I would like to welcome fellow author, Nicholas Paschall, on to the blog today. Nicholas is going to take us on a journey and explore the history of the Vampire through popular fiction.
Vampires. The very word conjures up images of red-eyed, pale skinned angelic figures that feast on human blood, strangely erotic yet mind-numbingly dangerous at the same time. From the innocent looking child vampire to the androgynous ancient, they range in all shapes, colors and sizes. In books and cinema, we have three categories of vampires we can look at and analyze: the beautiful, the hideous, and the weird.
The beautiful can be seen in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga. Both highlight vampires as both dangerous and attractive creatures, with pale skin and taut muscles that provide preternatural strength. This is a step away from the original vampire story by Bram Stoker but it is a creative move. Meyer’s vampire’s aren’t even harmed by sunlight, though they do adopt a hostile stance against werewolves as it seems to be a classic route when the two inhuman species meet. Other instance of beautiful vampires with werewolf aggression are seen in the box office thriller Underworld series, and to a lesser extent Van Helsing and the dry comedy Dark Shadows, which was based off of a television soap opera of a supernatural family not unlike the Munster’s, though far more dangerous.
Twilight (5/11) Movie CLIP - I Know What You Are (2008) HD
The second category is the hideous vampires, vampires that shed their mortal skin to take on their true appearance, that of a monster. These vampires represent a more defined fear of the unknown that humans face every day. Unlike a shuffling zombie or a serial killer, the hideous vampire is almost unkillable. You’ve seen them in film: in Underworld: Evolution you have one of the ancient vampires infused with werewolf blood, creating a monster that is nigh indestructible. Bullets, silver swords, and holy relics do little to this creature. They finally manage to slay it through a combination of luck and skill from a vampire/werewolf hybrid. In Nosferatu they went to great lengths to pull the vampire’s appearance away from that of a human, making the monster possess spindly fingers ending in wicked hooks, bulging eyes with a misshapen bald head and elongated ears. He crept silently around his lair and your home, and killed those he drank from. The difference between the beautiful and the hideous is that the beautiful doesn’t necessarily kill the person they feed upon. The hideous always kills their victim, making them more monstrous than ever as they take life away from the natural to fuel the unnatural.
Now the weird is a category that only applies to vampires that straddle the line between the first two categories. In Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire book series, we have a community of vampires living openly with the town residents while hiding from college students who attend the local university. They have blood vans that come by and take blood “donations” from residents to feed the vampires, while some vampires prefer to hunt their prey. Some have gone mad over their centuries of life while others have grown detached from their human side. The older they get the more radical they shift in an emotional direction. The father of the vampires, Bishop, comes to town and tries to usurp control from his daughter Amelia while using the humans of town as bait. He wants a book that details how to create a new vampire, as it is a lost art and their numbers are dwindling due to a rare disease that slowly drives them into an animal-like state, more beast than anything else that seeks warm blood.
In this series we have vampires like Myrnin who is a mad alchemist, among other things. He synthesizes drugs to stave off the madness in the vampires and often comes close to killing his semi-willing apprentice Claire Danvers. Myrnin is erratic and strange, with humor that none get unless you are amused by mad antics of something that could easily snap you in half. He dresses as a Pierrot for a Halloween ball while forcing Claire to dress as the Harlequin, because he believes the sad clown Pierrot is actually the funny and dangerous one. This amuses Bishop, who is instantly reminded why he doesn’t like Myrnin who insults him, then attacks him with a dagger while cackling madly, proving he is just as strong as the elder vampire before fleeing. Then you have vampires that have detached from humanity entirely, like Mr. Pennywell. Described as an “androgynous dummy”. Mr. Pennywell is an amoral vampire that will follow the laws of the town so long as they please him. He corners people and often attempts to kill them, as he remembers the days where vampires lurked in the dark and fed well.
Then we have Amelia, the governess if the town. She offers protection to the humans with magical homes to prevent vampire intrusion, holds up laws and keeps the vampire population in check. She’s a preternatural beauty that is weak from the sands of time wearing her down. She creates the first new vampire in decades as she gets a hold of the book, creating controversy amidst the community.
Then you have movies where the weird vampires come out to play. In foreign films you have Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl, a horror/comedy where a vampire tricks a boy into eating her blood, making him into a vampire. The girl that likes him dies through a tragic accident, but her mad scientist father reassembles her with the parts from various club members, making her a bizarre construct of considerable might. The reason this falls into weird is some of her powers lie in her cloak, which allow her flight, as well as her ability to walk about in daylight. She breaks norms and converts new vampires through unique methods. In the end she triumphs using swords made of blood, and fights a trio of monster school girls by pulling their skulls from their heads and throwing them in a pile.
The weird vampire is perhaps the most human of us all, as they have human emptions (sometimes to a dangerous extent) and a conscience that makes them ponder their actions. Some are good, some are bad; they’re humans with special powers. Judging them is a case by case basis, unlike the beautiful or hideous, who are much more one-dimensional than the weird.
Now if you think that my evaluation of vampires isn’t encompassing enough, that’s fine. There has almost been a century of vampire lore that has been created thanks to Bram Stoker and Nosferatu, so I’ve no doubt missed something. But think on the subjects next time you see a vampire movie or read a novel.
Nicholas Paschall is a horror fiction writer. Let's take a look at his latest book.
David is in college and just keeps screwing up. After his latest mistake of throwing a huge party while his parents were out of town, his mother decides to leave him stranded at his Grandmother's house in Alice Grove. What starts out as a horrible idea blossoms into a nightmare as ghosts, Witches, and curses come alive in the sleepy town. How will David handle it all?
Where can I purchase this fabulous book?
About the author.
I'm just a humble ghost in the machine, a lurking specter in the darker reaches of the internet. I publish the dreams best left unsaid because I believe they should be heard. I graduated from the Univerity of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in History, which basically means I'm a researcher. My desktop is littered with projects that I hop to and fro like a mad cricket, working here and tinkering there. I have a website that I update five times a week at minimum. Hope to see you there!