My interest in vampires started after I saw Interview With The Vampire, the film based on Anne Rice’s first vampire book. I thought it was an interesting film because it explored many aspects I had never considered before when it came to vampires, the idea that immortality might actually be a curse and that someone, in this case Louis, played by Brad Pitt, actually regretted becoming a vampire. It didn’t hurt that it was Brad Pitt in his peak of attractive lure, either. It was after going to see Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with my cousin actually, that he suggested I read the Vampire Chronicles. When I did, my whole world transformed. Rice introduced me to a very different type of vampire that I had never seen nor read before. Sensual, beautiful, immortal and young vampires, eager to explore the world in their own way. Even in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though somewhat faithful to the book, the idea of a vampire capable of having a emotional attachment to the human world was being explored. After I read the first three books of the Vampire Chronicles I went back to read Dracula, then Carmilla, then Poppy Z Brite then anything I could get my hands on. For a long time I read, studied and watched vampire lore as much as I could. What I loved about vampires was that throughout history there have been so many interpretations of what a vampire should or should not be. I think that many times, in describing vampires, society is reflected on its interpretation. In the early days, vampires were attributed to all kinds of evils that now science has dispelled. If a corpse grew nails or hair for example, it meant the human had become a vampire and was therefore impaled or staked through the heart and or cut its head off. Now scientific forensic knowledge has proof that some bodily functions continue even after death.
The concept of death itself, a subject that continues to be a mystery, is at the center of vampire lore. As humans, we struggle with the fear and the longing of life and death. That hits at the center of the gothic perspective on vampires.
I admit, I let my passion die down a bit, especially because nothing new attracted me. Then came Twilight and I waited until I saw the film before I read the books. I really enjoyed the first film, and it is still my favorite of all of them. I know many people don’t like the saga and I can understand why, but as someone who has enjoyed different interpretations of vampires I think it’s good. Stephanie Meyer is no Anne Rice, but she did a good job creating her world, and she presented a different perspective to me. What if the human girl fell in love with the vampire? In Dracula, Mina is disgusted by the Count, and even though in the 1992 film Wynona Ryder’s Mina is at least intrigued about Gary Oldman’s interpretation of the Impaler, she still chooses the human. In terms of turning it into a love story, I think it certainly spoke to my romance side, so it was a good combination.
As to whether Bella is a strong feminine character is another story, and I’m glad I was not a teenager when I read them, because then it would give me a very dangerous idea about love and how much devotion she has for Edward, who I don’t think is a very compelling character. I find Jacob and even Bella more interesting actually, but I still enjoy the vampire aspect of the book, as well as how she incorporates wolves.
I witnessed how Twilight influenced the existence of The Vampire Diaries on TV as well as Teen Wolf and I could not be happier. I haven’t really been able to see True Blood but I suspect one day I will sit down and see it, once the dust has settled down and the vampire trend fades into the background.
Of course, it may seem that I am into horror in general but that I am not, I’m not into zombies and though I also see resurgence on that I have no interest. My father actually thought that was strange so I explained that vampires to me are sensual beings first, scary second. Whereas zombies have zero sex appeal and are too gory for my taste. I sometimes watch Supernatural, but only in the day time and if it gets too scary I easily change the channel. I am a wuss when it comes to horror films and series. Even CSI got too graphic for me. I really used to enjoy that show until I started having nightmares about being in the crime scenes and I had to stop watching.
I don’t really like magic either. I could not get into Harry Potter, I just couldn’t. The Lord of The Rings was a bit more interesting but I’m not going to watch The Hobbit, that’s just too much for me in my opinion.
So as far as fantastic worlds are concerned, vampire one are just the right combination of scary and sexy to me. Sure, some magic and wolves and such can creep in there but as the main subject, I have little interest. Teen Wolf was interesting in the beginning but it’s getting a little trite for my taste. Even though The Vampire Diaries have been up and down for me, I’ll still watch it. Primarily because of Damon, I must confess, but I’m still intrigued by the show. Elena is a much more compelling character than Bella, that’s for sure.
Trends come and go, but vampires will remain, they are immortal after all. For those of us who have followed its trail from Transylvania to Sunnydale to Mystic Falls, it doesn’t make any difference whether the world is paying attention or not.