In Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 novel about a seductive female vampire, Le Fanu’s innocent girlish narrator describes Carmilla:
She was slender, and wonderfully graceful. Except that her movements were languid – very languid – indeed, there was nothing in her appearance to indicate an invalid.
Ladies with languor return in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. Lucy Westenra, drained night by night by the bloodthirsty count, eventually succumbs to death and undeath, and her vampiric corpse entices her former fiancé in a graveyard:
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said, ‘Come to me, Arthur.’
Lazy, lucid languor, at once sensual and mocking, is the lascivious heart of a female vampire’s physical appeal. But these examples, from nineteenth century male writers, are tinged with a voyeuristic eroticism; in Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2015 vampire film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the vampire – only ever identified as The Girl – dances with a languor that is private, self-possessed and, above all, coolly disinterested in the viewer.