A long time ago, vampires used to kick ass. Spanning centuries of folklore and leading to modern times, vampire stories have always picqued my interest. Old classics like Dracula and Nosferatu as well as newer fare like Blade and Hellsing have given me countless hours of entertainment. Sadly, though, the street rep of the vampire has really been dragged through the mud in recent years. It has become so bad that I have almost completely given up on the vampire genre as a whole.
One trend that pissed me off in particular is the one that showed the vampire looking normal until they reveal their fangs, and then their faces get all scrunched up and evil looking. Probably the worst offender of this was the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and its spin-off Angel. Vampires are 10,000% more terrifying when they look like everybody else. I think that is kind of the point of why vampires are scary. The vampire could be anyone. When that aspect is taken away, then part of the fascinating vampire mythos is lost.
The other trend that is a far worse offender is the one started by hack writer Stephanie Meyer: vampires who don’t bite. The Twilight series is an abomination, one that should be utterly annihilated. If I had a DeLorean I would travel back in time and prevent that series from ever being made. Unfortunately, I don’t have a flux capacitor or any plutonium to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of energy to make it happen. So until the day time travel is possible, we’re stuck with Meyer’s gay-ass sparkle-in-the-sun “vampires.”
Meyer’s story about non-biting vampires is a Mormon parable for not having sex until marriage. It would be one thing if she wrote it subtley, woven within a masterful narrative. However, she doesn’t do that at all. Her writing style is just as shitty as the kind found in any suburban 15 year old girl’s diary. In fact, she was sued for plagiarism by a girl who published a book she wrote when she was 15 years old. Here’s an excerpt from Jordan Scott’s book Nocturne:
“Her face was so pale, it was frightening; and there were beads of sweat pouring down her forehead. She couldn’t even stand, she was so weak. […] She was violently ill, vomiting and scarcely able to catch her breath.”
Now here is a similar scene in Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn:
“Most of her dark hair was pulled away from her face into a messy knot, but a few strands stuck limply to her forehead and neck, to the sheen of sweat that covered her skin. There was something about her fingers and wrists that looked so fragile it was scary. She was sick. Very sick.”
Essentially we have the same scene described in the same manner. And look at how fucking terrible the writing is. One person is “so pale it was frightening” and the other is “so fragile it was scary.” That is some great exposition right there, let me tell you. In fact, it is so great, it is amazing! God forbid either one of them try to describe the “scary” and “frightening” aspects. No, instead of that, they just let us know things are “scary” and “frightening.” That is hack writing. Jordan Scott gets a pass because she was 15 years old when she wrote that. Stephanie Meyer, on the other hand, has no excuse.
All of the Twilight freaks have helped to make Meyer’s hack-shitstorm become one of the most popular modern franchises. (As a soulless husk with no redeeming qualities, it will be forgotten within a decade or so…I hope.) As a direct result of this, a slew of new vampire-related media have pounded the masses. Most of them are utter trash from The Vampire Diaries to The Vampire’s Assistant, ad nauseum.
Amidst the shitty vampire onslaught was this HBO series called True Blood. Initially I figured it would feature faggy, sparkly, non-blood-sucking teen vampires just like everything else. I had no interest in watching it at all. However, I got the DVD box set of Season 1 for Christmas, and I felt obligated to at least give it a shot. I expected mediocre garbage, but instead I found myself saying…
“Holy fucking shit, this show rocks!”
True Blood features everything a vampire tale should: vampires who drink blood, vampires whose faces don’t get deformed when they bare their fangs, vampires who sleep in coffins, vampires who die rather than sparkle in the sunlight, sex, tits, tons of violence, and a great story. I really should not have expected anything less from HBO. They did it right. Finally, a vampire story in the modern age that is not a huge piece of Mormon-non-sex-metaphor shit. I later came to learn that True Blood is based on a series of books dubbed “The Sookie Stackhouse Novels” by mystery writer Charlaine Harris. It seems that Harris, unlike Meyer, understands why people have been fascinated by vampire tales for centuries. She gets absolutely everything right. And the TV series makes her stories come alive on the screen.
Also of note is that the story does not just play out all the old, tired vampire cliches. It brings a fresh spin on the vampire tale. In the world of True Blood, vampires have finally revealed themselves to the public, and are attempting to “mainstream” themselves by living amongst humans. In order to do this they drink an artificially manufactured blood source called Tru Blood. Some humans accept the vampires, others don’t. Some vampires try to integrate into society at large, and others hold on to the old ways. The premise allows for a wide variety of stories, and the writing has a significant amount of depth.
The show is shot and directed perfectly. The day scenes pop with vibrant colors, and the night scenes are murky, grainy, and ominous. The acting is fantastic. The soundtrack accentuates whatever is happening onscreen. Every scene delivers the right amount of intended emotion, humor, drama, tension, or action. In fact, I cannot think of a single flaw to be found within the first season. The creators did an excellent job crafting the world of True Blood, and, as a viewer, I was immediately drawn in. I eagerly anticipate watching Season 2.
There is one other thing I noticed while taking in the story of True Blood. The central character, Sookie Stackhouse, is a human girl in love with a male vampire, Bill. However, she also has feelings for another man who can transform himself, often times into a dog. The world of True Blood also has Werewolves, Demons, and all other sorts of crazy things. What I noticed, however, was that this is essentially the same thing as Twilight. Meyer’s story revolves around a human girl who loves a male vampire, but also has feelings for a male Werewolf. Hmmm, that sounds awfully familiar, don’t you think? After doing some quick checking I noticed that the first Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Until Dark, was published in 2001. Meyer’s Twilight was published in 2005. Four years is plenty of time to read and plagiarize someone else’s work. Meyer straight-up ripped off Charlaine Harris. It is totally obvious. The only differences I can really see are that in Harris’ works the vampires actually bite people, and Harris is a good writer while Plagiarist Meyer can’t write for shit.
Overall, True Blood is a fantastic TV series. HBO has another hit on their hands. The first season was perfect. It showed me that the vampire story is not completely dead. If you haven’t seen this show yet, you need to check it out. There is nothing to not like about it.