vampires are the new zombies: gen x carmudgeon struggles to understand the kids today

HBO’s new series about vampires, True Blood, was picked up for a second season just ten days after its premiere. So along with the runaway success of the Twilight series (the first movie is scheduled to be released this winter, and Stephanie Meyer is reputed to be re-writing the series from Edward Cullen’s POV, something I doubt the literary world was crying out for), I guess the spoke labeled “Bloodsuckers” in the wheel of pop culture trends has once again rolled up on top.

Every time a literary trope comes around again, the present generation tries to put its own unique spin on it. In the ’80s it was “Vampires are sexy, and sometimes aren’t entirely bad people! (Also, they’re often gay, and pithy thanks to Anne Rice.)” True Blood probably thinks they’re breaking new ground with this “Hillbilly Vampires” thing, except I already saw that movie in 1987; it was called Near Dark and starred Bishop and Nathan Petrelli. (Do yourself a favor and click that first link to see one of the greatest things ever, namely: Bishop doing “that thing with the knife” in a French dub. For some reason I couldn’t find it in English.) It also had a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream, something that could only happen in the ’80s.

Look, I understood the Harry Potter thing, obviously. Who wouldn’t want to feel like the fate of the world rests on their shoulders, and fantasize about killing people (or at least having a horde of canaries attack them) with the wave of a wand? But if the price of vampiric immortality means I have to spend eternity attending high school like Edward Cullen, or hanging out with homicidal bloodthirsty rednecks, count me out.

(Incidentally, have you noticed werewolves have become sort of passé? Nowadays it seems like they get thrown in as a lagniappe in stuff about vampires — Underworld, Twilight — but seem to be thought of as too boring to carry a story on their own.)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cliff Burns
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 12:30:45

    I think the horror genre is in desperate need of revitalization. The boring stock monsters and tropes…how about a little originality and innovation? Nowadays, it’s “splatter” fiction and movies that are the norm–ugly, amoral efforts where the villains are smarter and more interesting than the good guys. What a great message…

  2. pinstripebindi
    Sep 24, 2008 @ 12:34:37

    @ Cliff Burns: I think that’s why Cloverfield felt like such a breath of fresh air, because it was something different (not that I’m claiming it was totally original), and it was a villain that you didn’t have to try to understand beyond HOW DO WE KILL IT?. Not that I necessarily hate 3-dimensional villains, but it can get tiresome.

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