Dracula was the Johnny Depp of the 1890s. Equal parts mystery and bizarre, Dracula was an original guilty pleasure of good girls with naughty fantasies across Europe.
Over the years, Dracula and vampires alike have become a little soft. Women no longer fear being sucked dry. Rather, they fear a broken heart from these fanged predators. Pop culture has transformed a once lethal and seductive villain into a pasty white knight.
This transformation is supported by the current state of pop culture. Vampires, from bestselling books to box office hits and even TV successes, have taken over the modern world. No matter the medium, the story is always the same: young, beautiful lost girls who find something to be desired in their boring lives, then a sexy, internally tortured, undead, perfect man/creature shows up.
As a girl, there is something intoxicating about the idea of vampires. Edward Cullen from the ”Twilight” series is an idealized boyfriend. He is beyond in love with Bella; he’s obsessed. Girls always want the reformed bad boy, the one who would give it all up for them.
Edward is boring because he is good. He has always been good and will always be good. In fact, it is more realistic to imagine Edward dusting a Smithsonian lamp then biting anyone’s neck. Despite his lack of excitement, Edward is still very desirable and by no means would I kick him out of bed. Unconditional love is definitely a turn-on.
This overexposure of the campy carnivorous kind has made me question whether I like this new brand of neutered vampires or if I miss the primal nature of the original undead bloodsuckers.
“True Blood” , a TV series on HBO, is “bringing sexy [evil] back.” In the “True Blood” world, vampires have “main-streamed” after the invention of synthetic blood eliminates their need for killing humans. Instead of the “vegetarian” and tame vampires of ”Twilight”, these primal creatures are impulsive, have tempers and are fantastic in bed. Their bedroom skills have even created a type of human called a “fang-banger,” someone who has sex with vampires.
Beyond all the erotica, there is a love story as well. Vampire Bill, who obsesses over the tortured pure of heart, Sookie Stackhouse. There is also Eric who was an original Viking, and a millennium as a vampire has not cured his need to conquer. He wants to seduce Sookie, taste her blood, and doesn’t care about the personal cost to her or Bill. Comparing Bill to Eric is like comparing sour cream to hot sauce, and I like my enchiladas spicy.
Vampires have some mileage left in them. With three more ”Twilight” movies, “True Blood” signing on for next season and even a TV version of the bestselling ”Vampire Diary” books on the CW network, pop culture can’t bid adieu to its fanged celebrities. We can only hope that the more short-lived fad is this wimpy brand of vampires. Vampires who whine and are constantly concerned are not interesting and do not suggest erotic thoughts. I want a vampire who makes me fear for my life, not hide my toothbrush from the toothy freak. This surge of vampire popularity may be a fad, but this is one fad I am more than willing to stick my neck out for.
The opinions expressed in the Views section are solely those of the author.