With Halloween on the horizon, the release of the latest film adaptation of the popular ‘Twilight’ series approaching and the brilliant ‘True Blood’ in full swing after its recent UK debut, vampires are very much in the popular entertainment consciousness. Over in the USA there is even a new television show called ‘The Vampire Diaries’, an adaptation of the book series by L.J. Smith originally published in 1991. The popularity of our sharp-toothed friends of the night has allowed for an older series to be revisited and brought back to life in a different way.
There’s just something sexy about vampires from the forbidden fruit aura that surrounds them, the allure of the mysteries of the night and all that biting. Furthermore, vampires are soulful – all that living forever young leads to a lot of deep thinking, and a lot of unresolved teenage angst. The masses lap it up, and are hungry for more.
This is ground that has been covered in recent articles on Uprising. But this acceptance of vampries in popular culture overlooks a crucial point, one which I think is highlighted in a very funny way by this spoof from Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira.
Now this isn’t a post to rubbish ‘Twilight’ or anything like it. Although Meyers’s writing style is not my cup of tea, I do enjoy her story and I’m the first person to vouch for the twisted appeal of a supernatural romance. Nobody likes love to be easy after all. But in all this vampire love, we fail to consider the other side of vampires: the damn scary one.
“You kill vampires, you don’t date them,” says the girl who came out of nowhere as ‘Bella’ stands there, covered in blood and left speechless. The anonymous girl has a point. There was a time when vampires weren’t humanised at all but were monsters completely separate from human beings, deadly creatures that were a real threat and not even close to dating material.
Take Bram Stoker’s Dracula for example. In the classic novel, Dracula is the undisputed king of the undead and is not considered attractive or appealing. He is downright horrifying and repulsive. Terror radiates from him, not sex appeal. He is not human, he is a demon, a killer, hellbent on spreading his evil influence beyond Transylvania, a vampire. The act of biting and draining blood is against nature, a violation that strips an innocent girl of her life and nearly destroys another. We were actually afraid of vampires once, before we started falling in love with them.
This tendency to humanise ‘monsters’ and make them into appealing love interests has the possibility to extend to other creatures. Werewolves could step more into the limelight rather than taking second stage. Why not shift shapeshifters to the foreground of public attention? And don’t forget good old witches, who can look every bit as good as moody vampires, just look at ‘Bewitched’ and ‘Charmed’.
Why not take things even further? Zombies are very much ‘in’ right now. Perhaps when we get tired of bashing their brains in, just as we tired of staking vampires through the heart, we will find a way to tackle their brain-eating tendencies and mould them into the perfect forbidden lover.