Friday, May 12, 2017

Day 193: Vampires

This is not a movie review but another examination of a monster type.

Vampires are pretty much the only monsters people actually want to be. It is said that vampires increase in popularity when liberals are in charge of the nation (zombies rule during conservative times) and it is theorized that this is because they represent libertine values and are literal parasites (if you are curious about zombies it is because they are mindless followers who are only good for consuming). Vampires are sexy, and besides maybe certain temptress demons or ghosts, are the only inherently hot thing that can kill you.

The original lore was born out of the finding that hair and nails seemed to grow after a person died, implying some secret life lived out of the sight of normal people. They would rise from their grave and drink blood (also because blood was found around the mouths of the recently deceased). Of course, all these observations could be tied to simple putrification and the slow desiccation of a dead body. Panicked believers thought the only way to stop these fiends from rising and drinking the blood of the living was to stake them into the earth so they could not rise, usually through the heart.

Over the centuries lore expanded and evolved. Garlic became a thing to scare vampires away. They must hate sunlight if they sleep during the day. Religious symbols got in on the action by claiming crosses could scare them away. Then, of course, their powers grew, too. From just wandering the night to feed, they began to transform into various animals and hypnotize their prey. For every new weakness they gained, they also seemed to gain a new ability.

As the years go by, they also get more cuddly. Twilight gave us glitter vampires, What We Do in the Shadows gave us wacky vampires and shows like Blade and Preacher have good guy vampires in them. We really don't want these beings to be evil.  Because who doesn't want to live forever and be seductively appealing? Sure, there is that little caveat that you have to literally drain the life force from others to live but surely we can True Blood our way around that one?

What's your favorite monster? Do you think there are any more popular than vampires, as a class?

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