In 1945 the horror film Isle of the Dead, directed by Mark Robson and starring Boris Karloff, the celebrated Frankenstein of the big screen, introduced the figure of Vrykolakas to cinema audiences, a kind of Greek vampire whose existence and survival, unlike that of his Slavic “cousin”, is less dependent on the consumption of his victims’ blood. The Vrykolakas is active not only at night and can contaminate hearths and homes with its presence. Despite being lumped in with the most famous of vampires with the status of a suspended existence between “undead” and “unliving”, it is in fact more like a hybrid between the god Pan, the harpies and the lamiae of classical antiquity, and sheds light on a little known aspect of age-old Greek folklore: its monstrous disturbing character decidedly in contrast with the exclusively Apollonian image that is often held dear by foreign observers. The Vrykolakas presents itself to the reader in the stories included in this collection in all its terrible power and violence, putting the orderly world of the living to the test. Or perhaps of the living they are a distorting, an aspect that is as true as it is occult? An opportunity to reflect and lose ourselves in the power of great literature, which once again shows us the ideal key to gain access to our souls.
Preface: Alvaro Garcia Marin