Chapter 1
Blood, Bodies, and Borders

This chapter compares two films that reinterpret Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula and its vampire in different ways. Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) parodies a nostalgic and orientalist perspective on debates about the place of the Middle East in the formation of US transnational identity and history, whereas Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) moves towards this history’s radical revision. Coppola imagines a “vampire ayatollah” during the first US invasion of Iran’s neighbor Iraq; Amirpour, as a feminist hijabi in the sonic space of Tehrangeles. The filmmakers’ familial trajectories underscore Hollywood’s transnational constitution as linked to US policy. The comparison develops a critical approach for how vampires serve as both object and mode of analysis throughout the book. Stoker’s tropes of blood, bodies, and borders map onto US laws concerning race, immigration, and assimilation.

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
(USA 2014; dir. Ana Lily Amirpour)


Bram Stoker’s Dracula
(USA 1992; dir. Francis Ford Coppola)