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The social effect of vampires in the media and how their prolific image has altered the cultural landscape.

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Evolution Of The Vampire

  • Jun 5, 2009
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Rating:
+5
One of the most popular monsters ever to grace the silver screen perhaps is non other than the vampire. How the vampire has somehow managed to survive in the art world could very well be a great mystery but time has clearly proven the vampires have longevity indeed. No pun intended.

What makes the vampire the most feared yet respected monster in film today? Simply  re-visit the folklores or legend which have been prevailent in some cultures throughout Europe beginning in the early Eighteenth century & you will have a better grasp of why the vampire myth is indeed a popular one. At one point, the dreaded entities that haunted us so many back then would've only served to grant much oral fiction which would be admired and discussed for years to come but these myths have literally been taken to the threshold of greatness. Back then, who would've thought these fiends would one day be a grand spectacle in the entertainment world?

Although it's extremely difficult to make a single, definitive description of the vampire, there are several common elements in European legend. Legend has it the vampires often visited their loved ones and caused great mischief amongst neighborhoods they inhabited while still alive. As a result of such mischief, mass hysteria surrounded this superstitious belief in vampires throughout Europe resulted in many corpses being staked & people were accused of vampirism. Naturally, the vampire is generally thought to be a fictitious entity in modern times although some cultures still believe that these creatures of the night do indeed exist.

Perhaps some of the finest works in fiction were the earliest novels written about none other than the vampire. Contrary to popular belief, Bram Stoker's novel Dracula wasn't the first novel to introduce the bloodsucker but very well may the most influential literary piece that spawned hundreds of books or films making the vampire a predominant figure in the horror genre. The first known novel, however, in modern fiction would be none other than John Polidori's publication of The Vampyre which was highly successful but predates Stoker's Dracula by nearly 77 years.

As we all know, the vampire still reigns in modern fiction & there are as many novels written about this creature as there are films. The topic of vampirism in the media is more broad than anyone would truly care to mention but I think we can safely say that the vampire has staked his home in our hearts for nearly two hundred years & his appeal to the masses has only grown stronger through the years.

Over the years, the myths of the immortals or legends we've encountered in film or literature vary quite a bit. From the earliest black and white film Nosferatu to the recent works such as Twilight or Let The Right One In, we have seen many changes or revisions. No longer do we see a hideous demonic face that lures young maidens to his lair at night to attain their blood nor do we see vampires hunting innocent victims in order to secure their immortality. In fact, vampires blend in quite well with society for the most part & have been much more charming or sophisticated lately. Many vampires in films or literature have become great friends to people like you & me. One could safely admit that the vampire has truly evolved over the past two centuries & it will be interesting to see how they continue to evolve with time.

Stephanie Meyer crafted her own tale of teenage love & vampirism which has become quite a phenomena right next to Harry Potter. Her books enthrall millions of young girls and adults have even owned up to reading these books as well. Meyer's Twilight was a successful first novel which garned many great reviews & spawned four sequels which are equally popular amongst fiction readers both young & old. Recently, her first novel Twilight was released in theaters around Thanksgiving and viewers have flocked to the theatres in an imposing flux. Probability suggests her novels will continue to be read for years & there is already a sequel in production to the popular film Twilight.

What is different about Meyer's vampires? I have yet to read one but I hear they are amazingly beautiful creatures, well, with fangs. From what I've gathered, the vampires here are sparkly and just darned good looking. Meyer advises us the vampires are still attracted to blood as one could easily gather but have more restraint than most vampires we've known in past works. Twilight also may be one of the few novels which tackles the teenage girl experience while indulging in romance with a vampire. The concept sounds interesting enough for sure but I'm not quite sold as of the present.

Personally, I'm more of an addict to the Sookie Stackhouse series which may of you know as True Blood on HBO. True Blood is more of an adult series from the writer of Six Feet Under & the wonderful film American Beauty. Alan Ball scripted this series based on Charlaine Harris's immensely popular fiction novels. The themes in True Blood may somewhat similar to Meyer's vampires as both tend to protect the innocent & yet still are prone to feed off the living from time to time. On the same note, vampires still want very much to blend in with society & desire nothing more than to be respected citizens. In fact, the monsters in this series are not always the vampires which is an interesting twist indeed. Season one was a successful series on HBO & enthusiasts like myself are already pumped up about the second season which airs this month.

In additon to the immensely popular True Blood show, there has been a press release for yet another great vampire story which should air on television in summer of 2010. IFC tv has officially announced it's first original event telefilm "Laurell K.Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter", based upon Hamilton's long-running series of best-selling fantasy novels will be produced by Lions Gate & After Dark Films. Yay! Adapted by Glen Morgan, who also serves as executive producer, production for the Anita Blake series begins this summer. I will have to admit that I'm quite thrilled about this & I can only hope the TV series does the books justice as I am a huge fan of the series Laurell K. Hamilton brought to life. I highly suggest reading them all if you have yet to experience her world of vampires.

Much like Meyers or Harris, Hamilton's vampires are desperately trying to fit in with society although you will always have the bad apples who want to spoil the entire bunch. That's to be expected, right?  The vampires in the world of Anita Blake are often very beautiful creatures as well although they can have facial blemishes or imperfections which are identical to humans. In Hamilton's fantasy world, specialists are appointed by the government to execute vampires suspected of commiting homicide. It's not illegal to become a vampire but it is, however, illegal to steal blood from the innocents. If there is not a willing donor, things can be pretty complicated for an unfortunate vampire.  Vampires are extremely powerful & seductive beings in this series although they are not always the monsters that society has branded them to be.     

Let The Right One In was perhaps one of the more successful vampire stories recently in theatres & has done quite well on DVD to boot. LTROI is a Swedish vampire flick which is also upon a popular psychological novel. I wasn't a big fan of this one per se but it seems to have been embraced by both critics & audiences alike. In fact, the makers of Cloverfield have already bought the rights to the film & there is a projected release date for their remake. I will probably revisit this one someday as my initial attempts at viewing this film weren't so memorable. When I did finally finish it, I couldn't see for the life of me why this film had garnered so many reviews. Oh well, to each his own I guess.

Irregardless of which vampire film does it for you, there is something out there for every vampire fan of every age. I don't see any immediate signs of the vampire's demise but I do think the vampires will continue to grow through the years as they have made a great deal of progress in the past few centuries. MWAHAHA!! 

  


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxlQiIpuBxA
True Blood Let The Right One In anita blake Dracula Dracula 2 Twilight

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October 18, 2009
There's a new movie coming out soon that has a kid as a vampire, and his "best friend" whining that he didn't tell him about it. They make vampirism sound like getting superpowers. Now THAT's scary, taking all the horror elements out of the vampire and make him a superhero. Gonna cry now.
October 20, 2009
Hmm, wonder if it's the Americanized re-make of Let The Right One In. I'm getting to the point where I like the original so I'm not so sure I want to see the re-make. Then again, I could be wrong. Best not ot pre-judge before you experience something first-hand, right? Yeah, I guess you could say that. I don't know. It seems like now the vampire has become sort of a superhero lately with the Twlight series & of course True Blood.
October 20, 2009
It's called Cirque Du Freak; The Vampire's Assistant. Looks pretty made-for-teenagers who want to be better than they are. "What? I'm your best friend and you didn't tell me you were a vampire?" and other such odd lines and that's just the trailer. Sigh.
 
June 25, 2009
I agree with your Twilight analysis but I have yet to watch an episode of True Blood. Sparkling vampires who live in Washington because it's cloudy all the time is a bit much for my sensibility. Give me the night crawlers and coffins with the dirt of my Hungarian homeland any day. (I'm not really from Hungary, but you get the point). I wrote a scathing review on the Twilight Tripe, which you might find amusing.
June 25, 2009

Thanks Scot! I didn't hate Twilight per se and actually wrote a fairly assessment of the movie on here for lunch in a separate review but I'm not a huge fan either per se. I prefer the old fashioned monsters who lured maidens & virgins to their lair at nite vs. the uber hip ones for the most part although the Anita Blake series & the Sookie Stackhouse series are pretty damned good. I will certainly check out your scathing review on the Twilight tripe. LOL

June 26, 2009
I'm voting for the werewolves the next movie. I will force myself to read New Moon, the second in a horrific trilogy.
June 26, 2009
I don't think I could force myself to read New Moon but I will watch the film just so I am not required to pay for it.
 
June 07, 2009
VERY NICE, bro. I just recently finished "True Blood" and I will have to keep on collecting that series. I was going to review it, but hell, everyone is already doing it. Anyways, back to your review, nice work in analyzing the vampire lore.You certainly put a lot of thought into it, but I would've ripped "Twilight" to shreds. I was looking for "Lilith"--the first vampire ever (or did I miss that part?) who is mentioned in the Bible. Nice write up, this would be a great companion piece to Orlok's Dracula review.
June 09, 2009
Thanks again Woo as always for the wonderful comments!! Yeah, I passed on the True Blood review as well but I do love the series and am counting down the days until season 2 airs. For some reason, I don't hate Twilight & even wrote a review several months back on that one. It's certainly not my thing per se but it's an OK story. No, I didn't include Lilith but that would've been a grand edition. Perhaps you should do that one Woo. I love your writing style so maybe you could contribute a piece on Lilith to my 'zine. Many thanks again!!
June 25, 2009
Oh, is Orlok writing a Dracula review? :)
June 25, 2009
Yep, we are still in suspense here ourselves. One day, that Dracula review will see the light of day &Gabriel will blow his trumpet though not necessarily in that order. LMAO
November 18, 2009
Yep! still as great a read as the very first time! Thanks again, C7!!
November 18, 2009
Ahh, my bad. I couldn't remember if you'd read this one or not. I'm growing old. Hehe Anywho, you're welcome as always & I appreciated the comments as much now as I did back then irregardless of how my memory may be failing me. Much love!!!!
November 18, 2009
Orlok hates himself (according his mini-review of himself) so we can give him more love LOL!
November 18, 2009
Self-loathing is a terminally ill disease. Perhaps we could show him a bit more love before his demise. That's a tragedy if I ever did hear tell of one. Let me drop him some comments.
 
June 07, 2009
Excellent review: I just watched the Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows) version of Dracula and posted it. I even posted a video clip with the ending. Well, we already know how these end, but Jack Palance really knows how to play it up.
June 09, 2009
Well, thank you Scotman! I actually need to go back one day &watch some of the old Dark Shadows or the Dan Curtis version of Dracula. I'm glad you enjoyed my review & let me know if you'd like to contribute a column or an article to the 'zine. Thanks again bro!
June 09, 2009
You bet, thanks!
 
June 05, 2009
I L-O-V-E True Blood! I can't wait for the second season. One of the things I like most is that they do incorporate other "monsters" or "mythical creatures" and don't just rely heavily on vampires. Bill Compton is handsome with an old school charm that doesn't exist anymore or is rare, so you almost fall for his seduction just like Sookie does. I think my fascination of vampirism is to be blamed on Anne Rice and Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire.
June 05, 2009
See for me the obsession began with the classic Universal Dracula, which then expanded to include the classic Bram Stoker novel and the Tomb of Dracula comics and the first Blade film... and of course, Nosferatu!
June 05, 2009
Oh yeah...I forgot about Blade and I didn't get to read Bram Stoker's Dracula until later in life. I know a very pop introduction into the world of vampires LOL!
June 05, 2009
I think just about anything to do with vampires is of the usual interest to me be it the old Anne Rice novels or even the more contemporary stuff like Blade & Underworld of course. I did read Bram Stoker's novel right around the time Coopola released his version in theatres & I think I was still in high school. I do agree with you on True Blood. It's very easy to see how Sookie would be drawn to Bill in this series. I also love the motley crew of characters which Alan Ball fleshes out in this series. It will be interesting to see which direction the series take this season. Fingers crossed.
June 05, 2009
i know! What other interesting characters will he bring out? What is Sam? He's not a werewolf but, he can change into a dog....and then,there's that strange lady that "rescued" or stood in the road waiting for Tara- what is she? How does she know Sam? I JUST CAN'T WAIT LOL!!!
June 05, 2009
All I can say is the suspense is killing me literally. I believe the woman that rescued Tara is a witch but I could be wrong so don't quote me on that please. I still am not certain on she knew Sam though or how they were connected but I don't think something is kosher here. Sam is a shapeshifter but I don't know the politically correct term for a man that can change into a dog. Weredog? LOL Overall, I'm very impressed with the series & this may very well take the place of Twin Peaks or my other fav Six Feet Under. Thumbs up! ;-0
June 05, 2009
that's right...shapeshifter and he chose a dog because people trust them. I think that I had thought she was a witch. Remember in one of the last shows when they had a run-in and it was no bueno? Something is definitely rotten in the state of Denmark. You know what? I may just start a discussion on this!
June 05, 2009
I think a discussion on True Blood is definitely in order & you brought some really interesting thoughts here. I haven't read the series in which True Blood is based on but I may go ahead & pick a few of them up as I'm dying to know what happens next. Let know if you decide to do a thread or create a True Blood forum. That would be freakin' awesome!!!
June 05, 2009
Just added it!
June 05, 2009
Fantastico!!! I will definitely check it out on my next visit here to lunch. Right now, I've gotta split. Talk to ya soon love. ;-)~
 
June 05, 2009
Wow, you're trying to outdo my Dracula review before I post it... :)
June 05, 2009
Gosh, I was afraid you would say that but no. As i just explained to Queen, this was an old project that was butchered when I wrote it for another website. This is the same column I wrote for matchflick.com only I've added some current news about the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series as I'm pretty stoked about that. OH,where is that Dracula review by the way sir? LOL ;-0 Good to see you online today Orlok. Thank you for dropping in!!
June 05, 2009
Damn, everybody's on me about that. I've got to stop telling people when I'm reviewing something interesting and just start surprising them. Which means I won't ever announce when I get around to reviewing Tolkien... that is if I ever do. ;)
June 05, 2009
Well, now we'll all bug you about Tolkien!
June 05, 2009
Oh, no! :0
June 05, 2009
Oh yeah, now I have something else to pick on old Orlok about. So,um, hopefully it won't take you as long to give us that Tolkien review as it's taking on poor old Dracula. LOL We love you Orlok!
 
June 05, 2009
Nice take on the subgenre! I've recently heard renewed rumors of a BUFFY film and this time it wasn't from the fan vine it was on Showbiz Tonight,
June 05, 2009
Thanks Queen! I'm delighted you enjoyed this as I had a great time putting it together. I had originally written this as a bi-weekly column for matchflick.com but it was severely edited. In fact, I think it was missing two or more paragraphs. Essentially, this is the unedited edition although I have added some current facts in order to bring it up to date. Hmm, a new Buffy film? That should be interesting. I would love to see this!!!
June 05, 2009
It would be interesting to see where Weedon would choose to pick up the storyline, especially in view of the comic book series which claims to be his version of BUFFY's 8th season.
June 05, 2009
Yeah, I heard news about a new Buffy film too, but it wasn't good news. Apparently, 20th Century Fox wants to make a sequel to the film, which would have nothing to do with the series and apparently they can do it too. Although, Joss Whedon has complete control over the tv series because he's both creator, co-writer, and executive producer, with the film he only served as a writer and since he sold the rights to Fox they can get away with it. Just look to the sequel to Donnie Darko they did. With that one they acquired the rights to distribute the film and without director/writer/creator Richard Kelly being aware of it they also bought the options to do sequels, despite the fact that Kelly said he felt that it would cheapen the original to make a sequel or spin-off of any kind. Fox sucks!
June 05, 2009
If its a sequel to the film and has nothing to do with the series and involves none of those actors then I have no interest in it whatsoever.
June 05, 2009
What would they do, have Kristy Swanson' daughter be a new breed of vampire hunter? No thanks! I'm with @QUEENBFLIX on this one!
June 05, 2009
On second thought, I agree. No interest in this one at all. Fox does suck. I still haven't watched that sequel to Donnie Darko & have no intention of doing so.
June 05, 2009
I WAS interested in the DARKO sequel but I'm not anymore.
June 05, 2009
I think I was interested for perhaps a split second but I'm with you on that too. No interest at all right now in that or the new Buffy sequel.
 
1
More Vampires in Pop Culture reviews
review by . July 01, 2010
I have always been fascinated by the transformation of this creature in history and in pop culture today. It started out that they were something to fear...rising up out of the grave wondering mindlessly to feed. They lived on the underbelly of society, never to be talked about, only feared. They were the explanation when something went terribly wrong in town. They were the scape goats. After a while, they got transformed in something more supernatural, being able to shape shift and turn into mist …
Quick Tip by . August 09, 2010
Like it or not, the "dangerous sexuality leads to death" trope won't go away. Lets keep it sexy! PS. Why is this in "politics"? PPS. Thank you, whoever gave this the Aaliyah icon.
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Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula from the 1931 film "Dracula"
Since the Gothic literary trend that first established the vampire as a classical villain, the vampires of legend have evolved into media superstars. Today, social outcasts and members of the status quo alike have adopted the vampire as an emblem for their beliefs and turned the once-dreaded creatures of the night into romanticized sex symbols.
"The Queen of the Damned" promotional image.
Below is an extensive, although not exhaustive list of links to useful resources for those interested in this subject matter....

Documentaries of interest:
In Search of History: The Real Dracula
Bloodlines: Dracula's Family Tree
Vampire Secrets
The Supernatural: Vampires

Additional DVDs with special features of interest:
Dracula (2-disc 75th Anniversary Edition DVD) for the documentary Road to Dracula
Blade (Platinum Series Edition DVD) for the documentary The Blood Tide

Books of interest:
Lilith: The First Eve by Siegmund Hurwitz

Lilith: The Edge of Forever by Filomena Maria Pereira

The Lilith Monographs: Volume 1: Immaculata by Joshua Seraphim

The Book of Lilith by Barbara Black Koltuv

The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker; edited and compiled by Leslie S. Klinger

In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu

Dracula, Prince of Many Faces: His Life and His Times by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu

Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen by David J. Skal

Vampires: Encounters with the Undead by David J. ...
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