Every generation has its iconic vampires: from Dracula to The Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire to Buffy, and True Blood to Twilight. Now, the star of one of those shows has taken to Indiegogo to create the ultimate vampire documentary. Welcome to A Place Among the Undead.
Juliet Landau became an instant fan favourite when she starred as the insane vampire Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and since then her passion for the genre has only grown stronger. As she explains in the campaign video, over the years she’s had fascinating conversations with the writers, actors and directors who’ve continued to make vampires such popular creations and now she wants to share those insights.
The documentary lives or dies on the quality of these interviewees, so it’s a good job Landau has managed to pull together such an incredible cast. Of course she interviews Joss Whedon, her old boss and the man who created the greatest vampire slayer of all time, and also speaks to Tim Burton, Gary Oldman, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Willem Dafoe and many more. If you’re looking for the definitive word on vampires, you can’t do much better than these guys.
Alongside these high-profile interviews, the documentary will also feature several narrative shorts that explore different interpretations of vampirism. As Landau explains in a recent interview with Digital Spy, “One of the things that we found fascinating talking with all of the creators is how each of them use the metaphor of vampirism to look at a myriad of elements of the human condition.” Initial examples teased in the campaign video include sex, loss and addiction, themes that have preoccupied vampire creators for years.
There’s also a more personal reason why the documentary means so much to her. Several years ago while filming in South Africa, her husband Deverill nearly died and that traumatic experience provided the impetus for them to look at mortality and the kind of creatures that can live forever.
One other important theme is that of being an outsider. It’s not explicitly covered in the narrative shorts, but it’s something both Joss Whedon and Tim Burton mention. For Whedon, “You don’t write vampires as much as I did, or as feelingly, if you don’t already live outside the world a little bit. If your ability to connect with humans isn’t already damaged.” As crucial as vampires are to exploring ideas of sex and death, perhaps their most important trait is how they are always just outside humanity. They’re like us in so many ways, but also so different. They are our dark side.
The campaign has already raised $43,000 dollars of its $60,000 total, with just 21 days left. Additional stretch goals will be coming soon and the perks on offer include the chance to appear in the documentary as one of Juliet’s victims, as well as many signed items from the cast and supporters like Nathan Fillion (Buffy, Firefly).
It’s baffling that a documentary like this hasn’t already been made, considering the enduring appeal of the vampire in popular culture. With such a great cast on board, A Place Among the Undead looks like it has a lot of potential to delight vampire fans everywhere.