My Vampire Can Beat Up Your Vampire
When Vampires were Elegant & Literate
Twilight. True Blood. Wuthering Bites. Blue Bloods. Vampire Vacation. Vampire Diaries. There are endless entertainment options today that include vampires, werewolves, and a myriad of self-professed cursed humans. Enough, frankly, to make you want to bite yourself just to end it all!
We have all heard the tales and folklore, and some have researched historic facts and figures to unearth cretins who were clearly evil, mad, or both...people like Vlad the Impaler and the imfamous Jack the Ripper. These days, even seemingly innocent bystanders like Elizabeth Bennet and Abraham Lincoln are being dragged into the hatchet-wielding undead creature crusade.
Overall, we are being fed a plethora of pathetic, glimmering, ab-obsessed wanna-bees parading around novels and movies like they own the place. In some ways, they do. Money and merchandising rule the road to our kids’ minds these days. Even the newest Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version of a beloved (albeit quirky) gothic soap of the 60’s, was sexed-up and distributed as a farcical mess. It could have been an elegantly fun series of films, but it was insipidly stupid in many ways, and will simply fade into the crypt of crappy creature fodder we see so much of these days. (This is all to my chagrin, by the way, since I am a confirmed Dark Shadows follower from the beginning and looked forward with much anticipation to the film. I still hope it hits me differently when I see it again – I do so want to love it!)
Take the Twilight series, for instance. And by “take it” I really do mean away FOREVER. Vampires and Werewolves of old (in classic films like “Dracula” and “The Wolfman”) were shown as what they were – undead beings or cursed souls tormented – or tormenting – depending on their affliction. They made people do things out of fear or because they put them in a trance. The idea of good vs. evil was made very clear. There was no question that Dr. Jekyll was inherently good, but that Mr. Hyde was a terror. When inviting guests to dinner, Dracula could be charming, but he was never considered “cute” or “adorable” or a “hottie.”
The difference today is that vampire-genre novels and film characters are totally self-absorbed, break all the rules of courtesy and etiquette, and care more about their personal happiness than doing the right thing. Not to mention the tween-connection that I consider "marketing sleeze to children." Little girls admiring "Bella," who has NO ambition, NO ability to smile, NO sense of family (her father adores her), and NO desire to become anything other than dead – FOR A DEAD GUY! What year is this? Women - don't you consider this a set-back to our children? I know I do.
Vampires and werewolves are not, and should not be, role models for our kids! Once they became sparkly and “pretty” and stayed out in the daylight, they were presented as equal to a living, breathing, human being. Except they aren’t because they kill and take off their shirts all the time and act like selfish prigs instead of the adults you wish they would become.
Nobody’s really listening to me, I know. I can rant on Twilight’s banal writing and screenplay, or on Hollywood’s monetary focus over social sensibilities and our responsibilities to our kids.
For example, here are some quotes from two 20th/21st Century vampires - Edward Cullen and Barnabas Collins (from the television series, not the 2012 movie). Judge for yourself...
"It's healthy to ditch class now and then." - Edward from Twilight.
"I'm just going to do what I want now, and let the chips fall where they may." - Edward again.
"For most men, time moves slowly, oh so slowly, they don't even realize it. But time has revealed itself to me in a very special way. Time is a rushing, howling wind that rages past me, withering me in a single, relentless blast, and then continues on. I've been sitting here passively, submissive to its rage, watching its work. Listen! Time, howling, withering!" - Barnabas Collins.
Oh, how I long to see another Bela Lugosi-style Dracula again (the Van Helsing movies came very close). Note to Hollywood: Keep those kind going. Please, though, for the sake of all of us, cover the werewolf abdominals when they are human and get rid of the stupid glitter. Let our ghouls be true men and not some Barbie-style dollboys. Give our horror movies pride again – by making them serious and with excellent dialog (not the continuous “Dude…what the F***!). C’mon…we can do better than this, can’t we?