OK, so I’m a vampirologist. That might sound like fun to you, but I tell you: These days it’s a lot of hard work. Not only the watching of mormon teenage vampire fantasies or the unspeakable parts (of which I may speak, but then of course have to kill you), but also all the parts that speak. Especially all the speaking-to-journalists-parts.
It’s not that I mind journalists as such (at least not more than the average man, which is, of course, a great deal); it’s rather that they are all so bloody repetitive. It’s like they are not separate creatures, with separate minds. They are one head, only able to come up with the same idea over and bloody over again.
So, for the last two months, I’ve been asked why vampires are so popular right now approximately fifty times. Man, if questions could be staked …
Anyway, here it is: It’s because it six years since last time - more or less. (That was Boring Buffy, by the way.)
Vampires are fascinating creatures. I tend to sum the fascination up as “sex, death, violence, blood and embroidery”. They give a director or writer, serious or not, a chance to dive into some pretty juicy subjects, subjects that touch on some of the basics of our human existence.
They also are a lot of fun. In 1820, the year after the publication of John Polidori’s The Vampyre, it was dramatized no less than four times for Parisian theatres. Two of those dramatisations where comedies. So ever since the introduction of the modern vampire, its comic potential has been obvious.
It is, in other words, no big mystery why the vampire appeals to us. So, ever since it became a movie star, the vampire has returned again and again to the movie screen to haunt us. It is, after all, a ghost.
The problem is that, fun and fascinating as the vampire is, it is also a rather limiting figure. The vampire is so well established as a pop cultural icon that you mess with it at your own peril. Move too far away from the established concept, and you have to spend a lot of time explaining why and defending your choices.
The point is this: For a while the vampire is fun. Then it becomes repetitive. And then it becomes boring. So you put it back in its coffin. Six years later, and a whole new generation of teenagers are out there. Then it’s time to raise the bugger from the grave and off we go again.
That’s about it, really.