The Vampyr: A Soap Opera
was a 1992 BBC miniseries based on the opera Der Vampyr
by Heinrich Marschner and Wilhelm August Wohlbrück (which itself was based on The Vampyre
by John William Polidori by way of several stage play adaptations). It uses most of the opera's music (the cuts are primarily choral numbers) with an English libretto by Charles Hart.
The story follows Ripley, a vampire who was frozen in ice in 1793 and accidentally thawed in the 20th century by a construction crew. He quickly rises to power in the world of business, but learns that his long life has come with a price: he must kill three women in the next three nights in order to keep his power.
Davenant, a bankrupt business man, makes a deal with Ripley: in exchange for helping to save his business, Ripley will marry his daughter, Miranda. But Miranda has a secret lover — Ripley's protegee, Alex. Determined to save Miranda, Alex tries to find out who — or what — Ripley really is.
Provides examples of:
- Compressed Adaptation: Much dialogue and several musical numbers were cut.
- Darker and Edgier: Apparently the way to modernize an opera that was already dark and violent is to include excessive nudity wherever it's remotely plausible and show the discovery of a murdered woman with a river of blood gushing out of a car's trunk.
- Deus ex Machina: When Alex reveals Ripley as a vampire, lightning strikes the church and a giant wooden cross falls down and pierces his heart. Very conveniently.
- Narrator: Fills in some of the gaps in the story created by the modern adaptation and musical cuts.
- Nipple and Dimed: If you've ever wanted to see lots of naked opera singers, this show is for you.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Although Ripley's ability to appear in the daytime is not surprising when you consider that the original opera was written in 1828, he does have an unusual set of rules for his existence: he must kill three women in three days.
- Religion of Evil: Marschner's opening chorus of witches and ghosts is replaced by a Satanic ritual, where Ripley receives his order to kill from none other than Satan him(her?)self.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods