Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Woo-Woo~ The Vampire Fad

The recurring vampire fad is one of life's mysteries - to me at least. It comes and goes, each generation seeming to experience its own period of vampire fandom.

I've never been able to see entertainment or educational value in stories involving the sucking of blood from the neck of a human being. Still - whatever floats yer boat! The classic Dracula was just about acceptable, as a novelty, but beyond that I'm unlikely progress within that genre.

A September 2009 article by Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson at Slate, titled The Garlic Years has an interesting timeline of the ebb and flow of vampire fads between the 1960s and 2009/10. They call the years of ebb "Garlic Years". Their research covered movies, TV and books, and threw up 4 such periods when the vampire fad faded:

1960 - 1965
1975 - 1976
1980 - 1984

It'd be intriguing if those periods corresponded with some particular astrological patterns, but so far I haven't identified anything specific to just those years. It'd be necessary to consider the age groups mainly involved in vampire fads too: late teens/twenties? Their natal years and positions of the generational planets during those times would also be significant as would be any peculiar alignments to those planets occuring during the "Garlic Years". That could get very complicated, and I'm not a complicated gal! Astrological connection to the vampire legend itself must have a very strong link to Pluto/Scorpio, the planet and sign of its domain represent all that is dark, erotic, and with links to death. That's as far as I'll go down the astro road on this.

There could well be some more mundane reasons for the Garlic Years, from the fans' point of view anyway. The presence of an alternative fad or concern, or even a lack of stress related events. I have a feeling that in stressful times, such as those we are currently experiencing, vampire tales provide something of a release valve for young people. The Twilight series, as well as True Blood and others, in TV and cinema, have provided a mega-fad during the past 2 or 3 years.

In the 1960-65 Garlic Year period the Beatles and the hippies provided alternative fad focus.

In 1975/6 the Vietnam war ended - a relief from stress in the US at least. (For the UK though the IRA were wreaking havoc in London and elsewhere.)

In 1980-84 the Reagan years in the US - a recession in the early 80s had improved by 1984. Was there an alternative fad then? The first rock video cassette appeared in April 1980 and spawned a whole new industry - and fad. By 1983 MTV had conquered the New York City and Los Angeles markets, as well as network television.

1997 - I don't even have to research this one: Princess Diana was killed in a motor accident in France, and it seemed that the whole world went mad with grief = alternative fad focus.

For whatever reasons, astrological, mundane or a mix of the two, we now find ourselves in the midst of some very non-Garlic Years!


Rossa said...

I've never been into vampires or horror movies of any kind until True Blood turned up on TV. Very adult content but the characters are fun and the one-liners are great.

Have to say I have now read almost all the books and there isn't much blood sucking in them. I find them fast paced and a cross between a thriller (Michael Jackson and a SciFi adventure series.

The author Charlaine Harris was on BBC breakfast a month or so ago and was just your usual home town Mom type. She had written ghost and detective stories for years and fancied writing something more edgy. She lives in Arkansas but the books are set in Louisiana and the stories take her heroine to other Southern states and cities.

Not so much adult content in the books and still a romance in essence though set in the world of the undead.

We've also had a homegrown series on the BBC called Being Human about a Werewolf, Vampire and Ghost trying to live a "normal" life amongst humans. That was also good and has had 2 series so far. So looks like the genre will be around until the Garlic Years return again.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~~ Hmmm - the fandom must be infectious - or contagious. :-)
I've made a point of avoiding all contact so far.

It's a bit strange for me because I ususally love sci-fi related tales. "Fringe" is a current favourite, and am reading Robert Heinlein's "Revolt in 2100" - both probably a lot scarier and weirder than any vampire story would be.

I think I'll retain my amateur status with regard to vampire stuff though - just to be obtuse.

Candela said...

Having been bitten quite early on, possibly around 1984 watching old Bela Lugosi films, I'd say the current fad definitely beats anything I've ever experienced.

That said,I'm actually quite surprice they don't mention the early 1990's in that article. That was when Francis Ford Coppola's "Dracula" came out, as well as the major movie adaptation of "Interview With a Vampire". Anne Rice novels were constant best sellers. There was a short lived prime time adaptation of "Dark Shadows" too. Apparently, that got killed by the First Gulf War which messed with the schedule more than anything

R J Adams said...

I don't really understand the human obsession with being dead but not dead. I would never venture into the cinema to see one of these types of films, and any appearance on TV is the quickest way to the 'Off' button for me.

It may have something to do with me sneaking into our local cinema at the age of twelve (an older pal went in and opened the toilet window for me to climb through) to see the 1958 Hammer version of "Dracula" with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. I suffered serious nightmares for months afterward. It was a very long while before I would turn off my light at bedtime.

Twilight said...

Candela ~~ Yes, the article skims over the vampire gluts to concentrate of the years of minimum vampire exposure I think. :-)

You're right - this current vampire trend does seem particularly intense....or is it that, due to the internet, we've become more aware of what's going on in the entertainment world in general?

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ LOL! Awwww. - Poor wee lad! That would definitely put a person off vampires for life. ;-)

Could it simply be that we are (in the words of Danny Glover in "Die Hard"

"Too old for this shit!"

Me moreso than you, in fact.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm with you, T, even tho grandgirl goes apres*** on this stuff, the whole blood thing leaves me queasy, werewolves are too nasty, I just have a lot of trouble with the Jekyll and Hyde thing, always have, I can only suspend disbelief for so long.
I hear "women of a certain age" are totally into the vampire thing, finding it very sensual.
Maybe we're missing out?
I'll stay out. Deal?


Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Deal!!! Women of "a certain age" - really? I'd assumed this was one for the young and young-ish, the relatively inexperienced. Not so, then.

I wonder what phycologists have to say about this - or expert astrologers? It'd be an interesting study.

Twilight said...

psycologists.....but then again phycologists might have more insight. ;-)

Twilight said...

Ahw well - note to me - do noT try to type long words of more than 4 letters before breakfast!
Repeat 20 times: PSYCHOLOGISTS.....

anthonynorth said...

I think the main ingredients of the vampire are the instinctual beast within the human, coupled with sensuality. In this respect the vampire represents our deep desires. This doesn't always come out in the vampire fiction at the popular end of the scale, but there is always a mass of literature of a deeper meaning.

Twilight said...

anthonynorth ~~ Oh really?
This is an example of an original theme being mangled over time to be more appealing then?

It still makes little sense to me though. I can see plenty sensuality in the less bestial human condition, and my deep desires need no vampiric beckonings. ;-)