23 January 2010
Modern Vampires Suck
There was a time when I would have been happy to proclaim my love of the Vampire genre, both in book and film, but the blood that I was fond of gorging on has been tainted by a disease that theatens to once and for all kill off the undead.
The shitty Twilight saga has made a mockery of the nightcrawler, turning him from a savage hunting machine into a mopey teenager and wank fantasy for teenage girls, and perhaps even more worryingly, their middle aged mothers too.
The legend of the Vampire has existed in almost all cultures since the beginning of time, and he's never been a particularly pleasant fellow.
The most famous fictional Vampire is (or at least was before Edward Cullen), Dracula. And although he wasn't he first, Bram Stoker researched European mythology for several years to pull together a template for what I would consider a Vampire to be.
A cold, distant stranger who kills indiscriminately. Coming at night to feed while you sleep, or attacking in a throat ripping frenzy. He has no friends, no lovers. Any acquaintances are merely kept alive long enough to assist with his needs, and his only need is blood, and lots of it.
The first iconic film adaptation was the wonderfully atmospheric 'Nosferatu', followed by likes of Universal Studios Bela Lugosi flicks of the 30's. Bela was so mad in the end he insisted in being buried in his cape, believing he really was a Vampire.
The 70's brought us the sometimes campy Hammer movies, but as debonair and suave as Christopher Lee was, he had such a menacing presence that you knew that in a flash his eyes would go red, the teeth would be out, and he could rip your throat out.
It was also in the 70's that the rot started to set in.
Step forward Anne Rice.
Her Vampire Chronicles books took the aristocratic monster of Dracula, and turned him into a tortured soul. We started to see Vampires with emotions rather than just primal urges. They were artists, authors, actors. They were social creatures rather than lonely hunters. They didn't need to drink blood every night, and some wouldn't drink human blood at all, instead making do with animal.
And women loved it. Tall, dark, powerful men who would bite at your neck, but then pull away and crack open a bottle of dog instead. The world of the Vampire was moving from horror to romance...
And now we have Twilight.
Not read the book. Not going to. But in the name of research, and checking that I'm not prejudging harshly, I have seen the first film.
And it sucks. Animals.
Edward Cullen and his merry band of pretty, but tortured souls mooch around the local High School DURING THE DAY, and drink animal blood.
Vampires that don't burst into flames in sunlight, but sparkle like the fairies they are.
I may have not been concentrating, but if Edward is 104 years old, why is he spending his time hanging around a school? He doesn't have to, and ok, Bella is supposed 17, so therefore 'legal', but the freak's 104!
Not quite a paedo, but still seriously fucked up.
And if it is ok, because he's perennially 17 himself, then it what world is it socially acceptable for menopausal women to scream and frig themselves silly every time they see him? Yes, yes, I know middle aged men do it with 17 year old girls, but at least they do it discretely at home on their own, not in a packed cinema.
And now the floodgates have opened. Every other book in the Adult Fiction or Horror section is about romantic vampires.
And where will it stop? Having taken Vampires, are we to see Zombie films where the lead has chiseled features, and has passed over his appetite for human offal with a little bit of fois gras and chicken liver pate on toast?
There is time to change! If you find yourself, or know of anyone who is drifting towards the Shampire genre, re-educate yourself now with these modern classics.
Not that modern, but marks the point in the 70's where the timeline was broken. Stephen Kings book is genuinely creepy, and the film has some real stand out scenes on what childhood vampires should really look/act like.
30 Days of Night
The book itself is a VERY graphic, beautifully drawn graphic novel.
The Vampires here are ancient, vicious beasts.
One of the coven has the smart idea that the little Alaskan town of Barrow is so far north that come winter, the sun sets and doesn't rise again for 30 days.
The town, cut off from all communication wit the outside world suffer a siege mentality of horrific proportions. In other Vampire films the victims hide and check their watches, waiting for sunrise. These poor fuckers are checking their Calendars.
The films not bad either, and has 'Angel' from Home and Away in it...
Let the Right One In
A little gem from Sweden. Proof that you can add a little romance and feeling into a Vampire story without removing any of the true essence of what a Vampire really is. No spoilers. Seek it out and watch it tonight, You won't regret it.
There are more, but these should get you back on the right track before the bloodline is tainted forever.
Accept no substitutes, when watching Vampire films, insist on on a visual transfusion of the rhesus A +ve stuff.
And if I catch you wearing a 'Team Edward' T-shirt, I'll rip your throat out myself.