The film Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
created and produced by Joss
Whedon, played up the contrast
between the high school cheerleader
and the horrific task of killing vampires.
The movie spawned a horror TV series
set in high school and later in college.
From 1997-2003 it drew a large
viewership. It starred Sarah Michelle
Gellar (left) as Buffy and David
Boreanaz as Angel.
Charlaine Harris wrote the
Southern Vampire Mystery
series (right) featuring Sookie
Stackhouse, a cocktail
waitress in Bon Temps, LA.
Sookie's life changed when a
vampire named Bill walked
into the bar and grill where she
Sookie is played by Anna
Paquin in the TV series True
Blood. The title is taken from
the synthetic blood created by
the Japanese when vampires
became common in society.
Today's vampire craze originated with Anne Rice's 1976 best-seller
Interview with the Vampire. In 1994, it was made into a movie
starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Rice made effective use of her
home city of New Orleans and its association with the macabre.
She also presented vampires as misfits in society, a theme I relate
In 2002, Rice reaffirmed her childhood faith and committed herself
to Christian literature. The fans of her Christian writing expected
her to denounce her earlier work, while the fans of her Gothic
works wanted just the opposite.
Rice refused on both counts, explaining that "I see my earlier novels
as part of a long tradition of 'dark fiction' which includes some of
the most highly prized religious works read in Western culture. . . .
.The one thing which unites them is the theme of the moral and
spiritual quest." I appreciate Rice's rationale. The books she lists
as examples of "dark fiction" are among my favorites.
I enjoy the female-centered nature of the recent vampire stories.
Rice with her character of Claudia, the female vampire trapped in a
child's body; Buffy, the valley-girl cheerleader, ridding her school
of a vampire invason; and the more mature Sookie, bringing a
woman's sensitivity to a world struggling to grant equal rights to
vampires--all embody concerns of women seeking to be taken
seriously in today's world.