vampires everywhere – Weinstock on why

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I don’t want to overquote here – this is just a short precis really of a (then) upcoming book by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, but in this article, he addresses the question of why there are vampires in literature and film from all around the world (especially recently)… He writes: “In any number of modern imaginings, vampires have gone global: In True Blood as well as the Blade, Underworld and Twilight franchises — to adapt Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous phrase — the “unacknowledged legislators of the world” no longer are poets but vampires.
Vampires, vampires, everywhere. Why? What explains their persistence — and appeal? Here are a few possibilities about the strange attraction of the monstrous undead, principles that my forthcoming book, Vampires: Undead Cinema (due out from Wallflower Press in late 2011), develops in much greater depth.” (p. 4)

Weinstock then briefly develops the following 6 principles in this article…

“Principle I: Vampire narratives are always about sex” (p.4)

“Vampires provide representations of tabooed sexuality to establish and reinforce proper sexual roles.” (p.4)

“Principle II : The vampire is more interesting than those who pursue it” (p.4)

“Dreaded and desired in equal measure, the vampire is sexier, more interesting, and more [-p.5] commanding than the forces of cultural stability that seek to expel it, which in part is why we won’t let it die.” (pp.4-5)

“Principle III: The vampire always returns” (p.5)

“The vampire always returns because it is our creation, and we won’t let it rest. It is our prodigal son, returning home, bearing with it and giving shape to deep-seated anxieties and tabooed desires that may vary with the times but never vanish.” (p.5)

“Principle IV: The cinematic vampire is always about technology” (p.5)

Whether vampirism is caused by viral contagion or demonic agency, and whether the antidote is an inoculation or holy water, the determination of what the vampire is and how to deal with it leads to a consideration and sometimes revision of epistemological paradigms and to an engagement with technology.” (p.5)

“Vampire narratives thereby function as referendums on the inadequacies, perils, and promises of modern science and technology.” (p.5)

“Principle V: The cinematic vampire condenses what a culture considers “other”” (p.5)

“…the vampire is an “overdetermined” body that condenses a constellation of culturally specific anxieties and desires into one super-saturated form.” (p.5)

“Principle VI: We are all vampire textual nomads” (p.5)

“We are all “vampire nomads,” to adapt an idea from cultural theorist Henry Jenkins; we range among a profusion of vampire texts, considering one in light of others.” (p.5)

“The vampire … is a ready-made metaphoric vehicle whose potency derives from its intrinsic connections to fear, sex, science, and social constructions of difference.” (p.5)

Ref: Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock (2010) Vampires, vampires everywhere! Phi Kappa Phi Forum, Fall 2010, pp.4-5

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