Yes, Virginia, there were vampires before "Twilight" "? and here's the documentary to prove it!

"Vampire Secrets" is a feature-length look at the undead bloodsuckers that have lived on and on through film and literature, if not real life. The creatures may not actually exist, but that didn't stop some ancient, witch-hunting societies for putting people to death they thought might want a nip of their neck.

From "Blacula" to "Dracula," from "Nosferatu" to "Interview with the Vampire," and from Sesame Street's Count to Count Chocula, the doc traces the evolution of the vamp in popular culture, as well as history through the ages, all over the world, including the Asian folklore of hopping vampires. The modern-day Goth subculture portion near the end is a bit of a stretch, and embarrassing to watch.

This is one of those programs that the History Channel does very well. Production values are sharp, particularly within period-piece re-creations, here full of blood and sexually charged situations. Interviewees are solid and credible, but the downside is that its 100-minute running time makes it "? forgive me "? long in the tooth.

"?Rod Lott

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