This Halloween season on Heroines of Fantasy, we will dedicate our discussion to dark fantasy and horror. We will also have two special guests at the end of the month, Melissa Mickelsen and Tessa Gratton, who write dark fantasy and will share with us some of the secrets of their fantasy worlds.
|An iconic scene from the horror film Nosferatu.
Twilight, again?! When will they learn a dead horse is a dead horse?
Of course, mixed in with the pleas for no more Twilight was a not-so-subtle thread of professional jealousy over that 6-figure contract.
I don't begrudge Abigail Gibbs her success.
|Edward Cullen, the epitomy of the
But beyond Abigail Gibbs, and Twilight, and all the spinoffs they might inspire, lies a deeper question for me, and it is this:
What, exactly, is the eternal appeal of the vampire myth? Why is it continually resurrected, virtually unchanged, in story after story?
|Akasha, one of the few vampiresses that
made it to the big screen, came complete
with bikini armor.
Even the Twilight craze didn't succeed in pulling me back into the vampire myth. We rented the movie once it was out on DVD, but I wasn't all that impressed, and I certainly didn't experience the thrill that vampires gave me back when I was an adolescent.
Indeed, the further I've drifted from the vampire literature, the more inclined I've been to see its symbolisms and tropes in a rather critical light.
|She's too young for you, dude!
But couldn't you maybe try to court someone at least a little more mature? Like, say, around fifty -- which, in vampire years, would still be an innocent-and-ripe-for-the-picking ten. And fifty-some ladies are looking better all the time in this day and age. Take Madonna, for example. I'm sure she'd be up for immortality, and she wouldn't blink an eye at having to drink blood every night for the rest of eternity.
Courtship is a central theme of the vampire myth, and it's almost always a vampire man courting a mortal woman. Anne Rice, for a brief moment, brought us Akasha and Mekare in Queen of the Damned. But all the iconic vampires -- Dracula, Nosferatu, Barnabas, Kurt Barlow, Lestat, Edward -- are men.
|Kurt Barlow's look was almost certainly
inspired by Nosferatu.
Now, don't get me wrong. I haven't abandoned my love of vampires entirely. I just tend to look askance at the romantic vampires. Perhaps my standards have risen too much since high school, but I simply don't find the blood sucking dead guy all that appealing as a date.
Vampires are, however, very appealing as creatures of horror, capable of reflecting the most terrorific aspects of our own nightmares, driven to madness by hunger and the incomprehensible burdens of their great age and isolation.
My favorite vampire of all time? Nosferatu. Now there was a monster you did not want to meet in a dark alley, much less go out to dinner with. All the others pale (or shall I say, sparkle?) by comparison.
So this month, I ask Abigail Gibbs and all the aspiring vampire authors out there:
Give us the scary vampires, the Nosfaratus and the Kurt Barlows, and while you're at it, give us some kick-ass scary female vampires too. Make it bloodier. Make it grittier.
Make us jump like the mere mortals we are when the vampire says, "Boo!"
|Not a pretty boy, but that's what horror is all about.
Posted by Karin Rita Gastreich