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Most stories about vampires could be told without vampires

February 21, 2010

The world can exist without vampires.  It already does.  Now, if we could just find an effective way to eliminate fictional vampires, we could all live our lives like it was 2008 again, back when nobody really cared about them.

Let’s discuss the fact that adding vampires to your story is unnecessary, because virtually every book or movie about vampires could have just as easily been told with the exclusion of them.  Take Twilight, as an obvious example…a book about a girl and a Vampire in love, except they cannot engage in lovemaking based on the fear that the girl will catch the vampire disease and become a funny-toothed monster.  Vampirism (yes, it’s really a word) in this story can easily be replaced by a communicable disease or an STD.  Twilight’s main plot theme of “I love you, but I sure don’t want to catch that!” could have just as easily been written about mono or Hepatitis C.

Other vampirical (it’s actually in the dictionary. I know, right?) themes and characteristics, like racism against vampires, bloodsucking, bad teeth, biting, etc…could easily be portrayed by replacing vampires with people of various races, leeches, British people, and rabid dogs, respectively.

Here are some other examples of popular movies that would have been no worse off if vampires were eliminated from the plot:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: If the intended target of slaying where changed to robots, dinosaurs, or pirates…the creators still would have been able to make their uber-hilarious (note: sarcasm) point that her name was Buffy, yet she went around slaying things.  After the elimination of vampires from the storyline, Kristy Swanson’s and Luke Perry’s careers would have still remained unsuccessful and everyone would still be mispronouncing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s name.  (She claims it’s guh-LAR, not gell-er…and nobody cares.)

Underworld: Nobody watched this movie for anything other than Kate Beckinsale dressed in black leather, so replacing the vampires with cardboard cutouts of Ben Stein would have had zero impact on the movie’s excitement or fanbase.

Interview with the Vampire: If you’ve seen this movie and any recent interviews with Tom Cruise, you’d agree that it is way more entertaining watching him interviewed as his lunatic self than watching him star in a movie about interviewing fictional vampires.

The next time you watch a movie or TV show starring vampires, just think to yourself, “Did vampires really need to be in this?”  You’ll probably come to the conclusion that they weren’t necessary and Hollywood was just milking the currently over-hyped vampirical teet in an attempt to get more people to watch.

  1. Faith permalink

    Most of your points are surprisingly valid. However, I feel like I need to point out that the vampire being interviewed in Interview With A Vampire is the Brad Pitt vampire and not the Tom Cruise vampire.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that True Blood is just an analogy for gay rights, and an excuse to have a lot of naked people on t.v.

    • Good call, Faith. I have never watched Interview With a Vampire because it had vampires in it and therefore looking boring and unappealing to me. I have updated that sentence based on your comment, and my sympathies go out to you for spending 122 minutes watching it.

  2. Faith permalink

    It was pretty good! And I’m sure I can find a couple vampire movies or television shows that couldn’t exist without vampires. Hmm…how about Dracula? Or The Lost Boys? Both of those were about vampires preying on humans, not engaging in romantic and/or business relationships with them.

  3. The figure of the vampire standing in for something else is what they call a “metaphor”. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? And you don’t have to limit yourself to vampires with your argument; you could replace just about anything fantastical in a well-written piece of literature with its analogous real-world counterpart. For example, you could simply make the X-Men black. It’s basically the same story?

    So why use the fantasy element? Well, simply because it makes the story less preachy, more fun, and far more marketable (which is not a new concern). People often don’t like being told on-the-nose moral stories, but are willing to take their lectures when they have been dolled up in colorful costumes with mysterious abilities.

    Vampires have fans. Many people want to, and will pay for, stories about vampires. This is not a new phenomenon. It’s just that, of late, vampires are hot.

    • Oh, I’m well aware of metaphors…I’m actually a big fan of them. You mentioned “well-written piece of literature”…I don’t think I’ve attacked any of those in this post. My point is that most of these stories are crap, and people only watch them because they contain vampires, whose popularity has grown exponentially over the past 2 years. If twilight were written about sea monsters, it probably would have failed.

      Vampires have become the new secret ingredient. It’s like teeth-whitening agent or pomegranate juice. Whether it’s a valid product or not, just add a spec of it to anything and people come running with a fist full of cash.

  4. Tess permalink

    You forgot the whole I don’t want to catch your Mormonism thing in Twilight, rather than the STD thing which I also think is interesting.

    Not “I don’t want to catch your Mormonism” exactly but “we have to have control over our sexual desires because of Mormonism”.

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