There was a time when vampires personified evil. They were creatures of the night who stalked their victims under the cover of darkness and had a marked preference for the blood of innocent virgins. A cross or a string of garlic bulbs protected you and the only way to put an end to them was with a stake through the heart.
Vampires belonging to the Bela Lugosi school of acting were suave, debonair and well mannered, unless a virgin bared her neck. They always ended up with a stake through their hearts.
Apparently, the Vampire trade association must have inked a contract with the PR firm of Hills and Knowlton, because all of a sudden they have been welcomed into polite society. Now they live next door, date our daughters and have traded the white tie and tails for jeans and T-shirts.
Vampires have always been a metaphor for something. In the Victorian age, they were a metaphor for repressed sexuality. In the twenty-first century, they have become a metaphor for either investment bankers or imperialism (a metaphore so patently obvious it gorans), which makes one wonder about their new respectability.
Could this be Hollywood’s attempt to make greed, slaughter and exploitation respectable? Dick Cheney certainly legitimized the Dark Side, so it should come as no surprise that his children of the dark should step out of the shadows and move into the nearest burb.
The vampire as matinee idol hints at a normalization of evil. That which once appalled now entertains. Because we feel helpless in the face of evil, we embrace it and invite it over for dinner. Instead of screaming when the vampire begins sucking our blood, we orgasm.
Hopefully, this will turn out to be a brief affair, and the day will come when the mob realizes it has been had, grabs stakes and torches and goes after the creature that so successfully seduced and abused it.