Why vampires are and always will be popular
Vampires have always repulsed and fascinated, these days they more fascinate than repulse. The fact that vampires are human-like creatures enables us identify with them to a certain extent, letting us believe we can understand the way they think and behave, or at least explain it in human terms. They’re pure predators. They deal in death. They consume the substance that keeps us alive. They have superpowers - super speed, super hearing, super sexual recovery (!) and can read minds. They’re stronger than us, more powerful than us and therefore can exert control over us. They’re dead and yet still with us, which might strengthen belief that death is not the end.
The vampire is probably the most popular fictional monster ever created. How ironic that these super-strong, human-like creatures who are able to seduce with a few words and might suck their victims dry can be repelled by the smallest cross and a whiff of garlic, and unless invited in cannot enter a private dwelling. In the early days, that is. The first vampires in fiction were true monsters and really did terrify readers. Dracula is a story of sexual seduction and rape. It must have been comforting to know that with a simple stake through a vampire heart -- they die, though of course, it’s never quite that easy. Even now, vampires in horror movies continue to terrify -- Let the Right One In and Thirty Days of Night had me cowering behind the couch.
So are we obsessed with blood, sex, death, fangs? More likely we are fascinated by the idea of a life that can go on forever but without our bodies aging, a life unencumbered by problems of ill-health or any sort of weakness. Yet how could we cope with the loneliness when those around us die and we live on? Vampires give us an insight into what life would be like if we could indeed live forever. Anne Rice is the master at exploring the tortured vampire psyche. LeStat remains my favorite vampire of all time. While Christine Feehan’s vampires, though they might go through hell to reach their mate, are assured of a happy future. There’s room for all sorts of vampires and there always will be.
Modern vampires are more sophisticated and have evolved to suit our needs, and that, I believe, is the key to our continued fascination. In literature, we’ve mostly turned them into gorgeous tortured guys on the fringes of society, who never age and are brilliant in bed, especially if they’re feeding at the same time. We dress them immaculately in black, make them enigmatic, and in need of rescue from their torment by the love of a worthy woman. Once they find their mate, and they’re prepared to spend centuries looking – how romantic is that? – they are the ultimate romantics, devoting themselves to their partner’s happiness. We’ve created an anti-hero that can go on forever- literally.
There are no longer any ‘rules’ about what a vamp can and can’t do. They might even sparkle! Garlic is no longer a problem, they laugh at crosses, some can go out in daylight, they don’t have to sleep in coffins, they don’t have to drink human blood, they’re not all beautiful and yet they’re still compelling.
They’re the ultimate bad boys and we all know how much we love those.
Barbara Elsborg lives in West Yorkshire in the north of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.
After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.
Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.
The book I’d like to offer to one commentator is in my Trueblood series – Falling For You.
Falling for You
She lives for the moon.
Every month, for five days around the full moon, Jo has the overwhelming urge to jump almost every male she sees. Convinced she’s gone crazy, she seeks medical help but finds none. All she can do to stop the hunger is run. One wrong step and Jo’s life plummets in a direction she didn’t expect when she falls into the lair of a badly injured vampire.
He lives for the night.
Alek can’t believe the angel who’s fallen from the sky. With a knife wedged in his chest and too weak to move, he’s given up and waiting for sunrise. But when a beautiful jogger crashes into his lair, Alek finds more than a way to survive. He finds a reason for doing so.
Barbara will give away one copy of her book to a commenter. Stop back by to see if you won.