Blood drinkers, aka vampires (of course) were my first horror monster and still hold a special place in my heart. Vampires rock. There’s something about a great vampire tale that makes me smile, whether the vampire is a freak from Hell or a romantic lead. Sure, there are a lot of vampires out there in books, on television, in the movies and some of them are groan-worthy, but that doesn’t mean I want people to stop making stories about them. Au contraire. Please keep fantasizing, writing about, drawing, filming vampires.
There are so many different types of vampires that it would be hard to encompass them all in a simple blog post. So I envision there will be several pieces to this homage to vampires. Let me start by fangirling all over my favorite vampire movies, books, and shows.
Hammer Vampire Films
I still remember these movies giving me the heebie jeebies when I was a kid but I ate them up anyway. There were a total of 9 movies made over a period of 20 years. Of course, as a kid, I didn’t know the director or producers, I just knew that I watched them in nervous wonder and enjoyed vivid nightmares later. Even then, I wished the vampire would catch a break and wouldn’t be staked at the end. Vampire as evil bad guy didn’t really satisfy me.
And then came …
The Vampire Lestat
Thank heavens I started with The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice instead of the first book, Interview with a Vampire. I fell in love with Lestat for many reasons: the book opened my eyes to a new world of horror, where the scares were delivered in dulcet tones. It gave me a vampire who drank blood, who seduced his victims and who didn’t die at the end. It was a revelation for me. Plus, I found the celebration of the sensual to be liberating. I read this as a teenager who was confronted at every turn with the idea that sex was bad, sex was shameful, sex wasn’t something to talk about or celebrate (within certain parameters, perhaps, but always with a measure of discomfort.)
(There’s going to be a new Lestat book. EEEE!)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The vampires were, for the most part, evil in this series but of course there was hope for two of them. Angel and Spike. They became more than who they were when first introduced and helped pave the way for the varied vampire fiction today. The vampires were smart, deadly, prolific, and complicated. They had funny, snarky things to say and they pushed Buffy into becoming more than who she was, too.
Kickass women like Buffy, have to have great opponents to go up against and the vampires created by Joss Whedon where awesome foils for her character journey. Some evil, some redeemable, and all of them awesome for a vampire fan like me.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
You’re probably wondering why I didn’t start with this but that’s because my love of vampires didn’t come from this book. I read it after I’d developed my love for vampires because I figured I needed to read the book that started it all, and by all I mean the modern tale of the vampire.
It was an okay book. There were great things to be learned by it. It was an epistolary tale and while it didn’t wow me, it wasn’t a terrible story. It would be worth going back to now that I’m older, to see what the young me missed.
Love At First Bite and Once Bitten
Have you ever seen these movies? They are hilarious. Combining two of my favorite things, too: vampires and humor. This should happen more often. There are more funny movies and shows about vampires, of course. Heck, Buffy is chock full of funny, both the TV show and the movie. I mention these two because the helped cement my love for vampires in a way that the Hammer Vampire films started the obsession. It’s hard not to love blood drinkers when you’ve laughed with them, eh?
I’m going to annoy a lot of people when I say that I enjoyed these books. I also liked the new take on the whole vampire story. Diamond hard and sparkly. Well, why not? Better than the 1000th rehashing of the same old story without variation, amen. These books seemed to usher in a revival of vampire love, from people who loved Twilight and wanted more and people who hated Twilight and wanted to see vampires done right. However it happened, I have to say I’m very happy to reap the resurgence of vampire love.
True Blood, aka the Sookie Stackhouse Series
I’ve read the books and watched True Blood on HBO from the first season to the last. I enjoyed both versions. I also respected the author Charlaine Harris’ decisions regarding the finally story because they were her damn books and she could end them however she pleased, thank you very much. I also liked the ending of the TV show, mainly because I watch a show to be entertained by it, not because I want my every desire fulfilled … (Though if I could meet Alexander Skarsgard in person, that would be ever so lovely, thankyouverymuch.)
I love the way HBO portrayed the vampires on this show, enjoyed the gory explosion when one of them was staked, and reveled in the dialogue. It was fantastic and I’m sorry that it had to end.
And Many More
There are a lot of vampire books, movies, and shows that I didn’t even touch on. Some better than others. Some really bad: (like that one vampire movie in Italian, where the vampire dude had sex with and bit some chick WHILE SINGING OPERA!)
I’ve even written my own vampire tale, Blood Curse, that I started thinking it would be funny and that ended up being very bloody and serious. But also fun. Because vampires.
There’s also the funny vampire short I wrote for an anthology coming out sometime soon and I’ll have more vampire stories in the future because the first horror monsters always stick with you, don’t they? Like two fangs in flesh, as a matter of fact.
Happy writing, happy reading, and, “Blah, blah, blah. I vant to suck your blood!” Mwahahahaha.