Everyone (but me) has been reading vampire books. The craze apparently swept the nation while my attention was elsewhere. (I never know what’s popular. I was probably fretting over my tractor’s valve train.)
I’m all for stories about undead bloodsucking monsters. Go team evil! I was delighted (if surprised) with the unexpected popularity of an old Victorian story with an awesome villain and a weird implied Romanian back story. Something to strike a blow against this summer’s oversold story about Blue Alien Indigenous Treehuggers who symbolically defeat Space Marines and Halliburton? Maybe Bram Stoker wound up on Oprah’s Book of the Month?
My wife, who is more aware of popular culture than I, explained things. For the six other guys (and they are definitely guys) who don’t know the scoop; here is all you need to know. Stephene Meyer took the vampire story and ran with it to the tune of several books and some movies (and for all I know themed lunchboxes and a game show). In my eyes the whole things sounds suspiciously like the fruit of focus groups but that’s just the sort of thing a Curmudgeon would say. The whole thing started in the young adult book market like Harry Potter and I’m the last person on the continent who hasn’t either read the books, watched the movie, or otherwise paid attention. Inexplicably this set of vampire stories include Werewolves? I’m not ruling out Smurfs either. Maybe I missed other details; so be it.
One day my kid’s Happy Meal came with a wristband sporting what appeared to be an anemic blue jean clad mall-dwelling high-schooler. This guy. This boy. This, shallow pathetic watered down echo of James Dean without the motorcycle? Could he be a vampire? My wife patiently explained that the character was not only a vampire but a “vegetarian” one. I was incredulous; “But he looks like one of the Backstreet Boys and… DID YOU SAY VEGETARIAN!?!”
This last part cannot stand! I realize that it’s all harmless frivolity and one probably needs two X chromosomes to “get it” but vampires must not be portrayed as wimps. Vampires can and should be merciless, predatory, and at any moment seriously considering and capable of killing everyone in the room. Vampires living on woodland creatures is pathetic. If I can kill a deer and eat it that doesn’t make me a dark lord now does it? Any vampire less dangerous than a blogging deer hunter is bad for society, a blight on humanity, and yet another way to turn a really excellent villain into a Pokemon character. I blame Anne Rice for this.
Vampires are bad news. They need to be nasty, cunning, nearly unstoppable, and unspeakably malicious, monsters. Otherwise they’re just losers without a day job. Any teenage waif mooning around a vampire should wind up double plus dead and hopefully mentally tortured on the way out. (Renfield wound up eating spiders in an insane asylum. Now that’s a vampires’ handiwork!) Anything less is just lazy. A teenage airhead escaped from the text of Romeo and Juliet skipping around in your malicious orbit is too uncool for a top flight villain. Vlad the Impaler would have tossed her from the parapet in less time than I take to scan the phone bill. Nosferatu was harsh to the core long before CGI. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula took out an entire boatload of sailors just to get to Britain. Mass transit baby! Vampires kill off a handful of innocent peasants to warm up for an unhinged evening of concentrated evil and we love them for it. Maybe they’ll even put some heads on spikes to remind the terrorized countryside that the crazy guy in the old castle on the hill is not interested in talking to the homeowners association. Anything good and holy in the vicinity of a hardworking evil vampire is going to get seriously messed up. And the best part is that you know it’s coming. When Bela Lugosi unleashes his cool accent you know his victim is up against something legendary. Vampires don’t “feel your pain”….they cause it. This is important. Vampires = bad. No exceptions. Vegetarian vampires are a sign of the downfall of society.
You may now pursue more intelligent fare. Thanks for listening.