They are different now

Posted by Markus Oppolzer on February 10, 2012 in Guest Blog, Markus Oppolzer tagged with

If there is one thing I’ve learned from reading term papers and going to conferences these past two years, then it is this: they are different now. I am talking about vampires and zombies, of course. You may not be aware of it, but the former do not drink human blood any more, though they still crave for it, but, more importantly, they are super-sexy, whereas the latter can run nowadays and show traces of human emotions. Twilight was not the first vampire narrative, I’ve been told, because there was also Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the olden days. Some even trace the myth back to its very origin: Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922). The more allegorically inclined would even go so far as to claim that we are the living/walking dead.

And then there are the serious vampirologists, who know that it all started with Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). They are concerned about the triviality of these modern, mass-market vampire fairy tales for teenage girls. In the gospel according to Bram, however, we find an ideologically minded Marxist transgender Count, a true revolutionary, who sets out to free the poor Victorians from the bondage of social conventions through his ostentatious sexuality. Edward Cullen is just a pale copy of the great Count, a beautiful surface onto which these deluded children project their own fantasies.

If you happen to come across some high-brow Gothicists, they are generally suspicious of all vampires and zombies. Now that we have established Gothic Studies as a serious discipline, they fear that these fanboys are about to drag us back to square one. Twilight is just the beginning: next they are going to tell us that the truly original Gothic tales of the twenty-first century are to be found in comics and computer games. Why can’t they read serious literature, like Matthew Lewis’ The Monk or the Marquis de Sade?

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