The fourth season of What We Do in the Shadows, Jemaine Clement’s vampire horror mockumentary, premieres tonight on FX. The horror comedy TV series starring Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch as four hapless vampire roommates going about their daily undead lives and having various misadventures in New York City.
Polygon had the opportunity to chat with the cast of What We Do in the Shadows to talk about their favorite pieces of Vampire media, from Anne Rice and Sheridan Le Fanu’s formative pieces of vampire literature to the lasting influence of Clement and Taika Waititi’s original film.
The Twilight series
Stephenie Meyer’s mega-popular Twilight series is among Natasia Demetriou’s favorite pieces of vampire media. “I was obsessed with the books, mainly,” Demetriou told Polygon. “I read all the books. And so yeah, that was the first time I was like, [exaggerated inhale] Ooooooh, yes. And then I’m also a fan of like human vampires, you know, like, I think Cher’s a vampire and Barbra Streisand is a vampire. So, you know, fans of them.”
What We Do in the Shadows
It should come as no surprise that Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s horror mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, aside from inspiring its TV series counterpart, would be a prominent favorite among the cast’s most beloved works of vampire fiction. “The [What We Do in the Shadows] movie, that was really what sparked my interest, you know, because I loved the film when it came out,” Matt Berry told Polygon. Demetriou shared the sentiment, describing Clement and Waititi’s original film as “absolute gold.”
What We Do in the Shadows is available to stream on Kanopy with a library card.
Christopher Lee’s Dracula movies with Hammer Horror
While not especially a fan of vampires prior to his work on What We Do in the Shadows, Berry cited Hammer Horror’s iconic run of Dracula films as some of his favorite vampire movies, particularly Christopher Lee’s iconic turn as the blood-sucking Count. “The only things that I would have been interested in were the Hammer Horror films from the ’60s and ’70s. With Christopher Lee, playing Dracula, that’s about as far as I’d have gotten into.”
Dracula (1958) is available to stream on HBO Max.
Interview with the Vampire (the book)
Anne Rice’s bestselling 1976 novel Interview with the Vampire, which would later inspire Neil Jordan’s 1994 movie adaptation of the same name, is one of Harvey Guillén’s favorite works of vampire literature. “I’ve always been fascinated with vampires, monsters, and all that,” Guillén told Polygon. “But like, Anne Rice’s books, and Interview with the Vampire in particular, I thought was really great growing up. And when I got this role, I got to just revisit that classic love for vampire lore.”
In addition to Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles series, Guillén also has an affinity for and love of older works of vampire literature, particularly the 1872 Gothic novella Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu. “[The book] was kind of pushed aside, because it was taboo,” Guillén told Polygon. “It was about a vampire, but it was a female, and then she was queer. That’s another story that I really like. And people have been like, discovering it.”
While Bela Lugosi is best known for his role as Count Dracula in 1931’s Dracula and Ygor in 1939’s Son of Frankenstein, it was Martin Landau’s performance as the iconic actor in Tim Burton’s 1994 biographical comedy-drama Ed Wood that first sparked Kayvan Novak’s interest in the mythos of vampires and the history of those who portray them. “Apart from Interview with the Vampire, I wasn’t really interested in vampires. I wasn’t even into The Lost Boys,” Novak told Polygon. “But the film Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi, and learning about his portrayal of Dracula. The tragic story of his life after that really kind of sparked my interest more into the actors that would play ghouls and, you know, Boris Karloff and that age of ghoulish cinema. And then what happened to the actors after that era was kind of more interesting for me. That sparked my imagination more than [exaggerated Transylvanian accent] Draaacula!”
Ed Wood is available to rent for $3.99 on Amazon, Apple, and Vudu.
Count von Count from Sesame Street
Vampires comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes, and while Count von Count from Sesame Street may not be horror royalty, the character is certainly one of the most iconic representations of vampires in popular culture and a natural favorite of What We Do in the Shadows’ Kayvan Novak.
Sesame Street is available to stream on HBO Max.