Vampires are the new Vampires


It’s nice to dream, but Fairies are the new Vampires? Not a chance. If anyone’s thinking Spies are the new Vampires instead, that guy’s just as delusional. No, if anything is set to replace the massive influx of vampire fiction dominating our movies, books, television, ecetera, it’s gonna be Vampires. More bloody Vampires. Vampires in as many different situations and styles as we can come up with until there is literally nothing untouched by the bat-men.

This seems like the proper place to cover the recent bloodsucker trend in fiction but sadly, even if we pooled the bandwith of Destructoid, Japanator, Tomopop, and Flixist into one massive website, that wouldn’t be enough to support a complete summary. There are just too many forsaken and most of them in sub-par horror yarns. It doesn’t even matter when they’re good. Whole thing felt played out years ago.  If Joss Whedon suddenly declared his return to Buffy, I’d still tell him to quit his job.

In his absence, there’s still plenty of writers and directors chomping at this trendy bit. As we look to the rest of 2011 and beyond, we must resign to a simple fact:

Vampires are the new Vampires…

Fresh episodes of The Vampire Diaries on The New CW are still going strong, or so a fourteen year old girl will tell you. True Blood‘s been picked up for a fifth season by HBO, and movies haven’t cashed in their chips either. Most recently Let Me In was a box office disappointment but actually a decent remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In (itself, an adaptation). As for Priest, the Steampunk Faith versus Vampires actionfest, well… I’m sure somebody liked it, but that person probably enjoyed Legion, too. Was that Angels versus Demons? I never actually saw it. Still willing to bet they were both more enjoyable than Vampires Suck. Oh, and an IFC flick called Stake Land finally made it’s way to DVD last week. I don’t know anything about it so you’d have to ask my physician.

Fright Night with Colin Ferrel is right around the corner, a comedy remake that looks dreadful. I think I’d prefer to see the Twilight series close out with Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2 and that’s saying a lot. Harry Potter decided to split its finale in half as well. Now they’re talking possible Best Picture nominations to honor the series as a whole. Why not throw Twilight up there too? Makes about as much sense.

The really big one is Dark Shadows, a remake of the horror themed soap opera with a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who seems to be grinding out a comeback since her four year absence from film. I expect the movie to do well if the bubble doesn’t burst on the entire genre. Coincidentally, Moretz is working with Jessica Chastain in Texas Killing Fields, and actress who played the same Dark Shadows character at an earlier point in her career. It wasn’t even a good soap opera, though. What’s your angle Tim Burton? (…speaking of Gothic subjects past their prime)

Safe to say Korea has usurped the foreign shock horror throne formally held by Japan, but I’ll get to that in a moment. While the two films in the following paragraph hold hope of being watchable, Japanese director Shunji Iwai’s American debut, simply called Vampire, is left without a distributor after its premiere at Sundance. With star power like Kristin Kreuk behind it? How can this be? Mary Harron (American Psycho) hopes to avoid the same fate when she premieres The Moth Diaries at the Toronto Independent Film Festival next month. Girl suspects her roomate might suck blood. The End.

The Korean directors are fairly dependable these days. Bong Joon-ho is one (not actually pronounced like Inglourious Basterds Brad Pitt). Known best for The Host but respected more for last year’s Mother, he’ll be directing Jacob Paint’s original screenplay Vampire Candy. I don’t know who this Paint guy is, but where did he get the idea to write a movie that isn’t a remake or sequel? Sounds crazy but good luck to him. There’s also Chan-wook Park, no stranger to the genre after a pretty OK movie called Thirst. His first American made, Stoker, is on the way. It doesn’t literally contain vampires, but the title is a Dracula reference and it’s rumored to be a reworking of Bram Stoker’s birth-of-a-genre novel.

Still concerned with the original fanged one, veteran of the genre David Slade, who landed directorial duties on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse after turning in a passable 30 Days of Night, will return again for The Last Voyage of Demeter, with the help of Jude Law, counter it-girl Noomi Rapace, and Sir Ben Kingsly of Bloodrayne fame. That one’s about a merchant ship carrying the coffin of Dracula, which arrives at port with no survivors. I think I ran that quest in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines already. Juicy PC game by the way, and the only true greatness I’ve measured within this entire genre. Check it.

More straight Dracula, Rutger Hauer will headline a film as Van Helsing against the infamous count in Dracula 3D, directed by the bargain horror icon Dario Argento. Yet another, the character will be featured in Dracula Year Zero, blatantly ripping off the title of a Frank Miller comic about The Batman (who also fits the type, so I guess we can include The Dark Knight Rises). It’ll be another “inspired by the true story of Vlad the Impaler” go-around by the director of Dark City, a film that had thinly veiled vamps in the form of dream suckers or somesuch thing. Their look was ripped straight from Nosferatu. Anyway, Avatar‘s Sam Worthington in that one when it comes.

With tales like these, it’s suddenly easier to see Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula in more flattering light, or lack thereof. We still don’t know what to expect from his current experimental phase, but Twixt will follow a series of murders that are suspected to be tied to the creatures, and with Elle Fanning on screen, people might actually turn out to see it. Same can’t be said of Tetro and Youth Without Youth.

If comedy’s your thing, there’s two of questionable value. Vamps is rolling out under the guidance of Amy Heckerling (Clueless). It’s essentially Sex and the City for parasitic goth bondage queens, I gather from the plot description. If it’s worth a damn, it’ll be for Krysten Ritter, an actress on my radar since Breaking Bad, and not Alicia Silverstone, who might do better starting from scratch. On the animated end, there’s Adam Sandler’s turn as Dracula in Hotel Transylvania. Everyone under his wing provides voiceover work, with a cast of characters better suited to a cereal box.

For all-out action we can expect Kate Beckinsale to return to the Underworld series with Awakening. It wasn’t the character of Selene (name means “moon goddess”) that Rhona Mitra played in Underworld‘s third outing, but she was obviously cast for her similar look when Beckinsale left for more fulfilling projects. Kate then starred in Whiteout and disappeared for two years. Welcome back, Kate. There’s also a live action adaptation of the Castlevania games moving forward with James Wan, director of Saw, replacing Paul W.S. Anderson of Resident Evil. There is, apparently, a medusa, but probably not as cool as this one. On second thought, I’m putting money on that one being canceled if it hasn’t already been done quietly.

Oh… right. There’s one more from the director of Night Watch and Day Watch. After vampires kill the president’s mother, he will flay them and their southern allies in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, adapted from a novel by the same author as ever-delayed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The director of PP&Z, Craig Gillespie, used the hiatus to direct Fright Night and a true bloody music video for Kid Cudi.

This week’s whatever-happened-to belongs to Bubba Nosferatu and the Curse of the She-Vampires. While we’ve known for some time that Bruce Campbell had departed the project citing creative differences, Paul Giamatti was quoted three years ago saying that not only was the project still alive, but that Ron Perlman wanted to play Elvis. With two names like that ready to go, how does that film not get made? Did the Oscar nominated actor and the Sons of Anarchy star get around to reading the script? I suppose that would drive a stake through it. Har. har. har.

So why Vampires? No, seriously, why Vampires? I get pale, skinny, and brooding as the lesser of two evils with Jersey Shore infecting the airwaves, and there’s plenty to be said about tales of mortality and identity issues. Regardless, when True Blood premiered in 2008 it felt like Vampires was on its last legs, however successful the show would be. Years later and the only development has been “add werewolves” in response to high school kids walking around with fake tails. I have fewer legitimate answers to this question than there are legitimate movies referenced in this article, but it looks like neither Fairy Tales nor Spies will put an end to the undying.

Where you fit in: You don’t. The popular kids make fun of you but they’ll never grasp the power of the night.