"Interview with the Vampire" and the State of Vampire Fiction

I recently watched Interview with the Vampire after listening to a Netflakes podcast episode about it. Go have a listen here. Guest Caroline Diezyn has some really interesting things to say about why she likes the book and film so much. She may also be a vampire, so you don't want to piss her off.

I still enjoy the film (I haven't read the books, to my eternal, undying shame) and I think it does a lot of things right regarding vampire lore and fiction. I love how it plays it straight with vampires, not making fun of them or giving in to the idea that they're ridiculous. I love the weight of history; how we see the passage of time, centuries of boredom and misery. I love the slow pace of much of it, Louis and Lestat trying to fight ennui, knowing they have eternity ahead of them. Lestat's perversity and predilection for gore and being outrageous. Vampires as asexual beings, seducing and loving for fun and companionship.

Neil Gaiman has said that vampires are "over-farmed" in literature right now. He may have a point, and he knows the publishing industry better than most. Twilight hangs over us like a dark goddess, making us all compare our work to it. The conversations I've had about it:

"What's your book about, Dob?"
"It's, umm, vampires in Tokyo."
"It's not like Twilight, is it? Haha!"
"No."

I haven't read a single Twilight book or seen the films. I don't have an issue with it, really, apart from what I hear about Meyer's portrayal of young women. I'm not the intended audience, and that's fine. I can honestly say I didn't give it a single thought when I wrote Rachel. The violence and gore I write is not a reaction to it. My vampires don't avoid the sun because I don't want them to sparkle. Vampires, to me, have never walked in the sun (although Dracula could, of course!)

Whenever I hear that vampires are over-played, I'm reminded of 2 things: one is the opening from Dracula A.D 1972, which shows that vampire films have always been a bit silly. The other is movies such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Only Lovers Left Alive, which have revitalized the genre in recent years. Let the Right One In is another great example, showing that there is still a market for well-written vampire stories that have something to say. Not all of these works contain the same themes as Interview, but that's the beauty of vampires to me; blood-drinking is a metaphor for a lot of things, like drug addiction in Abel Ferrara's The Addiction, and LGBT rights in the TV series True Blood (which I really did not care for).

My point is that vampire stories have always been diverse, and continue to be so. I think that's one of the reasons people like me keep being drawn to them. "How will this film/book treat vampires?" is a question I often ask myself. "This is vampires as ______" "Oh, that's interesting." Etc, etc.

So I try to add to this in my own way with what I write. I hope I can do vampires justice!

Okay, the cat just made me jump by knocking a chair over, so maybe I should leave it there...