Friday, November 20, 2009

This One's Got Bite

What is it about Vampires? Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, which, by the way, might be a perfectly dank enough place to find yourself a vampire or two, there are a few Vampire themed events going on in pop culture at the moment.

The most obvious and anticipated one, is, of course, the release of New Moon, movie number 2 in the Twilight Series, which comes out today...or to be exact, last night, at midnight.... Just in case you are in any way doubtful about the SERIOUSNESS of this event, I encourage you to turn on your television, point your web browser to...oh any website with any news on it, or go ahead, check Twitter and it's Trending Topics. See, I told you!

But, I digress. Let’s get back to the Vampires.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been infatuated with all things vamp since I picked up my first copy of The Vampire Lestat WAY back in my teens. I read through Ann Rice’s Vampire Chronicles with such voracity that I actually had to stop reading them at one point, such were the nightmares they were bringing out at night.

From the dark world Rice wrote about, I moved onto lighter fare, with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With incredibly well written wit and sarcasm, this show, and later, it’s spin-off Angel, would supply me with all the vampires I needed for nearly a decade. The tortured Angel, the evil and yet so delectable Spike, true vamps who would burst into flames in sunlight, and couldn’t enter sacred ground. And of course, the “not completely human” girl, tortured in love with the vamp she can’t have, and the one she knows better than to get involved with.

After Buffy, truth be told, vampire lore lost its appeal to me for a while. There were the occasional movie, television show, or book, but it seemed pop culture had taken a break from worshiping the fanged ones.

And then, suddenly, out of the blue, they raised from their graves again, to completely saturate the market. Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, suddenly the vamps were back with a vengeance. At first, I resisted. I’d moved on, I’d left my vampire crushes behind. Angel was now solving crimes in an FBI suit and tie, Buffy was having babies and making really bad movies, Willow was friends with Barney, Spike was nowhere to be found, and I had left that world behind.

But like the supernatural power of persuasion these mythical beings are known to possess…I couldn’t stay away. Even as I made fun of his sparkly skin, and her dark gloomy emo attitude, I was pulled into Edward and Bella’s world. For the first time since having met my first vampire, however, I found myself siding with the other species. Yes folks, I am indeed on Team Jacob, even after book 4. I blame it not so much on Edward’s dark and gloomy as I do on Bella’s. I like the Bella Jacob brings out a whole lot more, so that wins him points. But regardless of my quips, I admit it, I’ve been sucked into the Twilight world, and I too will be going to see New Moon…just not this weekend. Before all the Twilight diehards go on the attack, let me clarify, I thoroughly enjoyed the books. They were fun reads. But I never found myself falling completely in love with any of the characters, and then, as if I wasn’t enough on the fence with Edward, the casting directors go and pick Rob Pattinson to portray him in the movies. He just didn’t fit for me, and ruined any chance I had of creating a more likeable imaginary character in my head. (I am now ducking to avoid all the objects being thrown at me). But, Twilight was enjoyable enough to suck me back into my love affair with Vampires.

Then there was True Blood. Where Twilight is chaste and innocent, True Blood is borderline um…well no, it actually crosses the line. Often. Still, the formula appears here as well. With the dark and tortured Vamp Bill Compton. The “not quite human” girl Sookie. The meaner, nearly evil Vamp Eric. And all the other creatures of the night we only hope not to ever dream about. But True Blood is not for the faint of heart. And yet, I love it. It is dark, and twisty, and just so plain wrong. And so, so good.

And then, more recently, I decided to give The Vampire Diaries a looksy. All I’d heard about the show was that it involved a (so far as we know it) human girl, and two vamps. Brothers. One, tortured and brooding, one dark and twisty. I’d also heard the talk of how it carried similarities to Twilight, but was in fact, based on books that were written well before Twilight was even dreamt up. That alone led me to investigate. And, I have to tell you, I’m hooked.

What Twilight lacks (both in the books and the movies) is a sense of humor about itself. As much as I’ve been sucked into that world, I’ve always felt something was lacking, and Vampire Diaries reminded me what it was. A little darker (albeit much lighter fare than True Blood), a little sexier (Stefan far out-sexys Edward, sorry girls), and Damon brought back the much beloved “Spike” for me. Dark, evil, twisted and…funny. In a “I’m making fun of you, of myself, of this very genre, but you just don’t see it” sort of way. I think this show has great potential, and am intrigued to see where it is taken.

And here I am…again completely smitten with those dark mysterious creatures of the night. What is it about Vampires anyway?

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