Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Digression: Regarding Sexy Vampires

Man, I am just not feeling good today. So in place of our Regularly Scheduled Program, here's a confession:

I don't understand why vampires are supposed to be sexy.

I mean, I get the whole sex-and-death connection, but the way vampires are presented in literature usually seems more unintentionally creepy than sexually attractive. More often than not, vampires are a hundred years old or more, hailing from the Good Old Days before men were generally expected to not be chauvinistic assholes. Yet they look young forever, which usually leads them to women in their teens as love interests. Combined with the fact that vampires are monsters and therefore can't control their actions, this leads to a host of behaviors that are at best unattractive and at worst emotionally abusive.

The best vampire stories, romances or not, present the vampire as a sympathetic yet problematic figure, and vampirism as a condition with downsides more severe than a chronic case of Generic Angst. Off the top of my head, I enjoy the portrayal of the vampire in Tanya Huff's Blood Books. Henry is a balanced character, intense and sexual but also genuinely frightening, and the relationships are more complicated than "sexy vampire = true love."

I prefer vampires as balanced, developed villains than woobiefied, misunderstood figures or generically supernatural love interests. But no one seems to write them like that anymore.


  1. Do you watch TRUE BLOOD at all? What do you think of Bill, Eric and Jessica?

  2. I watched the first season and found it exceedingly overrated. I did read most of the books. I think Bill is an asshole in both the books and the show, but it's worse in the books. The scene where he rapes Sookie and she excuses it because he's a vampire and it's part of his nature is pretty much the epitome of what I'm talking about here.

    Eric comes across as pretty smug and assholish, too, but I never got the impression that the audience is supposed to like him in the same way that we're supposed to like Bill.

    1. The show reveres the dynamic, in the Books Eric is the good Vampire and Bill the bad one.