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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was inspired to make this thread by the discussion on horror.

This topic is not intended to bash any specific work about vampires, regardless of how does it approach the subject. But it is interesting, isn't it, the way those horrific monsters have transformed into something cool and exciting that everyone wants to be?
We had a discussion about this among friends sometime ago, and here's the conclusion we've reached:

Vampires have always been charming and intriguing. They had to be. As Terry Pratchett wrote, it was the only way to get people to stay for the night in the bloody castle. What happened, though, was that the popularity of the theme made more and more people want to draw on it, and not all of them were skilled enough to pull off what Abraham Stoker could - the atmosphere of complete, utter and yet futile revulsion. Careful characterization was replaced by simplistic, blunt construction : in books, this meant other characters simply reacted the expected way without sufficient reason, and in films this meant playing up the sexual attractiveness of vampire characters instead of creating the right mood.

After all, filming a genuinely chilling sequence with a pale woman in the middle is hard work for the whole crew, from light technicians and costume designers to actors and directors. How much easier is it to cast a buxom babe squeezed into a corset and a model to flash his pectorals from time to time? And thus, Vampires Are Sex Gods and Romani people are left behind, saying "...Huh?"
 

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Kitchen Witch said:
...As Terry Pratchett wrote, it was the only way to get people to stay for the night in the bloody castle....
Every wannabe vampire-story author should be required by law to read Carpe Jugulum before proceeding -- not as something to even consider imitating, but to actually think about the vampire monster and its genre before writing silly nonsense pretending to be horror or suspense. :)
 

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Every cliche was once a fresh new idea, and fresh new ideas tend to get overused and become cliche. The problem is that people often still call the ideas fresh after they are stale. Vampires can be both charming and monstrous, but they don't have to be. They can be purely monstrous. But vampires have shifted away from being both charming and monstrous to being far more charming than monster.
 

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Although I have recently become a fan of HBOs "True Blood" I cannot stand a certain YA series wherein the vampires have rippling muscles and "sparkle."  To me, bloodsuckers sleep in dirt.  They should look evil and gross like "30 Days of Night" or in Stephen King's "'Salems Lot."  "Lot" actually scared me in places.  Nothing about modern vampires is scary.
 

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balaspa said:
Although I have recently become a fan of HBOs "True Blood" I cannot stand a certain YA series wherein the vampires have rippling muscles and "sparkle." To me, bloodsuckers sleep in dirt. They should look evil and gross like "30 Days of Night" or in Stephen King's "'Salems Lot." "Lot" actually scared me in places. Nothing about modern vampires is scary.
Totally agree. In 30 Days of Night the vampires were exceptionally scary.
 

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balaspa said:
Nothing about modern vampires is scary.
Yes, exactly. Please put scary back into vampires. After all, the legend most likely originated at the time of horrible disfiguring diseases and I don't believe there was anything charming or seductive in the original "lore". I'd like to see that little whiny girl from Twilight meet the good old Nosferatu http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/
 

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I actually think the great thing about vampires today is that there is a vampire for everybody. You can still find the blood-thirsty, savage monsters in some films and books, but if you prefer the more modern version, sparkle or not, there's some of that out there, too. I've been a fan of vampires of all types since I was twelve, although it was Anne Rice who sparked my interest in them with Louie and Lestat. Back when I was younger, it was hard to find YA books involving vampires.I did read Bunicula in grade school, but I don't think that counts exactly. Lol.  LJ Smith was around at some point, but I never did find her series until much later. I personally appreciate that there are vampires for every age to enjoy. My vampires lie somewhere in the middle most of the time. They aren't inherently evil, but the right vampire can make a terrific villain that you just love to hate.
 

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I love the Jim Butcher Dresden files because there are all kinds of vampires in it.

Though, if you do like your vampires, EVOLVE edit by Nancy Kilpatrick is outstanding.
 

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I know this is a book thread, so pardon, but did anyone else see "Let Me In"?  That movie took the "sweet" out of vampire again for me.
 
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Riven Owler said:
I know this is a book thread, so pardon, but did anyone else see "Let Me In"? That movie took the "sweet" out of vampire again for me.
I had a great time with that movie. Chloe Moretz is probably going to be a star for a long time.
 

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Kelvecion said:
Totally agree. In 30 Days of Night the vampires were exceptionally scary.
Thanks! I edited the 30 Days of Night comic books and wrote or co-wrote 4 novels based on them. The original idea was to make vampires scary again--sharks with legs, nothing you'd want to make out with. I think it was a move in the right direction.
 

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Actually, I think the psychological phenomena is girls who want to "tame" men.  Once upon a time it was guys with tattoos and motorcycles (or along those lines).  Then men of an other race.  (Can't you older folks remember the many romance novels with covers of bare chested American Indians with white women.)  Vampires become that next taboo "bad boys" for "good girls" to tame.  But when general culture see the "bad boy" has acceptable in society, then the "good girls" move on to the next taboo.  What comes after vampires, I don't know.
 

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They're written for teenage girls now. Vampires who are supposed to be dangerous, but will also sit down and have coffee with an 18 year old girl they love. It's ridiculous.

I watched an episode of 'The Vampire Diaries' and the supposedly bad vampire did exactly this. He spent all his time at the local cafe, talking to the main girl's friends...where's the danger?

What writers need to start doing is writing it for adults again, but still intergrating the vampire into the local community somehow, but not in the coffee shop all the time. Then, when any character is alone with the vampire then they are most likely going to die and there's not a lot they can do about it.
 

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What do you guys think happened to vampires?
Authors of romance and YA kidnapped them and forced them to appear in their books as MC's love interest; and poor things in that process lost their creepiness and characteristics that painted them as monsters of the night.

My favorite vampires are from movies (Blade) and shows (Wraith), so Dracula being downtrodden by gloomy (sometimes sparkling) eye-candies doesn't bother me in the slightest. I just hope that vampires would continue to evolve in different ways (wouldn't be boring if we only had Dracula-like vampires?) and if that means that we will also have sugary version of them, why not. Diversity is a good thing, and it's not like scary, monster-like vampires are extinct.
 

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I'm so glad some people have mentioned 40 Days Of Nights. Those vampires were seriously scary and I loved that film. That is what vampires are to me. Evil, violent and ugly. However, I can see why the 'newer' vampires aimed at teenagers and the like, are attractive to their fans. It's just another subject told in a different way. They're after a hero and they just happen to be very attractive vampires. It is such a broad genre, all fans can get their fill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Geemont said:
Actually, I think the psychological phenomena is girls who want to "tame" men. Once upon a time it was guys with tattoos and motorcycles (or along those lines). Then men of an other race. (Can't you older folks remember the many romance novels with covers of bare chested American Indians with white women.) Vampires become that next taboo "bad boys" for "good girls" to tame. But when general culture see the "bad boy" has acceptable in society, then the "good girls" move on to the next taboo. What comes after vampires, I don't know.
That's a very good point. Inherent in most cultures there's still this deep conviction that a woman is a being of "heart and emotion", that having a man is her biggest and only success and that she exists only to love (and procreate). So the only way we can have a decent challenge is to do this with as improbable a partner as possible.

But female vampires have just as hard a time. We've focused on spakly boys, but those girls have it rough as well, with their ruby lips straight out of a collagen commercial and corsets that make their stomachs come out of their ears, or, in more "urban" settings, being undistinguishable from prostitutes who are doing a month if "charity work" and have a blood fetish. I see that attraction is important, but reading some books and watching some shows I get this feeling that they... well... were written with one hand, if you know what I mean.
 

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Once upon a time, someone had the idea to make a vampire who wasn't a moster but was a tortured soul fighting against his nature. This led to all sorts of imitators, like vampire hunters who were vampires themselves, and so many angst-ridden vampires. That which was once a breaking of convention became cliche. It's similar to dragons. Dragons used to be the biggest, baddest monsters out there - but monsters nonetheless. Then someone decided to break convention and create a dragon that was really a nice guy. And now it seems every dragon is a wise kindly creature.
 

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I suppose it all started with Barnabus Collins in the late 60s with Dark Shadows. He was the first 'tortured soul' vampire that I know of who had issues with what he was. That led to Anne Rice type books with Lestat, and eventually Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen. This is a VERY brief summary, but what do I know? My wife and I write epic fantasy. :)
 
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