Why I hanker after some vampire lovin’.
I was first introduced to all things fanged back in the late ’80s. Rightly or wrongly, I’m not here to debate parenting issues, my dad was into horror big time, and had a glorious hardback book that included these three beauties – Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, and, most importantly, Salem’s Lot.
Unless you live under a rock, you should know that Salem’s Lot is Stephen King’s 1975 vampire tome.
I was 9 years old and this story changed my life. Total cliché? Yes, but it’s true. From then on, I developed a fascination with our fanged friends. I won’t say I wasn’t frightened at this tender age too though. I can distinctly recall lying in bed after watching Fright-Night in the first house I lived in, so under 12, and hearing someone scratching at the window – Let me in little girl … cue crapping myself haha.
Damn my freakishly creative imagination!!! Thankfully by my teen years, I was loving all types of horror and began to look into more of the lore and classic tales, devouring stuff such as Dracula and Interview with a Vampire.
Next film-wise in the mid-’90s was Bram Stroker’s Dracula and a teen crush on Keanu Reeves. I was no longer frightened, in fact, now I was now enamored with these be-fanged beasties. I also discovered what remains to this day my favorite of this sub-genre, The Lost Boys. I had the sound-track on tape and played it over and over revising for my GCSE’s. 1980’s leg-warming fashion and spellbinding ingesters of blood brought back youth and sexiness to the culture, no more Nosferatu here! We would have all let Jason Patric give us a nibble, am I right?
Then, in my late teens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer came onto the small screen and filled my weeks with bloodsucking high-jinx, and around the same time came From Dusk til Dawn just to remind me that vampires are not to be messed with even if Buffy does fall for Angel. That film is bad-ass and hella funny to boot. What’s a ‘proper’ vamp movie without a shit load of gore?
The more I read about the lore, the more fascinated I became with it all too. You will likely know of Vlad the Impaler, but how about Elizabeth Bathory? She was a fricking savage!!! And what about Mercy Brown of the Rhode Island vampires? That is one hell of a scary tale as it is true! There was a full-on New England vampire panic back in the late 1800s, over 200 years after all those shenanigans at Salem. It’s no wonder I still eat garlic even though it gives me bellyache …
Right then, full disclosure – I have read and even kinda enjoyed the Twilight books. Films can do one, but the books weren’t that bad. They will never live up to the frankly terrifying bloodsuckers of films like 30 Days of Night (another one of my favorites) but they were never meant to. However, for a teeny-bop series that reminded me of my beloved Point Horror books, they were OK.
Next confession, I watched the first few series of The Vampire Diaries and also kinda liked it. That was probably more about Damon than the script, but hey ho, vamps are synonymous with being sexy little beasts right? There is actually a whole further sub-genre of vampire eroticism and if that floats your boat then go for it! There was an episode of Supernatural where Dean was bitten and that was enough for me … did it just get hot in here? Ahem, moving on.
I also liked True Blood, that was definitely more my taste with the blood and guts, and one day I might actually get around to reading more about Sookie Stackhouse.
Anyway, I hopefully redeemed myself with the aforementioned 30 Days of Night, Let the Right One In (original and US re-make) and more recently, What We Do in the Shadows which was hilarious!!! TV-wise there have been some great instigators of exsanguination in one of my all-time fave shows Supernatural, and I always look out for vampy characters in any shows like the Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt.
A couple of months ago I was treated to the beauty that is Until Summer Comes Around by the totes amazeballs Glenn Rolfe. Now I have already fangirled all over him about Blood and Rain in my werewolf essay and now I will do so regarding this. USCA is an 80’s coming of age tale with a twist – insofar as one of the MCs is a sucker of blood. I won’t give anything away but I was told before I read it that it had echoes of The Lost Boys, Salem’s Lot, and Let the Right One In and bloody hell yes it did!!!
I have written a few vampire stories myself recently and I am pleased to say that my monsters will rip out your throat as soon as look at you. No sparkly skin or feeding on wildlife in my universe!
So, there you have it. I like my lore and I like my version of vamps to be a lean, mean bloodsucking machine. If it’s a movie, I want a huge tomato sauce budget as I expect a lot of gore. And if it’s a book, no fucking glitter, please …
Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre at the tender age of 9 by reading 'Salem's Lot - and she hasn't looked back since. She is inspired by Stephen King and cites Glenn Rolfe and Jonathan Janz as her favorite current writers. She likes to shock with her writing, there is usually a lot of gore and plenty of swearing ... She is very thankful to her biggest cheerleaders, her husband, and daughter and her mentor, Graeme Reynolds. She reviews and chews the fat with fellow authors on her blog - Janine's Ghost Stories and is a guest reviewer for Gingernuts of Horror.