Batman Dracula: Andy Warhol’s Eccentric Experimental Film
Warhol forced Bruce Wayne to face his worst fears in a strange cinematic experiment…
Superhero movies are one of the milestones of today’s cinema: always major releases, their timelines revisit the stories of characters, and each time, legions of fans will verify just how close each film version was to its comic book original.
Among all these films, those featuring Batman constitute a genre unto themselves. From Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy to Joel Schumacher’s unforgettable Batman & Robin from 1997, the Caped Crusader has had as many remakes as James Bond.
But perhaps none of Batman’s cinematic renditions is as eccentric and difficult to imagine as that of artist, Andy Warhol, from the 1960s.
We know Warhol for his powerful influence on avant-garde art, for his extravagant lessons in sex and for his paintings of soup cans and celebrity portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali. Warhol as filmmaker is interesting too, and just as risky: eight-hour films starring the Empire State Building, a ten-hour contemplation of a sleeping poet, not even to mention the party documentaries and the presentations of other artists at Warhol’s operations center, The Factory.
Within this creative oeuvre, Warhol decided to approach the Batman story from a perspective that’s exciting even in our own time. The premise of Batman Dracula takes us through the skyscrapers of New York to Long Island and to that moment when Bruce Wayne faces his greatest fear: a romantic monster, and the quintessence of vampires, Dracula.
It should be noted, too, that Batman Dracula actually predates the Batman of Adam West, and some critics have suggested that the aesthetic proposed by Warhol for the character significantly permeated the later television version whose impact was worldwide. Warhol’s friend, actor Jack Smith, plays the roles of both the millionaire, Bruce Wayne, and that of Count Dracula which gives the pair a disturbing parallelism: what you fear most is some form of yourself.
Chroniclers can’t agree as to whether Warhol ever received authorization from DC Comics (the owners of the character) for rights to make the film. One thing is certain in that the company didn’t take well to even private screenings of Batman Dracula and forbade copies from being made.
After Warhol’s death, during the filming of a documentary about Jack Smith, some fragments of the film were found. These made their way onto the internet and allow us to take a look, however imperfect, at the Warholian concept of a pop icon as important as Batman. The cut available on YouTube is set to music by the Velvet Underground & Nico, giving it but one more Warholian touch.
When ancient rituals became religion
The emergence of religions irreversibly changed the history of humanity. It’s therefore essential to ask when and how did ancient peoples’ rituals become organized systems of thought, each with their
Seven ancient maps of the Americas
A map is not the territory. —Alfred Korzybski Maps are never merely maps. They’re human projections, metaphors in which we find both the geographical and the imaginary. The cases of ghost islands
An artist crochets a perfect skeleton and internal organs
Shanell Papp is a skilled textile and crochet artist. She spent four long months crocheting a life-size skeleton in wool. She then filled it in with the organs of the human body in an act as patient
A musical tribute to maps
A sequence of sounds, rhythms, melodies and silences: music is a most primitive art, the most essential, and the most powerful of all languages. Its capacity is not limited to the (hardly trivial)
The enchantment of 17th-century optics
The sense of sight is perhaps one the imagination’s most prolific masters. That is why humankind has been fascinated and bewitched by optics and their possibilities for centuries. Like the heart, the
Would you found your own micro-nation? These eccentric examples show how easy it can be
Founding a country is, in some ways, a simple task. It is enough to manifest its existence and the motives for creating a new political entity. At least that is what has been demonstrated by the
Wondrous crossings: the galaxy caves of New Zealand
Often, the most extraordinary phenomena are “jealous of themselves” ––and they happen where the human eye cannot enjoy them. However, they can be discovered, and when we do find them we experience a
Think you have strange reading habits? Wait until you've seen how Mcluhan reads
We often forget or neglect to think about the infinite circumstances that are condensed in the acts that we consider habitual. Using a fork to eat, for example, or walking down the street and being
The sky is calling us, a love letter to the cosmos (video)
We once dreamt of open sails and Open seas We once dreamt of new frontiers and New lands Are we still a brave people? We must not forget that the very stars we see nowadays are the same stars and
The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)
Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier. Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the