ByDrew Grimm Van Ess, writer at
Horror aficionado/nerd. Follow my blog for film reviews, book reviews, and interviews.
Drew Grimm Van Ess

I was born in the late 80's, when horror was at a beautiful point. I am one of those guys who is proud of his birth year, because it was a good time all around. Now as a child, I couldn't watch horror films. But being the devious person I am, I would sneak peeks of what my parents were watching. I'd often get caught and get punished, but to me, it didn't matter because I was so enthralled with horror films and the feeling you get when watching them that nothing else mattered.

I grew up with Salem's Lot, The Lost Boys, Innocent Blood, Fright Night, Vamp and other great and favorable blood sucking flicks. Vampires drew me in because they're tortured souls, there's a dark layered story behind every good vampire flick. Back then, vampires were cursed and damned, full of nothing but pain and sorrow and anger. So what the hell happened?

It's very cliche to bash the Twilight films, but it's cliche for a reason, they deserve all the hate they can get. Glorifying being a vampire and walking around with hair that looks as though you stuck a fork in a socket isn't exactly appealing to those who grew up with actual good vampire movies. If the Twilight films didn't get so popular, I wouldn't have an issue. Truth is, because they're popular, they're now set as the standard vampire of today. That's where my problem lies.

Vampires have been done thousands of different ways in books, history, and cinema. But never have they sparkled and were pansies like the ones we have today. I'm certain that if Vlad Dracula had a head, he'd be turning in his grave. Things like this are why people say horror is dead! Those of us who know it's not are waiting for this storm to end, so we can pick up the pieces and move in a different direction.

All feelings aside, how can you not see where I'm coming from? Unless you were born under a rock, you know what vampires used to be. Look to Children of the Night for example, those vampires were hideous to the touch and terrifying. They were nasty, creepy and inventive. They actually sleep with their lungs out of their body, so they can sleep underwater. It's insanely creative ideas like this that are missing in present day. To see what vampire's are now is just a complete joke and waste. We're on extreme opposite ends now, so far from what and where we should be. This romance crap for teen girls has to stop, vampires are demons, not your prom date!

So what happened? Blood suckers became romance novels that became movies, and now everyone laughs at the genre. I'd like to thank everyone with school girl crushes on a pathetic excuse for a vampire, for ruining it for all of us who want more in a vampire film than a stupid love story aimed for teens.

I can appreciate how the undead were being told in a fresh and new way, but it's too far off of what it should be. It's not vampires anymore! I don't know what the hell they are, but bring Edward Cullen into a real vampire environment and he wouldn't last 10 seconds against a scary, realistic vampire. He wouldn't know what to do against a guy who isn't all over popular teen magazines!

Romance in vampire movies has been around forever, and in books as well. But the fact that this is what everyone thinks the genre should be now is so, so ridiculous! There's no thrills, no scares, only fighting for love and all that mushy stuff that doesn't belong. God forbid we actually have an ugly vampire, one that's scary and looks like he crawled out of a grave. Now they need to walk down a runway in order to be a vampire.

Due to the mainstreaming of these things, the idea of vampires is lost, only to be seen and known by those of us that see through this fad as nothing more than a glorified Pokemon trend. It'll pass, but when? We'll have to see.

Until then, we're faced with the harsh reality of The Vampire Diaries and other soft, tired and absurd takes on demons. Like the zombie front, the vampire scene is now overused and exhausted. Reason being, people stopped being scared and creeped out, because they're waiting on a romantic kiss to happen. Being scary isn't cool when your audience is children, which is why this subject matter should have never been aimed at such a young crowd. And when you dull horror down for teenagers, this is what we get. Excuse me while I yawn and change the channel...

True Blood still gets it right, however. There's that perfect balance of romanticism and extreme vampire horror/gore to makeup for the love story part. And there's actual nudity and real sex scenes, although the sex scenes can be too much at times. Point is, there are still some people out there getting it right. Including the Spierig Brothers and their film Daybreakers, and even if you don't like the film, you can at least get to see vampires getting the right treatment. The Underworld series is the closest thing to realistic vampire films that we've had in a while. While some of the sequels dwindle, you can't deny how they're dark, tortured soul vampire films. And what's great about them is that the story involves how they've adapted and survived whilst still living the high life of elegance and privilege.

The Blade films are awesome, because not only are the vampires full of character but, they manage to be menacing and vicious. The real secret to why these films work is because, although he cleans up the streets from blood thirsty scum, Blade isn't a nice guy. He isn't a hero, he's a monster fighting monsters for his own personal reasons and vendetta. Funny how all the films that revolve around dark, gritty stories and creatures of the night are the ones beloved by so many, isn't it? That's because it works.

I do not hate romance in vampire films, I love it! When done right, a vampire film that's also love story can be superb. Look to 's Bram Stoker's Dracula. Full of lust and sexuality, it manages to not lose sight of being a gothic story first and foremost. It's a tragic, forbidden love story, and that's the way it should be! There's nothing happy or fun about being blood drinker, it's torture and depressing.

How many of you recall a film called Near Dark? Now that is a vampire film! Very gritty tale that gave a very realistic portrayal of a band of vampires trying to survive. If vampires were infact real, they'd be right out of this movie. They have to be tough and scary, because vampires are predators! Nowadays it's cool to be a non-violent vampire, to be more sexy and attrative than anything else, and it's all just a really bad joke that needs to go away.

Vampire films are still amongst us, the good ones are overshadowed by how many bad ones there are, but they're there. And they're waiting to make a true comeback. One day this dreary age of sissy vampires will end, and we'll be back on track. Until then, keep your copy of The Lost Boys close. It's like Dalai Lama said, "In order to carry out a positive action we must develop here a positive vision."


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