|Pretty sure this guy doesn't glitter...|
Yes, you've guessed, I'm talking about twilight, and its glittery, namby pamby, silly excuses for vampires.
I'm not going to get into a big rant about twilight here, as I see it as more of a romance story, which incidentally has vampires and werewolves in it.
What I AM going to rant about, is how we had the image of something which was... animal, visceral, terrible, but wondrous, beautiful, and enchanting; and that image has been taken, and somehow moulded into some whimpering, emotional eternally-teen, who could be mistaken for any other whimpering, emotional teenager, except he drinks blood occasionally.
For the last century and a half or so, there has been a very real fascination with the vampire myth, particularly the version of it put forth by a Mr. Stoker. It's pretty hard to say where this fascination comes from, however. According to who you ask (or where you do your research), the vampire myth evolved (somehow) from the ever-present myths of dozens of cultures, involving unquiet spirits, devils who inhabited improperly buried corpses, graveyard ghouls, bodysnatchers, and sometimes, actual real cannibals. For example, in Greek culture, there is the vrykolakas; in Germany, the Nachtzehrer; the Russian Upyr, the Slovenian kudlak..and in other parts of the world, there are the Chiang-shi of China, and the African Obayifo, to name a few.
Most of these share themes familiar with the 'traditional' vampire that we're all familiar with: undeath, the drinking of blood(or at least, preying on the living to drain some sort of life essence), and some rather exotic ways of killing them.
Some say the first instance of a 'homogenising' of the various 'undead revenant' myths was actually instigated by the Catholic church, in an attempt to provide a tangible threat to scare people into the churches, praying for salvation (and filling the coffers via the collection plate, of course..) Some say it was an inevitable 'evolution', happening as it did during a time of literary renaissance, where more traditional and familiar myths were taken and refined.
Why does the vampire hold such a sway, though? It's a compelling archetype certainly, but this doesn't really explain how popular the vampire myth actually is. Perhaps, in some way, the vampire reminds us of a much earlier archetype?