The other night Cinemax showed a movie entitled “Queen of the Damned.” The TV Guide blurb described the film this way: “In this thriller based on Anne Rice’s novel, the vampire Lestat…is a rock star conspiring with the Queen of the Vampires (Aaliyah) for world domination…” Why do people apparently enjoy this *crap*?
I have an intelligent, well-educated friend who has become a devoted follower of the HBO series, “True Blood,” another show about vampires that attempts to portray vampires in a most sympathetic way. They want to become mainstream citizens, and to do this, they no longer consume human blood, but survive on synthetic blood so that they don’t have to bite humans. (Is this kind of like becoming vegetarians?) There are a couple of things wrong here. First, there is no such thing as a vampire. It is a literary invention. And second, if there were such a thing as a vampire, why on earth would anyone want to associate with him/her and learn to *understand* him/her ? Forbidden fruit?
OK, so I am missing the point here, I guess? Everyone knows that vampires are not real, no more than hobbits, 900-year-old Jedi masters, or Vulcans with copper-based blood, who have been trained since birth never to do anything illogical. But hobbits, Jedis, and Vulcans are the good guys, and it’s OK to believe in them. A vampire shuns the sunlight, sleeps in a coffin all day, and comes out at night to bite people on the neck and suck the life’s blood out of them! His/her canine teeth can suddenly grow into fangs, and then just as suddenly shrink back again. He/she is hypnotically attractive and supernaturally strong so that humans fall helplessly under his/her power…and then the most “exciting” thing happens: the helpless, infatuated human gets bitten, losing so much blood that he/she turns pale, and then turns into a vampire, too! (How this occurs is never explained–evil magic, I guess.) A vampire, of course, can only be killed by a stake made of aspen wood, driven through the heart. But no one really believes this, do they?
Most of us, if we receive any upbringing at all, are taught that witches, vampires, wizards and the like are evil, and are in league with the devil. In children’s stories, these evil creatures always meet a horrible death at the hands of the hero. Why then, do many children grow up into teenagers and adults who love scary movies, Stephen King novels, and “scary” *reality* shows on TV? Even worse, they are attracted to drugs that have the power to enslave them. We see more and more of this kind of “entertainment”–drugs, violent crime, and horror–since, apparently, this stuff of nightmares is what people will pay to see, and the more realistic and gory, the better.
Where does that come from, I wonder? I know I risk offending some people who are fans of certain writers because they are so skilled at making their fantasies seem real. If it is the writing they admire, I guess I can understand that. But if it is because they get off on being drawn into a nightmare, then no, I don’t get it.