Vampires are over Essay Example

  • Category:
    Literature
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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    3
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    2216

Vampires are over

Introduction

Postmodern gothic has stretched beyond just provoking fear. In particular, the fear of unknown, unseen or fear of taboo has been common among movies related to vampire in Gothic fiction. However, there are different types of fear that are connected not only to the postmodern Gothic but with the vampire. While an argument from scholars such as Jowett (2005) indicates that while the role of vampire in any fiction is to disrupt normal reality, vampire as a fiction is a postmodern Gothic category that cannot be argued to be over. This essay critically, assesses postmodern Gothic to understand the role played by vampire. It intends to ascertain whether vampires are over. The essay focuses on vampires as it has been portrayed in what have been arguably the most influential stories of vampire movies in the period.

Recent studies that attempted to explore roles that can be played by vampires show that there is still need to create stories that help in animating the unspeakable (Kaveney 2004). This is where vampires come in; that is, it will be unrealistic to argue that vampires are over and yet the urge to have ‘fictional’ creature that make it possible for our culture to repress. Vampires are still having a role to play in the symbolization of everything that need to be repressed by our culture—sexuality, proletariat, heterogeneity, other cultures and alternative ways of viewing life are aspects that vampires still need to play. Taking a case of movies such as John Carpenter’s Vampires, it is apparent that the role of vampires can be explored further. In as much as the movie is an indicator that vampires can be used to evoke fear that are based on dislike or what the society has repressed, vampires are not yet over because there is need to invoke fear on the economic dependence of children and women, the parasitic affair between the oppressed middle class and the aristocracy.

This argument has been supported by recent studies such as Pender (2004). In his analysis Kiss of the Damned, Pender (2004) believe that periods of vampires are not yet over since the society still need ‘fictional’ creatures that can invoke horrific images regarding deviant sexuality—whether unfamiliar gender roles, homosexuality or currently emerging pervasion. Basically, if we agree to the argument that vampires are over then we welcome a belief that there is no ‘biological’ way where the society can be shown the breakdowns of the late nineteenth century or postmodern gothic ways of life. There is need for transition between this period and the 20th century ways of life where there is need to break away from ‘normal’ gender oppression and horrific physical assaults.

Reviewing a number of movies including Dracula, one notable aspect is that ‘female’ and ‘male’ vampires have the same reproductive sexual organs. In as much, Dracula shows that there is social difference between the male and female vampires. For instance, it can be noted that female vampires have been given unique roles by bringing the aspect of ‘subservient’ with regard to male vampires. This is the point where it will be incorrect to believe that vampires are over. Taking a case of Dracula, we need vampires in the current generation so as to have movies or vampirism that can demonise female sexuality. Contextualing this point, Count’s deviant sexuality has been ignored to an extent that if contrasted with that of Mina and Lucy, Count’s is not given the needed attention. We still need vampires that can represent threatened sexuality just like it is the case with Lucy’s and we also need vampires that can represent normal sexuality as it is the case with Mina. The point this essay develops is that there is need for a vampire that will portray personality traits that are possibly dangerous in postmodern women—women who are having urge to have multiple sexual partners and once turned into they are turned into vampires they assume the roles of penetrators with phallic teeth. Catania (2004) argues this point by taking a case of Lucy in Dracula who depicts unmanageable or uncontrolled sexual penetration as inherently evil since this threatens fixed gender separations or distinctions.

Bad parenting has been seen by researchers as consistent theme in postmodern Gothic—where heroic figures are depicted as strangers or orphans, with some cases where villainous figures being made to take places and responsibilities of guardian figures. In some cases, the so called guardian figures taking advantage of individuals without guardians. From this point, vampires are not yet over as they are needed to take roles of ‘vampire parents’ so as to contextualize bad parenting themes that have been consistent among postmodern Gothics and researchers. The manner in which Jones Freudian views the vampire parenting is basically influential in cementing this argument (Badenhausen 1992). What the modern society need is a vampire-filled movie where the vampires are returning as parents who invoke fears or vampires who create emotional discontent to the guardian angels who take advantage of parentless children. In such cases, these vampires will represent mothers and fathers who safeguard their children. In as much as the father and mother vampires are succinctly represented in Carmilla and Dracula, these kinds of vampires are still needed to show how best fears can be invoked on oppressive ‘guardians. ’ This is the case in Laura and Carmilla’s story during their first encounter where Carmilla is made to play the role of mother by replacing the mother of the orphaned girl in as much as this is done in a reversed mother in understanding nourishment from the child rather than nourishing the child.

Thirdly, vampires and nobility cannot be separated. If an argument is to be sustained that vampires are over then one is thinking that nobility is equally extinct. In as much as the link between nobility and vampires traces back to the period of the early vampire fictions, there relevance in postmodern Gothic cannot be separated. Hoeveler (1998) argued that ‘vampyre’ by Polidori acted as a nobleman outsider, symbolizing other vampires as they had existed in Carmilla and Dracula. Postmodern Gothics truly need vampires to parallel the nobility. There is also need for more vampires that represent the noble classes. This is basically what was seen in Dracula’s ‘Crew of Light.’ Postmodern Gothic vampires are well represented in the narrator by Polidoris, ‘the vampirism’ of regarding the upper class that inspires fear regarding the relationship between the middle class and the heroes and heroines. A study by Anderson (2002) indicates that vampires and nobility are linked with capitalism. That is, vampires were represented and linked with capitalism. This made it possible for vampires to be influential in the manner people perceived aristocracy and nobility. Postmodern Gothic needs vampires who can act as ‘wrong way’ of capitalist—one who can use his or her wealth for self-interest.

Still on this point, storylines developed in movies become empty when vampires are assumed to be over. In the Polidori story regarding the upper class, there are no potential hunters or vampire hunters in any way. As a matter of fact, only the corruptible, the corrupt or the naively innocent are seen as easy prey for the vampire of the aristocracy. Argument by Hughes (2000) noted that the corruptible and the naïve were the easy prey for the vampires belonging to the aristocrats. The trend emerging here is that vampire cannot be said to be over owing to the fact the society is already vamparish. People are living in a period where they are aristocratically represented by vampires who prey on them whenever they go. People need movies and artistic writings that will be able to establish the extent to which these issues are represented in the society in the postmodern Gothic.

A different view has been given by Pender (2004) in his study of 30 Days of Night. His research analysed modern trends in the representations of vampires and thus concluded that it is ‘invalid’ to argue against the existence of vampires. People are still in need of vampires who target fiancées and wives of working class in a similar way as they were expressed in Carmilla and Ruthven. If, however, we analyse the statement in light of postmodern Gothic or Croley’s argument, then it is possible that the meaning by Pender (2004) is exhaustive to an extent that vampires can be so horrifying that even upper class or middle class is worse than a vagrant can be.

Vampires are not yet over as they are still needed to embody the desecration of religion. In understanding the concept, Kaveney (2004) terms vampire’s biting as the vampire baptism when analyzing Dracula. Postmodern Gothic need artistic works that present god-like powers such as great strength, immortality and the possibility of creating descendants in their own image but that which mimic Christianity with an aim of rejecting Christianity. This is what vampires are needed for. There are some characters that are seen as irreligious thus preferring to be referred to nature as creator. This is the same case with Fright Night and the progeny who could be waded off by the using objects that are sacred. This is why vampires are not yet over. They are actually still there as desecrators of religion by making fun of the commonly practiced rituals such as blood eating. Currently, Christians drink blood for spiritual immortality so vampires are still there to drink it as physical immortality. The point here is that there is still need to have vampires as a kind of false ‘god’ who can be represented as conference of physical, instead of spiritual immortality. Hughes (2000) add that if researches are consistent that vampires are over then there will be a threat to the establishment of tradition of immortality; the proof that the dead can be animated corpses instead of the happy beings of the Christian heaven. Taking a case of Carmilla and Dracula, the invincibility of the vampires are made to change from one story to another and Ruthven is not only presented as triumphant but a character that society cannot be able to challenge under any circumstance.

Contrariwise, there have been argument and research based evidences that have indicated that indeed vampires are over. Taking a recent case on studies such as Dziemianowicz (2010), the vampire is now a form of being that confuses boundaries—basically those existing between other and self; it is not possible in postmodern Gothic to represent man and woman, normal and dead, noble and peasant. It is through these levels of transgressions that the researcher argues that vampire fictions are not able to maintain their sense of fear and horror. This view was also supported by Ralickas (2008) who found that in as much as most of the horrific aspect of vampire are stemming from the satanic or demonization of aspects of real situation that have been threatening through crossing boundaries, they are now overtaken by events to an extent that there are now better ‘replacement.’ The previous century vampire fiction had value compared to modern-day fictions depicting vampires in the sense that we no longer need monster vampires. As a matter of fact, some of the vampire tales captured in the essay can be argued to be those which lack firm closure. By ‘lack of firm closure it means that in as much as the elements that have been demonized in the postmodern vampire fictions are repressed in a special way within the society, at long last there is no clear way in which they work their ways to resurface again.

Conclusion

Conclusively, the analyses presented in this essay succinctly show that indeed the statement that ‘vampires are over’ is not correct. Different researches and scholarly materials presented in the essay attest to the fact that vampires are still with us and much is still expected of them if postmodern Gothic is to continue showing socio-political as well as sexual excesses, which in as much as it is shown as foreign, continue to live very close to home.

References

Anderson, Robert. “’Misery Made Me a Fiend’: Social Reproduction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Owen’s Early Writings.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 24:4 (2002 Dec): 417-38.

Badenhausen, Richard. “Fear and Trembling in Literature of the Fantastic: Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Black Cat.’” Studies in Short Fiction 29.4 (Fall 1992): 487-98.

Catania, Saviour. “Absent Presences in Liminal Spaces: Murnau’s Nosferatu and the Otherworld of Stoker’s Dracula.” Literature/Film Quarterly, 32:3 (2004): 229-36.

Dziemianowicz, Stefan. “Terror Eternal: the Enduring Popularity of H. P. Lovecraft.” Publisher’s Weekly, 257.12(2010): 19-23.

Hoeveler, Diane Long. Gothic feminism: the professionalization of gender from Charlotte Smith to the Brontës. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State UP, 1998.

Hughes, William. Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker’s fiction and its cultural context. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 2000.

Jowett, Lorna, Sex and the slayer: a gender studies primer for the Buffy fan. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

Kaveney, Roz. Reading the Vampire Slayer: the new, updated, unofficial guide to Buffy and Angel. London: Tauris Parke, 2004.

Pender, Patricia. “‘Kicking Ass Is Comfort Food’: Buffy as Third Wave Feminist Icon.” Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration. Eds. Stacy Gillis and Gillian Howie, Gillian et al. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004: 164-74.

Ralickas, Vivian. “Cosmic Horror’ and the Question of the Sublime in Lovecraft.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 1.8(2008): 364-399.