The vampire is an ancient creature, a classic bloodthirsty demon that preys upon the living. It has been around for centuries. the origins traced back to a Romanian Prince known as Vlad the Impaler. Popularized first in a novel by Bram Stoker and later brought to life on the silver screen by Hollywood legends, the vampire would terrify us for decades.
The movie based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel was matched only by a German film about a very different, far more monstrous vampire. Nosferatu was more bat-like in appearance, relying little on Dracula’s power of seduction and being less selective of his victims.
In the mid-sixties, looking to add something different to the soap opera genre, Dark Shadows was broadcast to the American television audience. It was a gothic tale full of ghosts and family secrets set in the fictional town of Collinsport, Maine. The central characters resided at Collinwood Manor but would venture into town from time to time. A vampire named Barnabas Collins was at the center of most of the mischief although later, his werewolf cursed cousin Quentin would arrive in town.
Forever Knight was an international television production set in Toronto about an 800 year old vampire working as a police detective. It showed that vampires could have a great deal of morality and ethics. Nick always acted in sharp contrast to both human and nonhuman villains. He began to develop feelings for the female coroner who had already fallen for him even though she knew what he was. Although author Anne Rice first introduced her vampires in the mid 1970’s, they didn’t become mainstream until the release of the movie
“Interview With A Vampire” in 1994.
Kindred:The Embraced, based on a role-playing game, was a short-lived series that appeared in 1996. Vampires were more mainstream with their own set of rules. They were participants in modern culture.
Josh Whedon launched Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television in 1997 as a sequel to the 1992 movie of the same name. This led to a spinoff featuring a vampire cursed with a soul. Angel would establish his own private detective agency to fight off nasties in Los Angeles. This concept would later be repeated in 2007 with a show called Moonlight.
The latest batch comes with drastic deviations from the classic vampires. They glimmer in the sunlight instead of bursting into flames. They drink artificial blood instead of draining humans dry. They fall in love instead of just giving in to lust. The vampire has become moral and compassionate, a likeable sort that you would want to hang out with at the local bar.
Give me the classic vampire any day (or night), I like having the crap scared out of me.