Vampires are dark and scary. Or they were. Some still are. Not many – most are now romantic fodder for young minds. There are a few who stick to their roots and indulge in a good ol’ bit of blasphemy and shocking behaviour. With this round of the vampire craze, we’ve seen a predominantly female-targeted version of the figure, allowing the fantasy of ‘taming the bad boy’ to use the ultimate sinner. However, it’s not just women that have changed these vampires; many appear to have developed one of those things called a conscience and feel bad about killing. So human morality is foisted on them, and therefore they’re human enough to be a romantic interest. Not at all necrophilia or bestiality. Hurrah.
Anyway, the point is…this cycle has come to an end. For all the many movies, TV shows, TV spin-off shows (I’m looking at you, Vampire Diaries) and books, this current sympathetic vampire is being put to bed. Hopefully in a coffin. And how do I know? There’s a very obvious answer: Dracula.
With the advent of NBC’s stab at the vampire market comes the realisation that we are back to where we began. Dracula is the most remade vampiric figure, even if indirectly. He’s been parodied, altered, reversed, and modified so much that the number of Dracula-a-likes are mind-boggling. And also, unseen. Every vampire tale embodies elements of Dracula, taking bits that suit their storylines or would seem appealing to audiences. Because we want to embrace our inner demons and be more expressive, our onscreen demons now take a more human form, portraying the difficulties of the human struggle. The reality is that we don’t need another Dracula remake, even if it’s televisual. This time, he’s posing as an American entrepreneur. Oh good. Like none of the other current vampire series feature the Americanised vampire. The Americanisation of Dracula displays the entrenchment of the American vampire in our cultural moment.
True Blood was the closest we got to breaking away from the mould. Although the first series focused on the romantic storyline between Sookie and Bill – this was for a good reason. The first and second series stood by the book’s storyline fairly closely to draw in fans of the novels and introduce the True Blood world to the uninitiated.
Later seasons delved into the moral complications of vampirism, religion, and all with a delightfully HBO edge. But, with the announcement of next year’s season 7 being the last, I have to say I’m relieved. The storylines were become too convoluted and it hit the point of true disbelief after a particular sex scene with a glowing light. It was a good attempt at the vampire metaphor, and tackled some interesting perspectives and issues. Let’s stop it before it becomes another parody.