What The Hell Happened To Vampires?

I remember all the old Dracula movies, the snips, the myth, even read the original book. I’ve even seen some of the seventies and eighties (and nineties) revisualizations of Vampires. And while they tended to glamorize vampires in the eighties and nineties, you still saw the same issues: only out at night, had to drink blood (and bite people, to boot) to gain sustenance, couldn’t see themselves in a mirror, and for the most part hiding from the world because of their habits. Also, the stuff that works against them has a Christ-like purity to them: Silver, Wood, light and holy places…Think of the penultimate part of Dracula 2000 (Where Dracula shows himself as Judas, and before Mary Van Helsing attacks and kills him).

In other words, the Vampire stood for the punishments of a depraved life. Unable to view people as anything other than resources, the people come to fear him. Afraid of identification, he hides himself in the night. Unable to embrace God and having made a pact with Satan, the instruments of Salvation become deadly to him. Because of his powers and beauty, he entrances others (and remakes them into HIS image – beautiful and deadly). When he rises and feeds on the blood of the weak and wanty, all honorable men (and those seeking honor) come together to destroy him.

Even when we’re supposed to identify with a Vampire (or the Vampires, as the case may be), the limits are still there. They’re still creatures of the night, they still need blood to feed and are still vulnerable to the instruments of Salvation, amongst other things. Even their adaptations (I Am Legend) tend to fall and falter, with the changes subjected to limits (Vampirism can be held back, not destroyed; Day still frightens the beasts even with limited tolerance to light, etc.)

But it’s changed.

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Now, it seems they can go out in the day. Sometimes they come out and glow, there’s that little something that allows them to stand out in daylight. Not only that, but it’s now the vampires who are in control of themselves and the people who are wanty towards them.

Now I understand the True Blood series, where a technological fix allows Vampires to live amongst humans. Even that, however, has its limits, as they tend to be frightened of sunlight and certain implements. But it seems the Vampires are getting to the point where they’re more enhanced humans than dead being stuck in the world.

Is there more than one person to whom this is disturbing? We’re talking about the ultimate metaphor of a person unable to be human, one who can only live off the life/blood of others and is excluded for this; and we’re ROMANTICIZING THEM? GLORIFYING THEM? Yes I’m aware that they’re supposed to be alluring, but dangerously so. Beautiful, yes…handsome, yes…but deadly, if you’re lucky; and if you survive the fate is worse than death.

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I have a couple of theories, of course.

First theory is economic: Since we’ve gotten used to people living off of others (banks charging interest on everything from homes and cars to that taco you bought a few years ago, rich growing richer as the poor grow poorer, people who don’t add a bit to productive society are raised as stars, the welfare class, etc.), the idea of the vampire (someone who can only live off another person’s blood) has become very much acceptable. Hence the folks in the Twilight series glowing in the light and looking hotter than the regular humans.

The second theory is more spiritually based. Simply put, without a solid belief in the idea of Good being linked with the everyday, unglamorous habits developed for the daytime life, the night with its promise of freedom and hidden pleasures takes over. And with it, the vampire becomes the beacons to the pleasures of the night.

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Anyway, enough about a phenomenon I find disturbing. More about other stuff later on.


One thought on “What The Hell Happened To Vampires?

  1. Godozo:

    I just read your comment over at Liberal Rapture. I don’t think I’ve seen your comments there before. You are a really good thinker/writer. So I thought I’d look at your homepage and wow! I really like your post here on vampires. I happen to share your disturbance about the way in which vampires are now depicted, not that I ever had a particular fancy for the genre of writing or film, but the way in which vampires have been turned into latter day super heroes or creatures who evoke sympathy. Ugh.

    It’s interesting too, that this genre has been the mother’s milk of a whole generation of youngsters–the same way in which one generation grew up under Reagan. I’ve been going the rounds with my teenage daughter over “Twilight” (I haven’t allowed her to see the films) versus “literature.” And as a Christian, it does concern me that young people do not see the inherent evil in the undead and what makes them so.

    Excellent post! Thanks.

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