Contemplation: The Vampires I Want

Last night I watched “From Dusk till Dawn” which has to be one of the most enjoyable movies of the past twenty years or so.  I mean sure, there have been some oustanding films and all, but with “From Dusk till Dawn” you get a Quentin Tarantino written, Robert Rodriguez directed, George Clooney starring nearly two hours of kick ass fucking awesomeness.  I think my favorite thing about the movie (beyond the whole bad ass people involved merits which have already be described) is that, if you had never seen it before and didn’t really know what it was about, you might go into it thinking that it is just a movie about some real bad criminals kidnapping a family (which I guess is essentially true.  Then though, you get to like the hour and ten minute mark and I believe your reaction would be something like “What the fuck! Now there are fucking vampires in this the fucking movie?! Holy fucking shit!”  And don’t tell me you wouldn’t be swearing like that because the movie, having been written by Mr. Tarantino, seems to drop the average of something like ten f-bombs per minute.

But while I could go on and on in praise of everything which makes the movie amazing I really want to focus on one thing alone, which is the vampires.  While there definitely seems to be an overall sense of humor, or at least a sense of the completely absurd, in regards to the creatures of the night which are present in this film, the thing that I really enjoy about them is that they are straight up bad ass and rather terrifying vampires.  I mean these vampires quite literally rip people apart, not to mention the fact the when they are revealed as vampires they are quite grotesque and horrifying looking.  And they are absolutely blood thirsty.  The Salma Hayak vampire goes berserk just looking at Tarantino’s bleeding hand and so rips his throat out with her teeth (super bad ass!).

This is a problem I think we have in the day and age of the “Twilight” and “True Blood Vampires” (for the record I actually enjoy “True Blood” bt I still think it has it’s faults).  With this neo-pop of vampire stories we are fed these tales of beautiful tormented beings, cursed with eternal life and the desire to feast on the blood of humans, all the while strugling with their own inner humanity and longing to be one of the living again.  Fuck that shit!  Vampires = Fucking bad ass monsters, period.  I won’t deny that there has long been a sexual element to vampires, which is fine, but that sexual element isn’t so that they can start whining to whomever they are infatuated with about the woes of being undead.  No, the sexuality of vampires is intended to lure the unsuspecting human closer so that there can be a full on blood feast.

One of the few vampire movies that I think has gotten it right recently was “30 Days of Night” which had some truly terrifying monsters in it.  There was nothing remotely human about them save a general appearance, and even that was rather distorted and terrifying.  What we were given were blood thirsty ravenous beasts with the sole purpose of hunting and feeding on the humans.  Anothr film that did relatively well, while it still had a kind of romantic human-vampire relationship in it, was the Swedish vampire flick “Let the Right One In” which created a really scary vampire in the form of a twelve year old girl.

I suppose I can rationalize the appeal of the beautiful emotional vampires who miss their sense of humanity, but persoanlly I think it weakens the whole genre.  We should recall that the original folklore versions of vampires were things far more similar to what we would associate as zombies or ghouls.  Back in the 17th and 18th century these were creatures which were truly feared by the common people living in Europe.  From these legends we get stories like Brom Stokers Dracula which in tern was adapted in all ways, save the name, into the wonderful and very creepy silent film “Nosferatu.”  Count Orlock, the vampire in “Nosferatu” is really one of the most memorable and really creepy vampires of all times, enough so that a vampire movie about the making of “Nosferatu” was made called “Shadow of the Vampire” which suggests that Orlock was actually portrayed by a real vampire (“Shadow of the Vampire” is another great vampire film).

I like my monsters scary and bad and inhuman, it is the whole reason we have monsters in the first place.  If you magrinalize vampires with whiney fucking emo kids who just happen to have to suck blood every once and awhile you loose part of the sense of what it means to be afraid of the dark.  Furthermore, you loose the sense of real evil, things which have no sense or care of the moral perspectives of humanity.  To be viewed as nothing less than prey is a chilling thought.  I’d like to see more of a return to the horrifying beastly vampires.  No more whiney lovey-dovey shit.  No more wasting time trying to figure out what causes vamprism.  Just horrifying blood thirsty monsters that will do what ever they can to feast on any humans they can catch.

Edvard Munch's "Vampire" beautifully disturbing and horrifying

Edvard Munch's "Vampire" beautifully disturbing and horrifying

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~ by Nathaniel on August 12, 2009.

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