Okay, I haven’t posted in the past few days. Been run down from the remainder of Chest Muck Plague 2014.
So I’m sleeping, enjoying a curious narrative about a nebbishy kind of guy in bad shape (kinda like Saul Rubinek, only younger) who gets caught up in one of those tiresome weakling-to-wonder adventure scripts where the 98lb weakling transforms himself through sheer determination into the man he always secretly dreamed of being. The dream is working its way towards some sort of redemption point when suddenly the script changes and he finds himself running down back alleys, doing good and all that, until a split second decision takes him down the wrong alley and he winds up in a zero sum trap laid out by some young idiot who is in way over their head, trying to slay two vampires.
I hate vampires.
Yeah, I know, shark jumping time here, but I’m deadly serious. Vampire fiction really, REALLY gets on my last nerve.
And don’t tell me it’s because I haven’t read ‘Good’ vampire fiction. I’ve read the first five Ann Rice novels (there are no others la la la la la), and I’ve read the fully expanded version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula from beginning to end (loved it). And no, I didn’t watch all of the Buffy the wonder-slayer series, but I saw enough of it to know what I missed (ie: Nothing; Tony Head and Alyson Hannigan were the show, but they were one note symphonies, even after she turned to witchcraft).
I’ve avoided reading lots of vampire fiction because of this; when you’ve read the best, why bother with the rest?
I’ve watched Nosferatu. Watched Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula (liked it, actually). Watched several cheap vampire films with an ex of mine who loves Loves LOVES vampires. And personally, they do nothing but piss me off. And here’s why:
Dracula was a nuanced story about darkness and redemption with a surprisingly heroic narrative and all the great adventure endings sort of rolled into one.
Just about every vampires story I’ve read or experienced in film since then has been some ridiculous vampire porno featuring either some ancient, ageless sex predator with a blood fetish, and the many, Many, MANY powerless victims he (almost always a he, anyway) feeds on, OR, some hapless good person who, no matter what they say or do, no matter how strong or brave or clever they are, almost invariably winds up as food, or as a predator themselves (or even worse, pregnant by a monster). Just like zombie movies (and DON’T get me started on zombie fiction). There have been easily a million attempts to pump fresh blood into this moribund scenario, and they almost never do little more than twist the same three or four plot principles around and around in the hope that you’ll think you’re following something fresh and new. You’re not.
And the sexualization of vampires pisses me off, too. These are monsters. You’re not supposed to find redemption in surrender. There is no redemption in surrender. There is no happy ending unless you manage to defeat the unstoppable feeding machine and all of its ilk, which almost by design cannot be done. There should never have been a veritable subgenre of fiction devoted to these ridiculous things. You only have to tell me you’re writing a vampire story for me to know it’s crap. Perhaps well-executed crap, but crap, nevertheless.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t write supernatural fiction that just happens to have some vampire-like creatures in it that manage to stir things up now and then. I’m not a fan of those, either, but Dresden pulled it off pretty well. But that’s sort of an exception. I wasn’t a big fan of Underworld or its sequels, but they were pretty interesting the first time around. But really, not much there. Better to keep vampires to the sidelines, or not at all.
I also started working on a story of my own where I turn the whole vampire premise on its head by making them angels. Not fallen angels, mind you, but actual union dues paying heavenly creatures who also just so happen to be horrible predators. I look forward to finishing that story some day.
But in the almost universal main, vampire stories are the most tunelessly monotonous stories known to man. It will be a truly great day when we finally, at long last, give up romanticising these awful metaphors for male sexual aggression. Nothing can make them more palatable.
Nothing, except perhaps the late, great Jim Henson, anyway.