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Provocative PNR!!! - The Psychology of Vampirism

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message 1: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (last edited Oct 27, 2014 05:27AM) (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Greetings Lovers of Paranormal!

What is it about vampires which makes a good little girl all weak at the knees at the very thought of being bitten? Is it their animal magnetism? A desire to save them from their own dark side? A desire to be a bad boy/girl ourselves? Or is it the erotic power of the vampire to compel us to serve them? The intimacy of having your neck suckled upon and bitten, a metaphor for perhaps racier things? Is it the need to be dominated, to have a bad boy compel us to show our dark sides, and then be able to claim 'it wasn't me!'

Here is a great article that was recommended by none other than the Grande Dame of vampire horror herself, Anne Rice:

http://www.vampirebibliographica.com/...

So tell us, Lovers of Paranormal. After reading the article, what is it about vampires that makes you all weak in the knees? Confession time... Who was the first vampire to bite you and suck you into the sub-genre?


message 2: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (last edited Oct 27, 2014 05:39AM) (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
And ... I'll start the game...

Confession time:

I grew up with 'classical' portrayals of vampirism, Bram Stroker's Dracula. But the first vampire to really bite me was Angel, the vampire with a soul in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched him through 7 seasons of Buffy, 5 seasons of Angel, and mourned his television 'death' when they killed off the series. I own all 7 + 5 seasons on DVD, and I never fell in love with another vampire until...

Moonlight. Yes, this short-lived series one-upped Angel for me with Mick St. John, a vampire who was unwittingly bitten on his wedding night by his eternal bride (who he had no idea was a vampiress) and later lost her. Mick's sensitive, angsty vampire and almost real-world portrayal of vampires living amongst us was far more real and compelling to watch than every other show out there and, in my opinion, has not yet been topped.

And then my favorite book vampires. Most regular book vampires bore me, but I must confess that the dark hunter and Atlantean god Acheron who must drink his mate's blood to survive has always intrigued me. Talk about fighting to keep control of your dark side! Death god + blood sucker! Ooh!

And then there's Dimitri from Vampire Academy. Here is a vampire who has turned totally to his dark side, and yet one woman refuses to let him go and believes she can reach him and find the good man that once existed. Taming the ultimate bad boy who has no soul left whatsoever ... ooh! Sexy :-)

Okay ... it's trick or treat time. Who is your favorite vampire, and why do you find them intriguing?


message 3: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ambrose (Ambrose2014) | 50 comments It seems likely that men and women relate differently to the vampire archetype. I think you and Anne Rice probably have it right - much as Fifty Shades of Grey did - that many women find the idea of being dominated (surrendering to) a powerful man deeply moving (in this case, a super-powerful man!).

For me (a man), that isn't part of the vampiric appeal. Perhaps it's identification - liking the idea of a woman submitting to me in that way or seeing me as being powerful - and perhaps it's just my guy-thing of enjoying stories about strong people. I admit to being a "strong person" junkie; I rarely write anything that doesn't require a physically strong man or woman in it. (Probably why I've worked for decades on increasing my own physical strength>;)

There's also the appeal of anti-authoritarianism: vamps are generally independent, and too strong to bow to human government (though they generally have to tow the line of their leaders). Vamps act outside normal morality, which is also appealing in a strange way to many people (while they personally wouldn't condone that!). And immortality - godlike power - is a powerful, archetypal idea. Think of the perspective you'd have after living hundreds of years! Strange how so many very old vampires act like sixteen year olds. But that's the weakness of the writers who portray them that way; it's really beyond most of us to imagine how we'd see things after centuries of life, and frankly, vampires behaving as they likely would in reality probably wouldn't sell a lot of books (teenage angst being a necessity for big sales and all).


message 4: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Lawrence wrote: "I admit to being a "strong person" junkie..."

Yeah ... I've always been more into superheroes than vampires, but one of the things I liked about Mick in Moonlighting was his superhuman ... but not TOO superhuman ... strength. Ditto with Ann Rice's portrayal in Interview With The Vampire ... the vampires were super-strong, but they also could be killed.


message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Nock | 10 comments The first Vampire to get me going was Gary Oldman in Dracula, God, when he's walking down the street and he sees Mina on the other side of the road and he commands her to "See me now", OMG Gary, that worked for me!
I also like Mick St. John in Moonlighting - that smile!
I love Twilight, I love the fantasy of it, but in real-life I think Edward would just do my head in, he's far too over-protective for my liking. Having said that, I loved the way that book made me feel as I was reading it, like the first time I fell in love.


message 6: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "I loved the way that book made me feel as I was reading it, like the first time I fell in love..."

I also am active in another genre community and, no matter how many times the 'brilliant' writers bash Twilight and all the other 'angst' type books, I have to point out to them exactly what you said, that the other genres fail to nurture that aspect of the feminine psychology, that feeling of first love for a 'protective' man.


message 7: by Angela (last edited Nov 03, 2014 11:07AM) (new)

Angela Nock | 10 comments Anna wrote: "Nikki wrote: "I loved the way that book made me feel as I was reading it, like the first time I fell in love..."

I also am active in another genre community and, no matter how many times the 'bril..."


Twilight is great fantasy in that respect, and I get fed up when Twilight is constantly getting bashed. It might not be everyone's thing but I can't remember another book I've read over the last few years that made me feel like a 17 year old again. Would I go back to 17? God, no, but sometimes it's good to get lost in that feeling, in the fantasy of first love. Now I'm older someone like Edward would drive me crazy, but in that fantasy world, where I'm just starting out again, well, yep, Twilight hits the spot!


message 8: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "Now I'm older someone like Edward would drive me crazy, but in that fantasy world, where I'm just starting out again, well, yep, Twilight hits the spot!..."

And THAT is why most science fiction and speculative fiction has dwindled into obscurity, while Fantasy is a healthy, vibrant genre. Twilight-type 'boyfriend stories' of an all-powerful, protective male are most women's 'gateway drug' into a genre. Can it be done better, to introduce better 'dream boyfriends' who also allow the young woman to remain an equal, strong partner? Oh, yes. But bashing something doesn't make that facet of human nature go away, that it's nice to dream of a powerful, mysterious male who will reform his dangerous tendencies and keep his dark side under control just for us, yes, a special snowflake.

That's why 50-Shades-of-Grey is so popular, it essentially tapped into that 'dangerous vampire' boyfriend vibe and picked the next available 'real world' archetype, billionaire Christian Grey.


message 9: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ambrose (Ambrose2014) | 50 comments At some point I began to suspect that Christian was in fact a vampire, Anna. ;)


message 10: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Lawrence wrote: "At some point I began to suspect that Christian was in fact a vampire, Anna. ;)"

Well he did start out as one in the first draft of the story, which was Edward/Bella fan-fiction. E.L. James changed the names and made it non-vampire fiction, but it did start out as vampire bad-boys. :-)


message 11: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ambrose (Ambrose2014) | 50 comments Huh. I didn't know that! And to think I was just making a joke!

Hmmm...maybe that explains something about Fifty's popularity?...


message 12: by Angela (new)

Angela Nock | 10 comments Anna wrote: "Nikki wrote: "Now I'm older someone like Edward would drive me crazy, but in that fantasy world, where I'm just starting out again, well, yep, Twilight hits the spot!..."

And THAT is why most scie..."


I'm experimenting with that exact same thing in my writing. I want to see if having a stronger, more equal, female lead will work and still make the reader feel all those things. We will see if I can make it work....


message 13: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Lawrence wrote: "Huh. I didn't know that! And to think I was just making a joke! Hmmm...maybe that explains something about Fifty's popularity?..."

Some publishing company executive noticed E.L. James' Twilight erotic fanfiction was getting something like 50,000 hits a day, so they made her an offer. She pulled it down, rewrote it so she wouldn't get sued for plagiarizing Twilight, and then announced it to her 50,000 Fanfiction.net fans it was now a book and it blew every algorithm the booksellers had. She'd been writing the erotica for a couple of years before somebody noticed, so it's not like her book came out of nowhere. Everybody -since- then has been trying to replicate her success, but it was really a case of an author talking directly to their readers (who egged her on) and giving them exactly what they asked for. Once you get 'seen' then you tend to keep being seen, but the first 50,000 fans were all HER hard work tapping into the Sexy Vampire trope fans.


message 14: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Nikki wrote: "I'm experimenting with that exact same thing in my writing. I want to see if having a stronger, more equal, female lead will work and still make the reader feel all those things. We will see if I can make it work......."

I belong to a writing cooperative that includes some really awesome best-selling pure romance writers. The problem with Urban Fantasy (and ultra-feminist) tropes is that, at the end of the day, most women really don't -want- to have to do everything themselves. 'Equality' has left many women not only holding down full-time jobs, often as the breadwinner for their families, but also doing all the 'traditional' homemaker duties on top of that. UF can only get you so far before the reality of most reader's lives (especially women readers) says 'I'm already doing it all.

What vampire-trope books often do is carry us back to that youthful innocence we once possessed before we gained our real-life knowledge. To be successful, you have to quite literally craft a hero who has it all ... sexy allure ... and kittens :-)


message 15: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ambrose (Ambrose2014) | 50 comments Wow - thanks for that history lesson, Anna. A fascinating tale of book marketing as well. Maybe I should write erotica...except I detest it. ;/ But that really sheds some much-needed light on James' success for me.

I liked your insight on how romantic literature's essential appeal is escapistic fantasy, which would tends to be opposed by Urban Fantasy's "ultra-feminist trope." I've often thought about how some of my super-strong, super-independent women (Divided Worlds) relate to men, and the problems that come from their warrior-powered nature. At one point, my protagonist loses a boyfriend who says something like: "But you would never need me to rescue you. You would be the one rescuing me." It's kind of disheartening, because I do like romance, and have thus far resigned myself to a more Xena warrior vibe (of course, she had Gabrielle!;-).


message 16: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Ambrose (Ambrose2014) | 50 comments However, one unanswered mystery re E.L. James remains How can someone be uber popular as a writer when - to echo pretty much everyone who's read her stuff - she is, to put it charitably, not such a great writer?

This has become quite a conundrum for me, because I've noticed time and time again that poor to mediocre writing doesn't act as much of a barrier to an author's popularity; on the other hand, some authors who write very well (I'm thinking of Gillian Flynn at the moment) are wildly popular. I still don't have this one figured out. ;/


message 17: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Lawrence wrote: "However, one unanswered mystery re E.L. James remains How can someone be uber popular as a writer when - to echo pretty much everyone who's read her stuff - she is, to put it charitably, not such a..."

Anastasia is very nieve and, through her eyes, we all regain a bit of that 'oh, golly gee that's super swell' feeling we all once had the first time we encountered something new. Just for kicks I re-read 50 Shades and underlined things that captivated my interest. Through Anastasia's inexperienced eyes, the reader gets to bask in the adoration of a wealthy, powerful, mysterious man with an aura of danger and something not-quite civilized. It's as if E.L. James extracted the 'good stuff' from the Vampire Trope and carried it into a contemporary romance/erotica. Yeah, it could have used another wash-and-rinse (or three) through an editor to spiff things up a bit, but E.L. James managed to replicate Stephanie Meyers experience of being stalked by the vampire, only this time with hot sex.


message 18: by Maria (new)

Maria Rich | 2 comments My first real taste of vampires (outside of The Count on Sesame Street) wasn’t centered on the male vampire in the movie at all, but on the females. I didn’t want to be dominated by a vampire, I wanted to BE the vampire! The movie was an old one that you don’t hear about much called “Twins of Evil” (1971). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twins_of... I watched it in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s.

Of the two sisters I identified with ‘the good one’ but wanted to BE ‘the bad one’. Perhaps it was because I was raised in a very conservative Christian household, but I sooo wanted to break free like the ‘bad’ sister did! In fact, the entire act of watching the movie was a rebellion, as we (my sister and I) were not allowed to watch scary movies. We snuck this old black and white movie on my sister’s very small old TV in her room.

I remember loving the bad sisters courage and boldness, but shaking my head at her mistakes. It was clear to me even back then that if you were going to be a bad girl you had to be smarter than the stuffy old “good” guy! Of the Count I don’t remember too much, I was aware that he was supposed to be very handsome, but I was very young and I don’t think I was much effected by handsome men yet. The sight of her blood stained lips gave me a thrill though, and I wanted to know what that tasted like.

I was always a curious and imaginative girl. I was the one who introduced demons into my sister and I’s Barbie play. (My sister is 4 years older than me.) We got into trouble for that one when mom found out because my sister got nightmares from it. When the church put out tracks warning of Occults (this was the 80s mind you), I kept them and studied the occult symbols they put in it. Yet on the outside I was the ‘good girl’… perhaps I was just smarter at hiding my evil ways??

Now, as an adult, I still tend to root for the vampire instead of the ‘hunter’. I loved Anne Rice’s vampire books not only because they portrayed bad vampires, but because they were from the perspective of those bad vampires! I would watch movies about vampire hunters like Blade, but my favorite part was when he bit the leading lady and drank her blood!

I was NOT impressed by Twilight, but if I was 16 when it came out instead of 37 I might have thought differently. Then again… maybe not. Writing my own vampire showed me just were my loyalties lie; Tabeth (http://www.miarich.com/?page_id=181 ) is a strong lady vamp who takes great pleasure in ripping people to shreds. She tries to not kill innocence like children, but targets ‘bad guys’ like drug dealers and killers. Capable of love and other emotions she is still a monster.


message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather Blair (lovelyshivers) | 46 comments Anna wrote: "Greetings Lovers of Paranormal!

What is it about vampires which makes a good little girl all weak at the knees at the very thought of being bitten? Is it their animal magnetism? A desire to save..."


Actually I think my first vamp love was in film...David from Lost Boys, yum! Then I read Anne Rice's books & it was all down hill from there. ;)

I think there is soooo much behind the draw of a vampire H, it is hard to pin it to one thing. Partially the lure of all that vast experience, both life, emotional & sexual are a big draw, along with the temptation of flirting with the dark side, of course.
The blood thing is huge, too. Such intimacy combined with a theme of sacrifice pulls at our emotions.
And then there is the endless possibility for tortured, conflicted heroes with layers of history... Heady stuff.
I love pn, pnr & all types of supernatural fantasy, but vampires are def my fave. :)


message 20: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (last edited Nov 29, 2014 08:54PM) (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Maria wrote: "My first real taste of vampires (outside of The Count on Sesame Street) wasn’t centered on the male vampire in the movie at all, but on the females. I didn’t want to be dominated by a vampire, I wa..."

Were you aware you can watch the complete 2-hour Twins of Evil movie on YouTube? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nu7B...

Yes, I know the seduction of the 'bad twin.' Though I grew up with bikers (yes, my daddy was a Hells Angel ... for real) so my rebellion was to become the 'good twin.' Sorta. Okay, maybe not that good but compared to my upbringing I'm an angel. Fallen angel. Maybe not quite fallen, but awfully mischievous. Aw, heck! I'm Puck!!!

Exploring evil through literature is always so much more rewarding than on the big screen because you have the chance to insert your choice of victims here as you picture whose throat you rip out 3:-) On the big screen you watch evil, but in a book you can be evil.


message 21: by Anna, LoP BOTM & R2R mod (last edited Nov 29, 2014 08:53PM) (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) | 795 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "Actually I think my first vamp love was in film...David from Lost Boys, yum! ..."

Oh ... David!!! That final scene where he (view spoiler)! I was like ... nooooo!!! Keifer Sutherland played him beautifully.


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