Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Vant to Suck Your Blood

Have we ever talked about vampires you and I? I think not.

 The original - Vlad Tepes

I have to tell you, I am sick to death of the creatures. Really I am.

I remember reading Dracula the first time - it's one of those books I've read often. I was 12 or 13 I think, and Stoker captured my imagination and ignited in me a passion for vampires. I searched out all the information I could get on them and on Vlad Tepes, the original Dracula on whom the story was based (and this was way before the ease of the internet, when searching for information involved libraries an encyclopedias. Oh my!). We all know about him and his nasty habit of impaling people who annoyed him and watching them die while having dinner (and if you don't you can read up on him here or any number of places on the net - cause libraries and encyclopedias are so old fashioned).

Stoker's Dracula was a blood sucking inhuman monster. As vampires should be. Because once they become vampires, they lose all humanity, they have no soul, they're cold evil monsters. Gotta love a good monster.

And along came Anne Rice. Oh, Anne, Anne, Anne. You ruined vampires forever.

Actually, I quite liked Interview With The Vampire, it was new and different - told from the vampire's perspective. Lestat was a kick ass vampire - although Tom Cruise as Lestat was probably the worst possible casting when they did the movie... Seriously, Tom Cruise???  A vampire? That's beyond ridiculous... but I digress.

The subsequent books kept on with the whole "vampire as poor tortured soul" thing and that's just so far off base as to be ridiculous, cause a vampire? No soul, no feelings - end of story. OK, granted it really plays into the teenage girl and romantic hero thing, but nope. It just doesn't work.

And now 20-odd years after Anne Rice you have the Twilight thing and that TV show whatever it's called and tortured vampires in love with humans and it just drives me batty. Because vampires are supposed to be monsters. M-O-N-S-T-E-R-S. You know, like those things that hid under the bed and in the closet when you were a kid. In adult version.

Why must everything today be benign? Why can't we deal with horror and things that go bump in the night? We can't be safe, we'll never be safe, 'cause if a vampire doesn't get you, life eventually will. Why have vampires gone from fascinating supernatural beings to lovable tortured romantic beings.

Seriously, look at this:

"When you can live forever, what do you live for"

It's just wrong. Teenage girls notwithstanding.  
Excuse me while I hurl...


Guillaume said...

I am also a big fan of the novel Dracula. Great, great, great horror story, genuinly scary. I also hate the new approach, brought first by Anne Rice, showing the vampire as some kind of self-centered, nostalgic, melancholic pussy vaguely weird weirdo. It seems to me that Twilight went jusssst a step further and turned the archetype into a metrosexual. And don't get me started on the dreadful Coppola's Dracula! I am not the biggest fan of Mel Gibson, but if there is ever one director who could bring the character back to its horror roots, it is him. He would get the novel Dracula right, would straight away understand the evil nature of the badguy. He would probably turn the movie into a piece of Catholic propaganda, but so was the novel, so I am perfectly okay with that.

Oh, and about the link between Vlad Tepes and count Dracula, Elizabeth Miller proved that it was tenuous at best: Bram Stoker knew very little about the historical character, only his nickname, a bit of his history with the Turks and a bit about the conflict with his brother Radù (who is mentioned in the novel but not named). Stoker took little he knew from a footnote in a history book. He knew nothing of Vlad's execution methods, made Dracula a Székely instead of a Vlach, gives him another title of nobility, and so on.

Rachel said...

I have to say I kijda like the idea of classical monsters as being poor misunderstood creatures unfaily demonized by humans, but I agree with you about Vampires.

I'm SICK TO DEATH of vampires. I've never actually LIKED the whole genre, ever. I found Dracula to be melodramatic and annoying, and the the modern vampire trends even more so. The whole genre needs to be put to the stake, or at least, lampooned.

That's the problem with it I think. The genre is affected by the emo tendency to take itself too seriously.


Rachel said...

Also, I appologize for not editing out my typos. I got so involved in what I was saying I forgot to check for and correct my bad typing skills.

Those two messed up words are "kinda" and "unfairly".

Jazz said...

Guillaume - I had heard of that, but despite his lack of knowledge of Tepes, he took it, ran with it and cooked up a helluva story that unfortunately lives on through Twilight and Co. - unfortunately.

Rachel - I forgive your typos. Keep in mind that Dracula was a victorian noval, hence the "melodrama and annoyance" to the modern reader - you. Me, I loved it. Amazing, something we disagree on!

Suldog said...

I've said (to anyone willing to listen, which number becomes fewer and fewer the more I go on, but I digress) that the current female fascination with vampires (and it IS a female fascination) is bizarre. I mean, if men all of a sudden started going gaga over popular entertainments involving, say, succubi, women would be just as perplexed as men are concerning this.

Thank you for being a voice of reason.

XUP said...

Please, the entire Twilight franchise and what it's spawned? It makes me ill... especially because I have a teenage daughter whom I've had to deprogram. But the Twilight thing isn't revolting because of what it does to vampires. It's revolting because of what it does to teenage girls...but I've written that post already. Let's find that author chick and drive a stake through her typing hand.

Gaelyn said...

The horrific truth is hard for many to withstand. Yet folks usually love the blood and gore. So why the handsome monster? I was never really into Dracula, but carry a silver bullet just in case.
Thank goodness I'm not a teenager or watch TV.

geewits said...

I really enjoyed all the other Anne Rice vampire novels, but for a different reason. I wasn't so much into them for the characters or storylines as I was for the interesting travelogues of old Europe. I loved that part about them. She really did her research on the histories of those places and those are the parts I remember from those books. As for all this modern stuff, I pay no attention. If I want good modern teen vampire stuff, I have the entire Buffy series. That's good stuff.

Big Brother said...

Give me the old Hammer film Dracula with Christopher Lee, or the film Nosferatu which is probably the closest depiction of a vampire taken from folklore. A vampire is a dead corpse, who would want to kiss that, especially if it's been in the grave a while.
Then again teenaged girls have always been drawn to the "bad boys" and let's face it a vampire is the ultimate bad boy.

secret agent woman said...

Do you remember the version of Dracula with Frank Langella? I was about 16 at the time and was quite taken with it. Now, the whole thing just bores me. And baffles me a little - I mean, I like passion as much as any person (probably more than most people, now that I think about it)but I do NOT want someone drawing blood. Yikes.

lime said...

lol, good point. i remember having terrible nightmares after reading a dracula comic book as a kid. (yeah, i was a wimp) the only nightmares twilight gives me are with regards to its terrible writing.

Jocelyn said...

Yay for you noting all this! I actually have a student this term who's doing her research paper on the de-monsterization of vampires in recent years. I'm excited to read her essay.

Jazz said...

Suldog - Personally I prefer incubi, but yeah, I get your point.

XUP - Yes, lets do! Someone had me read a chapter of those books. *shudder*

Gaelyn - Sorry to burst your bubble, but silver bullets are for werewolves. You're not safe!!!!

Geewits - Buffy? I had forgotten about that one. Who the hell names their kid Buffy anyway? Actually I never watched so much as an episode of that show.

BB - Nosferatu!!! Klaus Kinski! Oh, that was good. Tho I never saw the 1920s original... Which you no doubt have, cause you're all the purist and shit... ;-)

SAW - Rings a bell... but it's very much deep in the mist. Isn't he the guy who was always super tanned - even in that movie?

Lime - Twilight is indeed nightmare inducing.

Joce - OH... I'd so like to read that!

mrwriteon said...

I'm glad you wrote this because it saved me from having to write it. That is my way of saying that I utterly agree with the sentiments you expresss. But, that's not entirely surprising with us.

BTW, it's not raining here today but is balmy and sunshiny, so there.

geewits said...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure it was the daytime soap "Dark Shadows" that de-monstered the vampire and made him sexy. And Barnabas Collins wasn't even that sexy looking. But the subsequent movie was really sexy. Well to me as a 10-year-old it was.

Jeaux said...

Dracula never made it into my pantheon of favorite monsters - Godzilla, Frankenstein, Herman Munster.

Jazz said...

Ian - you spend entirely too much time in my head.

Geewits - Dark Shadows?? Never heard of it.

Jeaux - Godzilla... meh. Frankenstein (cool), Herman, well, he's Herman isn't he?

Gaelyn said...

Oops, wrong nightmare. I also wear garlic. Maybe that's why people avoid me?

Hagelrat said...

Twilight makes me retch too.