Run! They’re everywhere! You cannot escape!
Immortals . . .
Night Walkers . . .
Count Dracula . . .
Vampires . . .
The dead dude creeping over your bed . . .
The bloodsucking menaces have taken over movies, books, magazines, television, and even music. Music, you say? Yes, music. Whenever I put the car radio on my tweener reaches over and changes the station. She claps and hoots, “OMG, Mom, this song was in New Moon,” or “OMG, Mom, this song is sung by someone who dated that guy who is the brother of the girl in Twilight.”
I roll my eyes, something I tell her not to do at least one million times a day.
This is my life as the mother of a tweenage vampire lover. Mmm, maybe that will be the title of my first YA novel . . . I digress.
Paranormal novels are not my thing. Not for any reason, really. I LOVE True Blood—I mean who doesn’t? Team Eric, thank you very much. I grew up hearting Keifer Sutherland in the Lost Boys. Interview With a Vampire was a great movie. Pitt, Cruise, and Banderas . . . gimme some of that Bite Me Sandwich, please. With extra-extra bite.
I enjoy watching the genre, but never wanted to read. Recently I baptized myself into the world of fang fiction. I read Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire. I had no desire to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Didn’t feel the need; I know that story inside and out. But it had me wondering about the genre. How did Stoker get the idea? Wait, back up a second. I did read Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. But it’s not considered fang fiction per say. It’s about the search for the remains of the real Vlad Dracula. And peeps disappear, get bitten . . . oohh, scary . . . I highly recommend it.
Anywho. I go on an internet search about Vampire novels and such. I could not believe the history of this tried-and-true genre. Buckle up—this is going to be a bloody post.
The first recorded works consisted mostly of poetry. The genre was labeled Gothic Fiction. Lord Byron’s The Giaour, written in 1813, is the most famous poem. That inspired his friend and personal physician, John William Polidori, to write the novel The Vampyre in 1819.
[Side note—the following is a truly unbelievable story.] 1816, the infamous year without a summer, found a group of literary geniuses chillaxing in rain-soaked Geneva. They decide to write ghost stories for entertainment, competition, or both. Varying sources debate this fact. The ensemble included Lord Byron (it was his summer villa), James Polidori, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and a few other friends. Rumor has it—again sources differ—that copious amounts of alcohol, opium, and debauchery took place. Byron was accused of getting his half-sister preggers, but again, it's 1816 and you just never know. This child went on to bear a mathematical genius and is credited with creating the language that made computers possible. Again, I digress, but you’d think after all that sex, drugs, and literature (don’t forget the incest), any offspring may not be the ripest in the bunch. Apparently not.
What came out of this 5-day laudanam-induced coma was the groundwork for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and James Polidori’s The Vampyre. Not bad for a couple of six packs and some doobies. These works gave birth to the paranormal genre. Stoker was greatly influenced by them as he penned the mother of all vampire novels, simply titled, Dracula.
Since then we’ve seen this mythic creature evolve, from the gangly ghoul like creature in the 1922 movie Nosferatu, to Bella Logosi in 1931 with his suit, red-lined cape, and slick-backed hair with a widow’s peak, to Brad Pitt in Interview With A Vampire with his long hair in 1994, then most recently to Edward Cullen with his sparkly skin and amber eyes. You also have Bill Compton and Eric Northman from HBO’s True Blood Series. They do have one thing in common, though: they’re all pretty pasty and the most recent ones are all pretty dang hot.
In literature, there were novels here or there that dabbled with the fanged villain. But in 1975, Stephen King wrote the horror tale Salem’s Lot, bringing it back with everyday people turning into vampires, not just weird European dudes in penguin suits. In 1976, Anne Rice romanticized vamps in Interview With The Vampire, thus creating the modern day romantic vampire. Since then, you’ve got the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and coffins full of other titles.
Louis and Lestat’s tale was a gorgeous read—loved it. I’ve ventured onto Twilight and hope to get to a Sookie Stackhouse soon. They’ve sucked me in.
*Sites used for research:
The first documented literature starring The Nosferatu
Charli Mac, Aspiring Author, Mother, Wife & Part-Time Clown