The plastic fangs took the sexy out of being a vampire. I was maybe twelve and it was a warm Halloween in the South and it was all coming up primroses till I plopped in the fangs. They stayed in for just the first block, and it was confusing to the adults giving out candy.
“Oh, you’re in a tuxedo!” or “An opera singer!” even “Hey, Charlie Chaplin!”
Cape and no fangs does not equal vampire. I was young and only familiar with the black-and-white movie Draculas. Widow’s peaks and capes across the face.
Bram Stoker made all that go away. Or, rather, the corny vampires vanished within Count Dracula’s haunted fog. Stoker’s Gothic masterpiece coincided with tumble into Poe, at the age of sixteen. (It was 1984. Everybody else was reading Orwell.)
Logically, I became a devotee of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ministry, Bauhaus, and any music relegated to the haunted halls of godless vampirism by the existing World Order. I learned how to return to that vampire costume, still without fangs (my god, the spittle they induced was awful), and hang out at parties. And right-side-up, no less.
Now, you can easily suffer through the outbreak of Anne Rice novels (and girls in lace gloves and guys in British hats and vests) because the companion film was outstanding. But it got muddied around the end of the 20th Century.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Twilight? True Blood? It is hard to accept that vampires have become accepted. Pastor’s wives are reading about Jacob and Edward. Soccer moms own Buffy DVDs, complete seasons’ worth.
Satanic majesty just isn’t what it once was.
Throughout my spooky traipsing along hallowed evening streets, I spoke to every inviting homeowner thusly: “I am here to do your bidding, Master.” Quoting Stoker was awesome, even if a couple neighbors found it gauche for a Halloween maitre d’ to use this wording.
My fear now is that the fear itself is being drained from the living dead. There was plenty of romance and allure in Stoker’s version, right? Enough, but not too much. It wasn’t a romance novel, it wasn’t a bodice buster, was it?
It reads just fine, but I’m well past sixteen now. I have a son that age, and one who is past it. Everything is put to trial now via the test market. Essentially, that means teen-agers.
And the market has spoken. Dracula serves the market now. And while the genre seems toothless at times, I know that somewhere, huddled under a dimming lamp to read the Irishman’s tale of horrors, a kid is deep into Jonathan Harker’s journal.
I’m just hoping he or she isn’t already aligned with Team Jacob or Team Edward. There is no going back, once you’ve lost the way up into those steep Carpathian Mountains.
Causes Sean Jackson Supports
PFLAG, Amnesty International, AA, Catholic Social Services