I just finished reading the very atmospheric 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova, and vaguely limpid ending aside, it was fairly effective in creeping me out whenever I read it at night.

I have to take my hat off to Ms Kostova for managing to rework the centuries-old Dracula story into something new again, considering how vampires have acquired a cheesier image in our modern times, and ruthless tyrants seem (tragically) almost commonplace.

If I had to visually invoke the creepier parts of 'The Historian', it would look like these ravishing images by Desiree Dolron -

The descriptions in Ms Kostova's novel are rather more elaborate - 'He is dressed in purple and red damask under a long black velvet cloak, which is pinned across his broad chest with an elaborate brooch' - but I prefer these austere visions, even if they're probably inaccurate for the period being described.

The one with the three figures standing down the corridor in the room really gives me a jolt of pure horror. I think Ms Dolron has that gift for creating a mood for her work - it's atmospheric. And some of the images - like the ones with the people looking like they're asleep in a jar of formaldehyde - are so beautifully realised that I want pick Ms Dolron's brain on how exactly how they were achieved.

I think the whole idea of vampires never had any seductive effect for me because of the decadence and baroque glamour it's usually associated with. Plus, all those Anne Rice novels, and a ghastly Tom Cruise dashing around with lush blond locks and curled lips in 'Interview of with a Vampire' really didn't help the vampire's image.

The deeply unnerving quality of Ms Dolron's photographs is a far better fit for a centuries' old legend that, when you really get down to thinking about it, is really quite frightening - blood-drinkers that live forever and take the form of mist, bats or wolves. Makes for sleepless nights.

Pictures taken from http://community.livejournal.com/foto_decadent/


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