Sep 23, 2009

Pop Culture Vampire Amnesia

I just read an article over on that makes a very valid point: When have we not been in the midst of a vampire craze? It's not really that we have been completely in a craze, either. There is a spectrum, and we're at one end at present moment, but the visibility of vampires has been apparent for quite some time now. It's a pop culture amnesia, where the culture as a whole looks up and sees fangs and goes, "Oh, hey, vampires. Cool!"

Part of it goes back to the fact that THE MEDIA truly does become a single entity in certain ways when it is nothing more than an echo chamber. One outlet notices something resembling a trend, and then the entirety of the media starts to shout from the mountaintops that, by gum, they have found the next new trend. Found!

'Noticed' is more like it. At best. And perhaps we should be thinking about vampires in terms of ebb and flow, rather than a complete dropping off and resurgence. Sure, zombies took center stage there for a while in the early 00s, but vampires were never far away. Think of the 'Underworld' franchise, as well as 'Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter' and 'Blade' nestling just beneath the surface of the slow-moving (and short-lived) undead parade.

Looking back, it's hard to think of a period when we weren't in the middle of a vampire craze. In the late 1970s, Anne Rice started raking in the money with Interview With the Vampire, and movies like Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre and the comedy Love at First Bite were critical hits. Then came The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Innocent Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie), four more Anne Rice books, and Interview With the Vampire (the movie)—which could all be lumped into a rage for vampires that lasted clear through from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Vampires were back again in the mid-1990s, with Buffy (the TV show), the Blade movies, Southern Vampire Mysteries (the book series), and From Dusk Till Dawn. And now we've arrived at the highly touted mid- to late-2000s vogue of Underworld, Twilight (books and movies), True Blood (based on Southern Vampire Mysteries), and The Vampire Diaries.

The longest drought seems to be the early 80s, between the release of Anne Rice's 'Interview with the Vampire' and the 1987 hipster vampire film 'The Lost Boys', though the somewhat dry 80s gave way to a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s, and 'Buffy', in the late 90s, became quintessential high school vampire lore long before Edward and Bella stalked the halls of Forks High School.

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