Monday, October 11, 2010


by Gina Sestak

The topic of the month is scary things, so I sat down and tried to think about some things that frighten me.  I had to stop.  I got too scared . . .

It's odd, though, that things that terrified people for centuries seem to have morphed into things that are downright attractive.  Take the vampire, for example.

Many cultures have legends about beings - the dead or undead, corporeal or in spirit form - who suck blood from the living.  Sounds pretty horrible, doesn't it?  Early depictions of the vampire on film showed a repulsive creature, one you wouldn't want to run across in a dark alley - or anywhere else!

Bela Lugosi may have been a leading man on stage in his native Hungary, but when he played Dracula in American horror films, he managed to look pretty scary.

I know I'd run screaming if I saw him coming after me.

Anne Rice's vampires are attractive, but they are killers nonetheless.  Even Louis, with all his angst, slaughters humans.

Nowadays,  though, vampires are depicted as attractive, even relatively harmless.  Think Edward Cullen from the Twilight films.

Who wouldn't want him sneaking in through her bedroom window?

[Yeah, I know he's way too young for me, but this is fantasy, OK?]

The werewolf has undergone a similar metamorphosis.

When Lon Chaney transformed beneath the full moon, we knew we'd better run and hide or else he'd tear us
limb from limb.  He couldn't help himself.

Neither could Professor Remus Lupin, the werewolf in the Harry Potter films.  He, too, is a tragic figure, doomed to turn into a monster every month.

Even a man who is pure of heart
And says his prayers by night
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the moon is shining bright.

Jacob Black, on the other hand, is a hunk, no question.  Even in wolf form he comes across as a nice guy in the Twilight films - at least, if you are Bella Swan and not a vampire.

[Yes, I have read Breaking Dawn, but let's not go there.   That book creeped me out in ways that are neither fun nor even horror.  I mean, the Jacob part was just plain icky.]

So, what do you think?  Do vampires and werewolves scare you?  Or would you rather date a few?


Annette said...

Gina, the creepiest vampires I can recall the ones in Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot, which was not only a book, but a TV mini series back in the late 70s. But I also think the sexiest one was Frank Langella's version from the same time period.

PatRemick said...

Now that's an interesting thought for the day -- would I rather date a vampire or werewolf? Or what, kill them?

Gina said...

Annette -
I guess my pick for sexiest vampire would be Louis (Brad Pitt) in Interview With The Vampire, but my favorites of the vampire movies would have to include Fearless Vampire Killers. I haven't kept up with the recent tv vampire shows [I always preferred Charlaine Harris's Lily Bard series], but I can't forget Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows. Not that I'd want him crawling into my bedroom!

Laurie said...

Hmm, well I don't know much at all about vampires. I haven't read any books about or with vampires in them.

I did see the Twilight movies with my daughter and have to admit that I was the only one in the audience who burst out in uncontrollable laughter during the scene in the first movie where one of the "bad" vampires commented to the "good" vampires who had Bella with them, "I see that you've brought your own snack" (or something to that effect). I looked over and saw that my daughter was trying to hide a slight grin; although she might have been grinning at my guffaw.

Gina said...

Pat -
What's with this either/or thinking? Maybe you could keep one as a pet. [I am of course thinking of the Malcolm McDowell version of Cat People, in which Natassja Kinski in panther form winds up in John Heard's zoo.]

Laurie -
I love that first Twilight film! I'm not much of a fan of the books, probably because I don't like Romance. And because Bella comes across as way too stupid to live. The movie, though, is different - it has one of the best opening sequences I've ever seen. Beginning with Bella's voice-over and ending with her conversation with Charlie in his car, it perfectly sets the scene for story. Very well done.

Joyce Tremel said...

The last vampire book I read was Salem's Lot way back when. I agree with Annette--very scary.

I haven't read any of the current stuff or seen any of the movies or TV shows. Yes, I live under a rock.

Jenna said...

Kill'em. Kill'em ALL.

Sorry, I don't do vampires or weres. The concept creeps me out. Sure, Pattison is good looking, and so is Taylor Lautner, even if he is jailbait. But the guys they're playing on TV (or rather in movies) - no thanks. Never did get what makes these creepy critters attractive to some people.

I do enjoy Nancy Haddock's Cesca series, but there the dynamic is different. The vampire is female, the boyfriend something else, not quite human either. I'm OK with that. But the vampire male/human female combination is just too icky for me.

Ramona said...

Never could get into vampires.

And then came Spike. *thud*

Gina said...

Ramona -

I never got into Buffy the Vampire slayer - well, I liked the original movie, just never cared for the tv show - so I don't have much to go by about Spike. Would you take him over Edward Cullen? How about Dr. Carlyle Cullen, my personal fave in the films? [Although Jasper made quite an impression in that baseball game!]

Generally speaking, though, in real life I prefer men who are at least alive. Is that being too picky?

Jenna said...

Finally, someone else who liked the Buffy movie but not the TV show! Thank you!

Gina said...

Oh, good, Jennie! That means I'm not the only one, too.

If anyone is interested in seeing the Twilight baseball scene (including the line Laurie mentioned), here's the youtube address: Everyone but Bella is a vampire, complete with super-human powers. Jasper is the one doing tricks with the bat.

Nancy said...

Spike! Spike! (Double thud!)

Gina, you of all people, should love Buffy. You must try again--pick a season later in the run.

Patg said...

Okay, here's a vampire lover!!! Yes, when they were the ugly type, long ago, they scared me, but I really changed my view. They are very interesting if they aren't part of the 'slice and dice' concept that has a whole different kind of audience. I thought the Buffy movie was okay, but I loved the series and Spike is definitely one of my favorite vamps of all time.(Ramona, do you think it's because Billy Idol stole his look? Now there was a funny line.) The wraith in Stargate Atlantis is a version of vampires that I like, but instead of bats they are part insect.
I find the whole Twilight think boring. Talk about 7/8 teenage angst and 1/8 story, and that fourth book story line. UGH, big Yuck.
Sorry, like real wolves too much to care much for werewolves.
And Jenny, yes, female vampires are way more interesting.

Gina said...

UGH, big Yuck is right about the fourth book in the Twilight series. What was Stephenie Meyer thinking?!?

Ramona said...

Gina, I totally agree that the blood flowing through a guy's veins should be his, and his alone. I have not seen any of the Twilight movies and have only read the first book.

Nevertheless, Spike Dead, alive, no soul, regained soul, the guy's just hot.

Has anyone read S. E. Hinton's novel Hawkes Harbor? Very interesting take on vampiric angst and redemption.

Gina said...

Ramona -
I haven't read Hinton. I always thought the queen of vampire angst and redemption was Anne Rice. Louis is so conflicted about what he is, and even Lestat gets introspective every once in a while.

Patg said...

Gina, By book 4, I'm sure Stephanie was thinking big bucks.
I think the best character Ann Rice wrote was the little girl vampire. What a concept, a child for hundreds of years. What a perfect hunter/detective/cop she would make. She'd only prey on pedaphiles. Is that a book or a short story????
I looked up Hinton's book, and she got a good review for it. They call her a YA author, but this one is definitely adult. Supposed to be an adult Treasure Island. Will give it a try.

Gina said...

A child vampire who preys on pedophiles. I like it!

CAUTION: Risque section coming up. Should be read only by adults who don't get grossed out easily:

Maybe the strangest vampire book I've read was called "50 Girls 50." Not to get too disgustingly graphic, but the story centered on a house of ill repute where male customers would insert their genitals into holes in a wall for oral sex. Little did they suspect that the prostitutes on the other side of that wall were really vampires . . . That ought to be enough to teach any guy to keep it in his pants!

Jenna said...

I haven't heard of the book, but I have heard of the custom. And not just in fiction, either.

Very ickily, my word verification is delickin. Sorry, felt I had to share the grossness.:-(

Patg said...

Gag, gasp, groan, I feel a short story coming on.