Take Back the Night

Black clouds scud across the moon, nearly full. The chill breeze has a little…bite to it. A tap-tapping on the window startles you out of your slumber. Perhaps it is only a tree branch, shaking in the wind. Or perhaps it is something else? Someone else? What are they saying, as they lurk outside?

“Let…me…in.”

Although pop culture seems to have something of an on-again, off-again relationship with vampires, I’m a steadfast fan. If there’s a vampire movie, I’ve probably seen it, and I’ve definitely made a dent in the books about them. Some authors *ahemStephenieMeyerahem* tried to make vampires into sexy, brooding vegetarians, but that trend can’t last forever. From the reported reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Renee Ahdieh’s new The Beautiful, to Jay Kristoff’s forthcoming Empire of the Vampire, I predict pop culture is swinging back toward our long-time fascination and obsession with the dark, immortal creatures of the night.

Halloween reminds us that while vampires might be fangtastic, and know how to have a bloody good time, they are ultimately denizens of the night who enjoy violence and murder. So let’s sink out teeth into some of my favorite creepy vampires…

That's what friends are for!
That’s what friends are for!

CarmillaCarmilla

Beautiful, languid, and mysterious, Carmilla insinuates herself into the lives of innocent young women, one at a time. Her mercurial moods and unsettling sexual advances distract her prey from her exotic tastes: the catlike monster that visits them in their nightmares and drinks of their blood is really her. Eventually, each girl wastes away and dies, leaving Carmilla free to find a new female companion. Best friends forever…or until you die.

Edward Cullen, Twilight

One of the most insidious vampires in literature, Edward lures Bella–his teenaged prey–with his brooding demeanor and ascetic lifestyle, then utilizes psychological tactics such as stalking, threat of violence, and abandonment to confuse her and alienate her from her species. Finally, Bella succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome and marries Edward, who is then able to complete his goal: impregnate his human wife with his unnatural half-vampire spawn.

Claudia, Interview with a Vampire

After being sired as a child by her adoptive fathers, Louis and Lestat, Claudia matures into a ruthless, murderous vampire with the face of a doll, who “appears to her victims as a little angel” before luring them to their bloody deaths. In cold blood, Claudia attempts to destroy Lestat by feeding him the poisoned blood of a young boy, and she manipulates Louis into doing various dastardly deeds, including siring an innocent woman so Claudia could have a “mother.” Sugar and spice and everything nice…

80’s vamps slay

Miriam Blaylock, The Hunger

Once every few hundred years Miriam, a vampire whose life began in ancient Egypt, assuages her loneliness by siring a human to be her half-vampire companion and lover. (This century, it’s David Bowie. Swoon.) Together they hunt, feed, and slaughter. But eventually these companions wither away into dusty, bloodless corpses, unable to die yet still conscious and aware. Unable to put her lovers out of their misery, Miriam instead encases the half-living corpses in coffins and keeps them with her for eternity. Talk about skeletons in the closet!

Kurt Barlow, Salem’s Lot

In Stephen King’s classic novel, Barlow is an ancient, master vampire who terrorizes the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot when he invades and quickly begins slaughtering and turning the citizenry. He causes some bad blood by performing human sacrifice before moving on to blood-letting, hostage-taking, murder of the elderly, and finally subversion of religious figures. This vampire really goes for the throat.

"I don't drink...vine."
“I don’t drink…vine.”

Count Dracula, Dracula

Ah yes, Dracula–a vampire who really sucks. After luring Jonathan Harker to his decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains and subjecting the young man to unnatural penetration by his three vampiric brides, Dracula infiltrates London and begins menacing the beautiful Lucy Westenra and her companion, Mina Murray. He feasts upon Lucy’s blood until she dies and resurrects as a violent vampire herself; then, with so much at stake, Mina falls under the Count’s thrall, betraying her fiance and friends for Dracula’s sake. With his potent combination of sexuality, violence, and aristocratic charm, Dracula rains a dark terror upon London, and imparts a lasting and toothsome legacy to Western Literature.

Do you have any favorite vamps? Take a bite out of our comment section, fang you!

4 thoughts on “Take Back the Night

  1. I’m with you on vampires. I really like Queen of the Damned (the movie; I did not like the book – one of the few occasions where this is true). Jessie and Lestat (rockstar and vamp, yum!) foreva! And Marius was pretty cool in there too. I LOVED Edward Cullen, but I’m over him now. I really like Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and lust after Ethan and Jonah equally. I just started the Hex Files series by Gina LaManna and there is a cool vamp in it too. (Loved the first book, the second was disappointing, but will attempt #3)

  2. Shauna Granger says:

    I think vampires might be my first love in fantasy. Even before witches. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t an Edward fan–I think we were all starved for some fresh anemic brooding when he came along. I agree with Kirstin’s Claudia being well done as well as Tom Cruise’s Louis. If you haven’t, check out Only Lovers Left Alive with Tilda Winton and Tom Hiddleston, it’s weird and wonderful, like most of what Tilda does. But my favorite depiction will probably always be Gary Oldman’s Dracula. Something about the Victorian aesthetics of that movie, his confidence laced with desperation, it all worked for me. Even Keanu Reeves’ terrible accent couldn’t ruin it for me.

  3. LivRancourt says:

    LOVE a good vampire story! My favorites seem to land somewhere between sexy and creepy. Like, I absolutely adore Jordan Castillo Price’s Wild Bill from her Channeling Morpheus series. He was an ’80s punk/artist type who went home with the wrong dude and ended up undead. I like the way the author plays with the mythology. Her vampires aren’t fabulously wealthy and powerful, they’re getting by on the edges of society, which makes for some gritty and raw (and sexy) fun.
    Another series with a similar take on vampires are the Joe Pitt books by Charlie Houston. It’s been a while since I read them, but the first books especially had a jangly, nervous energy that I liked, despite the lack of sexy. Joe was another child of the ’80s and he barely scrapes by. There’s a whole lot of vampire politics and Joe tries to preserve his independence from the various power structures while still getting the blood bank bags he needs.
    And finally, if you’ll pardon the self-promo, there’s my own tortured vampire-monk Thaddeus Dupont. His Catholic conscience is very much at odds with his undead lifestyle, which makes him a lot of fun to write!

Show Us Some Love!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s