True Blood: Vampires Are In Our System

August 30, 2009 by  

true-blood-bill-sookie-togetherHave you noticed how things go in cycles? We’ll have a rush of alien movies hit the box office or perhaps it’s the year of “save the earth from natural disaster” type films. There is nothing wrong with this;  marketers are simply feeding off of the viewers’ opinions about what it is they want to see. Do you think the same applies to this recent wave of vampire love that has swept across viewers?

Just in case you haven’t noticed, allow me to give you a few examples. Anne Rice came onto the scene in the 1970s with her infamous novel  Interview With A Vampire. It wasn’t until the late 90s when we all saw Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise roaming the streets in Neil Jordan’s directed adaptation. Several of her other stories went on to become major motion pictures – some even became television series and seen on ballet stages. Even Elton John stepped up to write the music for the Broadway production.

More recently we have the Twilight series that has swept the world by storm, much like the Harry Potter series did. Girls are flocking from all over the globe to Forks, Washington to see the high school and houses where the characters lived. The fan base is mostly tween to teen girls, but there are some males that seem just as addicted to the books as well as the movies.

Moreover, Stephenie Meyer’s books aren’t the only vampire books causing a stir: filmmaker Guillermo del Toro became an author this year with a best seller called The Strain and last year, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel was adapted into the Swedish movie Let the Right One in and became an art-house hit.

HBO has added to our need to vampires with the hit TV show True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries. It provides a more erotic-like story with Sookie Stackhouse falling for Bill Compton, a vampire that seems to do whatever it takes to keep her with him. The popular show averages about 11 million viewers tuning in each week to view episodes. HBO isn’t the only one with a vampire TV series. The CW has a teenage vampire series rolling out later this fall based on author L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries.

Why do we have such an attraction to any creature with fangs that appears on our television sets? President of FEARNet, Diane Robina says,

“This may sound crazy, but vampires are beautiful, gorgeous men and women who have been caught at their prettiest. They go out at night, they never get old. They’re like rock stars.”

It certainly is true. I can’t recall any vampire movie or TV show that I have ever watched where an “ugly” person was cast as a vampire; just take Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgard for instance. Casting agents are making sure to draw in the female audience with some eye candy, and we’re not going to complain.

Author Richelle Mead has written the popular “Vampire Academy” series knows all about writing about vampires. To give more clarity to our addiction, she says,

“There is a big romantic element to the stories, which draws the girls in. There is an element of danger, and there is action. But romance will always get the girls.”

To add to that, Ashley Dos Santos, a senior account execute for Crosby Volmer International Communications, says,

“Hollywood is providing angst-ridden tween and teen girls with a slew of undead, poster-ready boyfriends. Take the magnetic idea of love and add the tragic element of connecting on a level that an average couple would never achieve.”

Any girl could relate to that. There has never been a girl I’ve met that hasn’t sat back at some point in her life and daydreamed of her knight in shining armor. We thrive on romance, and hot romantic guys. You add in the adrenaline rush of action and suspense; no doubt about it – we are hooked, line, and sinker. That’s why romance novels are so popular among women. It helps aid our daydreaming and the happily ever  after we all dream of. Mead confirms this, saying:

“Reading in general is sort of an escape. The paranormal takes that escape to the ultimate level. It’s about people who are kind of human but kind of forbidden. And you can’t get too creepy or scary: you can’t fall in love if it’s too out there.”

bill-compton-sookie-stackhouse-season-newShe does have a good point  there. Luckily, Hollywood is good at balancing a character’s good and evil traits – just enough killing to balance all the gushy love moments. Eric Northman wouldn’t be so appealing to everyone if all he did was kill nonstop. We’re intrigued by his admiration towards Sookie Stackhouse, his role of authority, and his dedication to Godric. He has the bad boy image that so many of us are attracted to, yet has the sweetness exposed before we can begin to hate him. Or Bill Compton, the civil war era vampire who has the old, southern, gentlemanly charm yet at the same time has the power to rip someone’s jugular to defend his love Sookie. It is not wonder Sookie and millions of fans are attracted of his ability to be a moral vampire but, when pushed he will fight back.

Robina hits the nail on the head with saying, “There’s just something about forbidden love. It’s a concept that never gets old.”Lucky for us fans, our favorite genre doesn’t seem to have an expiration date. Old-fashioned kinkiness never expires either. Robina is sure to add, “Sucking on the neck? Come on, there’s just something sensual about it.”

Whether you’re an avid reader who goes through page after page of a vampire story, or sits by your television set making sure to catch all the latest vampire-related shows/episodes, we can all agree that there is something intriguing about these gorgeous creatures that don’t die as we humans do. The forbidden element of love is always  there and the theatrics from Hollywood add to the mysterious element that is the paranormal. No matter which series you are into, there is one thing all fans can agree on: Vampires have gotten into our system and we’re not about to let them go.


(Photo credit: HBO Inc)