Friday, July 23, 2010

Suck On This!

Call me old fashioned – but vampires are not supposed to be sexy. They are the walking undead for Christ sakes! They live in coffins, are impeccably dressed in aristocratic threads, speak in foreign accents, drink blood and have breath that smells like a sack of assholes. This is the type of old school vampire that was popularized by famous vamps as Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price and the like.

In other words they were deadly and to be avoided.

Vampires have always been a popular icon in local folklore it’s true, as history has a long fascination with the vampire. For example, in ancient times, the ‘callicantzaros,’ a Greek vampire, had long fingernails and would attack only around Christmastime, using its long nails to tear people to pieces. The Sumerians had similar stories about vampire-like creatures and blood-sucking demons. And, shit, Transylvania itself has practically made itself the vampire capital of the world. Underlying all these stories is the belief that vampire-like creatures are soulless, and in some cases, mindless killers.

And of course, who can forget the grim profiles of some of histories most vicious, heinous carnivores such as Vlad the Impaler (the real life Dracula), Countess Elisabeth Bathory, Rasputin, the Highgate Vampire, or Arnaud Paole. These were not people you were exactly interested in meeting or, heavens forbid, establishing any relationship with. If you saw them coming, you ran and hid – not ask for an autograph. They were complete and utter psycho wing nuts with an endless appetite for human blood and wrecking havoc.

The vampire usually is seen as a metaphor for the dark side of humans: our greed, lust, obsession, predatory natures, desire for eternal life, the tragic quality of being boxed in by fate. On another level, the vampire has the qualities of the dark rebel, the outcast, the ultimate opponent of the established order and the daylight world. Trapped in a half- world between the living and the dead, the vampire carries the tragic qualities of an outsider who does not fit in, a situation that many people can identify with.

But lately, we’ve been identifying just a little too much I’d say.

To say that ‘vampires are trendy’ is the understatement of the year. Fast forward to the early 90’s and we encounter a very different type of vampire. Now they market energy drinks (‘Vamp: for when the sun goes down’), record top selling pop albums, operate entire Facebook fans pages, Tweet on their iPhones, and - while in Muppet form – even teach our children to count to five. Shit, lately, your average vampire has become pretty, fashionably hip, technologically savvy, and struggles with teen angst. Vampires have turned into more of a moody, Gap-shopping douche bag if you ask me. They are now more warm and fuzzy and deal with all the typical struggles of adolescence. They are now more likely to be contemplating their deep rooted issues of acceptance and belonging than they are of stalking and manipulating human prey.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula was replaced with the cast from Twilight.

Personally, I blame the writers of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. The character of Angel from the this show emerges as a template of the contemporary vampire. As a once super-bad vampire, Angel spent the preceding decades spreading death, hatred and destruction across the world. But when the gypsy curse forced his human soul to return to his vampire body, Angel regains his conscience and spends most the Buffy series attempting to atone for his many sins. With the emergence of this new Emo-type vampire, our beloved monster seems have become truly defanged, appearing like a victim destined to do good. In other words, he became a pussy as far as vampires go.

Perhaps, we could add the vampires Edward Cullen (of the ‘Twilight’ series) and Mick St. John (of ‘Moonlight’) to this category? We should ask ourselves this question: are these reformed characters really vampires – the predatory creatures who have epitomized depravity, perverse sexuality and moral corruption for more than two millennia – the creatures we have come to fear, loath and love?

I say abso-fucking-lutely not!

This has prompted me then to create this list of rules for vampires in order to be clear about what it takes to be the old school type of vampire that we all used to recognize and fear.

1) Vampires are not romantic or sexy.

Sure, they are sensuous beasts. Feeding on the blood of wanton virgins in the middle of the night n’ all, but they certainly did not “date” as it were. They do not venture out in last season’s corduroy jacket and they don’t give a flying bat shit about what you are doing Friday night unless you’re planning a midnight strolls through the graveyard.

2) Vampires are not warm and fuzzy.

When Dracula spoke about children, he was referring to wolves and their howls. "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make." He is not a warm and cuddly vampire with paternal instincts and dressed in a woolly Cosby sweater. He is syrupy in his charm and poise perhaps, but he full well knows the destruction that lies ahead.

3) Vampires do not have feelings.

We now have new vampires; ones with feelings. Edward Cullin in ‘Twilight’; he's moody and darkly brooding but he lives a respectable life with his vampire family. He feels bad about sucking the life out of humans, so he channels his vampirism to animal flesh. He even jokes, "We think of ourselves as vegetarians." Horseshit! Vampires are cold, calculating killing machines. The last thing any real vampire would do is spill their guts to a shrink about how difficult it is to be a vampire.

4) Vampires do not fight werewolves.

Forget what you saw in ‘Underground’. Vampires and werewolves do not, nor never had, any ongoing battles or conflicts. Besides, we all know that werewolves don’t really exist.

5) Vampires are not mere outcasts seeking our acceptance.

The vampires in ‘True Blood’, thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood; have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. Humans are no longer on the menu. There is no such thing as a friendly vegan vampire. You either drink the blood, or you do not drink the blood. And if you do not drink the blood you are not a vampire – period. These new models of morally conscious vampires who condemn and refuse human blood are pussies and not worthy of their implied “Vampdom”. Real vampires do not give a shit about you or what you think of them and want only one thing – your blood.


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