Monday Musing: Vamp It Up

They've Gotten Hotter Since Dracula

A thought occurred to me while getting ready to watch the season 2 premier of True Blood with Junkie 1 & Zrose 25 this weekend – Vampires are hot right now!  And I’m not just talking about Robert Pattinson or Stephen Moyer.  The shows and movies with the biggest buzz for this year revolve around vampires.

People are really gravitating towards HBO’s True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels) the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon, and another vampire flick announced for a 2010 release staring Cam Gigandet titled Priest. The CW is even trying to get into the action by turning the young adult novels The Vampire Diaries into a television series for fall 2009.

So what gives?  What is it with studios and theater patrons jumping on the undead bandwagon?  Are vampires themselves sexy, or just the men and women that are playing them?  Why now are studios catching on to what all those bookish types were reading back in the 90’s?

As a long time fan of Buffy, the Twilight Series and Underworld I still don’t get it.  I understand the studios seeing dollar signs were fangs should be, but what are fans seeing in vampires themselves?  I’ve always been attracted to the vampire hunters – those fighting for humanity, or the vampire who seeks redemption because he is repulsed with himself .  I’ve never thought being able to live forever as long as you drink blood and stay out of the light was all that alluring.  Is the love story between a vampire and a mortal compelling enough for people to forget what a vampire is?  Or is the glamorizing of what it means to be a vampire (seriously, Edward looks like he rolled in glitter) enough for people not to have to think of the unsightly things?

Let us know what you think!  Why are you part of the new undead revival in our media today?  Are you in it for love or do you have a bad case of necrophilia?

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One thought on “Monday Musing: Vamp It Up

  1. Junkie1 says:

    Well there are many things at play. Stephanie Meyer’s been at the top of the bestsellers list for about 500 years now, so money plays a huge part on the studio side of things. They want stuff that is bankable.

    Then there are the vampire characters (on the page & screen), always a contingent of creepy killers and smoldering sensitives. So, sex appeal and temptation play big roles, too.

    I’m drawn in by the conundrum of the lustworthy Vampire, the smoldering sensitive. They’re the “evil dead” to some; but they are also romantic and chivalrous and-most importantly-intellectually evolved creatures. They appear to have the perfect balance of logic and understanding one could only gain from living through centuries of humanity’s mistakes. Not overly sexist, in context (being protective over the human they inevitably fall for in a highly dangerous climate doesn’t play as sexist to me). Not without manners, order, and values.

    As with science fiction, horror, or western genres, fantasy creatures serve more as a romanticized vehicle for social commentary. If you look back in history, there is a pretty clear correlation between social turmoil and the popularity of the four genres listed above. Writers use these cleverly tempting guises to get a simple message out to the most people.

    You could go to Underworld thinking “Sweet! time for sexy, mindless action and mayhem,” and leave thinking “It really sucks that those elder Vampires used political trickery and lies to fool their kind into unwarranted discrimination, fear, and hate.” Class warfare, racism, and politics are generally not you major box office darlings but Sci-fi is, Westerns used to be in a big way, horror still is a great catalyst for considering mindless violence, and fantasy is clearly the latest draw. What’s more frustrating to me is that the genre films rarely get the recognition they deserve, because they are packaged for the masses.

    To sum up, don’t judge a book/movie by it’s genre.

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