Saturday, October 16, 2010

Creature Feature: Vampires and why we (still) love them

I want to start doing a regular feature that discusses a creature from legends, folklore, or crypto zoology. Here's the first in the series! I'm starting with a classic but I hope to focus more on relatively unkown creatures in the future.

Vampires have become more than just a legend in today’s world. They’re everywhere you look. On tv. On bookshelves. Even on the forgotten world of radio. It’s hard not to notice something that has taken over so much of popular culture. Everybody is talking about them and they aren’t showing any signs of going away any time soon. But why are they so popular? Why is it that vampires are truly proving their immortality? Let’s take a look.

-Vampires are able to violate every rule of society and usually get away with it. Murder? No problem! Unbelievable supernatural abilities like shape-shifting and flying? Why not? They get to do all the cool stuff we wish we could get away with. We mere humans know we will never get away with much of anything so it’s fun to live through a world where rules are meant to be broken.

-They symbolize so many different things it can be hard to keep up. This is great because it means they appeal to people for different reasons. They can be symbols or immortality, divinity, addiction, sexuality, and death, just to name a few. Vampires are whatever we want them to be. Which brings me to my next point.

-Vampires are constantly changing. They have evolved with the times, morphing from the image of death to a creature known for its beauty and strength. Sure, there are still plenty of dark, violent vampire stories out there but the ones that illuminate the internal struggle of misunderstood creatures are immensely popular. People want the hope that even evil can change sides. And today’s vampire lore is giving them that hope. As long as vampires continue to change with the times, they aren’t going anywhere.


  1. As an avid Buffy fan, I agree that vampires have become more attractive because of the recent depictions of them as creatures who, though mostly evil/unnatural, have some redeeming factors. Angel and Spike are iconic examples at this point.

    That being said, I'm getting a bit nostalgic for the days when monsters were monsters. I'd rather have the vampires from The Lost Boys than from Twilight. I'd also rather have firebreathing, people-eating dragons than the saddle-wearing English-speakers that you see in fantasy films and books these days.

  2. I agree with you there. :) I'm sort of hoping to see a renewal of the violent pure evil vampires in the future.