We Are The Night: The Triumph of the Lesbian Vampire Trope

Lena from We Are The Night

Zombies have pretty much replaced vampires at this point, but you know what they haven’t replaced? Lesbian vampires.

And I’m not just talking about Pam on True Blood (though really, any time is a good time to talk about Pam on True Blood) or the critically panned Lesbian Vampire Killers (which I never want to talk about ever).

We Are The Night, directed by Dennis Gansel (The Wave), is about an all-female gang of ruthless vampires with questionable morals and excellent aim. It centers around Lena (Karoline Herfurth), a 20-year-old from Berlin living as a pickpocket until she meets Louise (Nina Hoss), a 250-year-old owner of an underground club and the leader of a trio of vampires that also includes Nora (Anna Fischer) and Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich), a former silent film actress. Louise falls in love with Lena and bites her during their first night together, introducing her to a life of glamor, immortality, and lesbian sex scenes — until Berlin police commissioner Tom Sterner (Max Riemelt) starts investigating.

Potentially good parts of this include:

+ The film can probably pass the Bechdel Test.
+ And it has lots of female main characters
+ And lots of those characters are into ladies
+ And have serious inclinations towards ass-kicking
+ While channeling David Bowie, but with better hair.
+ A new addition to the gay-lady vampire movie cannon, which currently mostly consists of The Hunger, films from the 70s and earlier called things like Vampyros Lesbos, Daughters of Darkness, and The Blood-Splattered Bride, and Carmilla.
+ A return to pulp-style vampire movies.

Potentially less-good parts of this include:

+ The original language of the film is German, and the May 27 release has been dubbed for English-speaking audiences, which can be frustrating sometimes.
+ Lena’s transformation from scruffy and androgynous to glamorously femme in what might be read as an attempt to appeal to mainstream or straight-dude audiences, but which either way results in less spiky, short, and awesome hair.
+ High risk of exposure to Twilight references.
+ A return to pulp-style vampire movies.

While We Are The Night doesn’t look like it’s going to break new ground in queer cinema, it’s also not trying to (nor, really, is it queer cinema at all). It’s a little conventional and closely resembles any given summer action movie, except that it has vampire lesbians who even unflattering reviewers say are “fleshed-out and believable.” I don’t necessarily believe we have to settle for “believable” characters where depth and development would be better; and I don’t think that all representation is good representation, or that there is so little lesbian content of any type around right now that a pulpy vampire flick is the number one thing to see. But We Are The Night also looks hilarious and fun, and not (just) in a campy way. The official trailer looks like this:

You can also see Lena’s transformation scene on i09.

We Are The Night opens in theatres in New York on May 27 and will be available everywhere else on demand.


Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. We will never put our site behind a paywall because we know how important it is to keep Autostraddle free. But that means we rely on the support of our A+ Members. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?

Join A+
Related:

Carolyn Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Carolyn has written 1100 articles for us.

27 Comments

  1. Man, when I first saw Lesbian Vampire Killers, I was hoping it was like vampire slayers who were all lesbians, due to my massive crush on Buffy. ‘Fraid not.

    • Lesbian Vampire Killers was the most disappointing movie ever. And I was a Star Wars fan during the age of the prequels!

  2. I just wanna watch the original German now. The dub in that trailer is pretty bad. :/ The movie itself ACTUALLY doesn’t look terrible. :0

  3. okay.. so major spoiler. In the end she ends up with that investigator dude.. Maaaasive disappointment!!

  4. I actually liked this film, sure there’s not a lot of lesbian action, but the soundtrack is amazing and the storyline is ok. I suggest you watch it in German with English subtitles, dubbed films are so awkward and forced. Also, the German language is quite sexy, glaubst do nicht?

  5. “Nora (Anna Fischer), who is a little spastic…”

    Um…isn’t this kind of shitty and disablist? Maybe it’s in the wrong context (I’m not American)but saying people are ‘spazzy’ or ‘spastic’ seems prettty bad to me.

    • Thanks for pointing this out! I didn’t know that “spastic” and “spazzy” could be used in reference to disability (in canada/the us, they have a different meaning), and now I do, and I’ve changed the article to reflect that. xo

  6. Hmm, I do like me some hot girl kissing, but the not so subtle metaphor of lesbian=vampires=evil
    and heterosexual=policeman=good, I don’t like so much.
    Especially as I think even from the trailer its pretty obvious who she’ll end up with..

    • Amanda

      Ooh, thank you for this! I was just wondering if there were any way I could see this in German in the theatre. You rock!

  7. Hm, I’ll definitely be seeing this! Lesbians + Vampires + German (which I am in the process of learning) = fun!

  8. Ami

    has anyone else watched the hunger? (mentioned in this article)
    man that movie is so messed up and amazing

  9. -mom-

    I’m looking forward to Julie and Brandy’s take on this movie!

  10. Random: Does anyone think Lena looks like the character “Ellie” from the original “Degrassi: Next Generation”? She doesn’t REALLY but maybe a little bit in the trailer…?

  11. lgbt.terrific

    People have been associating lesbians with vampi(y?)res forever! It even happens in Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal.

  12. oh good lord the dubbing on that trailer is worse than the dubbing on the shitty anime shows I used to watch in middle school

  13. Am I the only one thinking Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu?

    • In case no one else has read it… Lesbian attraction in pre-Dracula vampire literature! GET IT GET IT.

  14. jamie

    missed it in cinema, so i decided to read the 600-page book: http://www.amazon.de/Wir-sind-die-Nacht-Roman/dp/3453266781 and was positively surprised . then they released the rip sometime last week, i finally got the chance to see it and was HUGELY DISAPPOINTED.

    girls, don’t go see the movie. actually no, go and watch it for the ladies (and, the sound! cool score!), but then afterwards go and pick up the book. it’s actually pretty decent, has a WAY better finale (urgh.. that investigator dude, i can’t even..) and some more lesbian explicit scenes!

    • AlienChangeling

      I can’t read German, so how does the book end?

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!