Why women love vampires by Anastasia Aboim

Sasha Badreeva tells me, “Vampires are not real, but they are like a dream come true”. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but Vampires have got women, and fans like Sasha, in a frenzy. Despite these damned creatures of the night feasting on the blood of humans, many mortal women find them irresistible. The infatuation with a Vampire seemed to be rooted in dark sadistic sexual thought that most would not even think of revealing. Then in stepped Edward Cullen. The protagonist of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is a tall pale and handsome new age vampire. He is a vegetarian, studies in the high school of a small US town and by the way does not sleep in a coffin, have an unconvincing Romanian accent or wear a tuxedo and cape. He even can’t get too close to a lover for fear of loosing control and killing her, which just makes women want, teenage girls, him even more. The first Twilight film has grossed about £230million so far and Twi-mania has spread like wildfire, so much that the mortal Cullen, Robert Pattinson, is being hounded everywhere by women begging him to bite them as if that would do anything but be quite painful. Of course now everyone’s feeling the vampire love with the trend growing from raunchy TV series True Blood and the increase in sales of vampire novels. Everyone seems ready to cash in on a woman’s vampire fantasy. So what is it that makes vampires so appealing to so many women and, has cinema always made vampires seem attractive? “There are three main themes in the way that women view Vampires” explains Bertena Varney, who is the advisor of Fantasy Book Club, which centres around vampire novels and writes for examiner.com, “as an escape, as a soul mate or as an erotic lover.” Women who use them as an escape are independent and don’t need a man but have a longing to be used and to choose the path of loving a vampire. Mina from Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a good example of this. While being drawn to vampires as an erotic lover gives you someone with centuries of sexual experience that you can have for life. Varney believes that women who see them as a soul mate are usually career women who for most of their lives and now they’re looking for that life-long partner. She says: “The vampire will love them for who they are and not offended by the powerful women of today. They will be there to support you and the best thing is unlike mortal men is that they will love you forever.” The original vampire film from 1922 is the German silent film Nosferatu. It carries some of the most important scenes in cinema recognised even if you have not seen the entire film. It sees Count Orlak, Dracula, stiffly rising from his sleep on the ride he has hitched from Transylvania to Germany. The gruesome vampire with a crooked nose bushy eyebrows and protruding forehead are hardly the features of and modern eligible vampire. Dracula seems represented as an unnatural creature to be feared and you hardly feel envious of the pure young maiden he has chosen to lecherously prey upon. Hardly husband material. However, fast forward exactly 70 years later and you have the next adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel with Hollywood’s finest Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Gary Oldman. The difference with this film is that it develops Dracula as a character showing him as a wolf that prowls the night and a polite handsome well dressed man that walks the day. In recent cinema, Dracula and vampires in general have become creatures with different sides. While being a monster, they still have human qualities and are still being capable of loving, and something which a contemporary girl, like Mina, is ready to be with despite some setbacks. Bram Stoker’s Dracula also shows Dracula before he became a vampire with the women he loved and lost and as a vampire tries to rekindle that love with Mina. The success of other vampire films before Twilight, such as Interview with a Vampire and Underworld also show beautiful vampires that are wrestling the monster within which women seem drawn to. These films pull women into the cinema because they use a Romeo and Juliet style plot which show star-crossed lovers trying to be together against all odds, which is so appealing. But if vampires mean different things to women, what do female vampires mean to men? The answer is, not much. If you consider the Hollywood manly vampire films like Blade, it shows male characters armed head-to-toe in silver weapons ready to destroy the vampires, not love them. Also in the home-grown comedy Lesbian Vampire Killers- remember that flop- female vampires are seen as erotic lovers, but then the realisation that they could kill them quickly prompts the men to drive a steak in their hearts. Now that teenage girls are under the spell, vampires have been ushered into the mainstream, but has this caused the original vampire story to be lost? Varney doesn’t believe it is wholly a vampire story. She says: “Twilight is basically a Romeo and Juliet story between a human and a character that says he's a vampire.” Eventually, however, teenage girls will either move away from their vampire phase or continue into it. “What will end up happening is that the young girls and teens will read another "vampire" book and decide no I don't like it and go for romance or another genre or yes I do and continue with the traditional vampire stories.” She adds: “ Yes there is a vampire story out there for just about every teen, but vampires will always be a little main stream while still putting fear in you.” So for those looking for an age long relationship, your vampire soul mate may be out there.

Fanged Films

USA, 2006
After Sundown
USA, 1979
Nightwing

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

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The Once and Future...
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