By Rae Lori
Vampires. The very name conjures up an array of images from the pop culture’s Bela Lugosi induced romantic Transylvanian hero of Dracula to crazy cannibalistic monsters in action and horror works. With the rise of paranormal romances featuring vampires as the new romantic heroes, vampires have cemented their way into our world as the true undead. With so many variations of the vampire myth interpretation, can we safely say that vampires are basically a genre of their own? After all, with so many different kinds of fans of the genre, I couldn’t help noticing that everyone is looking for a little something different in their bloodsuckers.
The horror group wants their vampires as monsters. Relentless killing machines that’ll soon rip out your throat, if they ever crossed your path or carefully calculate the path to a their prey’s demise. Think 30 Days of Night , both the graphic novel and the movie, I Am Legend and various other ‘man-against-monster’ survival horror works. Tons of B-movie sci-fi flicks also love to play with this genre using vampires not only as monsters but alien parasites in other worlds (I think I actually have one saved on my DVR now).
The paranormal romance fans love their blood suckers as the dangerous bad boys of the romance subgenre. Undead hotties that’ll seduce you into passionate abandon, if you were ever so fortunate as their heroines. ;-) Think along the lines of Moonlight, Blood Ties and even Buffy’s preternatural beaus. I thank Anne Rice for the rise of this genre who trailblazed the way in making vampires like a separate community outside of the human world where they battle with their own complex desires, loves, emotions and even a structure of politics.
Finally, there’s the in-between group. Fans who want their vampires, cool, kicking some major tail and shooting down anyone who dares get in their way to question them. These vampires are on a mission and are vulnerable to finding love but they are warriors first. Think along the lines of Blade, the Underworld movies and a good amount of Urban Fantasy works in books today.
The wonderful thing about vampires is they’re flexible enough to fit across all types of genres; whether they be true undead monsters, tortured romantic heroes on the way to redemption, the result of a life changing science experiment gone wrong or infected with a virus, it’s safe to say that the vampire mythos will be on the shelves for a very, very long time. Thank goodness for us vampire authors and readers because there is enough myth and back story across all cultures to explore the undead for many centuries to come.
Notable vampire works across the genre:
For Horror fans: J., Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (novel, movies, radio shows), John Polidori’s The Vampire (short fiction), Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, 30 Days of Night (graphic novel, movie), John Steakley ‘s Vampire$ (novel, movie), Jeanne Kalogridis’ Diaries of the Family Dracul , Robin McKinley’s Sunshine (novel), Suzy McKee Charnas’ The Vampire Tapestry
For Paranormal Romance fans: Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (novel, movies),Caridad Pineiro’s The Calling Series, Vivi Anna’s Blood Secrets, Silhouette Nocturne’s Holiday With a Vampire I & II, Twilight (book series, movie), Sookie Stackhouse series (novel and HBO’s True Blood tv adaptation), J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series (novels), Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series (novel), Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Series (novel), Nora Robert’s Circle Trilogy, Christine Feehan’s Carpathian Series, etc. (just to name a small drop in a very large pond!)
For Urban Fantasy Fans: David Lee Summers’ Vampires of the Scarlet Order (novel), Underworld (novelizations, movies), Blade (comic book series, movies), L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legends, Lynda Hilburn’s The Vampire Shrink series series, Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series, Jennifer Rardin’s Jaz Parks series.
Other: Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian (novel and possible movie), Lindqvist and Segerberg’s Let the Right One In (novel, movie & upcoming remake), Katherine Ramsland’s The Science of Vampires, Kim Newman’s Anno-Dracula (novel), Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tapes (novel)
Vampire Documentaries worth checking out: Fang Vs. Fiction (on the Underworld 2 disc DVD edition), True Bloodlines: Vampire Legend & A New Style, Bloodsucking Cinema
I probably missed a few other favorites in the genre so feel free to comment on your own. Who knows, you may even recommend some goodies that other readers may have missed in their stash. What is your favorite type of vampire genre?