Saturday, 21 November 2009

Vampires and that

I tried to think of a clever title for this, but honestly - they're all taken!

I'm talking about this stuff all over TV, Movies, the news everywhere.

Vampires are dominating popular culture at the moment - but why?

Are you reading this looking for the answer - 'cause honest, I don't got it! I'm just moaning about why I don't got it and moaning about how it's annoying and weird even though it doesn't actually affect me in the slightest!

Vampires have always been around, well they have since someone came up with the idea anyway. Who was that, hmmm - ok, Wikipedia tells me that John Polidori's 1819 novel The Vampyre is accredited as launching vampires into the world of fiction, though Bram Stoker's Dracula sealed it permenantly into popular culture.

My brief scan show I know too little about the history to write about it, but fair to say that Vampires have stuck around in fiction since then so that this modern craze draws on a long history and when we have a story about a girl falling in love with a Vampire, even kids already know what we mean by that term.

However vampires and their setting in the world have changed in our perceptions significantly in recent years and today's vampires act quite apart from their forebears.

Vampire mythology comes from supersitions and the fear of demons, over time this perception became about the undead and embelished with the blood sucking and whatnot until that became embelished in how we viewed these creatures - however they were always part of the occult world, associated with curses and the devil. In modern days we seem keen to ditch this idea, using our 'science explains everything' mentailty to depict vamps as a deviation from humanity (Blade) an ancient race (Underworld) and anything from aliens to computer programs (The Matrix Reloaded).

Yet there is still this idea of them being essentially evil and even today's tales, which often have the vampire as the hero always have them dealing with their dark side or fighting to cast-off the bad PR their kind have picked up.

I can accept the kinda Sci-Vampire setting and explanation and I do like the extrapolation that films like the forthcoming Daybreakers set out to achieve (it looks awesome by the way). I guess what I find strange is the 'romance' side of things that Twilight has brought to the fore. This is so much present that there are now 'Paranormal Romance' section in bookshops, you can find them between the Sci-Fi and the 'tragic life stories' section, next to the 'mind body and spirit' shelf and adjacent to a number of other creepy and unnecessary niches.

So what is it about the undead blood drinkers that appeals huh? I think it is a little creepy that the market is aimed at teen and even pre-teen girls (or that is my perception). Especially with same-but-different TV show True Blood featuring extremely adult scenes, but having the same romantic appeal I think it's risky ground giving this appeal to teens. I guess it's the classic 'bad boy' element, but there is also a very strong sensual pull in vampire stuff, which was present in the original Dracula and even in action titles the vamps spend as much time snogging as they do biting.

Right this is going nowhere fast - what, unplanned and no thought? No - this is classic stream of consciousness stuff here guys!!

Am I gonna try and stop this no, nor would I state that it is wrong, I just find it...weird and I'm struggling to find the reasoning behind it all. Does anyone have any ides?

I can't go without mentioning Buffy, perhaps the most responsible for bringing vampires to current culture. They also reflect on the popularity of vampires and the current comic run shows a world where vampires are 'in' - which of course makes it difficult for buffy and her gang of slayers!!

Quite while you're ahead time I think. Oh, almost forgot with all this enthusiasm for Vampires are you wondering what's next? Penny Arcade have the answer

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