Erotica author, aka Elspeth Potter, on Writing from the Inside

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Cold, Brooding and Dead" - Cate Hart - Guest Post

Please welcome my guest, Cate Hart, blogging on some of her favorite vampires in movies and books.


Cold, Brooding and Dead: Vampires and Why We Love 'Em

I think I can pinpoint when my love of vampire stories began. I'd have to blame it on the movie Lost Boys. After that, I was obsessed. I think what made Lost Boys so popular was that the vampires were edgy, young and looked like rock n roll stars with motorcycles. And Jason Patrick and Kiefer Sutherland.

The first vampire novel I read, ironically, was Dracula by Bram Stoker. There's a reason the novel has become a classic. The love story is timeless, and Dracula is the original, misunderstood bad boy. Dracula wants what he cannot have, Mina and to live in London among society, craving for normalcy.

When I venture into a bookstore, I gravitate toward the paranormal stories, and generally, I walk out with one that has a vampire in it. I find myself comparing the author’s world or creature against the original, Dracula. He set the par – a member of the nobility, a remote castle, extremely rich, handsome, powerful...well, you get the picture. I love reading new twists on this, and sometimes, it’s just a modern update. For instance, Carlisle Cullen is handsome, rich, and member of an elite profession – doctor.

The Historian is one of my favorite books. It’s wonderful tale that reintroduces readers to Dracula but with the current trend, even on the History Channel, to take a well known story or event and bring scientific truth or historical accuracy to it. Though, The Historian isn’t a romance, it’s a great vampire read that solidifies Dracula as the reigning monster.

I never had a chance to read Anne Rice’s vampire series--I was in college at the time. But I did see the movies Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned. Anne Rice introduced us to the brooding vampire with a conflicted conscious. Before Louis, readers accepted that the vampire was the monster. Anne showed us that the monster might have a heart.

These days, a blog post about vampires cannot not mention the phenomenon known as Twilight.

Two years ago, I was sucked into reading the book. I didn't think I would like it, and it took several weeks after a friend recommended it for me to finally buy it. But once I started, I couldn’t read the series fast enough. Then of course Robert Pattinson happened, and the rest is history. But I still wonder what it was about Twilight that made the story so compelling. Many people, including myself, don’t like the way the heroine was written--appearing weak, infatuated, and easily controlled. But I think it’s the actual love story that has moved so many people. That and perhaps the unique spin on the actual vampires.

I just started reading PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series. This YA series has such a unique take on the vampires. I really like the world they have created. Yet another spin on the traditional vampire lore. In the House of Night, the teenage vampires are fledgling and more human than vampire. But each student has some special ability, and the heroine has been chosen to be the next leader.

I also love the Vampire Diaries, written by LJ Smith about a decade before Twilight. I love the two brothers, Stefan who wants to be normal and doesn't feed on humans, and Damon who is deviant and does drink human blood. I also like that Smith used most of the traditional lore about vampires, like sunlight burning them, a stake through the heart, and compelling people to do their bidding. But Smith put a spin on the Salvatore brothers. They both have a ring that allows them to walk around in the daylight. I’m a Team Damon fan more than Stefan, perhaps, because Damon is the bad guy. But underneath that, Damon is proving to be just as good as Stefan when it comes to helping the heroine Elena. Both brothers are brooding, but Damon is certainly the bad boy.

Someone, an agent perhaps, mentioned what happened to the good ol' days when vampires were evil and must be destroyed? When did we start to want the bad guy to really be the good guy? I think the switch must have come somewhere around the time of Buffy and Angel, Stephan and Elena, and Louis's brooding. Before then, literature and film portrayed vampires as the monster, those horror story creatures out to upset the balance in humanity. But with Interview there was a different vampire, one with remorse for he was doing. So if vampires could have remorse, then maybe they had other feelings? And why not be able to want to love. Isn't that what we all want, to fall in love and be loved in return? Loved no matter what we are, or have become. For me that is the draw to vampires to see that inner struggle against “their true nature.” And to see the heroine grapple with what their hero truly is and still love them in return, vowing to be able to change their ways.


Thanks, Cate!

Anyone have any favorites she didn't mention?

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Vampire Lestat more than its predecessor, Interview With The Vampire. It's definitely worth a read and while Lestat does his share of brooding, he also finds joy in being a vampire. The Vampire Academy YA series by Richelle Mead is a great read and crazy addictive. I just started reading the one that came out this week, Spirit Bound.

    Great post, Cate! Vampires will always be my favorite monster.