Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Eternal Life (on the Page)

We’ve been hanging around vampires for thousands of years. Cultures all over the world and throughout history have spun tales of these bloodsuckers (and apparently honest Abe hunted them). Some of the lore changes from case to case, but a couple things are pretty constant: you don’t really want to meet up with these folks in a dark alley and, despite our long familiarity, on the whole we’re still not bored with these stories yet. At least I’m not, and from the number of vampire stories you can find in your local bookstore, I don’t think I’m alone.

I knew who Dracula was long before I read the book, though I do think The Count was my first real exposure to vampiric culture, followed quickly by Bunnicula. Regardless, by the time I got to readings Bram Stoker’s famous tale, I had a working knowledge of the pale and the petrifying. Unlike, Frankenstein, however, at the end of this book, I was solidly on the side of Harker and Van Helsing. Not only was Dracula a jerky jerk, but Van Helsing’s crew was pretty badass. Not once did they leave me yelling at the book, How could you just assume that everything is going to work out? Where are the precautions? Who are you, Dr. Evil?

Nope. A past lady friend of theirs is turned vampy? Staked through the heart, beheaded and buried with a mouth full of garlic. I mean, I guess they could have doused her body in holy water and set it aflame, but past that, they covered all the bases. Gotta respect that.

Of course, despite my love of this book, I must admit that my true love of vampires began with Buffy. The movie first (who doesn’t occasionally say “Get out of my facial,” a la Hilary Swank?) and then the TV show. It was in the latter where I began to find myself sometimes rooting for the monsters. Not to beat Buffy, of course, but not to be vanquished. And none more so than Spike, a character who was the self-proclaimed “Big Evil” for most of his time on the show. He adored both murder and mayhem, was manipulative and opportunistic, and cultivated what was probably an unhealthy obsession with Passions. And he stole pretty much every scene he was in. 

In conclusion, I’m a little bit more ambiguous as to whether I root for Team Vampire or Team Slayers, than I was regarding the Frankenstein question. But I can say for sure that there are some vampires who I’m happy live to fight another night.
Today’s breakfast recommendation: Count Chocula.

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