What is it with vampires, anyway?

posted in: On writing | 22

Sorry. I just don’t get it. Why would anybody find a vampire sexy? C’mon, folks. They ‘live’ in coffins during the day and crawl out at night to suck people’s blood. I don’t mind vampires per se, you understand. In the right context and all that. Like Dracula, who wasn’t nice, anymore than the lovely gentleman upon whom I believe he was based (that would be Vlad the Impaler). And Terry Pratchett’s vampires, such as the family of vamps in Carpe Jugulum. They’re not nice, either.

But this fascination for blood-sucking fiends as sexy heroes is- sorry – just plain weird. I mean, do you find mosquitoes sexy? They come out at night and suck your blood and while they’re at it, they can leave you a nice little reminder like malaria or Ross River fever. Same thing, really; admittedly without any gratuitous sex but that would be really kinky, wouldn’t it?

I haven’t read Dracula the book but I did have a go at Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. For me it was a DNF* but I skim-read and I found the early parts particularly interesting where she describes the MC being ‘converted’ and his experience of draining a man’s blood. For me, she concentrated on what the MC gave up to be a vampire; normal meals, human companionship, daylight. I felt it was pretty sad, really. A shadow existence albeit for hundreds of years.

I don’t have the same WTF feeling about some of the other paranormals, like shape-shifters. I can imagine it would be cool to be able to change into a wolf or a tiger and I can see lots of sexy elements in there. Take Sir Terry’s werewolf, Angua. She’s a beautiful woman most of the time but she can change into a wolf at will. And yet to Terry’s credit, that dark side of the original legend shines through. Angua is constantly fighting her other nature and The Fifth Elephant goes deeper into her family and her past and her very disturbing brother, Wolfgang. As I write, some of the images from the movie An American Werewolf in London come to mind. Seriously not sexy.

Maybe it was the introduction of tuxedos and virgins in flimsy white nightgowns in Hollywood that has led to the sexification (sorry) of vampires. I noticed at least four movie versions of the classic Dracula book, the most recent in 1992 directed by no less than Francis Ford Coppola. But the idea of a one hundred-year-old vampire at a high school? It’s all beyond me. What about you?

* DNF = Did Not Finish

22 Responses

  1. Marj

    Hey, at least they are sexier than zombies! Who would have thought there could be zombie-sex stories?

  2. Laurel C Kriegler

    I’m busy working my way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so cannot really comment on that. My favourite vampire is a female (Raylene Pendle) from Cherie Priest’s Bloodshot and Hellbent. She has a wicked sense of humour and there’s very little sexy about it. Those are, like, the only two I’ve read/am reading apart from anyone who appears in Pratchett (but I read that a long time back). Have never watched a vampire series or read Twilight, and have zero interest in doing so.

    • Greta

      You sound a bit like me. I came across some interesting vampires in Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood – but that was by accident. I think if I’d known there were vamps in it I wouldn’t have read it.

  3. Janice Seagraves

    I do enjoy reading vampire romance, but I see your point who’d really want a cold lover with blood breath?


  4. Bec Waterhouse

    There’s an undeniable sensuality in the blood drinking scenes from Dracula. The Brides and Harker, Dracular and Mena. Coppella’s Dracula really sexed it up, but in the book it’s still very sensual, just not quite as sexual as the movie. Initially Count Dracula is a debonair gentleman, he works to seduce both Jonathon Harker and Mena in different ways, but he has a goal which isn’t at all nice and ultimately his true nature comes out.

    I grew up on Buffy and Angel and, at the time, as an angsty teen I fell for the vampire-with-a-heart-of-gold thing hook, line and sinker. Angel was the bad guy you want to save. As an adult he kind of annoys me, having dated broody men he makes me want to scream a bit.

    No, I’m keen on Mitchell from Being Human. Yes, he’s still a bad guy, but there’s a real humanity to him. He knows what he’s doing (drinking blood and killing) is wrong and he tries (and succeeds for a long time) to be better. Ultimately he can’t hide from what he is and allows himself to be killed.

    I don’t really get vampires as romantic heroes, but I totally get vampires.

  5. Doug (@AllanDouglasDgn)

    I’m with you, Greta. I never have understood the idea of vampires as lovers or being sexy or romantic. I did watch Dark Shadows when it was on, but never once found myself wishing I could be Barnabas Collins and I don’t recall ever thinking his life was sexy.

    I recently had a conversation with a Twilight fan as she (very patiently) explained that in Twilight the vampires do not rip out peoples throats or even drink their blood, they consume the blood of animals, not people. Still, if my girlfriend (If I were single that is) had to down a quart of sheep’s blood while I ate my burger and fries, it would put a serious damper on a date. I don’t care is she DID sparkle.

    • Greta van der Rol

      I’m so glad somebody who likes these things has shown up. But I’m sorry, not every girl goes for the bad boys – at least this one doesn’t.

  6. Bill Kirton

    Vampiric halitosis – brilliant, Mona. In fact, I’ve introduced a faux-vampire thread into my WIP and, with your permission, I’ll exploit that idea for all it’s worth. As for the sexiness of vamps, I’m with you, Greta – it’s the Hollywood distortion. All those plunging necklines, flimsy nightdresses, women eventually hungry for the shivering contact – but all the guys do is stick two teeth into their necks. Vampires are in dire need of decent sex education.

    • Greta van der Rol

      Hahaha. Love it, Bill. Flimsy nightdresses in the Old Dart, shivering contact is probably right. Mind you, I remember mumble years ago watching an R rated vampire movie at the drive in. Well… when I say watching…

  7. MonaKarel

    I’m with you, just NOT getting the sex appeal about two legged ticks. Agree with Ren, Dresden does a great blood sucking vampire and adds in an emotion dependent one as well. But for the rest. Nope, just don’t get it. Seriously, who would WANT a long life if it’s only half a life? Can’t go out in the sun, dependent on blood that’s has to be hunted down every night? I don’t think so. And can you imagine the bad breath issues?

  8. Ren

    The only vamps I ever got excited over were the ones in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I kind of fell off from them. I tried Twilight and rolled my eyes so much I nearly popped them out of their sockets.
    The vamps in True Blood can be brutal but ts more like a WTF factor with them lol
    Vampires are supposed to be heartless, vicious predators, like the ones in Priest and Van Helsing. The ones in the Harry Dresden novels are nasty as well. Those are the kind of vampires I like 🙂

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