“Thoughtful Ramblings” is a feature where we discuss bookish subjects. These posts are just our own thoughts about certain topics that may get us hot under the collar and we need a good rant or just things we want to share with fellow bloggers and readers.
Vampires – Killers or Lovers?
“Here’s what vampires shouldn’t be: pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and work only at night; lovelorn southern gentlemen; anorexic teenage girls; boy-toys with big dewy eyes,” writes Stephen King in the introduction to his move into original comic book writing, American Vampire. “What should they be? Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A. Bad boys and girls. Hunters. In other words, Midnight America. Red, white and blue, accent on the red. Those vamps got hijacked by a lot of soft-focus romance.”
I must admit that even though I do like paranormal romance novels containing vampires, and I enjoyed the Twilight series (although I’m definitely not a die-hard fan) I do sort of agree with Mr King.
When I first began reading horror novels, vampires were the villan, the evil creature with which us humans had to kill or it would kill us, such as Dracula by Bram Stoker (one of my all time fav books), Necroscope by Brian Lumley, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. If the vampire novels weren’t in the ‘horror’ camp they still at least kept the ‘horror’ of vampires very much alive in their story – such as Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. I adored these books, especially the characters, but these vampires were still killers.
Even Spike from Buffy started out a deliciously evil vampire that relished in killing and drinking blood, a vampire that stalked his prey without remorse. But even he eventually succumbed to love and practically became Buffy’s puppy dog. I say this with much affection as I LOVED Spike, and Buffy was one of my all-time favourite shows!
It does seem that authors are opting for the softer vampire. Vampires now seem to be either love interests or private investigators in the genre’s of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. And although some of the UF novels are fantastically dark and gritty such as the Joe Pitt series by Charlie Huston, they still aren’t what I’d call true ‘horror’.
I have even started to see a shift with zombies to the romantic side – I’m not sure I can get on board with this. It’s hard to believe that these supernatural creatures can be the love interest with its body putrefying and decaying and bits falling off! Not to mention the smell!
But then I began to think how paranormal romance has a huge following. Did this genre, which stemmed from urban fantasy, grow so big because it opened up the world of vampires and other supernatural beings to the wider audience? Not everyone is like me and wants to read horror, or read how a vampire rips out the throat of its victim to drink the warm fast flowing blood. Some want to read about these creatures but in a softer light.
I think there’s a place for all these sub-genre’s, but are there just too many books that now romanticise vampires? Should vampires be brought back to their true monstrous, evil nature? What do you think – should vampires be killers or lovers?