As my colleague JB Stanley pointed out a while back, vampires are everywhere. Three (or is it four) of the top ten bestselling books in the country feature vampires. The TV series based on Charlaine Harris' delightful books is the new Sopranos in terms of HBO revenue. Underworld was a great action movie with vampires and werewolves, not to mention Kate Beckinsale in a skintight leather suit. And who doesn't love watching reruns of Buffy?
Crime fiction also has its share of the undead these days. I just read a terrific novel by Mario Acevedo featuring a vampire PI, and the confidence of the writing made me think that perhaps all the fuss about vampires in popular culture isn't because they are a timeless literary archetype, but simply because maybe vampires are real — just go with me on this — and they're not just living and working among us, they're controlling the media.
How else do you explain their longevity, the insane surge in popularity, the diversity of portrayals or the sheer empathy of today's vampire characters? The villains of yesterday's gothic literature are slowly and deliberately winning us over, opening our hearts and minds to the prospect that maybe they're not so bad after all. That way, when they actually reveal themselves, we'll welcome them as old friends instead of monsters thirsting for our blood. We'll take the crosses from around our necks, leave the wooden stakes in the vegetable garden, and invite them into our homes...just as we're bringing millions of them into our homes right now through books and movies and TV shows.
Being undead has some advantages, and changing into bats or wolves must be cool, but if you want real power today you control the media. I can personally think of several people in the publishing business who like fresh blood, and everyone knows Hollywood is full of vampires. And I'm sure there's a TV producer or two filing their incisors even as you read this.
It's just a matter of time before a formal announcement is made, so keep the garlic in the cupboard.