Repost: Why Vampires?

This originally posted on my Tumblr some years back, when Vampire mania was at its peak. Like other reposts, I’m just bringing it back old school style. 😉 It’s also worth noting that my theory (noted near the end of the article) applies to other supernatural creatures as well–how badass would it be to be able to make yourself look like anyone else? To change the color of your eyes, your hair?  If I could walk a day in the skin of another–maybe even experience what it’s like to have a different color of skin–wouldn’t that increase my ability to empathize with others? a person’s true value lies in much more than looks, but they sure do play a big role in how we perceive and are perceived.  Anyway, all interesting to think about.  I’m dying to hear your thoughts! 

Why Vampires?

So you’d have to have been living under a rock for the last however-many-years to have not recognized the recent influx in vampire-themed fantasy. Books, movies, even fashion has been impacted by the resurgence of immortal-fascination. What some people might not remember–or perhaps choose not to remember–is that this is by no means the first (or even second) influx in vampire popularity.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll gladly admit that I have been a fan of vampire lore for as long as I can remember. My Halloween costume in second grade? A vampire (and a pretty one, at that!) Vampires of varying genre became my most often repeated costume for years until I (finally) outgrew trick-or-treating. I’ve seen Interview with a Vampire at least 20 times (I wish that were an exaggeration.) Before that, there was Lost Boys. And more recently (though not recent by most standards) there’s been Blade (and its successors), Underworld, and Daybreakers, to name a few. I don’t list these to detail all of the popular vampire movies that have come out over the years (and I most certainly have not named them all) but simply to illustrate the way vampires as a genre seems to come back again and again.

But why?

What is it about vampires that keep us so rapt? That engages our imagination and keeps us wanting more?

I have no doubt there are lots of reasons–more than I can think of, and certainly more than I can detail here–but, for me, and in my opinion, we are fascinated by the idea of being more than we are: More beautiful. Faster. More intelligent. Better hearing and more acute eyesight. Impervious to injury. And, to top it all off, never aging. Never having to suffer through the loss of our youth, our strength, health and, eventually, freedom. Even if you prefer the violent, monster type of vampire, as opposed to the beautiful, chic ones, it’s the power, the predatory drive, the ability to rise above those who are lesser that remains attractive. Now, I’m not saying that everyone who loves a good vampire novel or movie secretly wants to be a vampire–only that those novels and movies are entertaining to read and watch because of all those things they represent.

And I won’t even go into Twilight or True Blood here, but suffice it to say, my theory stands when applied to either series.

So what do you think? If you love vampires, what keeps you reading and watching? If you hate them, what turns you off (besides their intense popularity)? I’d love to know!

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