Thursday, November 20, 2008


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.


Paul Lamb said...

"filling their incisors"

I don't know what human vampire lore is on this subject, but I know that actual vampire bats only use their teeth to cut the skin. They then lick the resulting blood. But they don't use their teeth like straws.

Jess Lourey said...

Ah, I love a good conspiracy theory. Thanks, Tim!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

As a viewer of "True Blood" in which vampires are "coming out of the coffin" to "main stream" with humans, your posting might be right on the money. Maybe Charlaine Harris has an inside track on the future. Or maybe we should check where she sleeps during the day. :)

But according to "True Blood," crosses do no good and garlic is just annoying. It's stakes to the heart and silver that kill and debilitate the creatures. So, just in case, I'm sharpening the end of my broom stick and keeping my silver jewelry handy.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Great post!

I recently saw an article on book trends and our vampire friends were right at the top of the, uh, food chain?

Mark Combes said...

Thanks Tim!

I've been looking for an idea for the next book - a
scuba diving vampire might just work! Vampires don't have an issue with water do they?

Terri Thayer said...

Vampire quilters can't be far behind. Just let one of the quilting bee members prick her finger and all hell will break loose.