Thursday, October 22, 2009

Too Many Vampires?

MSNBC asks if there are too many vampire movies and TV shows. Their conclusion:

While their popularity may ebb and flow, vampires always will have a place in the audience's heart, said Nicolas Cage, who starred in 1989's "Vampire's Kiss" and was a producer on 2000's "Shadow of the Vampire."

"The vampire is always going to be fascinating," Cage said. "It's like the vigilante cop, or it's like the cowboy or the Western. It's part of the fabric of society."

I agree that vampires have a strong place in movies but there is a real possibility that they are overexposed. I remember a "what's coming" column (sorry, no link) that vampires are so 2008 and that werewolves are the new big thing. Since the next Twilight movie features werewolves, this may be hard to prove. Similarly, the Sookie Stackhouse books that Tru Blood is based on adds several other types of supernaturals into the mix.

Back in the early 1970s, Hammer Films thought that vampires were a bottomless well. Hammer released several Dracula movies (Dracula AD, Taste the Blood of Dracula, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, the Scars of Dracula) plus Captain Cronos Vampire Hunter, the Vampire Circus, and the Vampire Lovers. Other vampire movies and movies with vampires released around then included House of Dark Shadows, The House the Dripped Blood, Black Sabbath, and a really cheap Dracula vs. Frankenstein.

On TV, Dan Curtis followed Dark Shadows with Night Stalker, both a made for TV movie and a series, and a version of Dracula. PBS did their own adaptation of Dracula.

Inevitably, the supply exceeded demand. Most of these movies lost money and Hammer went out of business.

The vampires of today have more variety than the 1970s versions. Back then vampires were always monsters. Some, like Dark Shadow's Barnabas Collins, were sympathetic but they were still monstrous (Barnabas still drank women's blood then strangled them but he felt bad about it). Today's vampires have transcended the traditional image of the undead who thirsts for blood. Some of them are outright heroic. That gives today's vampire movies more variety but there is still a lot of them. Also, many of them are aimed at a narrow demographic that has a tendency to outgrow such things. When that happens, the next generation often establishes its own tastes.

Bottom line, there will always be vampire movies but don't bet the house on the current fad continuing much longer.

No comments: