Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Never Drink...Wine

So...what does a horror and dark fantasy writer do on a blog during the month of October? Hmmm... This month Halloween starts NOW and runs all month long. I'm not promising a daily posting, but I'll do my best. So feel free to visit daily for your Halloween fix. And to start off we'll go....well, where else but Transylvania?

Dracula, that dark metaphor for repressed sexuality, is alive (or undead) and well, staying to the shadowy side of cyberspace. Serious fans of Stoker's count might want to take a day trip to Dracula's Homepage, where you are welcome to enter freely and of your own will. This site, kept by Elizabeth Miller, is a great starting point for the curious or for the serious fan of gothic literature. Whether you want to read about Vlad, the real-life count who supposedly inspired Stoker, or peruse the entire novel, Miller's portal is well and lovingly organized. Dr. Miller, according to her bio, has participated in several documentaries on Dracula and has been interviewed by BBC, ABC ("20/20"), U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, and numerous other media outlets. She has published several articles and books on Dracula, including A Dracula Handbook and Bram Stoker's Dracula: A Documentary Journey into Vampire Country and the Dracula Phenomenon.

What is astonishing is why the vampire, in an age where sexual exploration isn't quite as repressed, has managed to dominate fantasy literature. In the Victorian era, the vampire was, according to a fascinating little article by Stephen Dixon in the Irish Times, a parable for syphilis. Dixon goes on to credit concern over the AIDS virus for the re-emergence of the vampire through the 1980-90's. But what about the pervasive presence of the vampire in our current popular culture? Should we again look toward disease for an answer? Or is it possible that in an age where intimacy seems a difficult state to achieve and where people verbalize feeling a loss of control over their destiny that the vampire is a metaphor for both the elusive relationship and the ability to claim power by taking the darkness and turning it back on the oppressor? I don't suppose there is any one answer, and any discussion regarding the current popularity of the vampire will bring about numerous debates. That's why they created beer, after all, to make such discussion easier to handle.

By the way, for those folk who might be attending my Last Man Standing Trivia Contest at the upcoming Conclave, I promise you a few Dracula questions. Here's one question to mull over, although it probably won't be asked at the convention: "Name ten actors who have played the famous vampire in a theatrically released motion picture....if you consider yourself a real horror fan, try and do this without googling the answer.


Steve Buchheit said...

Well, consider how our view of the wampyre has changed in modern contexts. Instead of being the embodiment of dread desire, they're hip, sexy, and don't stink of the rot of death. I believe the reason for that is our acceptance of sexual liberation. The raging id is no longer the beast to be restrained and cast out through religious doctrine and purity. Instead it's the pool we swim through, drying off with our egos at the end of the day. This is also why they're no longer afraid of religious symbolitry.

And hell, everybody forgets that the wooden stake is made of particular woods and only holds the wampyre in status so you can cut off the head and stuff it with garlic. Hmmmm, garlic.

And I admit, I only got to four. Although, it could be 5 if you count Count Bloodcount from the WB cartoons.

Christina said...

I'll have to check out the site. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, I love your banner.

writtenwyrdd said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Stewart. I have now found yours and added it to my Google Reader list. There's a lot of cool stuff here!

Stewart Sternberg said...

You raise a great point. The sexy hip vampire is about wish fulfillment isn't it? The creature of horror has become a token of idol worship.
Thanks ...about the banner. And yeah, I've been surfing the net collecting web addresses and information for some interesting Halloween posts. Stay tuned.
Thanks for the compliment...I lapsed a bit as a blogger, but I am back now and promising to stay strong through Halloween.