Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vampire Vednesday!

I recently attended a panel at New York Comic Con on monsters in contemporary fiction. The fact that this panel existed is a fine example of why Comic Cons are pretty much the greatest things ever.

Much of the conversation was about zombies, since zombies are terrifying and have been very "in" for the past decade. The authors on the panel seemed fairly certain that zombies were going to stay "in" for the foreseeable future, but posited that vampires were passé.

Mindless, soulless zombies create more mindless, soulless zombies (much like members of the Tea Party), so their complete takeover of any world in which they exist feels inescapable. They surround hope and crawl and gnaw and moan it away. They lack humanity, so it's nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which one would be okay with actually turning into a zombie.

I think this keeps them perpetually terrifying.

Sidenote: this is a game!
It was suggested at this panel that vampires don't really have any of that going for them. Yes, vampires can create more vampires, but they don't have to. Vampires usually just kill, so unlike zombies, they are not constantly growing as a species.

But vampires also keep a piece of themselves. They are capable of thought and speech. They can form bonds with one another and with people. They take pleasure in things. All in all, if you had to be turned into a vampire, it could suck (awful pun intended), but it doesn't have to. You live forever. You probably have more sex. Winona Ryder will be there. And you don't have to give up your friends, hobbies, and ability to not be rotting all the time.

So what's so scary? Yes, they can kill you, but so can too much sunshine, a bathtub, a flight of stairs, or fried eggs. I mean, every day you don't die, you've sort of battled death and won, right? Facing death is a lot less scary than facing the loss of your humanity, right? I mean, if you become a zombie, you might unknowingly eat/zombify everyone you ever loved. Plus your guts would leak and you'd smell really bad all the time.

So my question is, are vampires still scary? And if not, is it because 
  1. They were never scary to begin with
  2. We have scarier monsters (like zombies)
  3. Twilight ruined everything?

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