I saw my cousin Olivia the other day and she had recently started watching True Blood. "I think all the authors and whatever else, of vampire stories, should all get together and like, decide on a set of rules for all of them to follow. They should all be the same." Olivia is only 21, and she was s Twilight superfan when all that noise started out, around 2008, when she was only 17. So, imagine your only real exposure to vampires and the vampire mythology were those emo sparklevamps from the northwest who love to attend high school, I think you too would be a little taken aback when you discover what ahem, "real" vampires are really like. Mostly, that they tear out humans throats, turn their heads 365 degrees while having sex, and yes, vampires have sex! Why wouldn't they? What else are you going to do with you immortality? I think you'd become a pansexual faster than you can say "What's a pansexual?" What some consider real vampires are brutal killing machines that have little or no regard for their human counterparts. So, ya know, the opposite of Twilight.
I don't remember my first exposure to the vampire genre or mythology. It was probably Interview with a Vampire, the movie. It came out when I was 12 and somehow I managed to see it (my sister Cori's exposure started even younger. My mom and aunt Carla took my sis and our cousin Adam to go see Bram Stoker's Dracula in the theater while me and Grandma were enjoying Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in the next theater over. I just remember the look on Cori and Adam's faces when they walked out of the theater, it was a mix of confusion, horror and boredom, while Ma and Carla tried to walk a few feet away from them, as if to say, "We just didn't take these two 10-year-olds to see this movie, what?") I don't remember how exactly I came about seeing Interview with a Vampire at such a young age (clearly, Mother wasn't exactly strict on what her kids were watching) but I think I learned all my vampire mythology from that film. How they're created, how they live, how they can die, what they do to pass the time, why little kids should probably never be turned into vampires, etc. At the time, I didn't realize there could be so many different rules for one fiction creature to abide by.
Mostly in protest to it's fans, I never liked Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I'm sure it was a fine show, clever and all that, but I really hated Buffy fans. They were so smug, so I always got a kick out of declaring my contempt for their beloved show, and then I ended up marrying a Buffy superfan. Yes, I still tell him that Buffy is stupid, and he still huffs and puffs and grumbles about how I am stupid and wouldn't know quality TV if it hit me over the blah, blah, blah, ya know, general Buffy fandom smugness. And of course, even without me asking, Jim had to explain to me the origins of the vampires on Buffy. Like if I heard just how mind-blowingly awesome the Buffy vampire mythology was I would watch the show and then realize that it was the most amazing thing ever to be put on television. That part has yet to happen. Apparently though, the vampires on Buffy are demons, so that's why their faces go all squishy-like when they go all vampire. I was mostly tuned out when Jim was telling me about that, but I think not only is that a dumb mythology, but what a cop-out. Then the vampires committing all these atrocious acts are totally blameless if their bodies are just being taken over my demons. I have a feeling that was created so there is always a sense of redemption just right around the corner for the vampire characters. I don't agree with that. Either have a bad guy be a bad guy because he's a bad guy, or don't have any bad guys. It's the main reason I hate the live-action version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey. Oh, he's a grinchy asshole because his parents were mean and the kids picked on him or whatever else. Um, excuse me, I believe he was a grinchy asshole because That's. Just. The. Way. He. Is. Certainly, I have no problem with his heart growing at the end of the story and him realizing the true meaning of Christmas, but c'mon, I don't require all this back-story. I'm going off on a tangent here, I just really hate that movie.
Also, hinging it's explanation of a vampire on a biblical theme is my most hated/favorite vampire movie of all time, Dracula: 2000. Possible the worst movie of all time, not just in the vampire genre. But, that particular Dracula was apparently Judas....so that's dumb too.
I think if you are going to have a vampire character make him a vampire because he got bit by another vampire. I like that explanation the best. It makes sense. To me, the idea of a vampire and the act that a vampire commits are all just metaphors for real life things. If you are bit by a vampire you become one, the same way if you are in some sort of contact with someone with a highly contagious disease, you catch it. But, unlike the way I have acquired this cold from my toddler niece from letting her drink out of my water bottle and letting her give me snot-filled kisses, the way one "catches" vampirism is much more violent.
Which brings us to what the whole vampire thing is about which is pretty much sex. Either consensual sex, non-consensual, gay, straight, whatever. The act of penetrating someone with any part of your body...and exchanging fluids, be it blood or....whatever else, that's sex, yo. I think this is why people like vampires the most. They can either be the sexiest damn things on the planet or they can be terrifying rapists hiding in the shadows, but you don't necessarily have to be a vampire to be either one of the aforementioned things either. That is how we relate to them. If you take away all the blood and just take them at their drive and desires and how they feel when they commit the acts they have to to survive, whether or not they feel remorse, if they seek out willing victims, if the purposely seek out the not-so-willing, if they try and choose to abstain from what they desire the most, or indulge without apologizes. It's all the same with human behavior. So, I think it's a bit of a disservice to humanity in general (I know, that sounds pretty grand and sweeping) when you take away the best euphemism for base human desires and behavior and try to explain it away with, "...Oh, it's just a demon." it's not really fair and I think that is why that particular mythology bothers me so much.
I don't consider myself an expert on the vampire genre or folklore or mythology, but I am a fan, and I like my vampires brooding, blood-drinking, kinda fancy, and will totally burst into flames if the step into the sun. I'm an old-fashioned girl.
I hope this blog post made sense. Like I said, I have a cold and it makes my head cloudy and I think I am blowing my nose to frequently some brains are escaping.