Kiss of the Vampire

Harry Barrett
Mind Map by Harry Barrett, updated more than 1 year ago
Harry Barrett
Created by Harry Barrett almost 3 years ago


Mind Map on Kiss of the Vampire, created by Harry Barrett on 12/11/2018.

Resource summary

Kiss of the Vampire
  1. Product Context
    1. Produced by Hammer Film Productions and distributed by J. Arthur Rank and Universal
      1. By 1963, Hammer had success with other 'monster movie' franchises such as The Mummy and Frankenstein and
        1. The distributer Universal also saw early success with films in this genre.
        2. Cultural context
          1. The 1960s audience for this advert could be assumed to be familiar with the codes and conventions of ‘monster movie’ film posters – such as its composition, fonts and representations of ‘the monster’ and its (usually female) victims
          2. Codes and conventions
            1. The capitalised, serif font of the title creates connotations linked to the vampire film genre with its ‘wooden’ styling (referencing the vampire’s coffin or the stake needed to kill him perhaps) and the blood dripping from the letter V’s ‘fang’
              1. The use of a ‘painted’ main image is highly conventional of films of the period and links to the poster for Christopher Lee’s Dracula, but the fact that it’s in colour connotes that this is a modern telling of an older story
                1. The gloomy grey, black and brown colour palette reinforces the film’s dark, scary conventions while the red highlight colour draws attention to the bats, the vampire and the blood – all key visual signifiers for the genre
                  1. Conventionally, the stars are listed with the more highly paid male actors first and in order of fame, Clifford Evans having starred in Hammer’s 1961 hit Curse of the Werewolf
                  2. Theorists
                    1. Roland Barthes
                      1. Semiotics
                        1. Barthes’ Semantic Code could be applied to images of the bats and their conventional association with vampirism and horror in general
                          1. The Symbolic Codes (Barthes) of horror, darkness and fear are more widely reinforced through signifiers such as the moon and the male victim’s ‘submissive sacrifice’ gesture code
                          2. Enigma Code
                            1. Suspense is created through the enigmas surrounding the connoted relationship between the male and female vampires (emphasised by the “kiss” of the title) and the fate of their two victims
                          3. Claude Lévi-Strauss
                            1. Structuralism
                              1. The idea that texts are constructed through the use of binary oppositions could be applied to the opposing representations of the vampires and their victims, and the romantic connotations of “kiss” opposed in the film’s title to the stereotypical “vampire” monster.
                            2. Stuart Hall
                              1. Representation
                                1. The images of a castle, bats, the vampire’s cape and dripping blood form part of the “shared conceptual road map” that give meaning to the “world” of the poster. The audience is actively encouraged to decode this familiar generic iconography
                              2. Liesbet Van Zoonen
                                1. Feminism
                                  1. By assuming this ‘co-antagonist’ role, the female vampire is perhaps contributing to social change by representing women in nontraditional roles (Van Zoonen, 1989) though the passive female victim does reinforce these
                                2. David Gauntlett
                                  1. Identity
                                    1. The female vampire acts as a role model for women struggling against male oppression or desperate to be seen as the equals of men, whatever the narrative or environment
                                3. Social context
                                  1. The 1960s is often seen as the start of women’s sexual liberation, aided by events such as the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1960
                                    1. There were more women than ever were entering the paid workforce and sixties feminists were campaigning for equal pay, an end to sexual harassment and more equality between men and women in wider society
                                      1. In America, equal pay legislation was passed in 1963
                                        1. ‘Older’ stereotypes of women as passive victims of men and more modern ‘male fears’ of women challenging male dominance could both be seen to be encoded in this film poster
                                        2. Representation
                                          1. Both women wear pale dresses made of light materials and these dress codes serve to reinforce their femininity by highlighting the curves of their bodies and revealing the flesh of their upper chests and arms
                                            1. The gesture code of the woman on the left is that of the stereotypical passive victim of the ‘monster’, his power highlighted by the fact that he’s holding her by just one arm
                                              1. Baring her teeth and with her arm raised almost fist-like as she’s being bitten by the bat, the second woman’s gesture codes are more aggressive than the man's
                                                1. The submissive pose of her male ‘victim’ (including being on his knees with his head back and throat exposed) represent her in a nonstereotypically dominant way
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