Friday, November 18, 2011

The Wussification of the Vampire.

I have something I need to get off my chest.  I hate the “new” vampires.  All of them: The Twilight saga (movies/books), the Vampire Diaries (TV show), Angel, every stinking one of them.  And you know why, because Vampires are supposed to be evil, not romantic.

When I was a kid, vampires were freaking scary.  They were NOT something that you hoped to meet.  They were something you feared when you went outside after dark.  They were evil, undead, creatures who would kill you, by biting you and drinking your blood.  Have you read the book “Dracula”?  He’s not a nice guy.  Go watch the movie “Salem’s Lot” and tell me how ‘romantic’ the vampire is in that movie?  The point is, they have taken something that was actually scary, and wussified it down to something that can/could be scary, but has decided to be nice.

I got the following information from wikipedia " the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent".  I found it interesting, that originally vampires weren't thought to be attractive "Vampires were usually reported as bloated in appearance, and ruddy, purplish, or dark in colour; these characteristics were often attributed to the recent drinking of blood. Indeed, blood was often seen seeping from the mouth and nose when one was seen in its shroud or coffin and its left eye was often open". 

You see, they really started off as evil , as is shown in this quote "... in ancient times, the term vampire did not exist; blood drinking and similar activities were attributed to demons or spirits who would eat flesh and drink blood; even the Devil was considered synonymous with the vampire".  Synonymous with the Devil?  Hmmm, doesn't sound to me like someone romantic.  Let's read some more... " the returned spirits of evil-doers or those who died insane, also bear vampiric attributes", so they are often evil and insane.  Let's see if we can find any more... how about this one, "These vampires were corpses, who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomachs, after which they returned to their cemeteries".

So, to sum up.... evil spirits who drink blood, synonymous with the devil, returned evildoers and insane people who tear out the throats of the living at night, and then go back to their graves.  Sounds like a hot date for a Friday night, right?
People like me, who grew up and saw Salem's Lot at a young age, did not foresee vampires becoming the objects of attraction and affection that we are seeing now (although that trailer does look a bit cheesy, now).  They were something to be feared, and to be honest, they scared the crap out of me.

One of the biggest problems I have with Twilight/True Blood/Vampire Diaries is the fact that it’s perfectly OK for the Vampire to have sexual intercourse with humans.  Let’s discuss this (sort of) intelligently.  Now the reason humans have sex is for propagation of the species, because humans are, you know, alive.  Vampires, being dead, would have no reason to desire this.  They can’t have children, because they aren’t alive.  They would not have ovum, or sperm, or anything needed to make this desire possible (don’t get me started on the “twilight baby”).  They are dead.  They are cold.  They don’t produce stuff.  They have no need for progeny, because they are ‘eternal’.  So the idea that these modern “writers” (and I am using that term loosely) have given them an entirely human trait is ridiculous on that side of things.

In addition to why would a vampire want to have sex (because they wouldn’t), why would a human want to have sex with a vampire?  They are cold.  Their skin is cold.  Go down to a morgue or a funeral home and see if you can touch a dead body… now imagine trying to have intimate relations with it.  Doesn’t sound very tempting, does it?  Also, supposedly… Vampire’s breathe smell like, well,death.  Because you know, they subsist on blood.  Not someone you would want to kiss and make out with.

Personally, I blame the “Blade” and “Underworld” movies.  Some people would go back to “The Lost Boys” but I disagree.  Although “The Lost Boys” was a “cool and hip” vampire movie, the vampires were still evil.  They didn’t go out in the daytime.  They killed people, not animals.  They were actual evil creatures.
Blade and Underworld are essentially action/adventure movies masquerading as vampire movies.  Each of them is loaded with gratuitous violence.  Heroes and Heroines fighting against the odds that are stacked significantly against them.  Both of them feature “nice” Vampires, who fought against the "evil" ones. Blade was a “day walker”.   It was the beginning of the end, we just didn't know it yet.

I'm not sure if Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a step in this direction, or not.  Most vampires were certainly evil, but then again, some of them were not.  To be honest, I never really got into Buffy the TV series.  I did see the movie though, the one with Kristy Swanson as Buffy, and in the movie the vampires were evil.

Then, all of a sudden, Vampires became "romantic".  I watched "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and was amazed that this was a love story, all this time I thought Dracula had been evil.  I'm beginning to wonder if Francis Ford Coppola even read the actual book.  Because, he combines two characters into one (the two lead female characters), and makes up some hokey story about Dracula falling in love with one of them.  Listen closely here, I read the book, Dracula wasn't in love with these women, he wanted to kill them.  In fact, he does kill one of them.  He wasn't nice, he wasn't trying to be nice, he moved to London and its "swarms" of people so he could eat as many people as he wanted without people knowing why. There was nothing romantic about it.

Anne Rice didn't help matters a whole lot with her "The Vampire Chronicles".  Because she made them living characters who cared for people and whatnot.  I will give her credit for sticking to her guns about traditional vampire stuff, they didn't go out in the daylight (or they'd burn), they didn't make love to humans (although they wanted to).  So although she sort of stayed with the thought of them being "evil beings", she did romanticize them.  And what is with making Lestat into a famous heavy metal rock singer
Then we come to the modern day, where Vampires are thought of as something "desirable" and young pre-teens run around in shirts with "bite me" written on them with a little vampire fang pictured as well.  They go out in the daylight, because they don't burn in the sun, they "sparkle".  They are nice, and subsist on other animals instead of humans.  They live forever, and love you, and will love you for eternity.    They will make love to you, and you can even (Really, Stephanie Meyer?) have a child with them.

Listen, I understand the attraction for young preteen/barely teen girls.  It's the whole forbidden love thing.  Meaning that although he may be dangerous and evil (sort of) that his love for them will overcome this and turn him into a good person.  (So what if I learned most of this from Mr. Van Driessen on Beavis and Butthead?)  It's similar to why girls like "bad boys", they think they can be the one to change him.... only this is even more romantic because vampires live forever, and they will love them forever, and blah, blah, blah forever.
Here's a thought, why not just make them a superhero, or a God of some sort?  I mean, because honestly, what they are now really aren't vampires.  Creatures who walk in the daylight, fall in love, are capable of copulation, and don't feed on people aren't vampires.  Also, these vampires are always handsome and attractive.  Really?  If they have lived for like 100 or 200 years or so... go back with me.  I'm not sure people had the best dental work back in the 1800's.  Certainly their hygiene was very poor.  Wouldn't a person that died a couple hundred years ago still retain the traits that they had when they died?  I'd think they would.  I propose we create a "new" characterization for this new breed of 'day-walking, love-making, nice-guy' vamps..  Call them "cramps" "wamps" something... can we just come up with a new term, because there already are vampires, and they're supposed to be evil.

Dear Hollywood producers (assuming you ever read the sports doofus),  here is your next big money making horror film:  Make an actual vampire movie.  That's actually scary.  Where people are frightened for their lives.  Make the vampire evil, scary, and in no way cuddly. Get Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Neil Gaiman to write the script, have some young director who has grown up worshipping classic scary movies to direct it.  Have no stars whatsoever involved in it.  You know what you've got there, you've got a winner.

Thanks, I feel better now.

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