Vampires are big business. From HBO’s True Blood to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books to the fifty million copy-selling straight-to-video Lost Boys sequel, the vampire bubble is nowhere near bursting. Give it another month, then sell.
I love vampire movies. What do I love about them? The chilling suspense? The sexy violence? The staggeringly unsubtle metaphors for homosexuality?
No, I love THE RULES. What are the rules of being a vampire? They’re never the same. Every new vampire reincarnation must plow through a massive checklist of undead tropes, and clarify which ones are stupid, and which ones are dead serious. What hurts a vampire – garlic, sunlight, crosses, holy water, silver, stake through the heart? What are a vampire’s powers – super speed, super strength, mirror immunity, bat-transformation, hypnosis, fangs, mist-turning-into? Do they have to sleep in coffins? What if you invite them into your house? Do they mind being used as staggeringly unsubtle metaphors for homosexuality?
Every vampire everything has this wonderful breakdown of the rules of their particular vampire-verse. And the highlight of this discussion is when someone says (and they always do):
YOU’VE SEEN TOO MANY VAMPIRE MOVIES.
People in vampire movies clearly see a lot of vampire movies. But, for some reason, they never remember the scenes in those movies where the characters are taken to task for having seen too many vampire movies, or surely they would be ashamed to say exactly the same phrase that’s in every vampire movie. Even True Blood commits this sin. When Anna Paquin is shocked to find that silver jewelry (that’s a new one) traps vampires and burns their skin, she says something akin to, “I’ve seen too many vampire movies!”
Anyway, here’s a scene from my vampire movie:
VAMPIRE-ILLITERATE MORON: I got a bunch of garlic to stop the vampires!
WORLD-WEARY VAMPIRE EXPERT: (INCREDULOUS LAUGH) Garlic? You think garlic stops vampires? You’ve seen too many vampire movies!
VIM: Oh… I guess I have seen too many vampire movies.
WWVE: Good thing I got this holy water!
VIM: Isn’t that in vampire movies too?
WWVE: Yeah, but that’s the part the vampire movies got right.
VIM: So, really, what you meant to say, is, “You’ve seen the particular vampire movies whose meaningless set of rules don’t happen to perfectly overlap with our current situation.”
WWVE: Yeah… I guess I was– (GETTING EATEN BY VAMPIRE NOISES)
Several vampires burst in and drink their blood.
VAMPIRE #1: Hey, holy water! I love this stuff.
VAMPIRE #2: Doesn’t that kill us?
VAMPIRE #1: You’ve seen too many vampire movies!