Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries ... They've come to suck your blood

Seems like you can't turn a darkened street corner these days without running into a fanged creature of the night. With all the books and movies about vampires lately, it might seem like they are experiencing a renaissance in popularity. Actually, they've always been popular. After all, you were eating Count Chocula for breakfast years ago, remember?

We were partial to Boo Berry, ourselves.

Just in time for Halloween, Mary Hallab's new book, Vampire God, explores the timeless appeal of the undead. Mary sent us some of her thoughts on our long love affair with the vampire. Here's the first in a series of posts from Mary on the topic.

Vampire literature and movies have always been popular. In my book Vampire God, I wanted to see if I could find out why. I think I did, but doing so was more complicated than I had expected. Since then, vampires have become even more popular, especially after the publication of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books. And, guess what? This popularity has little to do with sex—or not sex directly, rather sex and death, the cycle, sex and death, sex and death, sex and death. I mostly skip the sex part; everyone knows about that. But I have a lot to say about death—that’s the focus of the book. Vampires are dead, after all. And that is why they are popular. Vampires give us the chance to contemplate death without really facing it at all—from all sorts of angles, personal, social, religious—and imagine different possibilities, in the various forms that writers have made available for us, including hot babes, cool dudes, vicious villains, femmes fatales, grubby kids, hillbillies, socialites, loners, groupies, even superheroes—all of them dead . . . but still alive. They usually don’t even stink, and they certainly don’t rot (unlike those disreputable zombies), and they frequently wear very nice clothes. Their double existences speak to our fears and desires related to questions about God, the soul, and the meaning of life, and perhaps most important: What is death and what can we do about it?

Tune in throughout the month of October for more of Mary's vampire-themed posts. In between watching your Buffy DVDs and taking the Are You A Vampire? quiz, of course.