In Part One of this article, we looked at the placement of asteroid Lameia, named for a mythic progenitress of the vampire, in the charts of literary individuals who were instrumental in popularizing this undead creature, and crafting our modern image of it. Part Two will focus on the individuals and films who brought the vampire to “life” on the screen.
Surely preeminent among these is Bela Lugosi, the actor who first portrayed King Vampire Dracula on stage and screen, and who remains the iconic image of this bloodsucker for millions across the globe. Lugosi came by his exotic Middle-European flair naturally, as a native of the Transylvania region, then controlled by the Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. Lugosi left school at the age of 12, and began his stage career shortly thereafter, appearing in his first silent film in 1917. Political differences between communists and socialists in the aftermath of the fall of the Empire following World War I caused Lugosi to flee to Germany, then America, where he continued his stage and screen work in New York.
His breakout role as Stoker’s caped count came in a 1927 Broadway adaptation of “Dracula”, and when the company toured the West Coast after its New York run, Lugosi followed, remaining in California to star in Universal Studio’s production of the film version. Lugosi was a smash in the title role, but there’s such a thing as playing a part too well. Typecast, Lugosi struggled to expand into other genres, but remained a silver screen monster until his death in 1956, mostly cast in B-grade horror films, and never regained the prominence he once enjoyed. In a final ironic homage to the character that had both made and marred him, he was buried in his Dracula cape.
Born 20 October 1882 at 3:30 PM LMT in Lugos, Romania (Rodden Rating A), asteroid Lameia at 4 Aries falls in the First House, allowing Lugosi to personally identify with the role and authentically project its image onscreen for others. Emotional resonance to the part came with an exact sextile to the Moon at 4 Aquarius, while a trine to Venus at 10 Sagittarius ensured a romantic edginess which gripped his many female fans. Lugosi’s personal identification with the vampire character is complete, with Lameia conjunct natal asteroid Lugosi, a point named for him, at 10 Aries. A semisquare to a Neptune/Saturn pairing at 17 and 24 Taurus point to his success with the vampire role (Lameia) in his movie (Neptune) career (Saturn), and a trine from these to a conjunction of Uranus and asteroid Bella (alternate spelling and phonetic match) at 21 and 20 Virgo (angular on the 13 Virgo Descendant) ensures his exotic appeal (Uranus) and identification as the ultimate foreigner (Uranus also), making this a primary means of interaction with others (Descendant). Lugosi was a natural fit for the Stoker novel, with his 27 Libra Sun cojoined the author’s natal asteroid Transylvania at 25 Libra, while Lameia conjoined Stoker’s natal asteroid Stokes at 6 Aries: he was Bram Stoker’s creation!
When “Dracula” premiered on Valentine’s Day 1931 (Universal’s promos billed it as “the strangest passion the world has ever known!”), asteroid Lameia at 15 Virgo was exactly semisquare Mars at 0 Leo, trine Venus with Saturn at 8 and 18 Capricorn, reaffirming the studio’s “passionate” (Mars, Venus) publicity take and boosting its popular (Venus) success (Saturn) and critical acclaim (also Saturn). Lameia was also conjoined Lugosi’s natal Descendant at 13 Virgo and semisquare his natal Sun at 27 Libra, energizing Lugosi’s relationship with the public (Descendant), which quickly identified him with the role (Sun). As well, an opposition from the transit Sun at 25 Aquarius to asteroid Bella at 21 Leo guaranteed a high visibility (Sun) for the actor (Bella), while asteroid Lugosi at 14 Aquarius was just emerging from the Sun’s orb of influence (active during the pre-premiere hype and hoopla), but also at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to Jupiter at 11 Cancer and Lameia, showing a fated connection (Yod) to the vampire role (Lameia) which would make Lugosi (Lugosi) a celebrity (Jupiter).
Universal’s “Dracula” was such a huge success, so deeply embedded in the popular mindset, that no studio assailed the role for almost thirty years, until Britain’s Hammer Studios realized the advantages of technicolor for the property in its 1958 remake, “The Horror of Dracula”. Whereas Lugosi’s Dracula never even showed his fangs, much less dripped blood, the Hammer version was plastered with gore galore, and introduced its star Christopher Lee to a new generation ripe for explicit bloodletting and wanton sexuality.
Like his predecessor, Lee resisted typecasting, continuing to crank out horror epics of varying quality for Hammer well into the 1970s, including ten turns as the Transylvanian Count, but managed to also broaden his appeal, capping his six-decades-long career as the wizard Saruman in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. Born 27 May 1922 at 2:45 PM GDT in London, England (Rodden rating B), Christopher Lee’s natal asteroid Lameia at 7 Taurus is sextile Venus at 2 Cancer and exactly sesquiquadrate Mars at 22 Sagittarius, once again combining bloodlust and sex appeal (Mars) with the romance of eternal love (Venus), or at any rate, desire. Lameia is also at the fulcrum of a T-Square with Neptune at 13 Leo opposing asteroid Christophe (closest to Christopher) at 14 Aquarius, for the actor (Christophe) who would play a vampire (Lameia) on the silver screen (Neptune) more than any other.
Even as Lee dominated the vampire genre on the big screen, a worthy rival appeared on the small screen, with the 1966 premiere of “Dark Shadows”, a Gothic-themed TV soap opera featuring reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins, played with all due pathos by veteran Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid. The series quickly developed a cult following and was spun off into two theatrical releases, while Frid’s Barnabas, the vampire with a conscience, became one of the first of a new breed of sympathetic bloodsuckers, characters more “fleshed-out”, so to speak, driven by more than insatiable bloodlust.
Born 2 December 1924 (no time available), Jonathan Frid’s natal Lameia at 28 Capricorn is semisquare his 10 Sagittarius Sun, enabling him to personally identify with the role. It’s also at the base of a fated Yod, sextile asteroid Collins at 29 Pisces, both inconjunct to Neptune at 22 Leo on the Apex, for the TV role (Neptune) of vampire (Lameia) Barnabas Collins (Collins) that became so crucial to Frid’s lifepath.
“Dark Shadows” series creator Dan Curtis followed up his smash success a few years later with a made-for-TV adaptation of “Dracula”, starring Jack Palance. The 1974 production borrowed heavily from Curtis’ Barnabas Collins sensibilities, and was the first to portray Stoker’s count as a sympathetic, romantic, historical figure, pining for his lost love, reincarnated in one of his victims (Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 widescreen extravaganza owes much to this perspective). The role was somewhat of a departure for Palance, used to playing screen “heavies” with rather less pallor, but led to a career revival after a segue to a hosting gig on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”, another association with the macabre and supernatural. Born 18 February 1919 (no time available) Jack Palance’s natal Lameia at 25 Cancer is inconjunct his Sun/Uranus conjunction at 27 and 28 Aquarius, semisextile Saturn at 24 Leo, and trine a Mars/Venus pairing at 17 and 19 Pisces, allowing Palance a personal connection (Sun) to this unorthodox (Uranus) portrayal of the vampire (Lameia), combining romance (Venus) and bloodletting (Mars), which gave a boost to his career (Saturn).
Of course, with such a career focus on the vampire genre, can we doubt Dan Curtis’ Lameia bona fides? Born 12 August 1927 (no time available), natal Lameia at 28 Virgo conjoins Venus at 23 Virgo, the likely source of his romantic take on vampires generally. Lameia also opposes an exact conjunction of Jupiter with Uranus at 2 Aries, demonstrating Curtis’ expansive (Jupiter), iconoclastic (Uranus) perspective on the theme, and the fame (Jupiter) he derived from working that vein (so to speak). There is again an element of personal identification, with Lameia’s close sextile to asteroid Daniel at 26 Cancer.
Another writer/director who proved important in the development of the genre is Joss Whedon, creator of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” franchise. Whedon’s perspective is antithetical, in that his viewpoint is from the vampire’s archnemesis, the Slayer, but he also created a sympathetic character in Angel, the vampire with a soul. A theatrical film in 1992 starring Kristy Swanson was a popular cult success, but didn’t come close to exhausting Whedon’s obsession with the topic.
So he moved to the small screen in 1997 with his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz as her undead love interest. Lasting seven seasons, “Buffy” was a hit, and hell-spawned the “Angel” spinoff with Boreanaz in 1999, for a five-year run. Whedon’s vampires (with the notable exception of Angel himself) are unremittingly evil, but also comic, quirky, and all too human in their faults and foibles. “Buffy” also expanded the Slayer canon to include battling against all manner of supernatural and demonic forces, not just vampires.
Born 23 June 1964 (no time available), Joss Whedon’s natal Lameia at 9 Taurus conjoins Jupiter at 16, evoking his expansive perspective on the genre and the celebrity he earned by promoting it. Lameia falls on the rough midpoint of Whedon’s Saturn/Sun trine, at 4 Pisces and 2 Cancer respectively, sextile to each, effectively energizing his self-identity and career path; the translation to film and TV is seen in Lameia’s opposition to Neptune at 15 Scorpio. Semisquare to Venus at 26 Gemini, Whedon’s perspective is again focused on the romantic aspects of the Angel character he created, hopelessly in love with his natural archenemy, the Slayer; natal asteroid Angel at 17 Aquarius squares Lameia and is exactly sesquiquadrate the Sun.
David Boreanaz (born 16 May 1971, no time available) fully inhabited the role of Angel, the conflicted vampire with a soul who struggled to regain his humanity. Angel was the breakout role of Boreanaz’ career, not surprising when we see natal Lameia at 23 Aquarius squared his exact Sun/Saturn pairing at 25 Taurus, directly affecting his life and profession. Lameia is also sextile Venus and Mercury at 27 and 29 Aries, for the romantic (Venus), articulate (Mercury) vampire character. Natal asteroid Angel at 8 Taurus is at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, inconjunct Uranus at 9 Libra and a Neptune/Jupiter conjunction at 1 and 2 Sagittarius, depicting the vital, fated (Yod) importance of that television (Uranus) role (Angel) in bringing Boreanaz fame and celebrity (Jupiter) as an actor (Neptune). Perhaps not coincidentally, Boreanaz’ Angel falls within a degree of Whedon’s natal Lameia at 9 Taurus, allowing Whedon to enthusiastically identify Boreanaz with that vampiric role, a perfect fit between actor and character in his mind.
Meanwhile, back on the wide screen, vampires continued to evolve as romantic, tragic figures. Frank Langella exuded smoldering sensuality in the 1979 remake of “Dracula”, based on the Balderston-Deane stage play. Just as Lugosi before him, Langella swept into the role on Broadway first, then starred in the theatrical release directed by John Badham. Like so many prior versions, this “Dracula” muddled Stoker’s character names and relationships, a baffling tendency, but no one can remain mystified by the attraction which draws Kate Nelligan’s Lucy Seward character helplessly into his web of erotic delights, with the promise of eternal love.
Born 9:26 AM EST on 1 January 1938 in Bayonne, New Jersey (Rodden Rating AA), Frank Langella’s natal asteroid Lameia at 9 Gemini opposes his 4 Sagittarius MC, for one of the most foundational (conjunct the IC) roles of his career (MC). Langella received a Tony nomination for his stage performance, and the film was a critical success which spurred his career. Lameia is also in a Grand Trine Kite with Jupiter (source of fame and celebrity) at 2 Aquarius and asteroid Franke (for Frank) at 1 Libra, opposed Saturn at 29 Pisces, driving his career (Saturn). Lameia further squares Mars at 8 Pisces, combining raw sexuality and bloodlust (Mars).
But it was 1992’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, which fully realized the nascent tragic, romantic antihero strains first struck by Dan Curtis two decades earlier. Starring Gary Oldman, this lush adaptation puts meat on the bones of Dracula’s historic backstory, in all its florid and feral glory, with baroque sets, Victorian stilted repressiveness and erotic flair. This is an undisguised love story, extracted from Stoker’s subtext and brought to vivid afterlife as the most amatory adaptation of the novel. Oldman’s Dracula is obsessive, captivating, ruthless and unrepentant, but focused on reclaiming a love that was ripped apart by cruel Fate centuries before.
Born 10:56 AM GMT on 21 March 1958 in London, England (Rodden Rating C), Gary Oldman’s natal Lameia at 10 Leo is powerfully at station, trine the Sun, exerting a disproportionate pull on the actor’s psyche. Lameia turned direct five days after Oldman’s birth, and is exactly inconjunct his Midheaven at 10 Pisces, also conjunct Uranus at 7 Leo, opposed Mars and Venus at 3 and 15 Aquarius, T-Squared Neptune at 4 Scorpio, exactly sesquiquadrate Saturn at 25 Sagittarius, and trine Sun, Moon and Mercury at 0, 11 and 16 Aries respectively, making it one of the most tapped-in points of the chart.
Two years later, screen vampire eroticism took a same-sex turn, in the long-awaited film adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise as undead lovers Louis and Lestat. Gay characters had made small inroads into the genre previously, most notably in 1967’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers”, which included a gay vampire, Herbert von Kroloch, son of the local aristocratic bloodsucker, who puts the moves on writer/director/star Roman Polanski (more focused on Sharon Tate, in her final film role before her murder).
But this was the first starring role for a gay vampire, and the skies reflected the shift. When “Interview” premiered on 11 November 1994, asteroid Lameia at 23 Capricorn conjoined Uranus exactly, as well as Neptune at 21 Cap, signaling the unorthodox (Uranus) vampire (Lameia) film (Neptune), and also opposed asteroid Antinous at 21 Cancer, named for the gay lover of Second Century Roman Emperor Hadrian, adding the same-sex accent. As well, asteroid Ganymed at 2 Leo, named for Zeus’ underage boy-toy lover and cupbearer, squared Venus at 5 Scorpio, depicting gay romance, while asteroid Sappho at 12 Leo, named for an ancient Greek lesbian poet, squared both Venus and the 19 Leo Sun, which was conjoined by asteroid Eros, named for the acknowledge patron of gay unions in Hellenistic times.
The traditionalist Dracula vein may have been tapped out in 1994 with Coppola’s masterwork, but vampires continued their march as romanticized creatures of the night. Or in the case of “Twilight”, creatures of the day, who sparkle in full sunlight. Stephenie Meyer’s saga of undying love hit big in 2005 with the first of four volumes chronicling the romance between vampire Edward Cullen and human Bella Swan, star-crossed lovers who risk everything to be together forever.
Robert Pattinson’s Edward is brooding and sullen, yet sensual, taking Kristen Stewart’s Bella to undreamed-of heights of erotic passion and immortal lust. Born 5 AM GDT on 13 May 1986 in London, England (Rodden Rating C), Robert Pattinson’s natal asteroid Lameia at 29 Scorpio conjoins Saturn at 7 Sagittarius, emblematic of the career-altering role that vampire Edward would be for him. Lameia also widely opposes the 22 Taurus Sun, allowing Pattinson to produce an authentic performance, as does asteroid Eduarda, closest to Edward, from 15 Scorpio, on the 14 Scorpio Descendant, also sextile the 18 Capricorn MC, highlighting the importance of the part for Pattinson’s career.
When “Twilight” premiered in theaters on 21 November 2008, asteroid Lameia at 1 Libra conjoined asteroid Meyer, the series creator, at 5 Libra, and was sextile the Sun at 29 Scorpio and Mars at 3 Sagittarius, squared Venus at 10 Capricorn, affirming the film’s focus (Sun) on sexuality (Mars) and romance (Venus), as opposed to the more traditional blood and gore. Asteroids Bella and Eduarda conjoin at 4 and 9 Scorpio sextile Venus, for the love story (Venus) of Bella and Edward.
Oddly, “Twilight” brings us full circle with cinematic vampires, because Pattison in 2005 is as defanged as Lugosi in 1931, though for very different reasons. Fear of censorship and wariness of offending audience sensibilities was the reason for Lugosi’s lack of augmented dental work, but Stephenie Meyer’s vampires never sported elongated canines, having no need of them. They do bite to acquire their sustenance, but with teeth that are perfectly normal-looking, except for being flawless, unbreakable, and razor sharp at the edges.
I guess that’s progress?