There’s one inescapable conclusion: vampires — those bloodsuckers that go bite in the night, whether in movies or on TV — aren’t going anywhere, which is perfectly fine with us. To celebrate, we’re presenting mini-interviews with the stars of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Moonlight, Angel, Midnight Texas, Dark Shadows and more.
David Boreanaz as Angel
While Buffy the Vampire Slayer was about a high schooler (Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers) who had also been tasked with being humanity’s protector as the Slayer, one (of many) surprising elements was the romance that developed between her and the vampire Angel. On Buffy he was a friend, lover and even immortal enemy during the show’s first three seasons, before he was spun off to his own show that ran for five more years.
As a character, Angel has a fascinating history: during his reign of terror a century or so earlier, he killed a gypsy family, the father cursed him by giving him back his soul (thus causing him to remember every horrific thing he had ever done), the caveat being that if he ever achieved a moment of true happiness, that soul would be whisked away again. Well, right after Buffy and Angel make love for the first time, that’s exactly what happens and the audience sees an amazing transformation of Angel from hero to villain as Angelus (and eventually back again).
From Angel to Angelus: “The transformation of Angel from good guy to bad guy was hard for me, both personally and professionally. I was in tune with Good Angel, but I wasn’t coming home for Evil Guy. I think if you’ve played a character long enough, you subconsciously carry that character with you into your private life. You can shut it off to an extent, but there’s a part of you that still consciously lives with it. On the set, it was particularly hard doing scenes with Sarah Michelle Gellar, because she didn’t see Angel as an evil type and all of a sudden there he was.”
The Buffy/Angel Dynamic: “For the most part the relationship between Buffy and Angel had been almost a Beauty and the Beast type of thing. Buffy knew what Angel was, but she still loved him. Then the transition came, and it was hard for her and also me to adjust. To help Sarah with the transition, after each scene I made it a point to confirm to her that, ‘I’m here for you. I’m not here against you. This is not who I am.’ I believe there has to be a coming down period where you hug the other actor or help the other person, and even help yourself get out of the turmoil that’s been created, instead of being submerged in it. As harrowing as that can be sometimes, it’s part of the acting process and one that I would never even think of giving up.”
The Evolution of Angel: “Within each episode I learned something different about him. Yes, he has a tortured soul and he has a guilty conscience, but at the same time he was trying to rebuild that and make amends for his own true sanity, to make himself a better person. I think we saw that happen slowly but surely.
“I think the self-evolution of his character is ongoing. I don’t think for his type of character that there will be an end to his evolution. As far as where he is and where he was – God, it’s been leaps and bounds. The guy has just completely come out of the shadows, opened up and has become more vulnerable with a better sense of himself from the people around him. The evolution is amazing; emotionally he’s evolved ten-fold.”
The Legacy of Angel: “This show and this character will be remembered for its sense of risk, its sense of style: a uniqueness to deliver story in a different manner; a uniqueness in character to expand with the other characters around him, to evolve into different types of characters, to be ever-changing. The angst of conflict within him. There’s so much to be remembered and so much to be proud of about this show. And it’s use of mythology and verse and language and texture — just the way it was shot. It will be remembered for a lot of things.”
Robert Quarry as Count Yorga
California born Robert Quarry made a number of films over the course of his career, though the genuine stand-outs were Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) and its sequel, The Return of Count Yorga (1971). In the first film, while pretending to be a friend he reveals himself to be a vampire that hunts down a group of people on his estate. In the sequel, having somehow survived a staking, he moves into a new neighborhood where children start disappearing from a nearby orphanage. Hey, nobody said this was great art!
Origins of Count Yorga: “The people involved had made a soft-core porno film, and with their initial investment of $14,000, they made about $60,000. So [writer/director] Bob Kelljan decided to write a soft-porn vampire movie. We had been friends for a long time, and I called him up and said, ‘Why the hell don’t you do this in the horror genre? There’s a big horror market, and you could make some good bucks. And if you do it that way, I’ll play Count Yorga.’”
The Character: “When I first read it, I just thought it was campy crap. That’s all it was. My approach was to incorporate some humor, but make him real. Originally they wanted to do it with an accent, but there was no way I would be doing all of that crap. I was fighting against the Bela Lugosi image and Christopher Lee’s Dracula. Not that there was anything wrong with either one of them, but they were unreal in a certain way and I wanted to give Yorga a kind of reality and play him straight. Then I could jump out of the woodwork and bite everybody.”
Fang Difficulties: “You couldn’t talk in them for one thing. I had a great line, which I was supposed to say with the fangs in. Then I would go into the studio and dub it. It’s the only line I can remember from any film I’ve done: ‘Soon I will suck from your veins the sweet nectar of life, then we shall be as one in in a lifetime of eternal bliss.’ When I had my teeth in, it went like this: ‘Thoon I will thuck from your veinth the thweet nectar of life, then we thall be ath one in a lifetime of eternal blith.’ I sounded like Daffy Duck!”
Why No Third Yorga Film: “Quite simply, AIP made a lot of money on the first one, so they wanted to do a sequel. That was going to be my first picture for them on the contract. It did very well, though not as well as the original. Then again, most sequels don’t. But the box office did to Count Yorga what a stake through the heart couldn’t.”