The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

A deeper discussion of Vampire Mythology

The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby librarian_7 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:00 pm

Thought this might make a good discussion...

And here's an article to start it off with.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/31/opinion/31deltoro.html?_r=1

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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby bluedahlia3 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:25 pm

Great article lucky!

"The vampire may originate from a repressed memory we had as primates. Perhaps at some point we were — out of necessity — cannibalistic."

Or maybe they do exist! :dracula:

No seriously...legends like this, that stretch back in time do give pause, don't they? Dragons too! :gasp:
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby Phoenix » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:43 pm

As a child, vampires were the stuff of terrifying myth; but when I was in my teens, the movie Dracula - with Frank Langella (sp?) in the title role - was released. The movie looks dated now, but at the time, it was the first time (to my knowledge) that a vampire had been portrayed so seductively. :melts:

The handsome Mr. Langella turned Dracula into a sex symbol, first on the New York stage, and later on screen. :happysigh:

That's the best I can do for now ... as I'm rather distracted by memories. :laugh:
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby bluedahlia3 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:22 am

I've always liked the way that vampires 'mirror' the mood of the people. We get happy, less dark vamp's in good times and evil vamps in tumultuous times. :dracula:
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby librarian_7 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:36 am

Well, Phoenix, it may not be quite as obvious as Langella's drop dead sexy performance, but actually, Lugosi, first on stage and then in the 1931 film, was considered very, very sexy and seductive. (Yes, I know, I don't quite see it, either, but trust me, at the time he was a "matinee idol.")

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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby allegrita » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:29 am

I love that op-ed piece. And it brings up one of the things I like most about Moonlight-- and one of the things that separate it from most other vampire stories. In Moonlight, vampirism is a purely physiological phenomenon. The process of becoming a vampire has absolutely nothing to do with a person's soul. Vampirism does not mean that one is damned for eternity, or cursed, or forced to change one's personality forever. It's simply a physical change. People...who happen to be vampires.

How refreshing this idea is! Humanistic vampires. Vampirism completely divorced from religion. Moonlight vamps have the ability to decide what kind of person they are going to be--their fate isn't forced upon them.

Lucky, you're far more knowledgeable than I of the vampire genre, but as far as I know, Anne Rice began this trend. Her vampires weren't immediately damned at the moment of being turned. However, her vampire stories were so intertwined with her own religious journey that they took on a lot of religious overtones as the series progressed, and as that happened I simply lost interest. The same goes with Forever Knight--vampirism was discussed as a secular phenomenon, but Nick Knight himself was a former Crusader who had very religious beliefs that colored his view of himself as a vampire, and of vampirism in general.

Mind you, I'm probably not a typical vampire fan, because I'm not religious in the traditional sense. I was raised as what you might call a secular Christian. As an adult, I have studied several faiths but don't belong to any organized religion. I think of myself as a sort of eclectic pagan. My beliefs intellectual in nature rather than "faith" oriented. I've been looking for a vampire story that mirrors my own ideas, and Moonlight is the one I like best.
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby AussieJo » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:20 am

I agree with Alle about the Moonlight vampires.
Their vampirism is like a treatable medical condition.
With a few lifestyle modifacations, they can lead a "normal" life.

I am re-reading Stephen King's "'Salem's Lot" at the moment.
It's about scary vampires taking over and turning all the people in a small town in Maine (natch!)
It is years and years since I read it.
Here I am reading a book about very scary vampires,
and I am using a bookmark that I made myself with "A Vampire stole my Heart" on it! :snicker:
Such is the power of Moonlight Magic! :cloud9:
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby Fishy » Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:10 pm

I certainly thought my interest in Vampires began with Moonlight.
For me, there is nothing else like it.

Apart from reading Bram Stoker's Dracula book, which I got from the library like everyone did, I never bought a single books about Vampires - before I started reading about them on this site.

However, thinking about this thread - I can remember going to the Cinema in the late 60's and seeing Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. I mention it 'cos I can remember really crying when Dracula (Christopher Lee) was impaled on the cross. I thought it was SO sad! (I got some very 'funny' looks, I can recall!) Even though he had bitten people, he had something that was very attractive about him.

In the Gary Oldman Dracula film, there was one scene where I was totally captivated when he drank from the heroine - boy it took my breath away.

Have I been a suppressed vampire follower for 40 years without knowing it? Is there something in us that relates to fear and the unobtainable? Should I have counselling?
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby Phoenix » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:33 pm

librarian_7 wrote:Well, Phoenix, it may not be quite as obvious as Langella's drop dead sexy performance, but actually, Lugosi, first on stage and then in the 1931 film, was considered very, very sexy and seductive. (Yes, I know, I don't quite see it, either, but trust me, at the time he was a "matinee idol.")

Lucky


It's hard to imagine Bela Lugosi as a matinee idol. :dizzy: But I do remember that Frank Langella's Dracula caused quite a stir, as people debated how a vampire could be sexy. :whistle:

allegrita wrote:I love that op-ed piece. And it brings up one of the things I like most about Moonlight-- and one of the things that separate it from most other vampire stories. In Moonlight, vampirism is a purely physiological phenomenon. The process of becoming a vampire has absolutely nothing to do with a person's soul. Vampirism does not mean that one is damned for eternity, or cursed, or forced to change one's personality forever. It's simply a physical change. People...who happen to be vampires.

How refreshing this idea is! Humanistic vampires. Vampirism completely divorced from religion. Moonlight vamps have the ability to decide what kind of person they are going to be--their fate isn't forced upon them...


ITA, Alle. :yes: Vampirism being physiological, rather than a "soulless, damned for all time" kind of deal, makes for far more complex and interesting characters. :chin:

AussieJo wrote:... I am re-reading Stephen King's "'Salem's Lot" at the moment.
It's about scary vampires taking over and turning all the people in a small town in Maine (natch!)
It is years and years since I read it.
Here I am reading a book about very scary vampires,
and I am using a bookmark that I made myself with "A Vampire stole my Heart" on it! :snicker:
Such is the power of Moonlight Magic! :cloud9:


AussieJo, I've never read the book - but I saw the movie. :slaphead:

Fishy wrote:Have I been a suppressed vampire follower for 40 years without knowing it? Is there something in us that relates to fear and the unobtainable? Should I have counselling?
Fishy


Fishy, if you need counseling, perhaps we could get a group discount? There are 339 of us at present. :laugh:
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby Fishy » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:40 pm

Phoenix,
I'd LOVE to meet the person who'd take us on!
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby darkstarrising » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:00 pm

Fishy wrote:Phoenix,
I'd LOVE to meet the person who'd take us on!
Fishy


So would I....

I've been enamored of vampires ever since the 60s, but I do have to agree with Phoenix about Langella's performance and with Lucky about Legosi. What was considered sexy and seductive in 1931 is tame in comparison to cinema today. In the 1931 version of Dracula, there is a lot of innuendo, shadow and facial expression to convey the intent. At the time, it was daring.

By the time Langella did 'Dracula' in the mid 70s, more explicit scenes were allowed, but Langella didn't need them. Like Legosi, he conveyed a lot with his eyes, but in a more hypnotic fashion. His gestures were more subtle, and his voice was incredible; soft, alluring, sensual. Then there is the little matter that Langella was quite a bit more attractive than Legosi. Put it all together and you have a sexually attractive vampire. Up until Moonlight, Langella had my vote as the sexiest vampire ever. Now, he's just the sexiest Dracula.

What's happened in the interim, is that a parallel path has developed....there have been numerous remakes of Dracula, keeping the vampiric character as tragic one, sometimes attractive, sometimes not, but one that would never fit into the society of the time. The other, more recent path is to keep the tragic nature of the vampire, make them physically attractive (Angelique from Dark Shadows) and give him some redeeming values (Angel, Mick St. John). This makes the vampire all the more appealing to the audience, who develops some sympathy for the character.
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby one.zebra » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:31 pm

I'm always to odd duck, it seems....

Except for watching 'Dark Shadows' as a teen after school, (really, my mother left me alone way too much..[don't let your children languish while you're out doing 'more important' things..)
..I have never been a vampire fan....that is, until that first Moonlight episode where I stumbled across Mick St.John..
..then there's the Twilight series that true vampire lovers seem to hate...
Yeah, I completely reject that vampires have to be they way they were written in the olden days...

The darkness written about through history is real, obviously, or we wouldn't still have people doing the heinous things to their fellow humans that go on all over the world, every day.

I'll take my vampires in the modern day version anyday....
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby darkstarrising » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:04 pm

one.zebra wrote:I'm always to odd duck, it seems....

Except for watching 'Dark Shadows' as a teen after school, (really, my mother left me alone way too much..[don't let your children languish while you're out doing 'more important' things..)
..I have never been a vampire fan....that is, until that first Moonlight episode where I stumbled across Mick St.John..
..then there's the Twilight series that true vampire lovers seem to hate...
Yeah, I completely reject that vampires have to be they way they were written in the olden days...

The darkness written about through history is real, obviously, or we wouldn't still have people doing the heinous things to their fellow humans that go on all over the world, every day.

I'll take my vampires in the modern day version anyday....


Yeah, I can relate...DS and I were inseparable in the 60s after school.....that was my initiation into the world of vamps
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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby librarian_7 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:14 pm

I think a big influence on the vampire genre came in the late 1970s. Yes, we'd had Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows in the late 1960's, but really sympathetic vampires did not come to the fore until the triple advent of the highly successful Broadway revival of "Dracula" starring Langella, the publication of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's more modest success with Hotel Transylvania.

You may not be familiar with the Comte Saint Germain, Yarbro's vampire, but he also is a more "physiological" vampire. He in uncomfortably in sunlight, like the Moonlight vamps, and after reading 20 some odd novels in the series (some of them many times!), I honestly can't tell you definitively about fangs. He gains as much sustenance from the emotions of those he feeds on as from the small amount of blood he takes.

Question. I have a very long paper on the history of the vampire in literature, which I'd be willing to post here, if people are interested. So, is there interest? (This is essentially the text of the presentation on vamp lit I did at the LA ML Con, and at ECMC.)

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Re: The Timeless Appeal of the Vampire

Postby darkstarrising » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:19 pm

Lucky,

I would be extremely interested in reading your paper...

I had forgotten about the Anne Rice world (I've read all but one or two of her books, even the ones under different author names). In the beginning, I found her vampiric world fascinating, with 'Memnoch the Devil' being one of my favorites. Toward the end of the series, though, I felt she went a little far afield.
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