Media Vampires

Vampires, vampires, vampires!

We can’t seem to get away from them these days.  I’m fully expecting at least one of my nieces to be asking for Vampire Barbie’s Ice Scream Shoppe this Christmas.  For me, a movie or TV show is first and foremost about the story and it seems that every last idea is being squeezed out of the vampire theme right now.

I don’t hate the vampire mythos and, in fact, entertainers have created a few gems in this genre.  Nosferatu is still the scariest and best realized vampire from a creature design standpoint.  I liked The Lost Boys but, before you grab me by the neck, understand that I knew very little about the movie before seeing it and went in with extremely low expectations.  Who could forget Vincent?  Certainly a high point in Mr. Freeman’s career.  I’m sure there are many more I could talk about but for me the story just seems played out.

That said, you might be surprised that I have two vampire movies to tentatively recommend.  Neither tread the familiar vampire path.

The first is Let the Right one In.  This movie is incredibly hard to describe.  Some would call it dull and plodding while others would say deliberate and paced.  Some would say moody and haunting others would say weird and low-key.  The thing I liked best about this movie was the tone that it set.  Besides conveying the feelings of a lonely child, it was intentionally uncomfortable and, well, foreign, which makes sense because it is a Swedish film.  If you are someone who typically likes foreign films, I’d recommend this movie.  If not, you may want to wait for the American remake.

Daybreakers uses vampirism almost as an excuse to sell tickets.  This movie is really a sci-fi pandemic flick.  I liked the idea of the gimmick enough that when Rotten Tomatoes gave it a (barely) fresh tomato, I thought I’d give it a try.  It went on the movies-to-rent list but was always near the bottom and then drifted away.  I happened upon it on our public library’s website sometime later and decided it was worth a shot for free.  This movie was almost clever enough to be quite good.  I didn’t feel cheated when it was over but I wouldn’t watch it again.  If they had just written for a smarter audience…  Being two steps ahead of the story is almost never very interesting.  If you are looking for a basic action flick with a clever plot idea, give this a try.


7 thoughts on “Media Vampires

  1. I liked Interview with a Vampire (1994) – I’m an Anne Rice fan.


    Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

    Vampires have been popular in YA literature since at least the mid 90’s but really exploded with Twilight for some reason.

    Examples are The Silver Kiss by Anette Klause (1992)

    and books by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, particularly the series that started with the book In the Forest of the Night (AAR started publishing in the late 90’s when she was still a teen herself).

    1. I wondered if someone would bring up the Coppola Dracula movie. I did not like that movie at all, but I think I’m in the minority.

      The current vampire craze does seem tied to teen fiction. Is it something that Harry Potter ushered in or is it more like Jeremy said – another way to express teen angst.

  2. One of the fascinating things about the twilight series, for me (now granted, I haven’t read it, or watched the movies) is that the author is Mormon. I think the teen “Don’t get involved with people at a young age and have sex but I really really want to there’s so much angst !” is a good description of the undercurrents of Mormon society. Kids are SO taught here that they can’t even LIKE girls/boys until they are 16+… can’t call them a girlfriend, even at a harmless age.. can’t have sex, there’s something evil about the urges (even more indoctrinated than evangelical southern baptist… VERY pervasive here.) I think that she stumbled upon a publicly accepted story of like/angst/desire (vampire stuffage) and saw the overlay with the teen angst that is prevalent here. The combination appeals to teens, I think. Plus, it seems a re-hash of all the prior library of vampire stuff. Everyone gets it, but a new round of audience.

    Secondly, my favoritest vampire stories are Buffy and Angel (shows, not the couple). Not the campy wooden stake in the heart stuff of the common vampire slaying (although it has a charm) but the ongoing serial exploration of what it’s like to be a vampire but try to not be. I think the twilight people are just following along, culturally, in the shadow of Buffy and Angel (the couple) and just don’t know it.

    And is it just me, or does almost EVERY movie and series right now seem to be re-hashed stories we’ve all heard before? What is fresh and exciting and a NEW approach to things? Not just vampires… everything? Thoughts?

    1. Great comments everyone. Thanks a bunch.

      Jeremy, it sounds like you really like interesting characters with strong development. If this is the case, you’ll probably like what Ron Moore does. He wrote for ST:TNG but where you really see his characters-first mentality is on Battlestar Galactica. I think you’ve watched this series, but if not, you’ll be delighted with it. I think it is probably the best TV series I’ve ever seen.

  3. Agreed JP. (Also, I was reminded to check your site by JM posting on FB. You should promote yourself more on there!)

    Not only is the vampire thing played out IMO, but werewolves too. Anyone know when those two groups first crossed paths? Now we have Twilight, a while ago it was Underworld. The first time I remember anything about vampire-werewolf wars was in the the Wetworks comic back in the 90’s (remember that one?). Is that a common conflict that I just never noticed before? They should throw zombies and Frankenstein in there too.

    1. Sweet! Thanks for the FB love Jeremy. I’ll have to go see what you said because you made my page views skyrocket yesterday. I really appreciate it.

      John, I try not to promote on FB too much. I’ve got a couple friends who only use their personal FB account to promote their outside interests. It quickly seems like advertising spam. I’ve been in FB exile for the last month (maybe two) trying to get other stuff done. I guess I’ll have to get back on there again. I’d create a FB follow page (or whatever it is called) but that doesn’t seem right. Seems like that is more for businesses and causes and my site revolves a lot around me which I already cover with my standard FB account. Maybe having one of those pages is a good idea though. What do you guys think?

      Assuming I can pinpoint enough stuff that people find valuable I plan to promote the site much more heavily next year and try to monetize it in some way. I also hope to have more projects that I can publicize (many are for clients that want stuff kept private). If I can get enough stuff collected I’ll build up the Patz Design website. That is one that makes sense to have a FB follow page.

      Of course, if you use Twitter you pretty much know the moment I update. I don’t understand why FB folks hate Twitter so much. It seems like people like one or the other but not both.

      1. I think it’s fine to put a link on FB when you update your site. Since FB doesn’t really give you a good way to write longer articles IMO, I don’t think it would be too spammish.

        Good luck on trying to make a buck off your site! I think you really have to have a *lot* of material and update consistently to get a decent traffic. I don’t think I would have the stamina.

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