The Vampire’s Lore and Mystique

My love for vampires and the horror genre started when I was very young. Like all school children, “BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA,” was a must read in English class. It started a life long interest for me. I was intrigued like most kids by these mystical, magical and dangerous creatures that roamed the night taking their victims at will, surviving themselves by drinking the blood of others. Okay, so it’s not every child’s dream, but it was cool. None of it seemed real. Sort of like Wylie Coyote always trying to catch the Road Runner with all his gadgets from the ACME company. I would have loved to see him catch him just once. Oh, sorry, back to the gore. Immortality seemed like a remarkable concept. Although I doubt any child is really thinking about the end of their existence. The fascination for me at least, has continued to thrive and grow as I’ve gotten older. I’ve collected vampire books and movies (the good ones) for years. My life however made a drastic turn many years ago with an introduction to Anne Rice.

Much to Anne Rice’s credit, I decided I wanted to be a writer (you thought I was going to say a vampire, didn’t you? That comes later). She alone changed my entire perspective of the literary world. With her classic, “INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE,” she changed my life. I don’t mean to sound maudlin, bit it did have a major impact. “INTERVIEW,” made me want to become one of the undead (happy now, I said it). I lived and breathed the ‘vampire’ series. Eagerly devouring every word, every thought she put to paper. Anne single-handedly changed the vampire genre. Lestat and Louis were elegant, well read and intelligent. (Thanks to Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the film version of the novel) I empathized with the power and strength of Lestat and Armand (Antonio Banderas played the charismatic Armand in ‘Interview’). I sympathized with Louis and his inner turmoil. Being a vampire isn’t always easy, you know. More than anything, she brought romance into a dark, dreary and dangerous place. Being a vampire was exciting and adventurous. It was a magical time, a mystical figure to be. Imagine never growing old. Living century after century and seeing the world change before your eyes. Experiencing a literal lifetime.

My fascination for vampires did not stop there, but it did blossom. I yearned to read more. I craved to write more. My interest in the genre grew and matured. It was obvious I am not the only one. The “Kindred: The Embraced” (1996) was one of the first TV series based on the vampire lore of today. It was set in real time. No longer were they like Dracula or Nosferatu. Rice’s vision was extended further and was aloud to grow. Throughout the 1990’s and today, we have had the “Blade,” movie trilogy (Wesley Snipes) and “Blade: The Series” on Spike Television.

There are however, other vampire lovers that take this interest to obsessive extremes. There are incredible numbers of people who participate in the ritualistic vampire lore. Role playing games for starters. Admittedly, I am not that familiar with the practice. I’ve ready a couple of books on the subject, but it just didn’t interest me to participate. There are in major cities, and not so major, underground vampire clubs. These consist of dark dudgeon like clubs where the patrons dress up as their favorite vampire or their personal version of the undead. Some are quite unique and mesmerizing. It does appear to be a growing trend. It has unfortunately on some occasions become just as dangerous as the vampire mystic itself. There is an exchange of bodily fluids. And this being the age of AIDS, it is not a safe practice.

Where does the role playing stop and reality sink in? It is an unsettling question that many psychologists can’t answer. Neither can many participants for that matter. The extreme scenario as I mentioned has involved real bloodletting, biting and blood drinking. For the most part these clubs are harmless and fun. It plays into the fantasy, such as a theme party. A different and unique night on the town, such as a ‘fetish club.’ The vampire mystic and lore for the most part is a harmless game. It is part of our culture and entertainment industry. There are hundreds of movies and books (most of them unfortunately are forgettable, I’ve seen some real stinkers) on the subject. Even TV’s number one show, “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” had a vampire episode. Many of the ‘good movies,’ have become classics. From the first “Nosferatu,” “Interview With The Vampire,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “Blade,” to the juvenile thrill ride “The Lost Boys,” Hollywood has certainly captured the essence of that makes this subject fun, and scary. It’s a rollercoaster ride. Who knows, the next vampire book you read could be written by me. Happy hunting.

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