Fingernails


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms.
Enlarge picture
Vampires occasionally have very long fingernails, as demonstrated here by Radu (Anders Hove) in the movie Subspecies.

Fingernails

(pop culture)

When Jonathan Harker first encountered Dracula early in the novel by Bram Stoker, his “nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point.” Above and beyond the role this description had in emphasizing Dracula’s animal-like quality, these nails would become functional later in chapter 21 when they would be used to open a wound in his chest from which he would force Mina Murray to drink. The fact that his nails were noticed at all possibly derived from some of the widely circulated reports of the vampires of eastern Europe. Among the characteristics that vampire hunters looked for in the bodies that they exhumed, in the belief that they were possibly vampires, were nails that appeared to have grown since the burial of the person. Fresh nails, or occasionally no nails at all, were a common item mentioned in reports from Germany, and both northern and southern Slavs. Fingernails have not been emphasized in most post–Dracula vampires. Graf Orlock, the Dracula figure in the 1922 film Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Grauens, had extended fingers with elongated nails that added to his rodentlike appearance. However, when Bela Lugosi brought Dracula into a British home, neither hands nor nails appeared abnormal in any way. Occasionally, however, when only the audience could see him, he stuck his hands in front of him like an animal about to pounce on a prey. After Lugosi, only a few vampires that had been altered into a demonic form had clawlike alterations in the hands, though they appear briefly in Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992, in a scene in which Coppola pays homage to both Nosferatu and Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr. Dracula, of course, calls upon his sharp finger nails to cut himself in order to allow the blood to flow for Mina to drink.

Fingernails became a characteristic of the vampire to which Anne Rice paid attention in her vampire novels. Louis, Lestat, and their companions develop fingernails with a distinctive glassy appearance that once noticed easily distinguish them from the average human. Thus, they would make an effort to hide their fingernails.

Hong Kong movies often (but by no means always) picture the hopping vampires with long fingernails. These not only become part of a menacing appearance when the vampire lunges at someone with his hands protruding forward but can on occasion become a knife-like weapon for stabbing someone.

Sources:

Barber, Paul. Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988. 236 pp.

Finland, Vampires in see: Scandinavia, Vampires in

References in periodicals archive ?
Fungus infections of the fingernails can also turn the nails brown or yellow.
Your fingernails have become ridged and bumpy, you've been losing your hair, you have developed patchy, bald areas.
In our study, onychomycosis was more frequently observed in fingernails (60%), followed by toenails (36%) which is consistent with a study from India.
Health education in schools and home to increase awareness about importance of trimming of fingernails in vulnerable school going children should be done in order to reduce ocular morbidity.
Lee Redmond, who had |the longest fingernails ever with a length of 28ft 4.
Some of the decorative silver fingernails stolen in the Jewellery Quarter raid
A What you're describing could be a condition called cyanosis--when it occurs in the fingers and fingernails, it is referred to as peripheral cyanosis, but it also may manifest in the mucus membranes (for example, the gums and lips).
8220;It is very sharp and cuts right through my fingernails with no effort.
The Beauty Connection Spa and KOKO Nail set a new record for the most nails filed totalling 50,080 and varnished fingernails of 5,108 people A total of 100 manicurists dressed as Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of feminism and women's economic power, polished an astounding 50,080 fingernails at lightning speed to break the previous record of 2,572 mini-manicures hands and 25,750 finger nails varnished approximately 12 minutes per hand with 100 technicians set by Sally Hansen and Priceline in 2011.
According to the report, the nails will be available in packs of six index fingernails, plus adhesive strips, glue, cuticle stick, and prep pad for 14.
Albertsson said the Swedish delegation had not put pressure on Green-Tregaro to change the colour of her fingernails, but "understood from Swedish media her nails are now red.
But I did hear her talking about his eyes coming out and getting *** out of her fingernails.