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 Fanged Humans?

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Dante Revere
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PostSubject: Fanged Humans?   Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:27 pm

I would first like to begin by saying that everyone, be they artist, author, director or dreamer has a right to their own interpretation of the vampire myth. I prefer to write in possibilities rather than absolutes, and I hope this post doesn't come off as painfully didactic. My own personal view of the vampire myth is one in which I know I'm not alone however...and yet for some reason find that we are frustratingly underrepresented in most of the popular media today; specifically movies, television and books.

Though I'm more often than not loathe to mention specific names, it's painfully obvious that the Twilight series is the penultimate example of what I'm talking about. I remember when the first film was released, my girlfriend was excited to see it and I played along to see what it was all about. I hadn't read the books and heard very little of the whole series, so my mind was open when we sat down to watch it. It didn't take long for me to realize these particular kind of vampires weren't my cup of tea at all, but I bravely stayed to the end.

To everyone who hasn't seen any of the Twilight movies, I'll touch briefly on what Stephanie Myer interpreted vampires to be. They apparently don't burn up in the sunlight; no, instead they sparkle. Jokes aside, I think this is rather silly. I had to keep myself from laughing out loud when Edward Cullen said (very unconvincingly) to Bella 'this is the skin of a killer!' while twinkling like he was ready to take off at any moment for Never Never Land. There also isn't a single drop of blood in the entire movie, except towards the end. More than any other issue though is the fact that there weren't any fangs on anyone. Under any other circumstances in which my girlfriend wasn't clutching excitedly to my arm, that detail would have been the last straw for me, but I thought about it long after the movie was over.

I came to the realization that there's a remarkable lack of horror in the vampire genre these days. Am I alone to think this? Let me ask you; was anyone afraid of Edward Cullen? Like really afraid? Or for that matter, any of the so-called vampires in those movies? Even the supposedly 'evil' ones? I don't think so. I did a little probing on the subject, though, and tried to keep an open mind as I picked up the book Twilight figuring that perhaps it had to be better than or even been misrepresented by the movie. I was disappointed to find that neither was the case. In fact I've read fan-fiction online that was better put together than Stephanie Myer's writing. On the other hand though, it didn't surprise me to learn that she was Mormon, and a milquetoast version of a beloved horror figure is to be expected when you add that little detail into the equation. At the end of the night though, Twilight is what it is; a pretty cheesy, sugar coated but harmless vampire story that's primarily meant for fourteen year old girls. And really, there's nothing wrong with that.

If Twilight were an isolated incident, I probably wouldn't even be writing this. No, my friends, it would be giving the Twilight series far more credit than it deserves to suggest that Stephanie Myer's writing comprises the entirety of the vampire genre these days. The trouble is that its popularity sparked a whole new wave of these 'new' vampires that can (somehow) walk in daylight, and pretty much look and act exactly like human beings...except they call themselves vampires. I'm sure I'm not the only one annoyed by this. Another good example is that show the 'Vampire Diaries'. Has anyone seen it? I've watched it once, and from what I can tell, that show encapsulates more of the same; fanged humans who're supposed to be vampires, wearing 'magic rings' that can protect them from daylight. Riiiight.

But these are all symptoms of a greater problem; the lack of horror. Vampires just aren't scary anymore! Am I the only one annoyed by this? What happened to the cold predator who could send a shiver up your spine with a glance, the deadly beauty of a shark or the cold indifference of a snake? I remember a time when you could go see a vampire movie, and when the monster came on screen, they could look at you in such a way as to remind one of a very large cat sizing up a very small mouse. That thrill is gone in this new generation of vampires, who have been humanized.

Now, I'm not suggesting we flip a complete 180 and portray vampires as mindless, bestial blood hungry animals like they did in John Carpenters Vampires (a movie that was very good in its own way, I might add). Rather, wouldn't it be nice if someone found the middle road? Who took us back to that calculating, intelligent predator who could seem alluring at first but there was clearly a horrible monster lurking just underneath the surface. At the end of the night, isn't that why everyone goes to see a vampire movie in the first place? To be frightened? To be horrified at their inhumanity?

A perfect example of what I'm talking about is, in my opinion, the last great vampire movie made; Interview With The Vampire, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. "Biased! You're just another Anne Rice fan-boy!" I can hear the cries already. No, my friends, I'm not a particularly big fan of Anne Rice. I think she has an annoying habit to get very long winded, and go on tangents for chapters and chapters until you forget entirely what the original story was supposed to be about in the first place. And personally I think the sequel, Queen of the Damned, was an atrocious mess as they tried to cram together both 'The Vampire Lestat' and 'Queen of the Damned' into one script while Townsend did his best but simply couldn't follow Cruise's performance as Lestat.

I'm also not saying there haven't been good vampire movies made since Interview's release; that was way back in 1994, and I've enjoyed vampire movies since. But, in my humble opinion, Interview was the last great vampire movie to have been made; one that truly encapsulated the horror of the vampiric condition. We follow Louis and his birth into darkness, his simultaneous revulsion at killing and longing for blood, all the while the murderous Lestat urging him to give in to his condition and revel in their unlives. I still remember Lestat sitting on the coffee table that turned out to be a coffin, while the whore inside screamed, and he pounded on the side saying (with a huge fanged grin) "It's your coffin, my love! Enjoy it. Most of us...never get to know what it's like."

Who can see that scene and be able to do anything other than watch in rapt revulsion, fascination, and pure good old fashioned horror? I think that the horror vampires bring to the world is a much more subtle thing, because their condition is a unique dichotomy of a creature forced to prey upon their former species; familiar and yet terrifying all at once. The fanged humans of today do nothing to bring this magnificent aspect of the myth to movie screen, pages of a book or our televisions.

Maybe I'm just a child of the 90's; maybe I can't embrace these 'new' vampires in the way that I maybe should, but without the horror, there just isn't anything of substance for me. Some part of me wonders if these new fans of the vampire genre have ever tasted a movie like 'Interview With The Vampire', 'Near Dark' or 'The Lost Boys'. I can't help but think that if they had, would Twilight have ever become as popular as it was? Or would it have been laughed out of the theater the moment Edward Cullen turned into Tinker Bell?

As I said at the beginning, though, I hope this hasn't come off too preachy. It's just one opinion in a sea of many, after all, but I really do long to see the 'real' vampires return. I'm sure there's probably someone at White Wolf who could be trusted to write a script that would blast away these candy striped fang-less mosquito's and bring us all into a golden era where the very word 'vampire' evoked wide eyed stares of wonder rather than snorts of derision.

But then, maybe the Camarilla doesn't want that movie to be made. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:47 am

I liked the touch in Bloodlines near the end - where you can ask Mercurio about Troika - he states that "those geeks know too much, they will have to be taken out soon"

Guess who went bust within months of release?

Playing pnp Vampire: the Masquerade. I have always kept a clear element of horror. From the enemies that are just too strong, to the realisation that guy you pissed off is going after your living relatives, to the disgust at realising that woman you just attacked and fed from had a kid with her who saw everything you just did.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:50 pm

It's "Resurrect a Dead Thread" day here at Team Camarilla International!!! Smile

I was really bored, and reading some old posts, when I came across this. Dante Revere makes a good point, one I've mentioned a couple of times without knowing his existed. The current crop of vampires are just not frightening. The old Bela Lugosi vampire movies, while a bit dated and lacking in flashy effects, are more scary than any vampire movies/TV shows being put out today. Lugosi would come onscreen and give a look of pure menace, and you knew that this was a predator. Edward Cullen, from 'Twilight'? Not scary.

At first, 'The Lost Boys' seemed like they were just fun-loving outlaws, but Kiefer Sutherland quickly turned his character into something frightening and sadistic.

Now, this movie and the old Dracula movies were part of the 'Vampires-are-creatures-of-evil' school of thought; i.e., once you become a vampire you are a monster, pure and simple. Since this is a common Sabbat argument, I'm not too fond of this type of vampire. They make good villains, but not so good player characters. In gaming, I prefer the 'I'm-basically-human-but-I'm-slowly-losing-the-battle-for-my-soul' vampire. It's much more compelling.

However, when it comes to vampire movies, you need a good villain, even if some of the vampires aren't really evil. Twilight tries to do this, but even their so-called 'evil' vampires aren't scary. The three bad vamps who invade the Cullen's territory were very unconvincing. During one part of the movie, they are toying with a guy at a boat dock. Even though I knew the guy would be dead in a moment, I just couldn't take their threats seriously. Apparently, neither could their prey, because he didn't seem to understand what was happening until they became very obvious about it. Having read clips of the book online, I can see now that the movies were actually better than the novels, which is truly sad.

Somebody in Hollywood needs to make a decent vampire movie. NOT one aimed at pubescent girls, but one where the vampires are actually taken seriously. Maybe one where even the 'good' vampires commit acts that are terrifying and ruthless, to protect their secrets.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth, because this thread seemed too interesting to just have two posts. Does anyone have any thoughts? What would you like to see in a vampire movie? Something where evil and not-quite-as-evil vampires duke it out? Or something more like 'From Dusk Til Dawn', where the vamps are basically demonic monsters with no human conscience at all?
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:15 pm

"Variety is the spice of life."

If the next movie features evil and demonic vampires. Then somewhere down the line I hope they show the morally-gray kind. My only request is that future vampire movies are made with quality in mind.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:42 am

It might just be bias on my part, but Twilight seems like she wanted to write a romance series, only to have her go, "How about Edward and his family are Vampires?" You have to admit, this could go well, though when you take away the fangs, make them sparkle in sunlight, and tear apart like ice that's covered in flesh(that breaks just same), you've made a lot of people lose interest(some for just the fangs alone). But that is why you don't see humans snarling at each other - it just looks stupid. Unless you have fangs, or a whole mouth full of them, most can't take it seriously.

Having a Vampire walk in sunlight is one thing(namely if it is just certain Vampire, or a certain group), but having them all able to do it, loses the notoriety - or is it novelty? Any, then she makes them sparkle. The effect is cool, but is better suited to some like like a Fairy(not sarcasm - I mean the creature), or a Light Elf.

Not to mention I really don't like the movies that go for the main character, whose only gimmick, is simply that they can't fully accept being a Vampire, and doesn't like drinking blood. Doesn't matter what they resort to, its getting old.

I'd wish for a WoD movie, though I don't know if that would actually happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:53 am

I concur with this 100% and have found myself having this conversation with my sister and even some of my so called friends. Vampires have no place in the realm of man. Human buerocracy is beneath them; they are predators. A vampire in a high school is just...Bullshit. The seductive mistique has been blown out of preportion. LKH and the author of Twilight are two dreadful examples of subpar writers blowing that side so out of preportion that it completely smothers the true identity of vampires. A bunch of children are going to grow up comparing the fiction to mother goose, or worse, the musings of a love sick 13 year old girl.

Everytime someone buys a Twilight product, some of that money goes to the author's church which has an active anti-gay rights campaign. It's fun to throw that in Twilight-lovers faces.

And though I was but a child, I do mourn for the 90's.

Video games favored story and gameplay over shiny graphics. (Balder's Gate, Balder's Gate II, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1, Fallout 2, ect) MTV was good. Rap/Hiphop wasn't playing within earshot wherever you went, "reality tv" was restricted to politics. ect ect.

30 days of night was pretty good. You do get a peek into vampiric nature during the vampire leader scenes, and crazy creol vampire wannabe was fantastic. If I'm not mistaken "Let me In" is based on an old vampire film and/or novel, and judging from the preivews it looks pretty good. The concept is amazing. Easily comprable to life, on a more extreme level of course.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:32 am

Maxus Corvin wrote:
Not to mention I really don't like the movies that go for the main character, whose only gimmick, is simply that they can't fully accept being a Vampire, and doesn't like drinking blood. Doesn't matter what they resort to, its getting old.

Yep, I definitely agree on this. It's 'okay' for one or two movies if you're still new to the 'vampire-thing' (if you can be today which is a completely different question), but then it gets so predictable you can fall asleep while watching. Or reading, whatever.
(Even though I'm fairly young, I can still vividly recall a time where you were given a look that said 'weirdo/goth' if you mentioned you liked vampires or even had some knowledge about vampirism in the classical Bram Stoker-sense. God, what wouldn't I give to get that back.)
The vampires of today aren't worth their weight in parodies, even though they seem to be only useful for those.
I think what we need is a movie with the classical 'Camarilla vs Sabbat' conflict - where the Sabbat isn't portrayed as a bunch of bloodthirsty shovelheads but rather a group of vampires who want to prevent the end of the world by any means (stepping over a huge lot of corpses in the process, of course) caused by the risen Antediluvians. And then, on the opposite, the Camarilla, the sect which seems to be composed of the 'good guys' who want to protect humanity from the Sabbat, but only so they can keep their comfortable status quo and continue pulling the strings of the world from their safe shadows. A movie which leaves you thinking who exactly the good and the bad guys are, which depends much on the point of view you take. (And I love to discuss with friends after a movie. This would be stuff for a really great discussion.)
Yes, I'm relying heavily on VtM, but that's exactly why I love this game so much. I don't need Requiem, the Masquerade gives me everything I could want in a horror game. The fact that there's no such thing as goodness in the world anymore is horror enough to send shivers to ones very bones if it's correctly portrayed.

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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:13 am

I agree with all that have been said above. I only wonder how much more could our culture be infantilized? Oh, give me the '90 back. Sometimes the state of our globalised culture makes me feel old, and I'm not even 30... Movies made for 13 year olds only to make cash, with no quality, taste, any story... Twilight for instance. Eh... "Dracula" from 1930 was a vampire movie. Now? Nothing to speak of after "The interview with a Vampire". Too much fun, too little matter for serious thought and deeper emotions. What part of your psyche could you explore watching "Twilight" or any recent vampire movie? Difficult choices? Sacrifice? Consequences of actions? Nooo. Love story. Don't take me wrong, I have nothing against love stories. But quality matters. And they have their time and place, there is no need for every movie having one. To compare movies from the '90 and those made nowadays it's enough to compare first "Terminator" and the last. You could relate to and get immersed in the story of the first part. Last one? Special effects. Story? What? Same for vampire movies...
OK, enough of my rambling.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:36 am

It's not rambling. Horror movies today have become torture porn: the endless Saw movies, Hostel, etc. All blood and gore, no real suspense. Vampires have always had that sexual subtext, but True Blood makes it all about the sex. (At least the books it's derived from aren't like that.) And Twilight took away the sex too, and all that's left is (BAD) teen romance.

I sort of want to see that movie 'Let Me In', about the little girl vampire; although I wish I'd seen the Swedish one (the one it's based on) first.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:01 am

I agree with all of you, that's all I can say about this.
But if I really had to choose which modern vampire movies/series would be okay to watch is True Blood, it's bloody, it's raw but a little too much guts, boobs and butts for my taste, and again: the vampires aren't intimidating at all Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:03 am

Eliza wrote:

The vampires of today aren't worth their weight in parodies, even though they seem to be only useful for those.
I think what we need is a movie with the classical 'Camarilla vs Sabbat' conflict - where the Sabbat isn't portrayed as a bunch of bloodthirsty shovelheads but rather a group of vampires who want to prevent the end of the world by any means (stepping over a huge lot of corpses in the process, of course) caused by the risen Antediluvians. And then, on the opposite, the Camarilla, the sect which seems to be composed of the 'good guys' who want to protect humanity from the Sabbat, but only so they can keep their comfortable status quo and continue pulling the strings of the world from their safe shadows. A movie which leaves you thinking who exactly the good and the bad guys are, which depends much on the point of view you take. (And I love to discuss with friends after a movie. This would be stuff for a really great discussion.)
Yes, I'm relying heavily on VtM, but that's exactly why I love this game so much. I don't need Requiem, the Masquerade gives me everything I could want in a horror game. The fact that there's no such thing as goodness in the world anymore is horror enough to send shivers to ones very bones if it's correctly portrayed.

Although some would argue this, having all the important sides of a conflict almost indistinguishable, seems to make it hard for a viewer to draw lines. Though it can be obscure, it seems that most movies make it crystal clear who you want to root for, and who you want to throw nasty looks at from the stands. Such as most of the Dracula movies, they are mostly geared towards a viewer wanting the same thing Van Helsing does(i.e Dracula and all his progeny destroyed) - though some would want Dracula to get what he wants(even if it is just Mina's eternal love). The problem here, is that when you deal with Vampires, namely if you have a main character(or most of the main cast), are Vampires, some try to make you think that in the end, taking a little blood, or going for animals instead is somehow better than those who drink their fill, with little care about who they fed from. Just like some Vegetarians try to make people think that they are better(and healthier), than those whose diet consists majorly of meat.

And even if you can find some measure of "goodness" in some characters, they should not be saintly. It matters little if they only drink transfusion blood - they are still stealing it to sate their thirst, meaning someone might just die away, because they drank it.

PGM1961 wrote:
And Twilight took away the sex too, and all that's left is (BAD) teen romance.

Well, its not there in the sense that most movies might have it. It only is in the one part of the entire series I really would rather not wrap my head around. Though it still is the suggestive kind, leading to a surprise, only its the bird in the house kind - you want it out then keeping it for a pet.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:09 pm

PGM1961 wrote:
Horror movies today have become torture porn: the endless Saw movies, Hostel, etc. All blood and gore, no real suspense.
"Torture porn". Mmm, teasty. Could I quote this one, please? lol!


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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:29 pm

Feral wrote:
PGM1961 wrote:
Horror movies today have become torture porn: the endless Saw movies, Hostel, etc. All blood and gore, no real suspense.
"Torture porn". Mmm, teasty. Could I quote that one, please? lol!

Go for it. I didn't make up the term; movie critics have been calling them that ever since the first 'Saw' movie. I have not seen any of those movies; I hate that slasher stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanged Humans?   Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:35 pm

I'll second that PGM. Haven't seen any of them and don't ever intend to.
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