I remember the first time I saw the movie “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi. It was on Chilly Billy Cardille's Chiller Theater which was broadcast every Saturday night on WIIC-TV from Pittsburgh. I don't know how old I was but I know that it scared the living daylights out of me which is probably why I never wanted to have anything more to do with vampires. I was thinking about this because there was an article in Smithsonian Magazine recently about “real-life” vampires here in New England.
|Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as Louis and Lestat|
I realize vampires are all the rage these days and I've been a little fascinated by the phenomenon. Someone joke recently that he was working on a series of books called 50 Shades of Vampires with Dragon Tattoos. He plans on making a fortune and he just might. The second vampire in my life after the horrible Lugosi Dracula was Anne Rice's sexy Lestat and, while he was a big improvement, I never did understand the vampire rage. These days vampires have become sparkly and glittery and are very hot and sexy and while few are as hot and sexy at Gerard Butler, there are plenty of fans in love with Edward Cullen from the Twilight series and all the other vampire clones.
|Robert Pattinson as Edward in the Twilight series|
The only Dracula I ever really loved was the one played by Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. I thought he was the perfect combination of sexy and terrifying.
|Bela Lugosi, the original Dracula|
Smithsonian Magazine's “vampires” are mostly the products of superstition in terrible times when masses of people died in plagues of various sorts and superstitious people, seeking to understand why these terrible things befell them, concocted stories that made them feel less helpless. If they could just find the monster who had brought these terrors upon them and wipe it out, disease would go away and harmony would be restored. It never worked.
|Gerard Butler's uber-sexy Dracula|
But what is the allure today? Well, today's vampires are quite different from the vampires of old. Today's vampires are sexy and controlling and, once they possess you with that stupefyingly sensual vampire kiss, you have no will of your own. I'm starting to think this is what it is all about really. A lot of people seem to be suffering from a two-sided burden these days – on the one hand they feel like they have to be responsible for managing everything, on the other hand they feel powerless to effect any real change in a world that seems beyond their control. I see this a lot, especially in a lot of young women who are trying to raise a family, hold a job, balance a budget, and maintain a relationship. Yet, they feel like everything they do is ultimately just a balancing act and that one strong breeze could blow the whole thing down. Wouldn't it be lovely to have some handsome, sexy, delicious man who would live forever and knows exactly what to do at all times take all those responsibilities away from them?
|Gary Oldman's elegant Dracula|
We live in confusing times. The current political scene is so fraught with lies, distortions, and misinformation that many people don't know what to believe. We have always thought of our country as being one that others admire and that we are who others want to be but now we see how many people hate us and want to see us destroyed. Nothing we once believed seems real. Escaping into fantasy is so tempting.
I know I'll never write a vampire story because I don't really understand the whole vampire-archetype. But I am intrigued by it, I am continually intrigued by the allure. Cultural trends always tell us a lot about our deep fears and unconscious desires so vampires are trying to tell us something. I think we are tired and want someone else to take the reins and just let us drift in blissful release.
Thanks for reading.