The Humanization of Modern-Day Film Vampires

Powerful Essays
The Humanization of Modern-Day Film Vampires

His thirsts have not changed. He craves the taste of blood, the warm, life-sustaining liquid that flows so gently from the necks of his victims into his own foul mouth. He continues to hunt in the night, cursed forever from the purity of sunlight, and his immortal body still remains ageless, untouched by the rugged sands of time and trauma. Yet somehow the vampire is different than he once was. He is richer, more human in color. His clothes are no longer binding and elaborate as the capes and suits of old; he often opts for simple denim or leather pants and coats. In fact, the modern vampire can often be mistaken for any other man or woman out for a midnight stroll. These observations all show evidence of the humanization of vampires in pop culture, an evolution from the soulless, purely evil animals they once were to merely darker versions of man. As humans struggle to control their own inner desires under the burden of society, increasingly protagonist vampires question and fight to suppress their own dark thirsts. It is this denial of nature unknown to the strictly evil vampires of old that identifies the modern-day film vampires more closely with their human counterparts today.

Vampires, in retrospect, weren’t always the socially in-tune creatures that they are today. For what reasons did these changes occur? According to social critic I.C. Jarvie, “if we look again at the movie past . . . we find that the critical posture, the portrayal of society, has long been an important subtradition of the American cinema” (Social Criticism xiii). Thus, if we refer back to some of the earliest vampire films, we might receive some clues about the nature of the society that bir...

... middle of paper ... pursue it. As Benjamin Hoff remarks in the Tao of Pooh, “when you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong” (41). Perhaps, in modeling what were once seen as beasts after us, we are learning to accept rather than shun our own primitive natures. Our place in the world is as creatures that are human.

Works Cited

Day, William Patrick. Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture. Lexington:

University Press of Kentucky, 2002.

Hoff, Benjamin. The Tao of Pooh. New York: Penguin Books 1982.

I.C. Jarvie. Movies and Society. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1970.

I.C. Jarvie. Movies as Social Criticism. Metuchen: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1978.

Ursini, James and Alain Silver. The Vampire Film. Cranbury: A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1975

Waller, Gregory A. The Living and the Undead. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986.
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