A New Sort of Vampire Film?

When I tell people that one of the films covered in The New Horror Handbook is Ginger Snaps, reactions range from “I love that movie!” to “That’s a pretty obscure choice there, fellah.” Both views are understandable. But chances are that if you connected with that flick at all, it’s because Ginger Snaps has a strong emotional component to it, and lends itself to a very real-world interpretation: growing apart from someone you love. It is the same approach that earned the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer millions of fans the world over.

That said, you might also have enjoyed that film for another reason. At least to my mind, it was the first werewolf film that didn’t feel two-dimensional. Until seeing it, I could safely say that none of the “monster” movies I’ve seen ever did anything for me: vampires, werewolves, mummies, you name it. Looking back on it now, I think that’s because they never enticed me to be vested in them emotionally.

Which brings me to the subject of this post [um, finally]. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson may have finally brought some much needed depth to the vampire tale with his 2008 release Lat den ratte komma in, known as both Let the Right One In and Let Me In. (I’m afraid this trailer isn’t subtitled, but you’ll certainly get the gist.)

Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the film follows the relationship between 12-year-old bully-magnet Oskar and Eli, a child seemingly of the same age who turns out to be a vampire with a taste for lowlifes. By all accounts an emotional tale (I have yet to find it, I’m afraid), it does raise the hope that at last there might finally be a vampire film that fits the “new horror” mold — a film with true emotional depth.

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