Tuesday, October 29, 2013

De-Romancing The Vampire

For Halloween, it’s time to set things straight about a venerable old monster.

Ever since Bram Stoker and all through the twentieth century, books and especially movies have been re-inventing the vampire as a Romantic Figure. This has never sat well with me. Perhaps they see the vampire’s lust for blood as a metaphor for sexual lust; but I am a literalist and trust me… when a vampire comes at you with its eyes glowing red, the last thing it wants is to get in your pants.

Would women swoon over vampires if they stopped and thought a minute about what they were swooning over? Hello, ladies, a vampire is a corpse. It’s stone dead. It’s kicked the bucket, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ Choir Invisible. At the very least, this makes for a cold and clammy embrace.

If you like having stinking corpses in bed with you, maybe you should see a doctor… preferably one named Van Helsing. According to both Hollywood and hundreds of books, there are about a million doctors in the Van Helsing family tree.

The vampire moves by the force of a will that refuses to die. This makes the vampire not a creature of lust, but one of self-determination. They are not soulful, Romantic types: rather, they are the Suited Corporate Bastard type who regards every living being as pawns, slaves, fodder or food.

Think about it. If Dracula came around today, he would be the owner and sole beneficiary of a huge multinational corporation, and his employees would be … dinner. That’s such a good idea that I’m laying a copyright on it right now!

The vampire’s heart does not pump. Even if a vampire still had any blood in its veins, which is doubtful at best, its heart is as inert as a hunk of iron and does not, can not pump blood through the vampire’s body. This is kind of the definition of being dead. Being un-dead just means that one gets around rather better than a run-of-the-mill corpse, not that it has a working heart.

This has ramifications. First, all those gory scenes in movies of vampires being staked through their hearts resulting in torrents of blood from their chest and blood gushing from their mouths… it’s all baloney. There’s no blood to gush, and no working heart to make it gush. Furthermore, there’s no reason for a vampire to scream in agony as it’s being staked. Hello! They don’t feel pain! They don’t feel anything. Including emotions. Their neural sensors have long since ceased to function. Hollywood wants it both ways. The Hollywood vampire feels no pain at any other time… it just conveniently feels pain when the filmmakers feel a need for a Big Dramatic Moment. 

Second — and this is a little more delicate — since the action requires blood and a working heart to pump it, by definition a vampire can not get it up.

So — even if dead things were still interested in sex (which is a pretty danged scary thought if you ask me), they simply would not be able to do anything about it. Which may explain a vampire’s generally bad temperament, come to think of it. Nonetheless, you have to wonder what all those silly women in the books and movies (who must have been raised on a steady diet of bodice-ripper romance novels) are getting their knickers in a twist over. A vampire may be the ultimate Bad Boy, but the relationship is still going nowhere fast.

I dunno, maybe vampires don’t have to drink blood from the victim’s neck.  Eww, I’m not going there.

By established folklore, a stake is driven through a vampire’s heart not to still an organ that shouldn’t be beating, but in order to nail the vampire down into its grave. It’s the vampire hunter’s way of saying “Now, stay there!”

This is also why vampire hunters who Know Their Stuff take the extra precaution of cutting off the head and stuffing it with garlic. Just makes it that much harder for the old boy to get around. 

So, if you see a vampire this Halloween, do not be seduced. After all, they really are only interested in One Thing.

— Freder

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