Friday, August 21, 2009

The Allure of Vampires

Why do vampires occupy such recurring and enduring place in our popular culture?

The Sunday Times takes on that question in its review of another vamp pop cult hit, True Blood:

"Vampires are different. Vampire movies transcend their blood-soaked genre in ways that werewolves, mummies and even the misunderstood progeny of Dr Frankenstein can only dream of. Each generation plunders the bloodsuckers’ coffin, pulling out symbols and stories to retell in urgent contemporary narratives that draw in politics, culture and — of course — sexuality.

Vampire stories were created when it was impossible to write about sex openly, so they arrived laden with sexual metaphors,” says the psychologist Andrew Bates. “At the same time, I think they deal with more existential themes: what happens when you die and how it feels to be the outsider. That’s why they’ve survived the opening up of sexuality in art — although they’ve had to face some pretty grim ironic retelling along the way. Today, there’s a huge mainstream interest in the romanticism of longing and losing they represent.”

Except Twighlight is really all about sex (or at least not having it in high school...).

If Stephanie Meyers doesn't strike you as the Emily Bronte of our age, you might return to the literary fountainhead of vampire stories: Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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