Remember the Tarantino/Rodriguez camp-fest that was From Dusk Til' Dawn? George Clooney killed a bunch of south-of-the-border stripper/hooker-vampires using holy water-loaded Super Soakers. That was in 1996, and it should've been the end of vampire-cool. Now look where we are.
Vampires are the worst. They're not evil-evil, anymore. They've been rendered powerless by True Blood and Twilight and now, The CW's The Vampire Diaries from fucked-up, baseless monsters who are honoring a timeless tradition of being terrifyingly rapey psychopaths who do nothing but sleep and kill, into very, very, very pretty people who are super-horny about their weird fetishes and yeah, I guess they want your blood, but what they really want is your girlfriend, homie. If you put fangs on everyone in The O.C. and set it a little further east, all it would take now is one "Welcome to the Transylvania, Bitch" to set off a cultural touchstone, now. It's cheap, stupid bullshit. Vampires—male and female alike—have been castrated of their fear-factor. Christopher Walken performing "Poker Face" is scarier than Twilight, the most famous vampire franchise of our time. Hell, Twilight fans are scarier than the vampires in Twilight. Just ask Robert Pattinson.
In this month's GQ, Tom Carson penned a essay sharing my distaste for what now passes for scary, compelling, and sexy, titled (naturally) "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute." While he enjoys True Blood for what it is, Carson closes by arguing that even zombies, undead as they are, are a smarter buy than vampires:
No wonder the bloodsuckers' main competition in pop circles is a renewed craze for zombies, the ultimate fantasy of mindless egalitarianism turned comic nightmare. Funny enough, they were always American: Defined a scant forty years ago by George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, they could be the only genuinely original contribution to monster lore we've ever made. As a given-we may be dumb, but we've got working brains-zombies feed on their superiors. But I can't think of a vampire tale in which that's been true, which is the sickest reason we can sneakily imagine ourselves being one. Not exactly a pretty picture of our secret lives in 2009, is it? Go vampire or go zombie, America: It's your choice. Just don't say this great country doesn't offer you one.
Remember when teenage girls loved the Backstreet Boys in a narrative where Lou Pearlman was the villain? Anything that can remotely make those seem like The Days absolutely blows. Vampires are not the new gays. Vampires belong nowhere near the word "tampons." Vampires should not be a clever narrative eye-wink joke to those who adopt them as "bloodsuckers." Vampires are the most boring, dumbed-down, unsexy, overplayed, ridiculous narrative device out there. This used to be the stuff of good literature! Holler back, Vampire Archives scholar Otto Penzler:
All (teenage girl Twilight fans) are in love with the vampire. Why is that? Because he's cool. He has got good manners. He's good looking. He's thoughtful of his girlfriend. Whereas most teenage boys are lame. They're at the mall with their baseball caps on backwards and they act like idiots. Girls are looking for someone a little more sophisticated and a little cooler.
Right, well, that guy doesn't exist in 8th grade. And soon, when Twilight fans grow up, they'll realize that vampires' sense of "romance" was just the long-con to get in their pants; male, female, doesn't matter. But forget the perceptions, forget the implications on teenagers, forget the literary device. Forget all that stuff. There are just better stories out there. Bottom line. We've got better scaries in Rabbi Boteach and Glenn Beck and 3/4ths of Murray Hill past 2AM on a Thursday night than any vampire can ever give us.
Give me a break. Vampires are fuckin' stupid. I hope they die. Forever.