Our Bloodthirsty Obsession with Vampires
Spike. Oh yeah, you remember him. The devilishly handsome and insanely bad-ass vampire, who became Buffy’s greatest enemy throughout the Vampire Slayer’s hit series. He was mean, cunning, dangerous … yet charming and downright sexy.
Spike was the first vampire many of us Gen Ys made a connection with back in the late ‘90s, when vampires stepped back into the spotlight after almost a century of being portrayed as the monstrous blood sucker with a black coat, who would lead you down a dark alley to drain your blood — in other words, Dracula.
Yep, the ‘90s set the stage for what is now a two-decade-long fascination with vampires, and we still can’t get enough of them —they are everywhere; in movies, TV series, and even some of the highest-grossing novels of our generation are based on stories of the undead.
In the past decade alone we have been touched by the Twilight Effect, we lusted over Kate Beckinsale in a full-piece leather suit as Selene in the Underworld series, and we fell head-over-heals for the immortal hunk Damon Salvatore, played by the sexy and smoldering Ian Somerhalder in the Vampire Diaries.
Vampires are undoubtedly our monster-of-choice when it comes to fantasy, but of course when they are portrayed as the charming, elegant, beautiful immortal that you fall in love with, get married and have their babies … uh hang on, that’s just one $70 million franchise. Then again, they don’t really have much underworld competition … there is nothing sexy about a zombie, that’s for sure.
When taking a look back in history, however, our fascination hasn’t always swayed towards the heart (no pun intended).
The concept originally arose in the 18th century, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in expansion mode and bodies were being recovered from the ground. The decomposing bodies they had excavated left them confused and startled about what was happening to the corpses, believing the bodies still had life — because back then they didn’t understand the process of decomposing.
There there was Slavic culture, who tended to use this idea of ‘vampirism” as a method of social control, where people were told to behave correctly, or they would become a vampire.
Then there was the release of the gothic horror novel Dracula in 1897, which was arguably the start of society’s obsession. After the book’s release, fascination with the blood-thirsty creatures came to an all-time high and it pretty much never wavered. However, vampires were certainly still feared and seemed to always be portrayed as the villain.
Nowadays, vampires pack sex-appeal, so much so people are actually having cosmetic surgery to look more, uh, vamp-like. There are stories in the news surrounding the “vampire-obsessed”, one woman in particular admitted to have been drinking live human blood from willing donors for the past 30 years. Then there’s the gruesome story of a teenager whose desire to become a vampire led him to cut out a woman’s heart and drink her blood. There is even a collection of Australians who drink their partner’s blood as an expression of love.
When looking at the psychology of vampires; their power, strength, incredible beauty and the fact that they never, ever die, it’s easy to see the appeal so many of us have. And whether you’re a fan or not, there is no denying society’s obsession with vampires. Here are more famous vampires: