Living a lonely existence in a remote schloss in Styria, on the border of Austria and Hungary, Laura and her father play host to an unexpected guest, the beautiful young Carmilla. Her arrival is closely followed by an outbreak of unexplained deaths in the area, while the young women's growing friendship coincides with a series of nightmares and mysterious nocturnal visitations, and a gradual downward spiral in Laura's health. A chilling tale of the un-dead, Carmilla is a beautifully written example of the gothic genre. Believed to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker's gothic masterpiece 'Dracula', written over twenty years later, Carmilla stands out as an all-time horror classic.
In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. A small income, in that part of the world, goes a great way. Eight or nine hundred a year does wonders. Scantily enough ours would have answered among wealthy people at home. My father is English, and I bear an English name, although I never saw England. But here, in this lonely and primitive place, where everything is so marvelously cheap, I really don't see how ever so much more money would at all materially add to our comforts, or even luxuries. My father was in the Austrian service, and retired upon a pension and his patrimony, and purchased this feudal residence, and the small estate on which it stands, a bargain. Nothing can be more picturesque or solitary. It stands on a slight eminence in a forest. The road, very old and narrow, passes in front of its drawbridge, never raised in my time, and its moat, stocked with perch, and sailed over by many swans, and floating on its surface white fleets of water lilies.