stars and was beloved by many for that. It will be shown on May 16.

George Romero was a filmmaker who was way ahead of his time in many ways, mining zombies and vampires for cinematic gold decades ago, long before such creatures topped the bestseller lists and were the subject of dozens of mainstream TV shows. His 1978 movie, Martin, which is showing on May 9, is not as well-known as his films Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. It tells the story of a troubled young man, who believes he is a vampire and goes to stay with his family in a creepy Pennsylvania town.