The problem with vampires

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By Laith Salama / Staff Writer

I am Dracula (Universal Pictures)

By Laith Salama / Staff Writer

In the spirit of “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” people have got to be getting sick of vampire movies by now. Audiences have been treated to one lame, poor adaptation of the classic horror concept after another.

But who doesn’t love Dracula and his classic tale of horror, allure, and darkly rich story-telling? So the idea of the vampire creature has its roots in something worthwhile.

But ever since, as filmmakers tried to expand on the idea, it just went south. Why? Consistent mistakes that filmmakers have made regarding the rules and boundaries of vampires has lead to a long list of awful movies, not least of all “Twilight.”  

First of all, when characters are bitten, do they die or do they turn into a vampire?

Vampires are never clear on their motives.

Are they hungry, lustful, or just trying to build their numbers?

Take “30 Days Of Night” for instance. Some people were bitten and died, some people were bitten and would become a vampire, and then some people the vampires just tore their heads off with their hands.

What was the idea here? Because it seems like a lot like cheap scares with nothing to back it up.

It also gives rise to the question of where did the first vampire come from?

If people are bitten to become vampires, then it’s more like disease than a race.

If vampires are a race, why are they all the same?  Depending on the movie, there’s never really a whole lot of diversity among characters in vampires. Are they monsters or are they sophisticated?

How many times do audiences see a well-dressed vampire sitting on a throne, sipping a wine glass full of blood, getting it all over the place and then lick it off their hands?

“Underworld,” “Van Helsing” and even “Dracula” had this concept, but it contradicts the image they were trying to set up in the first place.

Pick one or the other and build off of that, but don’t confuse the audience with this mix of civility and savagery.  

And when did sexy come into the picture? That was Dracula’s thing, a character trait. Why do they all have to do it now?

Why can’t one of them be all sexy, seduce women, kill them and drink their blood, while another one just brutes his way through it?

When there are millions of blood sucking monsters all acting the same way, there’s no real reason to have more than one unless they are getting scares from their numbers, which is the charm to zombies so where do vampires get off thinking they can do it? But at least zombies die.

How the heck do you kill vampires? When there is only one, then by all means make it hard and ridiculous like going to Egypt and reading from the book of amun’ra.

But when there are millions of them how is the audience supposed to believe that the humans stand a chance when they are being torn to pieces and bullets are ineffective?

By the way there’s only a certain amount of dismemberment people will buy. A vampire gets his arm cut off and puts it back on; OK cool. The vampire gets his head cut off, he better be dead!

But many vampire movies have this thing going that vampires are invincible.

They are unholy creatures of hell or whatever, OK, that’s why crosses and holy water can kill them. However if holy water is blessed by a priest, what constitutes a legitimate crucifix? “From Dusk Till Dawn” brought this up and just stated that anything in the shape of it will work.

The vampire in “Fright Night” however made it seem as though faith was the more important factor.

So maybe faith is the only real thing that combats vampires, making “Priest” a little bit of a step forward, but “Priest” was awful. It still tried to keep in touch with typical vampire nonsense such as the transformations.

Why can they transform? Why do they have to transform? Why is it that sometimes it’s a bat and sometimes it’s a monstrosity?

And how does any of this lead up to them having super strength? In fact, not only does this make them less believable, but it takes away from werewolves.

In the vampire/werewolf feud films “Underworld,” there is nothing that the werewolves had that the vampires didn’t have better, making the conflict pointless.

If the vampires are supposed to be dead, they have no blood going through them, so where does the strength come from? Shouldn’t they be fragile? This concept is never explained, and never supported by any other facet of the film, simply being handled however the filmmaker pleases.

Take this “Twilight” abomination, which committed every vampire fallacy in the book.

Sunlight has always consistently killed vampires. One way or another, they are a nocturnal being.

Then “Twilight” comes along and makes vampires sparkle in the sunlight. Why? So Edward can repeat high school for the billionth time?

He’s a vampire for God’s sake, he should go stand on a gargoyle or seduce a virgin or something cooler than high school?

And what’s the dilemma in this romance? Bite her and get it over with.

Apparently they have a choice between turning them and killing them. None of their personal struggles make any sense.

And what’s this vampire league baseball nonsense? They have to play in a thunderstorm because they hit the ball so hard it breaks the sound barrier? Just play some stupid baseball, everyone knows the rules, why do they have to complicate it?

And back to the super strength thing, why do these “Twilight” vampires need strength and speed? So they can play mega baseball? So he can stop a moving vehicle from hitting a girl there’s no reason he should care about in the first place?

 “Twilight” said “Hey lets take some bad vampire material, make it worse, throw in a love triangle and market it to little girls.”

Unfortunately it worked.

But as far as having a believable, detailed concept for a vampire as a creature or being, every vampire film has produced the same set of inconsistencies.

The concepts themselves have merit, but if filmmaker’s can’t smooth out the nonsensical flaws of their own creatures, Dracula may be the only hard-core vampire horror fans will ever get to see.

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