I love the mythology surrounding vampires as much as anybody, but I think a lot of us fans are in agreement that the vamp’s portrayal in pop culture is screwed up a lot more often than it’s done properly. An immortal creature who feeds on the living really has to be unspeakably charismatic and alluring, and equally vicious and horrifying. Vampires are to humans as humans are to cattle, and too often the vampires in literature and film don’t do the species justice. As a self-proclaimed vampire purist, here are the five vampires who I think are ruining everything.
1. The Vegetarian Vampire
If all of us fans could band together and ram a stake through the chest of just one tofu-sucking vampire who is ruining the genre for everyone, I would like to think most of us would vote for this prissy fruitcake. Vampires are diabolical serial murderers. They have to kill people to survive. That’s the whole reason that being a vampire is a curse. As soon as a writer abandons the vampire’s need to kill human beings, he abandons the occult in favor of Happy Fun Fairy Tale Fantasy Land.
Here’s why: If vampires can survive without drinking human blood, let’s all be vampires. Hooray! We can cure all of the world’s diseases just by drinking each other’s blood. Nobody ever has to die again! Then we can all feed on gophers and sing songs and dance in the sunshine! Well, I suppose they don’t make sunblock strong enough for us children of the night, do they? What’s that? They do…?
2. The Day-Walker
Fuck the day-walker. Fuck him and his family, and his friends, and whatever era he was reborn in. A vegetarian day-walker vampire (for some reason the two go together more often than not) is the equivalent of a zombie who can tap dance, play the oboe, and carry a stimulating conversation in English and Portuguese. To clarify, he isn’t a goddamn vampire! Vampires are a staple of horror, and they belong in a horrific world. They’re frightening. They stalk their prey in the night and they keep hidden away in the dark at all times. And whether they look like Robert Pattinson or Wesley Snipes, they sure as hell die in horrible, agonizing pain whenever sunlight hits them. Remember in From Dusk Till Dawn when George Clooney says, “Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them. I don’t give a fuck how crazy they are.” Well, vampires do. I don’t give a fuck how friendly they are. And speaking of your local Sesame Street vampire…
3. The Compassionate Vampire
Yeah, I know. They’re sexy, and charming, and they sweep you off your feet and they just seem like such great people. But trust me, it’s not because they think you have such a great personality that they want to get to know you better. It’s because they want to rip your fucking neck open and drink your goddamn blood. We’re talking about beings that have eternal youth. Often they’ve been alive for hundreds or thousands of years, acquiring vast knowledge with their forever-youthful minds, murdering humans every night, or at least most nights. And this creature—this impossibly intelligent creature who has long since distanced himself from humanity, who surely views himself as a god, who looks upon humans as one might a Charleston Chew—you’re telling me he’s going to meet a pretty young human girl who pulls at his heart strings? Believe me, when she’s a child of the 90’s and you’re a child of the French Revolution, there’s a bit of an age gap, and she’s not going to be able to engage you in intelligent conversation. She’s your lunch, or a play toy at best. And if she gets hit by a bus the only depression you’ll feel over it will be for the fact that you didn’t get to kill her yourself. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of depression…
4. The Manic-Depressive Vampire
If I were diagnosed with a terminal disease at seventeen years old and a ninety year old man started whining to me about how much it sucks to get old and how I should count my blessings, I’d want to stab him in the retina with a tuning fork. I don’t want to hear a godlike being bitch about his eternal youth. This creature can live for a thousand years and he’ll never find himself making a sound when he stands up from the couch, he’ll never hate this new generation’s music, and he’ll never develop type two diabetes or be told to start watching his cholesterol. His life kicks ass. “Oh, but all the people I know die.” “Yeah? Go hang out with vampires! They don’t die. What, they don’t want to hang out with you? Maybe it’s because you’re a goddamn downer!”
If a human being spends his whole life hanging out with only mice, he’ll find that they all die too. It’s not because human life is so hard; it’s because this particular guy is a dipshit. I don’t want to hear whining from a creature that is superior to me in every way. Vampires are smart, charming, seductive, sexy, strong, they never age, and they’re wounds have a tendency to heal at an alarmingly fast rate. When they put on pouty faces and say that life sucks, it’s a bit like me bitching to my dog about how much it sucks to be me. If he could talk he’d say, “Well, Greg… at least you’re not a fucking dog. Now go have fun engaging in meaningful conversation and understanding artwork, and I’m going to chew on my ass for an hour or two.”
5. The Feral Vampire
And that brings me to my final point, a point regarding stupid animals who chew on their asses for hours at a time. Please note that vampires are not among this class of animal. When vampires are portrayed as savage, brutal monsters that speak only in hissing, roaring sounds and run around like wild animals; I have to wonder if they’ve spent the last century huffing garlic fumes. When you’ve stopped aging and your human brain has been working at full capacity for five hundred years, I imagine you’re able to speak nine languages, read people’s emotions by the faintest tics in their faces, wield a samurai sword like it’s nobody’s business, and kick the shit out of any grandmaster in a game of chess—you have time on your hands after all, and you should be able to master any skill you like. But why in the HELL, after five hundred years of life with a fully functional human brain, can’t you understand English? Why can’t you speak? I’ve only been alive for twenty some years and I can speak, I can write, I can dress myself. These vampires who run around like wild beasts are embarrassing. Much like humans, vampires should never “go full retard” in a novel or movie, and unless a vampire has been bitten by a zombie, he’s probably smarter than any human you’ve ever met. Okay? Can we agree on that? Case closed.
Am I forgetting someone? What other vampires are ruining the genre? Or maybe you have a compassionate, feral vampire in your novel you’d like to defend. Am I wrong? Feel free to discuss.
If you’re with me on vampires, check out my novel Thicker Than Water available in Amazon’s Kindle Store. Also, please take a moment to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Got a Goodreads account? Shit, friend me there too!