Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On Vampires

As far as I am aware, it all started with True Blood.  Some HBO executive had read the Sookie Stackhouse novels and thought "I can sell this to the public." And he did.  I can't remember any other serial television show that delved so far into "serious" fantasy territory (sitcoms (The Munsters and The Addams Family, etc.) don't count).  This helped in opening the door to Game of Thrones, and for that, we should be thankful (but that's beside the point).  

I want to like True Blood if only because it is the fantasy television we have.  The concept of vampires coming out of hiding and attempting to acclimate into human culture was intriguing.  The potential of clashes between vampires stuck in "the old ways" and those willing to meld with human ethos, clashes between humans accepting and revolting, power struggles in political arenas; there is so much potential in the show (I understand much is derived from novel, but I have not read any and likely never will, so will be referring to all plot, etc. as "the show").  I even accepted Sookie's telepathy, giving the lead character a twist without making her indestructible.  The series had potential to succeed where the Blade series failed, encompassing political, religious, moral drama.  Instead they gave us faeries.  

Deus ex machina.

I wanted to like True Blood because, let's face it, vampires are interesting.  With the current popularity of vampire fiction, they are also an archetype you cannot escape in some form.

I must warn you, I have hidden my "man" card where you will never find it, so you cannot take it away when I say that I have seen all of the Twilight movies (I'm married, I think it's a requirement).  Not my cup of tea.  Stephenie Meyer took vampires and gave them her own twist.  I can respect that, and maybe I would appreciate it more if I was 20 years younger and female (or perhaps 10 years older and female).  I understand at their roots, vampire stories were love stories.  If I am not going to have monsters, at least give me politics.  But alas, Twilight is nothing more than a weak romance.

On a side note, why do so many vampire-centric shows/movies/books need to include werewolves?

Oh, Lestat.  Anne Rice wrote love, religion, moral dilemma.  She wrote vampires from the 18th century through modern times.  She wrote vampires in love with vampires, vampires in love with humans, humans in love with vampires.  No one sparkled.  Did I love Interview?  Not necessarily.  I find it still holds as one of the better portrayals of vampires in modern media.  Plus it's "still a better love story than Twilight." 

So, Szever, what vampires do you prefer?

30 Days of Night (the comics, not the subpar movie adaptation) changed everything for me.  

Synopsis:  In a sleepy, secluded Alaska town called Barrow, the sun sets and doesn't rise for over thirty consecutive days and nights.  From the darkness, across the frozen wasteland, an evil will come that will bring the residents of Barrow to their knees.  The only hope for the town is the Sheriff and Deputy, husband and wife, who are torn between their own survival and saving the town they love.  

The synopsis doesn't do the story justice, which includes love, morality, vampire politics.  However, this is horror.  Ben Templesmith's art is frightening, and the vampires are ruthless.  


  1. True Blood is my guilty pleasure TV show. It used to be so good, but now it's getting quite bad and I refuse to give up on it. I was really surprised that I liked it too, I'm usually not into vampire stories.

    After seeing how badly Charlaine Harris' fans freaked out about how she ended the Sookie Stackhouse books, I don't think I'll read them either.

    1. I can admit to enjoying it back in the beginning. I think I was more drawn to the concept than anything else. I suppose this was just after X-Men, so it was also to be a show with Rogue. But, it continued to delve deeper and deeper into the inane and just lost me. LE watches it, so I half pay attention (though we are a season behind).

      I knew Charlaine Harris was ending the series. Didn't hear anything about what happened though. No desire to read the books. Too many new books by authors I know I like to read.

  2. I caught one episode of True Blood, and out side of some nudity and violence, I left completely uninterested.

    As for vampires in general, I'd say my favorite versions come from the first two Blade movies. They were the right combination of ruthless, arrogant and creepy.

    Oh, and let me add Paul Reubens in the Buffy movie, too. He rules.

    1. I thought the idea of the mutated vampires in the second Blade movie was interesting, adding the element of vampires feeding on vampires. Blade also had potential to continue making good movies. Then they do the "we are out of vampire ideas" move and add Dracula. /headdesk. If Ryan Reynolds can't save the movie, you're in trouble (*cough*Wolverine*cough*).

      If you haven't read the 30 Days of Nights books, I'd recommend picking them. Can get them grouped as a trade nowadays. Originally came out in 2002.

  3. I read 6 True Blood books, they were fairly entertaining but it's not anything spectacular, that said they were not as ridiculous as the show got lately. I really wish someone did a show based on Rice's vampires - where vampires are all there is without werewolves, fairies, shape shifters and all that other bullshit.

    1. There was the Blade TV show that didn't last too long. Funny how some subpar shows stick, and good shows get cancelled. I suppose "funny" isn't the right word. Though if you can't laugh about things...

      I think NBC will have a Dracula series this fall. "Dark" supernatural shows seem to be trendy now following Grimm (couldn't get into the show); Dracula and Sleepy Hollow coming.