The pale vampire hides in the darkness waiting to suck the blood from an innocent, helpless woman. This is a scene many may imagine when thinking of vampires. But why is that so? Due to vampire culture society is led to perceive vampires in a certain manner, from shows to movies. Vampires in this era automatically cause many to revert back to the romantic- cliché filled movie Twilight or the famous blood-sucking Count Dracula. Twilight entails the sparkly, misunderstood and mysterious beautiful teenage vampire who has a love-affair with a human, giving society a new perception on them. Meanwhile, Count Dracula is the classic example of a frightening monstrosity with the bushy eyebrows, pale skin, and widow’s peak. Vampires have evolved through media as the beloved monster we know today. Additionally, vampires have many features that consider them to be monstrous as described by the Monster Theory.

Vampire Diaries, being a prime example, is no different as the dramatic, engaging television series (2009-2017) aimed at young adults, successfully takes a play on the tired vampire and mortal love story. The supernatural fiction show is deeply influenced by the archetype of mysterious teenage vampires toward whom everyone lusts. Vampire Diaries satisfyingly differs from other typical blood-suckers who kill all.  Rather these immortal vampire brothers, Stephen and Damien, are both young and good-looking in the small, dangerous town of Mystic Falls, where many other supernatural creatures reside.  The two both end up falling in love with Elena, the mortal main character, influenced by the plot in earlier vampire movies, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Furthermore, the modern take on vampires is refreshing and works well, as they are very similar to the teenage characters. The newfound characteristics of these modern-day blood-suckers come to include mind control, quickness, heightened emotions, super strength, and the ability to walk in daylight with the help of a daylight ring. So, what makes these two so frighteningly entertaining to watch? Other than their convenient ability to unpredictably kill anyone if they desire is fact that these vampires are able to turn off their humanity, their ability to feel emotion, like a switch. As, the deadly Katherine Pierce, states, “Humanity is a vampire’s greatest weakness,” implying that vampires should essentially lack characteristics that makes one human, such as compassion. Consequently, vampires have a monstrous-quality, as the monster theory thesis four, “the monster dwells at the gates of difference”, argues that the monster is “different made flesh” (Cohen). The vampires lack of humanity (compassion and sympathy) makes them so monstrous and frightening to the viewers. As a result, Stephen and Damon’s actions tend to be unpredictable and they turn into detached creatures with the main goal to kill. In particular, Stephen goes on a killing spree viciously murdering an innocent town while fleeing town from his girlfriend. This incident in which Stephen loses his humanity, causes the viewers anxiety- ridden intrigue as Stephen almost kills those he loves. Not to mention, these vampires are able to mind control, influenced by earlier work. Likewise, the difficulty of killing these vampires makes them so dangerous, as a wooden stake is required through their heart, or their heart has to be ripped out. According to Cohen’s theory thesis two, the “monster always escape”, “no monster tastes of death just once”, for instance Damon and Stephen face death many times but always find a solution to survival (Cohen). But most importantly, Stephen and Damon are foils of each other. Stephen resembles an ethical, sympathetic vampire who refrains from drinking blood, an oxymoron altogether. Damon an apathetic, unpredictable vampire willing to kill any soul. Stephen’s character works well in the show as he plays the “good guy” and is a new perception on vampires.  They both are the epitome of the “beautiful” and “charismatic” vampire which could have been influenced from the young adult film “Twilight” and maybe from even earlier work such as in, “Vampire Chronicles”.

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Vampire Diaries is an example of a “Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body” because it represents culture at the time which yearned for young adult romance shows. This demonstrates Cohen’s “Fear of the Monster is Really a Kind of Desire” because it argues that the monster “attracts” and that the “linking of monstrosity with the forbidden makes the monster all more appealing as a temporary egress from constraint”. So essentially, the fact that monster is forbidden causes the monster to be more desirable as people lust for danger. In particular, Vampire Diaries portrays as Elena is in love with Damien beside the fact of his cold-hearted nature, in which he could kill her at any moment. In fact, it may be the reason Elena desires Damien because he is dangerous and she is attracted to this danger and his unpredictable nature.

Vampires also come to represent a “Monster’s Body is a Cultural Body”- “the monster is born as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment-of a time, a feeling and a place. The monstrous body is pure culture” (Cohen). The theory basically asserts that a monster is created because of what is occurring socially during the time period and represents that of which society fears. Additionally, monsters evolve according to the time period because society has different worries. Evidence is demonstrated in the evolution of vampires in media and even in the creation of the mythical creature, the vampire, altogether. The vampire began in the middle ages as a result of local superstition in Europe, which believed that the dead came back to life and harmed the living. This was mainly due to a misconception on how bodies decomposed as locals perceived the shriveling of the body and the dark fluid on the corpse as a monstrous being, known as vampirism. After the post-vampire scare, these creatures eventually evolved into the fictional characters seen in media today (Little). The creation of a vampire was then exhibited in media, the most influential during the time was Dracula, this set the standard for the vampire, one who lost power in the sunlight and repelled crucifixes and it remains the most dominant today (Harris). The features of Dracula include the widow’s peak and bushy eyebrows and created fear in society with the bloodsucking creature. Characteristics of vampires differ in media for instance, holy water and sunlight can repel some vampires but not others, and some vampires are said to be able to turn into bats while others cannot (Radford). Additionally, main characteristics to vampires include consuming blood and having fangs, coming back from the dead, and being of pale skin tone. Many ways in which one could become a vampire is by being bitten by one, or committing sorcery, suicide, contagion, or having a cat jump over a person’s corpse. The ways in which to kill a vampire include a wooden stake through the heart, fire, decapitation, and being exposed to sunlight (Eldridge).

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Vampires have evolved throughout media as a result of the social issues during the time period. The retelling of vampires in media contributes to the overall genre of vampires, but the dominant stereotype of vampires remains to be Count Dracula with the frightening features, such as the bushy eyebrows and the widow’s peak. Then, the movie “the Horror of Dracula” created the idea of a charismatic and irresistible, yet frightening vampire. Once again, the vampire evolved due to “the Vampire Chronicles” to a more beautiful and talented one. Meanwhile movies, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” created the idea of falling in love with the vampire, “Twilight” and “Vampire Diaries” perpetuated this idea. As demonstrated, vampires have evolved from these deadly, feared blood-sucking creatures to a charismatic, sexual creature and then to a desired beautiful, creature. Moreover, they were perceived as monsters but eventually evolved to be perceived similar to a normal human. The monster represents that in which society feared at a certain time. For instance, vampires were presented as sexual creatures in some media because intimate acts at the time were looked down upon.

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In the final analysis, Vampires have come a long way from being a superstition by locals in Europe to being teenage fan fiction in the modern era. Vampire Diaries is a prime example of this modern-day fiction that embodies culture at the certain moment pertaining to young adult fiction. It is influenced by many other archetypes seen in earlier forms of media, which come to include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Count Dracula, Vampire Chronicles, and Twilight. The show portrays the evolution from a monster to someone desirable such as Stephen who is compassionate, good-looking, and has not aged a day. Moreover, there are many aspects of which make the vampire a frightening monstrosity, as argued by the Monster theory.

 

Annotated Bib

Little, Becky. “The Bloody Truth About Vampires.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 27 Oct. 2016, news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/vampires-europe-new-england-halloween-history/.

The article argues that vampires were created as a result of local superstition in Europe which it was believed that the dead came back to life and harmed the living. This was mainly due to a misconception on how bodies  decomposed as locals perceived the shriveling of the body and the dark fluid on the corpse as a monstrous being, known as vampirism. After the post-vampire scare, these creatures eventually evolved into the fictional characters seen in media today. I will be using this article in my report to portray how vampires began. The source is very reliable because it is national geographic.

“Vampire History .” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/topics/folklore/vampire-history.

The article argues that vampires originated from greek mythology in a story of Ambrogio and Selena. Furthermore, superstition of vampire existed during the middle ages when diseases such as porphyria could be relieved by drinking blood. I will be using this article to describe the background on vampires in greek mythology. The source is very reliable because it is a history organization.

Radford, Benjamin. “Vampires: Fact, Fiction and Folklore.” LiveScience, Purch, 22 Oct. 2014, www.livescience.com/24374-vampires-real-history.html.

The article argues that characteristics of vampires differ in media. For instance, holy water and sunlight can repel some vampires but not others and some vampires are said to be able to turn into bats while others can not. In the middle ages vampires were to blame for random occurences of bad luck. I will be using this article to highlight the different characteristics of vampires in the media.  The source is very reliable because it is a science organization.

Eldridge, Alison. “Vampire.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 13 Apr. 2016, http://www.britannica.com/topic/vampire.

The article argues that the main characteristics to vampires include consuming blood and having fangs, coming back from the dead, and being of pale skin tone. Many ways in which one could become a vampire is by being bitten by one, or commting sorcery, suicide, contagion, or having a cat jump over a person’s corpse. The ways in which to kill a vampire include a wooden stake through the heart, fire, decapitation, and being exposed to sunlight. I will be using this article to portray the similar characteristics of vampires in the media. The article is trustworthy because it provides trustworthy information as stated in the bio.

Harris, Tom. “How Vampires Work.” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018, science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/strange-creatures/vampire.htm.

The article argues that while there were many stories about vampires, Count Dracula, was the most influential during the time. This set the standard for the vampire, one who lost power in the sunlight and was repelled by crucifixes. I will be using this article to describe the first most influential story on vampires during the time. The article is trustworthy because it has “unbiased, reliable” answers as stated in the bio.