|mark211||Why do you think Vampires have such a powerful and enduring grip on the imagination?||2014-10-26 05:34:55|
|mark211||The year 1897 saw the publication of two horror novels: Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' and Richard Marsh's 'The Beetle: A Mystery'. Both titles feature the infiltration of England by supernatural nobility from foreign lands (the Balkans and Egypt respectively) and both were critical and (eventually in Stoker's case) commercial successes. But how many people have heard of 'The Beetle' today?||2014-10-26 05:35:09|
|mark211||Just why do you think it is that vampires have such an enduring grip on the imagination? Is it their ability to adapt to different times and places? The lure of sex and death? Or something else entirely? What are your thoughts on all this?||2014-10-26 05:35:16|
|r.tornello||because there is a lack of imagination.||2014-10-26 06:15:44|
|jessbaum||Yea, I think it's because you can do so much with vampires. Dracula was a bit of a mystery that left a lot to the imagination, so many of us draw different ideas of what vampires can do. To me Dracula was more of a heartless monster, but over the years many writers have used the gaps to expand on other concepts without defacing the original idea too much. Ann Rice made them these Sexy immortals, and as much as I like to dump all over Stephanie Meyer (because Twilight kind of burnt me out on vamps) she has quite a following in humanizing a family of vampires who do not adhere to the ways of their kind. My four year old is obsessed with "Nosferatu" (we often read Dracula and then watch the film once through), when I ask her why she says, "Because I just like vampires." That's all the explanation I get but it seems to be similar to a lot of other fans.||2014-10-26 06:25:45|
|mark211||"because there is a lack of imagination." That's a pretty bold statement there - I'm not suggesting your wrong, but care to elaborate? I'm rather intrigued about how that could be.||2014-10-26 15:04:55|
|mark211||"I think it's because you can do so much with vampires." I definitely agree with that - I'm sometimes surprised at how flexible vampires are to different themes, times, places etc. I think that it might be because in essence a vampire is a predator in human form. So they can be dangerous like a disease, a shark, a poison, an uncontrollable lust for someone or something, an addiction and so on. They're essentially psychopaths too, seeing other people as just a means to an end, which means vampires can make good politicians, investment bankers, CEOs and the like. ||2014-10-26 15:27:22|
|r.tornello||It'a just too easy, like a fall back position, not that it isn't creative, but I just can't get into it, except that vampires are sentient beings. That leaves a lot to be explored as suggested, but, but but. ||2014-10-26 16:34:06|
|John David Rose||Look back even further to Sheridan Le Fanu's _Carmilla_, which predates Stoker's _Dracula_ and you find the first lesbian vampire. Considering the uptight nature of the Victorian era, vampires in part, seem to be a vehicle for exploring what was considered taboo: sexuality and eroticism. They also tap into a fear of disease and contagion, from a puritanical perspective, the obvious consequence of sexual promiscuity.
Zombies probably address the fear of contagion a little better these days, i.e. pandemic = zombie apocalypse, but I don't think zombies tap into the sexual element that is still the purview of vampires. Dracula uses his sex appeal to seduce and corrupt innocent young women, such as Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray. The men in the story are nearly powerless to stop him. This is probably another reason that vampires endure, they are really quite powerful adversaries with an array of evil powers.
I probably agree with Richard a little though. It might be time to let the vampires rest in their coffins for a decade or two. They seem to be a little clichéd these days.
|esullivan240||We are fascinated with death. Vampires fulfill this twofold. You know there will be death because they kill to feed. Yet they tickle a part of the mind with their everlasting life. The Stoker tradition has made them suave and sophisticated so we like them for the reasons people seemed to like the all sophisticates and playboys. They also need life to live, there is something primally vital to their quest for the source of others lives. We all behave in ways that are vampiric and often condemn others for behaving as such. It is deeply linked into the human condition and psychology of living.||2014-10-26 19:19:43|
|mark211||"It's just too easy, like a fall back position": I hear you there. Actually, there was a time not too long ago that I would swear off anything that featured vampires in it because they were seen everywhere yet little more character to most of them (in fact, probably a lot less) than a professional wrestler. I feel much the same way about zombies at the minute - so unbelievably tedious. ||2014-10-27 09:02:11|
|mark211||"Zombies probably address the fear of contagion" That's interesting - I'd actually always associated zombies with a metaphor for living on an increasingly overcrowded planet and all the comes with that (so-called "Fortress Europe" and the thousands and illegal immigrants caught by the Italian, French and Spanish navies every week and so on). We've gone from 2 to 7 billion people in just a hundred years. I'm not suggesting that is a bad thing you understand, just that it clearly means that there is greater pressure on land and resources and that the zombie trope is quite a neat expression of that fear. Vampires, on the other hand, seem to work on a much more micro and personal level than the macro and global one of hordes of mindless undead.||2014-10-27 09:09:18|
|mark211||"You know there will be death because they kill to feed. Yet they tickle a part of the mind with their everlasting life" Heh. I'd never thought of it quite in that way before. The victim can either submit to death and eternal oblivion or they can become one of them. It's kind of "Those who are not with us are against us" but in undead terms. Communist Vampires ... you probably wouldn't need to invent too much in that case. Still, I find that quite an exciting image - a Vampire KGB officer stalking the streets of 1930s Moscow under Stalin.||2014-10-27 09:12:50|
|esullivan240||I will concede that vampires are a bit of a cop-out. I think if you want to use them now the onus is on the writer to provide a new twist. After all there are only really three stories ever told:” Boy meets Girl”, “Man Learns a Great Lesson”, and “The Brave Little Tailor”. Based on that principle everything we write would be a cop-out. It is our responsibility to keep spinning it new ways to entertain. Therefore if your vampires are trite and stale then it is actually your imagination which is trite and stale. Also there is a different measure between commercial and literary success. You might be spitting out absolute tripe and the general public might love it. I am sure Stephenie Meyer sleeps well at night and we all know she is the poster child for the literary ruination of the vampire.||2014-10-27 12:11:53|
|mark211||"I am sure Stephenie Meyer sleeps well at night" He he he. Yes, I think you're right. I've never read Meyer (or that matter the other two titans of teen fiction, Rowling or Collins) but I'm willing to bet the books are both different, and more engrossing, than the movies. Funnily enough though, I've just found an article from The Guardian newspaper from 2009 which begins "Twilight author Stephenie Meyer has announced that she's "a little burned out on vampires"." (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/nov/16/stephenie-meyer-enthusiasm-dims-twilight)
|John David Rose||"I'd actually always associated zombies with a metaphor for living on an increasingly overcrowded planet and all the comes with that..." I hadn't thought about zombies that way. I've always thought of modern day zombies, not the slow moving predecessors (see Val Lewton's movie _I Walked With a Zombie_) as being about the fear of disease and pandemic. All of the monsters, vampires, zombies, werewolves, Frankenstein, and mummies, are associated with death, but vampires, zombies, and werewolves are also about disease: lycanthropy, vampirism, and whatever being bitten by a zombie is called. :) All of these are transmitted via bite, just like rabies which is also carried in saliva and by bats and is extremely deadly. Perhaps this is more of a modern day interpretation of these monsters considering the viruses we have to deal with these days like sars, ebola, or avian flu and how they can easily be transported around the world. Or maybe it's just the way these monsters have been utilized in recent movies and fiction making them less supernatural and more science based, (consider the 1964 film, _The Last Man on Earth_ starring Vincent Price, there's a more recent remake starring Will Smith, where the vampires are the result of a disease. However, I think this thread goes all the way back to Stoker's _Dracula_ as well. Consider how the characters in _Dracula_ initially approach what is happening to Lucy and Mina; they look at their conditions medically. Consider how important Dr. Seward's sanitorium is to the novel and how they view Renfield's condition as a psychological disorder. Even though Dracula is a supernatural being he is defeated by someone who is first and foremost a scientist, Dr. Van Helsing. ||2014-10-28 11:21:52|
|John David Rose||I'm not suggesting that this is the only way to interpret these monsters... just one way. Vampires are multifaceted, which is probably another reason for their literary longevity. Ed's point about the lure of immortality and mark211's point about vampires being predators are both very good points in my opinion. ||2014-10-28 11:51:30|
|John David Rose||I'm not suggesting that this is the only way to interpret these monsters... just one way. Vampires are multifaceted, which is probably another reason for their literary longevity. Ed's point about the lure of immortality and mark211's point about vampires being predators are both very good points in my opinion. ||2014-10-28 12:16:17|
|mark211||"Perhaps this is more of a modern day interpretation of these monsters considering the viruses we have to deal with these days like sars, ebola, or avian flu and how they can easily be transported around the world." Yes, that's very much, I think, all part and parcel with the idea of an overcrowded planet. Though as you also say, there are many different ways of interpreting these monsters - but it's a discussion after all, so it's good to share ideas with people - it's often quite enlightening what others think.||2014-10-28 13:34:20|
|mark211||Also questions - what *is* a zombie bite/virus called? I'm going to be thinking about that now ... : - )||2014-10-28 13:35:04|
|esullivan240||Zombie bite = vitiation.
That is my vote anyway. It sounds cool and fits the bill definition wise.||2014-10-28 18:22:17|
|bottomdweller||Vampires are popular also because the people who write about them are capable of telling a really good tale: Bram Stoker obviously, but also Anne Rice who brought the vampire up to date with her characters in Interview with the Vampire. BTW - her newest installment of vampires just came out on the 28th: Prince Lestat. The Twilight books are okay too - if you're like a 7th grader. ||2014-10-30 07:19:53|
|mark211||"Vampires are popular also because the people who write about them are capable of telling a really good tale" Hard to argue with that, really!||2014-10-30 09:45:59|
|r.tornello||to return to the 1st question,
It's easy to do, the programs on TV are like the soap operas of old, and the vampire theme is trendy. They are mostly young, good looking and the stories revolve around themes and issues that are typically human, with a nibble to the supernatural.
It could be the old west, or as the case is Law and Order CSI type. Same stuff different costume and weapons.||2014-10-31 06:12:48|
|mark211||"Same stuff different costume" I know what you mean (and love the idea of taking "a nibble to the supernatural") but I have to say costumes can actually do a lot - I saw 'Othello' on TV once and it the whole was set inside an 1870s style US Cavalry fort; another time I saw Richard III set in a pseudo-1930's pre-war Europe, with Richard as a Hitler/Mussolini-like Fascist. The point being, that sometimes the setting can actually say a lot about the content. That said, there has to actually *be* some substance to begin with, otherwise, as you say, it's just window dressing on a Soap Opera.||2014-10-31 08:53:37|
|r.tornello||I do agree, depth and content are important, even with a cartoon. Princess Mononoke is one example in the animation field. It's one of my favorites in Japanese and in the English version. ||2014-10-31 09:09:33|