True Blood is the Life

What makes the True Blood TV series, and the novels by Charlaine Harris it is based on, stand out from the current crop of run of the mill vampire fictions? For those of you currently enjoying Seasons 3 or 4 this article looks back at some of the fundamental starting points of the early episodes. And  for those of you not yet hooked maybe it will inspire you to have a watch.

Charlaine Harris

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1979: Outspoken women take centre stage in the Dracula narrative

There are many films based on Dracula by Bram Stoker. Few of them closely follow the novel. Instead they are adaptions that reflect the times they were made in. One of the most noteworthy is Dracula directed by John Badham in 1979. Kate Nelligan’s Lucy is portrayed as an outspoken woman who is in control. She is no longer a passive victim. The men who are the traditional heroes of the narrative are portrayed as corrupt, incompetent and oppressive.

Kate Nelligan takes the lead as Lucy

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The Vampires’ Journey Part VII. Girl meets vampire boy

SPOILER ALERT: Twilight saga, books and movies

While some current horror films like 30 Days of Night show vampires as monsters who will rip your throat out and massacre entire towns, “ensouled” or other “good” vampires have taken to hanging round with high school girls and sulkily seducing them.

In the early 1990s The Vampire Diaries appeared. These novels by L J Smith featured an American teenager, Elena, who falls for the new boy at school, Stefan. He turns out to be a 162 Continue reading

From Buffy to Bella – has vampire fiction lost its teeth?

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer life is hell and there is no escape. In Twilight the maxim could be, “Life is dull: let’s buy things”…
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The Vampires’ Journey III. Stoker’s Dracula kills romance

SPOILER ALERT: Dracula by Bram Stoker!

Buffy: in Dracula's thrall?

Because we have become accustomed to the established model of romantic vampires in contemporary vampire fiction it may come as a shock to many to discover that Count Dracula (as Bram Stoker originally wrote him) was not at all romantic. Modern conceptions of the Count, created by the many representations of him in film and TV, usually show him being driven by emotional desires to connect with a female victim. Even in BtVS, Dracula is represented as needing to Continue reading

The Vampires’ Journey II: The romantic friend of the 19th century

SPOILER ALERT: A mild spoiler of Twilight series books and films (New Moon and Eclipse)

Vampire fiction has been on quite a journey over the last two centuries. Early traditional folklore of vampires tell stories of monsters who rise from the dead as rotting corpses to devour their living families. They were more like our current notions of zombies in horror than the forever young and pretty vampires that currently hold sway.[1] Continue reading

The vampires’ journey – From Byron to Bella – Has vampire fiction lost its teeth?

I. Introduction

Note: This is the first part of a serialised article which will be developed over future posts.

Exploring Hammer Horror … Ouch!

A few years ago I began to wonder where certain trends in current vampire fiction originate. Specifically I was curious about the plot that goes — girl meets boy, he is a bit pale and moody, he turns out to be a bit older and oh yeah a bloodsucking fiend (but a nice one). My curiosity took me to the 18th century, Byron, some pretty dodgy Hammer Horror films and a newfound interest in the interior decorating tastes of the undead.

Here’s what I found out: Continue reading