A number of websites and media outlets proclaimed 2009 kicked off the golden era for the vampire. While there’s a number of projects centered on vampires that are thriving right now,
Twilight has become an international phenomenon. Millions of books have been devoured by tweens and soccer moms as the coo over Edward clutching their heaving bosoms while imagining themselves as Bella, the most bland, vanilla heroine in literature history. The first two movies have grossed four hundred and eighty three million dollars domestically alone.
This fall, the Vampire Diaries debuted on the CW network. Based on the young adult series by LJ Smith, the show revolves around a pair of vampire brothers, one good one evil (kind like a Vampire Highlight’s for Children version of Goofus and Gallant) as they struggle for the affections of Elena. Developed by Scream and Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson, the show features insanely attractive people spouting maudlin dialogue. No word whether or not the Dawson Eats Poo face will make an appearance in the second season. While the CW lags behind the other networks in total viewers, the show has done well, averaging just shy of four million viewers an episode and getting solid reviews.
True Blood has been the water cooler drama HBO has been missing since the Sopranos ended. While the romance between Bill and Sookie is front and center, and there’s enough eye candy on all sides for Willie Wonka to reopen the chocolate factory, the show has plenty to love for horror fans. The show has a fantastic gothic atmosphere, and a creepy soundtrack to boot. There’s plenty of bloodshed and pissed off vampires make mincemeat of humans. True Blood is the one shoe my wife and I don’t even bother to DVR. When it comes on, we drop whatever we’re doing to watch it together.
So what do all these projects have in common, aside from the focus on the undead? Well, they’re all filled to the brim with some of the most insanely attractive people on earth (though I admit, I don’t get the RPatz craze. The dude sports a unibrow and looks perpetually confused).
The vampires in the Twilight series are vamps in name only. Stephanie Myers readily admits she wasn’t up to speed on the folklore, she just decided to make her own version from near scratch. What she created was a safe, teen romance where the average girl gets to live forever with the man of her dreams, never getting old, never having to face the adult world. Vampire Diaries stars Boone from lost and a dude that looks like a doppelganger for one of the best looking guys in Philly, Brian Sullivan (look him up ladies, he’s a doll-and a lawyer. And I hear he can do lasso tricks with his wangdoodle).
What matters to the audience isn’t the monster itself, it’s the face playing the monster. I love the Bloodstone series. But if you based a love story around Radu, one of the gnarliest vampires to grace the screen, and you’ve reduced your potential audience to about 3% of the population. Daybreakers did okay in its opening weekend, but it’s not drawing in the 15-25 year old non-horror fan female crowd with its graphic eviscerations and Sam Neil in the vampire lead. 30 Days of night did okay at the box office, but its sequel is going DTV. Take out the southern charm of Bill or the norse like qualities of Eric in True Blood, and replace them with guys like Larry David and let’s see how well the show does on the gothic horror elements alone. Can’t we just say that people like to watch other extremely good looking people on screen, be it as a vampire or a plumber (imagine Lost with an island of Hurleys). While it’s impossible not to turn around and get hit in the junk with another story talking about the hot vampire trend, it’s safe to say that the traditional Dracula and his garlic fearing counterparts are staying safely away from both the hot glare of the sun and paparazzi camera.