hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
[personal profile] hradzka
via [personal profile] voske, I learned of [personal profile] catvalente's wisdom on the subject of vampires:

The newest trend among vampires seems to be removing any downside at all from actually being a vampire. Gone are the days of Nosferatu or even Dracula--apparently vampires can walk around in the daylight now, whether they sparkle or not (Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight), are universally hot (everything ever), functionally cannot be killed and honestly no one even tries anymore, can see themselves in mirrors most of the time, and can even touch crosses without going up like a roman candle (True Blood). There is literally no bad in being a vampire except for the blood drinking thing, and being a vegetarian who only drinks cow blood or whatever is pretty much de rigeur for your modern vampire.

So...essentially you just live forever, right? That's it. You live forever, are super strong, and smoking hot.

And yet these vampires mope around like this is the greatest burden ever borne by preternaturally attractive man. [...] There is no reason to get upset because you get to live forever while not being hunted to death by righteous men, having to avoid delicious garlic, while also having every girl or boy in a mile radius fall madly in love with you. That is not the curse of the ages. That is awesome.


Exactly.

I blame Anne Rice culture for this: it started out with people who felt isolated and outcast identifying with vampires, but if you're going to identify with monsters you don't want life as a monster to have too many downsides, do you? This is why we have werewolves who control the change, and vampires who don't fear daylight. I maintain this is also why zombies are so frigging popular these days: they're the only unalloyed monsters we've got left. Nobody ever wanted to be a zombie, because zombies are disgusting and repulsive, and *that is the entire point of zombies.*

Date: 2010-04-05 01:37 pm (UTC)
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
It's only a matter of time before we get the new wave of novels featuring angst-filled zombies who live on cervelle de veau and don't smell at all.

Date: 2010-04-05 02:16 pm (UTC)
starshadow: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starshadow
if you're going to identify with monsters you don't want life as a monster to have too many downsides, do you?

I think that you're skimming the surface - dive a little deeper, for I think things are much more complex.

The vampire as a symbol in literature (as opposed to folklore because the two creatures really are quite different) has meant many things over the decades, but one of the things that has remained constant is its representation of the Other, the outsider, the different. It has also come to represent the libido, the shadow, the dark side of the soul.

Back at the time that vampires were seen as horrific, society felt very differently about the other and the shadow than it does now. People were supposed to conform to societal standards, they weren't supposed to truly express themselves. The transformation of the vampire into something beautiful comes, I think, as a result of many of us realizing that the other and our dark sides are not something to be afraid of, but something to embrace and accept.

In other words, as we began to recognize that vilifying the Other was wrong (which is not to say we are always successful, as continued prejudice and hate crimes prove), the vampire began its evolution from monster to man.

Date: 2010-04-05 02:31 pm (UTC)
mllesays: John Singer Sargent painting (bh // comfort me)
From: [personal profile] mllesays
Do you think there's a pattern to the glamorizing of each type of monster? Like, first they are scary, then they are funny, then they are sexy? Because zombies sure are at that funny stage right now (Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland).

Date: 2010-04-07 08:45 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] maire
I don't think traditional folklore vampires were always sexy. They were more like a type of ghoul, in many of the stories: a dead thing that was associated with rats and the plague and that had icky long hair and nails, which crept out of its grave at night like a leech. The ick factor was huge, and the monsters most closely resembled modern zombies: very strong, very stupid, very hard to stop, very obviously dead, survive off living human parts. The main difference is in the way modern zombies aren't stopped by the day, or by holy symbols. Bram Stoker is pretty much the start of the sexy vampire, to my mind, and his audience had much creepier background associations for vampires than we do, so got a different mental image: more like what we'd get from a story about a sexy zombie. Ick.

There are stories that resemble Dracula type vampires, but they're more often incubi than vampires.

Modern vampire stories read a lot like old fairy stories, like Tam Lin. Fairies have no souls. Jossverse vampires, at least, have no souls. Human-intelligent? Check. Exceptionally pretty? Check (in fact, Twilight vampires even sparkle!). Extra-strong link with the earth? Check. More acute senses than humans? Check. Terribly angst-ridden if they have a soul? Check. Very attractive to women (*not* a universal feature for vampires in older folk stories)? Check. Society that is parasitic on human society? Check. Honestly, the only major difference is the food source. Flowers or blood? (But then, old fairy stories generally have them eating ordinary food).

Date: 2010-04-05 02:40 pm (UTC)
nomelon: (gizmo sadface)
From: [personal profile] nomelon
Don't forget Shaun of the Dead where zombies end up being the same scampish best friends they always were, but more easily restrained, and valuable members of society in a slave-like way. Still pretty gross, though.

Date: 2010-04-05 02:56 pm (UTC)
kaylarudbek: Justice seated in the heavens with open eyes and an uplifted sword (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaylarudbek
I blame the Boomers and Gen-X for the shifting perceptions, as I think there is a good argument that one can map vampires to the Boomer generation, and werewolves to the Gen-X generation. Zombies would then map to the Millennial generation.

Date: 2010-04-05 08:25 pm (UTC)
beatrice_otter: Lex Luthor runs for his life (Run for your Life!)
From: [personal profile] beatrice_otter
Just you wait. There will be a big blockbuster movie someday soon about those horribly misunderstood zombies who don't want to eat your brains, they just want intelligent conversation ...

Date: 2010-04-06 09:53 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] maire
I need to read this better and think, but I just want to ask if you're aware that the original folktale werewolves mostly controlled the change. The classic story is of a magician who stole food by taking wolf-shape, but got killed in wolf shape, only to revert to human. The horror is for the killer, who finds he's shot a neighbour.

Date: 2010-04-07 08:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] maire
"I maintain this is also why zombies are so frigging popular these days: they're the only unalloyed monsters we've got left."

Yes! I couldn't agree more. Except that we do have other demons. Demons are still moderately popular, and malevolent ghosts seem to be making a bit of a comeback.

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