Guest Blogger: Vampire Professor Bertena Varney, Giveaway!
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful discussion! It has been great having Bertena here. I'll ask her to come back again soon. I wrote a name on a little piece of paper for each comment, and put them in my mini coffin, and picked one. The winner of a copy of one of my books is: Marty. Get in touch with me Marty, and let me know which book you want, and where you want it sent. Many thanks to everyone who participated!
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion as to why women love vampires, why there is a sudden rise in vampire literature, and basically, why are vampires everywhere today?
But did vampires really just come to be crazy-popular recently, or have we been slowly accepting them into our lives since we were children? Maybe women in our 30s were born and bred to love vampires. Or maybe not.
Let’s take a look at someone my age who grew up with Bunnicula, Count Chocula, and the Sesame’s Street’s the Count. It is rather simple. Long gone are the days of children cowering in the dark from fear of the vampire. The 1970s opened the door to change that not only affected the image of the vampire, but how we accepted them into our lives. I had one that taught me to count, one that taught me to love and the other taught me to make friends. The vampire has been the constant through each stage of our development. So it would be only natural for them to be a part of our adult life.
When our mothers were growing up, vampires were portrayed as the rat like Nosferatu or the strange, foreign speaking, Bela Lugosi style vampire. However, as we grew up they were portrayed as the cute Count von Count on Sesame Street. They were accepted into our daily society and as we grew, they no longer had to be explained or labeled; we simply knew by sight that the creature on the television. or the character in a book was a vampire. Simply put, everyone knew what a vampire was through simple phrases or placement of symbols.
The year I was born, General Mills introduced a new cereal that claimed to “bring monsters into your breakfast everyday.” The first of six monster-themed cereals was Count Chocula, a Nosferatu-looking vampire that was portrayed as rather comical looking. The Count would yell “I vant to eat your cereal.” As a result, the adults fled in fear but the children invited him and his friends, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Yummy Mummy in to enjoy breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The vampire was no longer scary to us and would become the first part of our day. We loved these monsters and looked forward to eating them daily.
After we finished eating our cereal, the next step in our morning would be to turn on the television to Sesame Street. Here we learned to count by a Bela Lugosi looking vampire named Count von Count. He was obsessed with counting and would count anything that came his way. He would even count himself if there was nothing to count. I know I laughed at his spooky castle, coffin, and bat friends. I did not fear him.
Then when we went to school, we read Bunnicula, a beginning reader book that told the story of a cute bunny that is also a vampire. Bunnicula was adopted into a new home where the other pets, a cat and dog, were fearful and didn’t accept him. Through different adventures, the cat and dog finally acclimated to the “different” and “new” member of the family. This was a perfect story of teaching us how to accept differences in other children and accept vampires as humans.
As we grew older there were reruns of television shows like The Munsters, The Addams Family, movies such as The Littlest Vampire, and cartoons such as Count Duckula, The Groovie Ghoulies, and Batman vs. Dracula. The vampire was now a friend and no longer a monster to be feared.
The Teen Years
The '80s actually were packed with 10 huge vampire movies, from pre-teen ones like The Monster Squad, the campy Vampire Kiss and Once Bitten, the dark Near Dark, Salem’s Lot, and The Hunger and the coming of age My Best Friend’s a Vampire and Fright Night. But the most pivotal and influential of my teenage years was, of course, David and his brothers in The Lost Boys. What teenage girl did not dream of David or Michael coming through your window and sweeping you away. Star seemed to have it made in our eyes.
These movies again did not strike real fear in us about vampires. Near Dark may have given you a little thrill, but in the end the bad boy turned good and got the girl. The beginning of our love for bad boys would begin during this time and vampires are what the media gave us.
The College Years
During college, I came “out of the coffin” with my love for the undead boyfriend.
There were television shows and movies such as the Forever Knight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Interview with the Vampire, and Blade, just to name a few. Vampires were everywhere and finally the subject was addressed. We could fall in love with a vampire and it was ok -- maybe not safe, but ok. So began my search, and ultimately academic research, into why these hideous monsters are now longed-after lovers.
I was a sociology major and, of course, was interested in why we love vampires. As a result I wrote my master’s paper on, The Search for the Lure of the Vampire. It was a great study but really had me looking back at my life as you have seen above.
Vampires who were also bad boys were also, in many ways, a hero looking for his place. We love the sexy Henry Fitzroy, Mick St. John, Eric Northman, Bill Compton, Louis, Lestat, and the countless other sexy vampires in media. So, why should we not be attracted to them when many times what we get in real life is Al Bundy or the King of Queens?
Why can’t we long for that vampire who has had centuries of love making experience to share with just us? Why can’t we love the monster within while sexing the vampire on the outside?
True Blood has been the most recent television show that has been popular but there has been a vampire show on television since Dark Shadows broke down the barriers in 1966.
So ladies, let’s embrace the hot sex, snazzy dressed, perfectly carved, sexy vampire and just know that the vampire craze has been boiling upwards for just under 45 years and we are here to say BRING IT ON. We can love them with no shame, while passing this on to our daughters. I wonder what the outcome will be in regard to them, because it is not as subtle as when we were young girls. Do you think the vampire will be too tame for our daughters, and they will have to look for a bigger and badder monster to satisfy their needs?
I will be giving away a copy of THE VAMPIRE SHRINK or DARK HARVEST to one commenter who answers both Bertena's question and my question. I'll select a winner and post it here on Wednesday night. Feel free to post as many answers as you wish. Each comment will be entered into the giveaway drawing.
Here is my question: What is the name of the bad vampire who threatened Kismet in her office? (answer can be found on the excerpts page of my website: http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com)