Vampires: Here to Stay or Just a Pain In the Neck

HBO’s third season of True Blood (2008-) has just started, Laurell K. Hamilton has a new Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter book out, and with the newest installment of the Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga: Eclipse in theaters, the Fountaindale Public Library has seen an increase in interest in vampire books. Books by authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison are as scarce as a vampire on a bright, sunny day.

But before there was Edward and Bella, there was Sookie and Bill (and later Erik) Buffy and Angel (and later Spike), Barnabas Collins and Dr. Julia Hoffman, and even further back there was Mina and Dracula (to a certain degree).

Growing up, I loved classic horror books, TV shows, and movies. Remember Son of Svengoolie (1979-1986) on Saturday afternoons? Cheesy show, but great movies such as Vincent Price in The Fly and who could forget Abbot and Costello Meet … well… everything. I read the classic stories written by masters like Edgar Allen Poe (The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart are two of my favorites), and then moved on to John Saul and Stephen King. Good reading!

But unfortunately I fell victim to historical romances. You know the kind. Rakish pirate/Lord/Duke/Baron who protects/helps/saves/ravishes the governess/maid/sister-in-law/damsel in distress (fill in the blanks they are pretty much all the same) with Fabio or some other bare chested guy on the cover. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but I read those books like they were available for a limited time only. I think that I might still have them packed away in a box somewhere.

And then came Buffy the Vampire Slayer(1997-2003). Vampires were once again in the spotlight. A television show that spawned books, merchandise, CDs, posters, trading cards (move over pokemon), and whatever else the marketing department could think of. Girls dreamed of Angel, Xander, and Oz, boys dreamed of Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia). The show let everyone know that it was okay not to be in the “popular” group of kids. Angel was a vampire with a soul, Willow was a witch dating Oz who was a werewolf (and later Tara, a fellow witch), and Xander who, in later seasons, dates a vengeance demon.

I was hooked. I read every vampire book and watched every vampire movie and TV show I could find. And it seems that the craze is still going strong. Are Twilight and True blood just a flash in the pan (or a pain in the neck)? Stay tuned to part 2 where I will talk about vampire books and authors.


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