You know how I’m constantly complaining about books starting out light and fluffy and then going too dark too fast? Yeah, well, today I’m gonna do a complete 180 and complain about the exact opposite.
Given the rising popularity of the vampire and a slightly irritating conversation with one of my little sister’s friends, I feel the need to
rant about discuss the direction that this particular monster is heading.
This is a case of the dark and gritty being twisted into something light and fluffy for no apparent reason. Remember the days when meeting up with a vamp was a bad thing? Like, an “oh no, I’m going to die a horribly gruesome death and then rise as a fiendish being from hell” thing?
Now, vampires are almost like djinn or leprechauns – meeting one just means you have a chance to wish for and gain eternal youth. The whole sucking human blood part – not a problem! We’ll just use deer.
I look at Bram Stoker’s Dracula – now there was a creepy guy! Mesmerizing, yes. Charming, yes. But you always knew there was something wrong with him; a sense of dread was always there, no matter how genteel he acted. And this was back in the days when sunlight, crosses, and garlic were effective protection, and vamps needed human blood, and human blood alone, to survive. That made his courtliness and charm all the creepier – a true case of ” ‘come into my parlor,’ said the spider to the fly…”. Still gives me shivers!
From there, we went to the “sexy vampire”. The eternally young, glamorous beings with fangs. These guys could be good or evil as they chose. The problem of human blood was solved (by the good ones, at least) by raiding blood banks or hospitals. Occasionally, cow blood was used (I’m thinking of the TV show Forever Knight here). I have no objection to these vampires as they still have retained enough of their vampiness to be instantly recognizable as a “creature of the night”. In fact, the evil sexy vampires were often truly chilling in their calm acceptance of the fact that they ate humans. No longer just hungry predators, they were cunning, ruthless, and even sadistic at times. That’s evil enough for me!
And then… we gave the vampire his soul back. This ushered in the “angsty vampire”. He has to kill, but he really doesn’t want to. Oh – the anguish of having to feed! This was interesting at first – a good plot device that added struggle and depth to vampiric characters. Just what does having to feed on humans do to a person who can feel remorse and regret in the same way we do? It was a fun topic to explore… until it got beaten to death. It’s stopped being thought-provoking and has kinda become par for the course.
Now we’re stuck with the “sparkly vampire”. He has (or at least has the capability to have) complete control of his urges, is able to feed off of animals to survive, is strong, smart, sexy, and walks about in sunlight while happily munching on garlic fries.
How is this creation even a vampire anymore?? Seriously, why even call it a vampire when it has no vampiric traits left? Just call it an Immortal or something and move on. I’m not sure these guys even have fangs anymore, and don’t get me started on them not being undead! A bacteria/virus in the blood, yeah right!
All I can say is, thank goodness for books like The Dresden Files and shows like Supernatural that are keeping vampires as bloodsucking monsters who should be feared. Someone has to keep the lore alive!