I’ve been watching The Strain, the FX series based on the novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. So far, I can’t say I’m really loving the show. The story reminds me too much of Dracula, complete with an old Jewish Van Helsing (played by David Bradley of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fame), but tries to have it both ways by having its vampirism be both scientific and mystical at the same time. My biggest problem with the show and the story in general is that, despite the large array of focus characters, I haven’t found many of them to be at all interesting.

 

It's like The Walking Dead, except we get to watch the world fall apart very slowly and without any interesting characters to follow.

It’s like The Walking Dead, except we get to watch the world fall apart very slowly and without any interesting characters to follow.

 

And the vampires?

Well, they might as well be zombies. They’re revenants with a bad case of worms and an over-developed case of Alien-mouth-envy. Aside from the novelty of watching them vomit their giant, lamprey tongues out, there’s not much new here. Lots of gross attention to the unpleasant transformations, but no personalities or real stories. The only exception to this is the sinister Nazi vampire played by Richard Sammell with wonderfully creepy subtlety, but even this character has very little substance when really examined. Maybe I went in with too many expectations after hearing about how incredible and different the novels were, but what did I see? Big box of earth, ship of the dead, minions, “The Master”, and the old vampire-hunter that no one believes. Sound familiar?

 

"I'm mostly known for my weddings..."

“I’m mostly known for my weddings…”

 

However, my purpose here isn’t to bash The Strain. Well, okay, not my only purpose. It just made me think about all the current rage for making vampires “scary” again and how that unfortunately gets translated to mean “mindless.” Sure, the vampires in The Strain and 30 Days of Night might technically have some form of intelligence, but are they interesting?

No.

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The savage, feral monster vampire may have its place in folklore and film, but I don’t really see the point anymore. We have zombies now to represent the mindless, cannibalistic dead, so why make vampires like that too? It’s boring, it’s repetitive, and it’s a waste of the natural potential of the vampire archetype.

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I’ve always maintained that the thing which makes the vampire interesting and truly frightening is its ability to resemble us. Obviously, I’m not saying that all vampires should be sexy lovers or stereotypical aristocrats, but I love the potential for variety that the vampire possesses. Let the vampire have some personality! If you want them to be evil, fine, but make their evil an expression of their individual desires and needs.

Like this little bastard. Creepier than any vampire!

Like this little bastard. Creepier than any vampire!

 

Keeping the vampire a monster isn’t a problem, but rendering them into monotonous beasts is just wasteful.

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About xuemertie

Author, role-player, geek.

7 responses »

  1. The main reason why my Vampire Syndrome vampires are living creatures (and the human vampires are even aging, albeit at a slow rate) was to solve the problem of ancient beings trapped in young bodies, BUT this has the bonus of negating any allusions to zombies, since my vampires are NOT undead revenants.

    A more interesting take on this is when the “dying” vampires become zombies, as in 1973’s “Lemora” and the 1979 “Dracula” movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the review and the heads up. The last thing we need is yet ANOTHER Van Helsing. I agree with you and Daven. Good post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think they want it both ways: the in-control aristocrat elite vamps and the mindless zombie-like hordes. It works for this story, but I can also see your point. For my own vampire mythology, I prefer to have science confounded by mysticism; there still has to be rules, and “The Strain” has adhered wonderfully to their own set.

    Plus, how cool is it to have Filch as Van Helsing…?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love vampires because they are romantic creatures. They look human but go out to kill at night. A Jewish vampire wouldn’t be romantic to me. I’m Jewish and I know too many Jewish men, who would never be romantic like a vampire. These are my fantasies.

    Liked by 1 person

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