Re-working the Count Dracula myth, re-negotiating class identity: the transnational vampire goes to late 1950s Italy

Michael Guarneri

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Abstract

The author analyzes how the myth of transnational vampire Count Dracula as a polluting ‘foreign body‘ to be destroyed for the greater good of society was drastically re-worked in Tempi duri per i vampiri (Steno [Stefano Vanzina], 1959), an Italian comedy film made to cash in on Hammer’s box-office hit Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958). The article conceives of Tempi duri per i vampiri (literally, “Hard times for vampires”) as a satirical work that taps into the anxieties afflicting certain segments of Italian society at the inception of the period of large, traumatic socio-economic change known as ‘the Italian economic miracle.‘ After having explored the shadows lurking behind the film’s generally light and optimistic tone, Tempi duri per i vampiri eventually emerges as a cruel parable of class struggle in which human characters must learn from the vampire how to re-negotiate their ancestral class identity in order to avoid extinction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-59
JournalČasopis A & P
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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