Why We Need a Carmilla Movie (And Who Should Be In It)

Similar to zombies and witches, vampires are popular in today’s culture. From the animalistic villains of 30 Days of Night to the romantic heroes of Twilight and True Blood, vampires are showing up in all forms of pop culture and for all ages and genres. Both Twilight and True Blood are coming to a close, leaving us with classical approaches to vampires including Dario Argento’s film version and NBC’s television version of Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula. Dracula is one the the most reproduced stories of all time and although it’s a classic that I always enjoy, it’s not the only gothic vampire tale worth telling.


The Vampire Lovers is (very) loosely based on Carmilla but with the added exploitation of 70’s horror films.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is a famous gothic author from the 19th Century who wrote such tales as Green Tea, Uncle Silas and Carmilla. Carmilla is the story of a family who takes in a young woman, only to discover that she is actually a creature of the night. It has the same classic vampire themes as Dracula and it’s underlying homoerotic tension can be explored in modern cinema without being exploitated as it has been in the past.

The 2011 film The Moth Diaries is a modern-day adaptation of Carmilla.

The 2011 film The Moth Diaries is a modern-day adaptation of Carmilla.

Carmilla is a favorite among vampire enthusiasts and has been adapted into films before, but usually twisted into an extremely sexualized version of the true story. I think that the time is perfect for a true Carmilla movie based closely on the short story and without the added pornography elements that accompanied the tale in the exploitation era of the 70’s (such as in Lust for a Vampire or The Vampire Lovers). I will note that 2011’s The Mother Diaries (based on a book of the same name) was a clever and enjoyable modern-day adaptation of the story. However, with this time of gothic vampire resurrgance, I think we deserve a more loyal adapation and below you will see my choices of who I think should star in it.


Holliday Grainger as Laura, a pretty blonde young woman who gets caught up with a deadly houseguest and the narrator of the story.


Maria Valverde as Carmilla, a beautiful dark-haired stranger with a dangerous secret who moved in with Laura and her father.

 Kenneth Branagh as Laura’s Father who invites Carmilla to stay at their house and later becomes suspicious of her.

Miranda Richardson, chair of this year's Women's prize for fiction judges
Miranda Richardson as Carmila’s mother, a mysterious figure who appears suddenly and leaves Carmilla in Laura’s father’s care.

Orlando Jones as General Spielsdorf, a friend of Laura’s father who is searching for the villain who killed his niece.

Nathalie Emmanuelle as Bertha Rheinfeldt, the General’s niece, a pretty young woman who sufferes a tragic fate.

 Anthony Head as Baron Vordenburg, an authority on vampires and the descendant of the hero who rid the area of vampires long ago.