Friday, August 12, 2011

Your inner vampire

I am a reluctant horror fan (I have way too vivid nightmares for most supernatural flicks), but vampires are my go-to bad guy. I also credit them for helping my husband (Warning Signs founder TJ) and I find common movie ground in our budding romance. Our first movie rental together was "Dracula 2000." Ahh, memories.

Admitting you are a vampire a fan in this era is tricky business. Because you don't want people to think you are a "Twilight" fan, or just a "True Blood" fan or even a leftover Anne Rice/"Interview with a Vampire" fan. Yes, I like vampires. No, I don't like "Twilight." No, I don't shop at Hot Topic. No, I don't have a "bite me" tattoo or little fang marks on my neck.

But women love vamps and it's particularly trendy right now. Blood suckers have always had a certain sexual appeal for women (what with all those roots in repressed Victorian England). They are supposed to be sexy. They are supposed to allow us to be without boundaries, to be powerful and dominant — see what we want and take it. And you're supposed to have a great orgasm when you're bitten. So, that's cool.

That's not why I love vampires. I love vampires because they are the only monster in the horror cannon that allows the infected to remain themselves, by some mythology even becoming more themselves.



Think about it: What happens if you get bitten by a werewolf? Well, every full moon you go totally nuts, lose all control and eat your friends. Zombies? That would be dead people wandering around, filled only with basic muscle memory and a sense of favoritism for the mall. Ghosts? Mere impressions of the former being — perhaps a disturbance in the temporal fold. And you are never less yourself than when dealing with demon possession.

But vampires — vampires are different. Even if you use "Buffy" mythology that the persons body is taken over by a demon soul, they still allow that the human personality is still there, actually magnified to the form it would take if it were free of societal constraints — which gives us this great exchange in Season 3, Episode 16 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," (pictured top) in which Willow faces her vampire-self from another dimension:
Willow: It's horrible. That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil, and skanky... and I think I'm kinda gay.
Buffy: Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.
Angel: Well, actually...
[pauses as Willow and Buffy look at him]
Angel: That's a good point.

And as we all know Willow turns out to actually be gay, confirming Angel's (unspoken) point that the vamp's personality has everything to do with who you were as a person.

Which leads me back to my basic love of them — if you like who you are as a human being (which I happen to), of course you want to be a vampire. Stay you and live forever? Deal! I already don't tan.

So think about it — if you were you, only undead and living on blood — what parts of your personality would be magnified? Free of societal constraints, are you just a little bit gay, too?

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