Tag Archives: halloween

It’s All So Draining: Exploring Vampires

Edward Cullen

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

The end of Halloween and the beginning of November can only mean one thing for girls all across America. Their two-year wait can now be count down to a matter of seventeen days before they see their precious heart-throb without a heart-throbbing in the big screen. Enter twenty-three-year-old British actor Robert Pattinson, who plays forever seventeen-year-old American vampire Edward Cullen. Girls seem to fall madly in love with him. One girl I asked described the actor-character as, “Gorgeous. I want him to come rescue me. And if he wants to bite me, all the better.” Another girl said, “His eyes are just beautiful.” Sorry, excuse me if I barf. I don’t quite understand his charm–he looks like a drug addict, especially around his eyes! But maybe that’s why he brings that specific appeal to Team Edward, rather than his rival in Team Jacob (the werewolf in the movie). Before angry girls start writing in, I’m not bagging on Pattinson–just his alter ego, the way he looks in the movie and pictures. I’m a big fan of him as squeaky clean Cedric Diggory. But enough with “Twilight” and “New Moon.” This post isn’t about them, but rather about our fascination with vampires.

Vampire mania seems to be the trend these days. Heck, when you’re sitting on gold, you got to exploit it while you still can, right?  When “Pirates of the Caribbean” came out, just about everyone wanted to be a pirate–even porn stars. And I’m sure the Halloween costume sales for pirates or naughty pirates increased during the trend. But these past two years, vampires are in. Case in point, “The Vampire Diaries,” which air on the CW. It’s about two teenage vampire brothers fighting for the love of a teenage girl. One vampire doesn’t drink human blood, the other does. Sounds somewhat familiar to the vegetarian Cullen clan. Then, there’s “The Vampire’s Assistant.” It’s about a teenage vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and who has to fight against his best friend-turned vampire who does. Yes, things sound quitet familiar. And the success of HBO’s “True Blood,” which is an adult vampire story also about a vampire that doesn’t drink blood who is constantly challenged by vampires who do drink blood, opened my eyes to why we’re so fascinated with them.

Vampire Diaries

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

First, we have to understand the past. Perhaps it’s human to want to know what happens to us after we die. Is there or isn’t there an afterlife? And what if you can live on, even after you die, but the price you pay to live is by killing another? From the Dark Ages to the Victorian era, to the early 20th century, we’ve been fascinated by the vampire mythology. For several hundred years, that fascination was more of a fear of the dead and of the unknown. I just watched The History Channel’s special on vampires, and it was remarkable for me to learn that even to this day, some European graves have corpses with stakes in their hearts because of the vampire paranoia. But if we used to fear vampires for several hundred years, why are we in love with them today?

Perhaps it’s because we are no longer afraid of seeing dead bodies. Thanks to shows like CSI and NCIS, who have pushed the envelope into seeing how a human body looks on the inside, we don’t cringe as much when we see the dead bodies. We’ve been habituated to death and death isn’t quite a mystery in our Age of Enlightenment. Or perhaps we like to flirt with the ideals of the vampires. Vampires are rebellious and live (ironic, I know) freely, who live life dangerously and in a constant mode of excitement. Deep down each of us, we all secretly want to rebel from a life of mediocrity, a theme I know all too well from “Fight Club.” Or maybe, we don’t fear vampires because they’re just darn too sexy. The classic Dracula was a middle-aged man dressed in a cape who fed on beautiful virginesque (I made up that word) women. It’s definitely creepy. But nowadays, the vampires are dressed like you and me and with the exception of the “True Blood” vampires, I have not seen a vampire over the age of 30 who is not physically fit or not physically attractive. And when we make out with a vampire, such as the case with Kristen Stewart, we are literally making out with death and figuratively flirting with death. I thinking the “flirting with death” part intrigues people, and thus attracts them to the vampire mythos. There you go, today’s vampires have undergone image reconstruction, and whoever is doing the PR work for vampires needs to get promoted or get a raise. It is now cool to be a vampire.

But with all that said, can we lay it off with all these vampire stories that seem to be recycled? It’s all so draining! Enough with the “vampire who drinks human blood versus the vampire who doesn’t” storyline. Well, I guess I have to wait until the next trend. What does our fascination with vampires reveal about our own identities? Maybe the fact that although we understand death scientifically, we still fear death spiritually. Is there life after death? The vampire flirts with us and entices us with his answer.

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

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Disturbing Images Disturbing Minds

As much as we are a culture of information, obtaining it simply with the click of a button on a mouse, we are a culture of images. I realized this when I saw that my Facebook contained more than 2,000 images of yours truly. I looked through the album and just had to laugh at my foolish antics of who I was and who I am now. What was I thinking? How vain or narcissistic have I become? But I’ve also come to another realization–I am not the only one. Most people on socil network sights invest in their image by creating their profile to reflect or extend who they are. They post up pictures, have quotes, have likes–all for show.

Images have been ingrained in the structure of our culture–they’re invading our lives.  Whether you’re on Facebook or Myspace, whether you’re walking or driving down the street, whether you’re watching TV or movies, we can’t escape images. Images are trying to sell you something, they’re trying to communicate something to you. Close your eyes, and your mind will wander to an image.

Photo Credit: Gov Archives

I recognize the importance of images and how powerful they can be. Take for example the famous Iwo Jima picture. The image of these soldiers putting up the glorious American flag at the battle of Iwo Jima, an island in Japan, must invoke some kind of emotion. For me, this image invokes one of courage, heroism, and sacrifice. It’s a photo that can move a nation to change and to action. This photo inspires.

But lately, our images have become dark and somewhat perverted. Maybe it’s the spirit of Halloween that made me dwell in my thoughts about what our society has become. Or maybe it’s because watching the “Saw” series has resulted to my mind being incredibly disturbed at the commentary of how cruel a human being can be to another. I don’t know.

Knife Chair

Our TV shows and movies have become incredibly bloody and twisted. Some of my favorite TV shows like “CSI” or “NCIS” actively show a dissected corpse. Shows like “Dexter” and movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” push the envelope sometimes with all the blood and realism. Do we really need to show every graphic detail of a guy getting slaughtered. It’s painful to see another person in pain, but to watch it as a form of entertainment, regardless if it’s fake–what does that do to us? It’s become, in a way, like a sense of disturbing pornography–we get off of people’s pain, just as long as we’re not the ones getting tortured. I can’t help but think that movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” get serial killers and potential serial killers off. We’ve become a disturbing society. At least, that’s what I thought, until I realize that it was nothing new. In the Middle Ages to even as recent as the glorious days of the Wild Wild West, public executions such as beheadings or hangings were a family event.

Our attention to detail and making things appear real with the blood and guts has made me desensitized to death. Death isn’t a mystery–it’s after death.

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