5 days ago
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Please, No More New Vampire Stories For At Least Two Days
What is it with our cultural obsession with vampires? For real. Every other book, movie, or TV show I come across is offering us a new take on the story of the vampire.
Please stop. It's been done to death, no pun intended. It's even risen from the dead several times, pun intended. It's even...you get the idea.
As one of my favorite professors, Dr. Daniel Robinson of Widener University, pointed out in class, there is something undeniably sexual about the vampire story. Bram Stoker's seminal work Dracula was written in an age where sex was not openly discussed, thus many writers tackled the subject indirectly, i.e. a vampire wantonly sticks its fangs in damsels in distress, penetrating them, and thus infecting them. Dracula is also interesting for its social commentary - the Old World of Europe is being destroyed by one of its own nobles, the eponymous count, and can't save itself (via Van Helsing) without the assistance of the New World/America (represented by the character Quincy Morris).
But aside from Stoker's novel, as a creature of fantasy, the vampire has enjoyed a great run. Anne Rice has apparently sold over 100 million books (yes, I know not all of them are about vampires). Some argue that the vampire even gave birth to the zombie, via Richard Matheson's excellent story, I Am Legend, which in turn informed George A. Romero when he was making Night of the Living Dead.
According to wiki, "Dracula is a major character in more movies than any other but Sherlock Holmes." Maybe one day someone will wise up and reveal that Holmes is actually a vampire. That would explain the pale complexion, odd hours he keeps, and strange mannerisms.
I'm not saying all this vampire material is bad, just that after awhile it gets to be too much. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel...Blades 1, 2, and 3...Underworld...then the TV shows Blood Ties, and True Blood...not to mention any one of numerous fiction titles that have gone on sale in the last few years, including the wildly popular Twilight series.
As the wiki page postulates, the vampire intrigues us because we are fascinated by sex and our own mortality.
Seriously, it's time to think up a new creature, people. After all, writers are supposed to be creative - surely it can't be that hard to concoct something. Anything other than just another blood sucking creature that sleeps by day and preys at night.
As an aside, Dr. Robinson is the front man/lead singer for the great indie rock band Milton and the Devils Party out of Philadelphia. MATDP combines pop riffs with literary lyrics. Check them out if you get a chance.