Saturday, December 29, 2007

Vampires

This is another one of those things I've meant to write for quite some time. It's an exploration of an insight that came to me during a vampire movie marathon. The basic insight is that vampires, as popularly portrayed, are a perfect mascot or emblem of the culture of death.

Consider their traditional weaknesses: garlic, sunlight, running water, holy water, the crucifix, and the Eucharist. These things have in common that they are all sources of life. Running water and sunlight sustain our physical life. It's clearly impossible to live without them, and yet vampires must. The Crucifiction and the Eucharist give us our spiritual life. The basis for ignoring or denying that things of God have any power over vampires is clearly denying that God exists or has power. That's a fool's stance, but clearly very popular these days.

Vampires do not have any life of their own. They must steal it from others in order to sustain themselves, much like abortionists and embryonic stem cell researchers.

Vampires typically have great wealth and power, usually are able to kill, command, or have sex with anyone they want, and rarely suffer any consequences for their actions. That's the basis of their appeal, of course -- power from the self. Given how cut off from life itself vampires are, and how they have no reason to exist beyond their own pleasure, I would actually be surprised if they were not given such powerful sexual overtones in our contraceptive society. And of course, the power to kill whoever you want is the true appeal of eugenics and euthanasia.

I didn't understand how integral to the vampire mythology their lack of reflection was until I saw the very opening of Dracula 2000 (or possibly one of its sequels). One of the first things on screen is a quote from a medieval cardinal claiming that the reason that vampires have no reflections is that God wouldn't tolerate something so evil having a reflection. The reason early screen vampires recoiled from mirrors is that it makes evident to them their own evil. I think it'd be pretty cool if some film showed a vampire seeing his true self, with all its evil and corruption, in a mirror. But of course this sort of thing is far too subtle for most content creators these days.

I think that it will be reasonable to use the popularity of vampires as an indicator of the pervasiveness of the culture of death for the forseeable future.

6 comments:

Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Very interesting. Out of curiousity, is there any significance in garlic that you know of?

Lola said...

One thing that comes to mind that I found facinating in the classic Kieffer movie the Lost Boys:

Remember Vampires can only enter if invited. (paraphrase)

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

I didn't find any significance to garlic in the Christian tradition, but a Wikipedia article said that a number of pagan cultures revered both garlic and onions as sources of life.

As for the invitation requirement, I think the writers of The Lost Boys got that from Fright Night, and I have no idea where they got it.

Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Tag!

Bill Donaghy said...

Great post Arkanabar! Thanks for sharing! I love your idea of the mirror showing the reality of the soul. Spielberg would be proud!

ChristinaKing.com said...

Wonderful insights, I too enjoy watching movies and try to view through the catholic lens. I have read these books (Twilight) so that I can do exactly what you have just done, then I communicate those truths to my own kids, since I know that most likely friends are not getting a "Catholic Perspective".
Wonderful, wonderful..you are on to something.