I was about seven the first time I saw a vampire movie. It was late and I was at my friend Jeff’s who lived two houses down. The only clear memory I have of the actual movie is a swarm of hissing women in long flowing polyester dresses, bearing their fangs and chasing some poor selfish fellow around. Just like Sesame Street, this was clearly an allegory about the virtues of sharing and the terrified man clearly would have made Gordon, Maria and the Cookie Monster sob. As the child of social workers, I understood the importance of feeding the hungry and this man was setting a very poor example.
I guess this was a Hammer Horror flick of some sort and only terrifying to kids under the age of 10. When it finally ended, I ran home screaming in fear that I was being pursued by the Headless Horseman. Don’t ask. I’m not sure how my fear morphed from vampires to head deprived equestrians, but I flew across the yard screaming only to find the door locked. I beat on that door shrieking all the while until one very worried Mom came running out. (This may have started the trend where I can’t sit through horror films.)
I avoided vampires for many years until I came upon Mom’s copy of Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. There I met self-loathing Louis – a far cry from the suave, well-dressed babe hounds that I was accustomed to with their quirked brows and forced “Romanian” accents. (No offense to George Hamilton or “Love at First Bite”.) The book was original and steered-clear of the more ridiculous clichés associated with the genre. I faithfully followed that series through Memnoch, which I noticed, after plodding through the first few chapters, just happened to be the perfect size to brace our cat tree. I’m one of those who believe books are sacred, so this was a little out of character and a reflection on how much disdain I had for it. I was done with vampires again. No shrieking. Just an unceremonious shove under some cat furniture.
Then there was the online vampire game, which grew old once I realized that I was getting up in arms and shouting at people about interpretations of an imaginary world filled with vampires; the height of silliness. I wasn’t debating politics or engaging in any meaningful conversatins, I was screaming bloody murder over vampires. A low point. (For the record, though. Tethys, the handle of one of the online players, was entirely wrong. It is completely viable that members of the Swiss Guard would be excellent candidates to become vampire hunters. Like the Vatican wouldn’t have a keen interest in the living dead. I’m just saying. Ahem.)
I watched Buffy and Angel next, but we’ll stop there since some of my friends are rabid Joss Whedon fans who also happen to know where I live.
Twilight came out and received scathing reviews from several of my friends so I avoided it. I didn’t have time for another “oh, your skin it’s so cold, yet… yet… your trench coat and that leering thing you’re doing, which would be creepy from anyone else and might land them in jail, is kinda hot.” Every time they gave me another storyline update, I winced. Then True Blood became the rage, and I rolled my eyes despite my Twilight hating friends singing its praises. Enough with the vampires, already.
I recently broke my no vampire policy and starting watching the BBC’s “Being Human”. It’s like Three’s Company of the preternatural world. A ghost, a werewolf and a vampire get an apartment and zaniness ensues (or maybe they walk into a bar – the beginnings of a great? so-so? joke). Sadly, those wacky kids did drive their landlord insane. In all fairness, it’s not exactly a light-hearted romp. The vampire looks like he’s in desperate need of a good shampooing, the ghost is a tad neurotic and the werewolf has dating issues, but thankfully his new girlfriend has issues, too so it all works out. Anyway, it was a gentle re-introduction to a topic I now find somewhat stupid. Cut me some slack, it is a rather slow summer for television; it’s not entirely my fault.
Last weekend I gave in again. With Dexter a month away, and Dexter not on until next month and then there’s Dexter, oh and a little show called Stargate Universe in October, my original show choices are somewhat limited. So, I figured one episode of “True Blood” couldn’t hurt, which turned into, “well, that ended on a cliffhanger, maybe I should just watch one more to see what happened” and sure enough, those sneaky writers ended on another cliffhanger, and who was I not to get just one more episode? Well, once you’re three episodes in, three more can’t hurt? Right? I’m on episode 8. I blame the writers.
And once again I find myself watching more vampires. Leather coat wearing, brooding, pff pff lisping, look-at-my-teeth-gaze-into-my-eyes, vampires. The kind that whine when Type O- isn’t available at the local bar, vampires. We may be dead, but we LOVE lots of gratuitous sex, vampires. Sure, it’s not my Dexter or my Deadwood or my The Wire or my Carnivale or even my Sopranos (pre-Adriana killing, which is when I threw in the towel) or anywhere close to my BSG, but it beats the snot out of more UFC matches (shh, don’t tell Jay – maybe he won’t read this far) or reruns of Deadliest Catch (you know, they just never wear leather or trench coats on those shows).
I’ll hang my head in shame as soon as I finish the series.