Lughnasa New (Artemis) Moon
What is it with all the vampire stuff around right now? Those terrible Twilight movies. The much better Vampire Diaries and the Gates on TV. The Passage, which I just finished, written by a “literary” novelist. Not to mention the background of Anne Rice and all those undead erotica books, I don’t recall what they’re called. Is it about the outs and the ins? Is it about the saved and the damned? Is it about the need for mystery and wonder in an increasingly secular age? There’s even a BBC series called Being Human.
I’ve not read or seen a really good vampire story, I mean really good, since Hammer Films “Horror of Dracula” with the exception of True Blood and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I enjoyed the Anne Rice material, her stuff about the Mayfair witches, too. I also liked Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. True Blood, the HBO series is among the best ever in my opinion, right up there with Buffy. I’m not sure what it says, either, that the ones I enjoy most are on TV. I’m a literary and movie guy at heart, but the small screen does allow for character development and multiple story lines.
There’s a lot of media studies and cultural studies ink that has been spilled about the fascination with vampires. I’m sure many of you who read this find them quite beside the point. My guess is that they give us a way of exploring the notion of an afterlife without having to get to close to it. The evil nature of the vampire prevents idolization, though much of contemporary vampire fiction plays with this received wisdom.
Even so, we wonder, what would I do if I had all the time I wanted? What would I do? What would I become? If the only answer is, feed blood lust, well, that turns out to not be very interesting after a few dead bodies, but the question of love between an immortal and a mortal, that’s juicy. What about power? Would you seek wealth and control if you had eternal life on this earth? What might you do if you loathed the thing being a vampire made you? Self-loathing is a favorite distraction among teens and adults alike. This question drives a lot of today’s Dracula derivative stories.
Whatever it is, and it’s probably each of these and more, there seems to be plenty of energy and money for turning out vampire stories. Even bad ones.