This past summer, Marita Crandle, owner of Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans recommended the film We Are the Night on her VBITE Webcast. I finally had a chance to watch it about a week ago and found that it was an interesting film. The film was made in Germany and is presented with English subtitles. The original title was Wir sind die Nacht.
The movie opens with a lovely homage to the Demeter sequence in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The passengers and crew of a doomed airliner are all dead, except the three vampire women who clearly killed them. After they escape into the night, we meet a young woman named Lena who picks a man’s pocket, only to be pursued by the police. The night after the chase, Lena goes to a creepy amusement park that could be at home in a Tim Burton film. In the bowels of the park is a night club run by the three vampires from the beginning of the film. The vampire Louise finds Lena compelling and soon attacks her, turning her into a vampire.
As the movie progresses, we get to know more about Louise’s companions. Charlotte, who is mostly silent, is a one-time silent movie actress who left behind her daughter when Louise made her a vampire. Cheerful Nora became a vampire in 1997 and just loves to have fun. We also learn that there are no male vampires in this world.
Many authors, myself included, have used vampires as a way to explore the idea of immortality. I’ve seen numerous stories that use vampirism as a metaphor for drug addiction. This was the first time I’d seen vampires as Amazons and a metaphor for feminist empowerment. The idea appealed to me, since I’ve imagined fae as Amazons in my story “Amazons and Predators” which appeared in Bad Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory.
According to interviews, the director made a deliberate decision to steer away from Dracula references, opening scene aside, and took most of his inspiration from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 novella Carmilla. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read Le Fanu’s novella, but I found it on Project Gutenberg and plan to correct that oversight in the near future.
I was also interested to learn that the creepy amusement park is a real place called Spreepark in Berlin. Here’s an article with some photos and information about the place. This looks like a terrific vampire lair!
Overall, We Are the Night was an interesting film that made me think. Exploring behind the scenes has encouraged me to read a novella that I should have read years ago. It’s hard to ask for more from a film. I’m glad I followed up on Marita’s recommendation.