Thursday, September 24, 2009

Aren't vampires supposed to be evil?

Neil Gaiman really said it best in this article. Vampires as we know them today were a Victorian ruse to talk about sex without actually having to talk about sex. Vampires were evil incarnate, especially for women. If you didn't watch yourself, protect yourself, you'd been swooped in on by the dude with the pointy fangs and flowing cape and he'd make you do nasty, immoral, sinful things. The horror!

The point is that vampires used to be the epitome of evil. No one actually wanted to be them. At least that's what they said. They were something to be feared, to be repelled, not to be swooning over.

Then came the likes of The Lost Boys (I'm not just saying that, Gaiman pretty much gives that move credit for the hot vampire turnaround) where it took away the repellant and replaced it with a yearning. Yeah, sure, they were blood sucking beasts but they were young and hot and immortal. And the only trade in is no sun tanning? Where do I sign up?

But at least those vampires still maintained some semblance of irreparable action. They were still evil but the notion of being a vampire was more appealing. Maybe blood-drinking wasn't so bad. But recently the vampire has been taken even further and de-evilized even more to a simpering, whining emo nerd who can't comprehend the fact that he should go get a tan if being undead were so bad. They're not really vampires anymore. They're yuppies with stick-on fangs and blood fetishes that don't function like the vampires we all know and love. They've de-evolved to something closer to human. What the hell's the point?

Gaiman is convinced that the vampire craze is a cycle. It went dormant for a while after the 20s and 30s hype and then amped back up in the 80s and 90s, and now the beginning of the 2000s but hopefully, and one can only hope, vampires will head back down into hibernation mode in order to rejuvenate into their former selves. They've been out too long. They're tired. They can't maintain the punk rock Billy Idol evil hardass facade that long. Not with all the fangirls. They're giving in. They're getting neutered. They're losing their evil.

That's why I really have no desire to read much of the vampire fiction that's out there now. I don't want a yuppie with fangs. I want my bad ass vampires. Yeah, the Lost Boys were hot but you wouldn't catch them undead in school, let alone pining after some bland noob. They'd be eating her. Like they tried to do to Michael. The sex was what drew you in but it was just a ruse. At the end of the night, you were dinner. While we Lost Boys fangirls pine after our boy of choice we're all very much aware that, had it been real, we would have had our throats torn out of our asses. There'd be no love. No snuggles. There'd just be blood and death. Vampires kill people. Period.

So I guess I'm going to tough out this last leg the the cycle. What choice do I have? I can live in the past, and I do, and just pray to whatever god that may be listening that he bestows testicles on vampire-kind once again in the not-so-distant future. I mean, do the Twitards today even know who Bela Lugosi is?


Rhiannon Hart said...

I have been turning a similar post over in my mind recently--monsters just aren't MONSTERS anymore. They're sex symbols, and have completely lost their way. They're meant to teach us to treasure our humanity, hold up a mirror to the ills of society. I thought zombies were an untouchable evil, but now we have Generation Dead and Never Slow Dance With A Zombie--kissy kissy zombies! I'm a sucker for paranormal romances along with the rest of them, but I'm getting a little tired of the normalising that's going on. We need to get back to basics with monsters.

Anonymous said...

I love how flexible vampires are. They can have many different faces and be manipulated in many different ways. I believe that vampires have become a little too soft and should go back to the darker way of things, but once and a while I want a sappy love struck vampire at my disposal.

slcboston said...

I kind of hope we're not at the end of the cycle completely. I'd rather not see vamps as a whole drop off the radar, but the emo yuppies with fangs (great analogy btw) certainly need to go. Unless someone can explain what purpose they serve other than to sell books to teen girls.

Maria D'Isidoro said...

Oh yeah, Twihards totally know who Bela Lugosi was. Bella Swan's grandma, right? Right.

Honestly, vampires started getting sexed up even before Lost Boys and young, delicious Keifer Sutherland. They just picked up on a trend that was beginning around the 30's. But I agree. I don't mind sexy-hawt vampires. But they need to nom some tasty humans, have some reaction to the sun that is painful and non-sparkle inducing, and commits acts of debauchery. Though no one will admit it, the reason everyone loves Alice and Jasper is because they are awesome vampire criminals who steal cars and terrify the shit out of sleazy con men and insipid high schoolers.

Zombie Girrrl said...

Bella's granny, LOL!
I like that vampires are being pushed beyond their usual role as murderous, man-eating monsters. I mean, that gets old after a very short while. My favorite reinterpretation of the nosferat is the one that shakes free of all the sillier, unexplainable cliches such sunlight and garlic; like Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's vampires in the Den of Shadows series.
I agree that vamps have lost their rock 'n roll edge of late, and it really doesn't make sense to me why all of them are going to back to school (if I were immortal, that'd be the last thing I'd want to do with eternity!), but there are still scary vamps out there! The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, The Historian, Strange Angels, and if you're that afraid of literary progress, there's always the classic (which doesn't really do it for me), Dracula.
Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't help myself so here are a few more lolz to go with this great post:

The vamp thing, somebody did it right, twice!



Diana Laurence said...

My personal position, for what it's worth, is like Insert Book Here said: I love that nowadays there is so much latitude in the archetype. I like my undead with an edge most of the time (or sometimes worse!), but when you're in the mood for a more amiable vampire, why not?

That said, I also think it's key that vampires never be tamed. When you have a tame, utterly docile vampire, you lose something essential, all right. Even if you're strolling in the park with the guy, you like to think he could pull out the sinister at any moment.

--Diana Laurence, author of "How to Catch and Keep a Vampire" (

Donna said...

Taking creative license with any cliche is always necessary. It's what keeps it fresh and interesting. If vampires were always and forever one specific thing, they'd get boring. What I take issue with is that they're very quickly turning into simpering, emo pussies.

Ten years ago the emo-before-there-was-emo vampire was an anomaly. Sure, they were around but they were buried underneath the rest of the normal vampires out there. There was Angel in Buffy. How could we forget him? He was the anti-vampire and we all loved him. I'm so not above that kind of vampire. At all. But again, they used to be novelties instead of mainstream.

There's also Louis in Interview with the Vampire. From when I was 11 I wanted to tell him to get a tan and Lestat was my love. But he was there.

Now it's EVERYWHERE. Congratulations. The market is inundated. Woodchuck to Gray Squirrel, the sponge can't hold anymore water. LJ Smith's series gets a pass because it was around long before all the glitter as was Christoper Pike's The Last Vampire series which is just being re-released thanks to all of this. But the rest of it? I'll pass. More of the same. More of the same. It was refreshing 10 years ago. Now it's just annoying.

Just as it is, I can't read the same savage vampire story over and over again either. They, too, become more of the same. But at least they're vampires.

Not only that but it's creating a new generation of "vampire" fans that don't really know what vampires are. Maybe I'm a snot in that department but when you see knobs writing things like, "ewww, vampires that kill people?" and they're serious, it makes me develop a twitch. Vampire fans don't just stick to what they know. They branch out. They try to soak in anything and everything vampire they can. What I'm seeing now is just the opposite. They wallow in the same simpering romance over and over and over again and ignore the rest of the stuff out there that far precedes what they know, but disregard it all the same because 'it's gross and not 'real' vampires."

The vampires that are around now are not vampires to the die-hard fans like me. They're byproducts of a passing fad that we're all praying go away sooner rather than later. Vampires, as a whole, will never disappear but they do have spikes in popularity and they're in one now. I'm just waiting it out so I can live without seeing things like, "omg teh cullenz wuld so kick lost boyz ases omg" that just make me die on the inside.

Severen, anyone?

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Bela who?? the only Bella I know is Edward's Bella ;)

Actually I love how vampires are sometimes not that evil.. It started with Angel and then the Sookie Stackhouse series.. Now I'm always for the lookout for books with non-evil vampires :) they are just soooooo hot!!

Sarbear said...

I loved reading this -- I have been thinking about this lately as well! LOL
I just saw the Lost Boys a couple of weeks ago and the vampire blood sparkled in the sun, when the boys were covered with it after killing a vampire... wtf!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, if you're going to play with an archetype, it pays to know what it is, and where it comes from, otherwise it's a waste time.

L.H. Parker said...

I hear you loud and clear. I, too, find myself tiring with today's hunky vampires. At first these sexy vamps were exciting, different. Now the idea of another smitten vamp makes me wanna barf. The only thing I can do is wait for the next vampire cycle.

By the way, I posted something similar-ish a few weeks ago about how to make vampire characters different.

Anonymous said...

At least the vampires currently are hot, sexy, and gorgeous with a dark side. That's so much better than Bela Lugosi. Period.

Donna said...

OMG yes!!!!1111!!1!! Bcuz luks pwn THE WURLD liek totaly!!1!1!!!!

Such a wonderful thing these newfound vampire stories are teaching the youths today. Looks overpower everything, including substance, intelligence, common sense and non-illegal tendencies. Mkay.

Yes, Anonynerd. Looks pwn all, don't they? Your argument is one for a debate team.

Anonymous said...

Check out the German artist Sopor Aeternus, who has made a CD called 'Es Reiten die Toten So Schnell" with the Nosferatu-type vampire look and lyrics. In those stories vampires live in graveyards, hate humans and look scary.

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