Kiss of the vampire film poster



This set text is a film poster for Kiss of the Vampire. Kiss of the Vampire was produced by Hammer Film Productions and distributed by J. Arthur Rank and Universal. 

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Kiss of the Vampire was intended to be the sequel to Dracula, though the script doesn't reference the character. ntended to be the second sequel to 1958’s Dracula, although the film’s script actually makes no reference to Stoker’s character. 

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Notes 1

The capitalised, serif font of the title creates connotations linked to the vampire film genre with its ‘wooden’ styling and the blood dripping from the letter V’s ‘fang’.

·        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 is in colour connotes that this is a modern telling of an older story.

·        The gloomy grey, black and brown colour palette reinforces the film’s dark and scary conventions while the red highlight colour draws attention to the attacking bats, the vampire and the blood- all key visual signifiers for the genre.

·        Conventionally, the stars are listed with the more highly paid male actors first and in order of fame.

·        ‘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.

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Notes 2

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.

The gesture code of the woman on the left is that of the stereotypical passive victim of the ‘monster’, his power is shown by the fact that he is holding her by just one arm.

The other woman is baring her teeth, her gesture codes are more aggressive and the submissive pose of her male ‘victim’ represent her in a non-stereotypically dominant way.

The vampire seems uncharacteristically fearful in his gesture codes as his arm is across his body in a defensive gesture.

The bat has connotations of danger, threat and fear. Blood has connotations of danger, fear and death, and the sharp object connotes danger as it can cause harm.

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Barthes’ theory of semiotics can be applied. Suspense is created through the enigmas surrounding the connoted relationship between the male and female vampires and the fate of their two victims. Semantic code could be applied to the images of the bats and their conventional association with vampirism and horror in general. The symbolic codes of horror, darkness and fear are more widely reinforced through signifiers such as the male victim’s gesture code.

Hall’s theory of representation can also be applied. 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.

Gauntlett’s identity theory can be applied to the film poster. The inclusion of the female vampire could act 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.

Van Zoonen’s feminist theory can be applied. By assuming the ‘co-antagonist’ role, the female vampire is perhaps contributing to social change by representing women in non-traditional roles, though the passive female victim does reinforce these.           

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