“The vampire is the new James Dean,” said Julie Plec, the writer and executive producer of “The Vampire Diaries,” a forthcoming series on the CW network based on the popular L. J. Smith novels about high school femmes and hommes fatales. “There is something so still and sexy about these young erotic predators,” she said.
This generation of undead prowls high school hallways and dimly lighted dance clubs as menacing — and as seductive — as they have ever been. The June premiere of the second season of “True Blood,” in which Sookie, played by Anna Paquin, is reunited with her imperious fanged suitor, drew 3.4 million viewers, making it HBO’s most-watched program since the “Sopranos” finale in 2007.
Charlaine Harris has just published “Dead and Gone,” the ninth novel in her Sookie Stackhouse series, variations on Southern Gothic fiction on which “True Blood” is based. The publishing world has been intrigued by “The Strain,” a first installment in a planned trilogy written by the film director Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, about bloodthirsty predators run amok in Manhattan.
The style world, too, has come under the vampire’s spell, in the shape of the gorgeous leather- and lace-clad night crawlers who have crept into the pages of fashion glossies.
Vampires, of course, are part of a hoary tradition that harks back to Nosferatu and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” at least. Anne Rice updated the genre, introducing the ghoulishly aristocratic vampire Lestat. But the undead are returning with a vengeance, in part because they “personify real-world anxieties,” said Michael Dylan Foster, an assistant professor in the department of folklore at Indiana University in Bloomington.
“Especially during these post-9/11 times of increased vigilance, representations like the ‘Twilight’ series reflect a kind of conspiracy-theory mentality, a fear that there is something secret and dangerous going on in our own community, right under our noses.”
Given all that baggage, what keeps vampires so alluring?
One might point to their combination of deathless good looks and decadent sexuality. Their faces, as described in “Twilight,” “were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. They were faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine.”
9/11 was a tragedy, but I personally don't think that's why I love Twilight.... Thoughts?