Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Allure of the Vampire

   I've always been fixated on vampires. Ever since I was a little boy, I've loved the mythology behind them - the immortal blood drinker who could only come out at night but had incredible powers of flight, hypnotism, great strength, and the ability to change into a bat or mist. It seemed a seductive way of life, sneaking around in the dead of night, charming an unsuspecting victim, then having to rush home before the sun peeked its face over the horizon or else risk bursting into flames.

   I remember the first Hallowe'en where I got to live out the fantasy of being a vampire. I had The old-style plastic vampire teeth that fit over my own and a tube of fake blood. I didn't have a cape, however, so I borrowed one from a friend. It was the typical plastic, high-collared, long flowing cape that you would buy off the rack at the nearest department store. I walked home with it bundled up in my hands with my head held high, excited that I was going to be Dracula! The cape was what set it all off! I could spread it wide with my arms outstretched and make hissing or blah noises as I closed in on my prey. It was going to be perfect!
   Unfortunately, my mother had other ideas. I was allowed to keep the fangs and the fake blood, but the cape was out - she was worried that I would destroy the thing and it would be returned to my friend in tatters. So on the night of Hallowe'en, I put in my teeth, smeared some fake blood down the corners of my mouth, and headed out into the night with an alternate cape supplied by my mother. It was the one that she was given in the early 70s when she graduated nursing school, and though it had the requisite black exterior and red lining, it bugged me no end that along the collar was the logo for the VON - the Victorian Order of Nurses. Very unvampire-like, my eight-year-old self thought. Fortunately only one house seemed to notice so I still got to play the part of my favourite blood drinker for the night.

   The allure of the vampire never left me as I grew up. I discovered the wealth of books out there and devoured them with a passion. Of course Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles are my favourite and to this day still serve as my personal inspiration for what vampires should be. But I've enjoyed countless others such as John Steakley's Vampire$, Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series, The Night Inside by Nancy Baker, and the grand-daddy of them all, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Oh yeah, and that whole Twilight series too, damn you Stephenie Meyer. I watched the TV shows and movies as well, some wonderful and satisfying like The Lost BoysBram Stoker's Dracula, and Forever Knight, others not quite up to snuff. In some way, though plots, actors, and writers may vary in their take on the vampire, it still feeds the hunger that I have for the blood-suckers and it's rare that I throw down a book or turn off a movie in total disgust...though it has happened.

   We all seem to have different opinions on what our vampires should be like. These days there are so many choices that it's like picking your own meal options at a restaurant. I picture myself sitting at a table with the waiter standing next to me.
   "I'll take the vampire platter, please," I say.
   "Great choice, sir. Would you like sparkling or non-sparkling?"
   "Definitely non-sparkling."
   "Of course, sir. Would you like your vampire able to walk in the sun or out at night only?"
   "Night only, the daylight ruins the mood."
   "Permanent fangs or retractable?"
   "Ummm...permanent, please," I answer as I hand the menu back to the waiter.
   "Excellent, sir. I'll be right back with your appetizer."
   Part of the allure of the vampire is that there seem to be no fixed rules, other than they drink blood and are generally immortal. We are able to customize our vampires to suit our mood or opinions, make them the suave, immortal lover that is able to charm the pants off their lovers, or they can be deadly and repulsive like we see in I Am Legend  and The Strain. Fearsome or seductive, we love all variations. 

   For myself, I love the Ricean vampires. They are prolific blood drinkers with great strength, seductive looks and behaviour. Some can fly while others can read minds, their gifts vary and make each one an individual. All are immortal and some handle it better than others, for despite all their great gifts and abilities, they are still very human in their emotions. That's the allure to me - for all their strength and abilities, they are still as tortured and slave to fragile human emotions. They have chinks in their armor and most of the attraction is watching how they deal with those weaknesses and balance them out with their great powers. The other attraction comes from the guilty-pleasure realm. Though life as a vampire can be hard at times, it also is phenomenally easy. Need money? Pick your victim's pockets or find some rich fellow to drain and assume his fortune. Don't like that person over yonder? Make them tonight's meal. You are also free to live life as you choose, as you now have all the time in the world to do the things you never had time for in your previous life.
   I live vicariously through the vampire in the two series that I've written, Shelter from the Winter  and Winter's Advent. My main character, Brijit, embodies what I think I'd be like as a vampire - bold, confident, and not giving a damn, but at the same time vulnerable and flawed. I try to portray the hurt that comes from losing everything as well as the joy of living life to the fullest. Brijit represents an absolute freedom that most of us will never have but for which we all long, unencumbered by the laws of society and to do as we please.

   So how do you like your vampires? Sparkle or no sparkle? Tortured or at peace with what they are? Please comment below, I'd love to read other's ideas on what makes the vampire so attractive to them.

   As part of the blog hop, I'm giving away a full set of my Winter's Advent series! Please leave a comment below if you're interested in being part of the giveaway and three people will be chosen at random using Random.Org once the blog hop is over. Be sure to leave a means of contact so I can contact you afterward. For more information on my books, head over to

The blog hop is also offering a grand prize through Rafflecoptor! Click here to enter!

Please visit one of the following authors and bloggers below for more great Hallowe'en blog entries.