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Monsters vs. Aristocrats

When it comes to vampires in entertainment writers tend to go one of two ways – the vampires are either these intelligent and beautiful beings with a thirst for blood, or the vampires are mindless monsters that are hideous and uncontrollable. Sometimes they are a mixture of both, depending on the circumstances, but for those most part they are one of those two.

In books like Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles the vampires are these stunningly gorgeous creatures that are aristocratic, intelligent and wise. They have their moments where they act monstrous and cruel, but in spite of that they are still human, with a human-like mind. The same goes for vampires in Dracula, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries and virtually every other vampire in entertainment – they are handsome and beautiful creatures with thoughts and feelings, some are evil and others are good. But good or bad, they are still intelligent beings that speak, think and feel.

But then you have the opposite of these lovely (but deadly) aristocrats, you have the animalistic and mindless vampires. Those vampires that have no human thoughts or emotions, they are nothing more than uncontrollable beasts that feed. They are ugly and disgusting creatures incapable of speech. They are similar to zombies, but instead of brains they want blood.  These vampires aren’t heartthrobs, they aren’t the ones we fantasize about, they are the vampires of nightmares. You find these in horror movies, not romances. Think of the vampires in I Am Legend, those hideous monsters that kill wildly and without thought.

These are the vampires we know and love. But which do you love more? A friend of mine regularly complains about the beautiful vampires, saying that vampires are supposed to be monsters, they are supposed to be scary bloodthirsty killers, not pretty romantics. Do you agree, or do you prefer the deadly but desirable vampires? Personally, I love both. After reading hundreds of vampire books, many of which were romances of some kind, I am finding that nowadays I really love the zombie-like vampires. Recently I read Dog World by Jason McKinney and I loved his vampires, they were nothing more that disgusting vermin looking for a meal, they couldn’t hold a conversation and they sure weren’t beautiful, they were like filthy rats. I loved the change in storyline, I loved that it wasn’t yet another story about a pretty vampire boy wooing a pretty human girl. As much as I do love the noble and intelligent blood drinkers, I admit that I also adore the animalistic ones.

What about you? Do you love the aristocrats or the monsters more? Or like me, do you love both?

– Moonlight

By Moonlight

Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).

10 replies on “Monsters vs. Aristocrats”

I like all kinds of vampires: gothic romantic aristocrat, Orlock type, lesbian succubus, bat monster, pathetic blood addict… As long as they’re used well in a good story. Vampires aren’t “supposed to be” anything; they’re what we make them. The rarest kind of all in pop culture are those that closely resemble vampires of folklore. For example, the Wurdalak segment in Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and the 1967 Russian movie Viy.

Here’s some thematic territory ripe for exploration: human-ghoul romance. Sure, there’s a ton of books, movies, and manga about romance between the comely, refined variety of vampire and humans. But what about romance between the vile, beast-like ‘zompire’ and human paramours? Sure, there’s Coppola’s Dracula in wolfman form ravishing Lucy, but what about the ones who are stuck in a grotesque form full time and lack courtly manners? Somehow that seems more delightfully transgressive than the usual human-vamp couplings involving two attractive partners who are witty conversationalists. As they say, love is strange.

Also, I think that perhaps this “Vampires must not be romantic!” bleating – often with potty-mouthed, badly formed but aggressively ranting English – comes from people who don´t know much about the genre. They probably think that their favorite writer Stephen King began it or perhaps at least Bram Stoker – not that they would have read the latter, but they may know the name – and they have not even heard about John Polidori, brilliant Le vampire by Alexandre Dumas and 19th century vampire ROMANCE, wonderful classic Clarimonde (La morte amoureuse) by Theophile Gautier. Or how about vampire folklore – red, often fat 18th century peasants living in village graveyards. THAT´S authentic!

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