Escaping the Vampire: The Allure of Darkness
- Thursday, November 05, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Escaping the Vampire: Desperate for the Immortal Hero by Kimberly Powers (David C. Cook).
Chapter One: Allure of Darkness
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." (John 8:12 NLT)
I dug through my purse for my little notebook, squinting in the dim theater light. Attempting to eat popcorn, sip Coke, and frantically write in the dark is not something I suggest. But I had to jot down all the thoughts flying through my head about this film that had captured so many hearts.
What could possibly be so appealing about a vampire story? I needed to find out what so many teens were raving about.
As I watched Twilight, I waited tensely for a devious, dark villain to appear. But he never showed up—at least, not in the way I expected. Instead I watched Edward, an intriguingly handsome character, sweep the heroine, Bella, off her feet. Edward was Bella's dashing prince, a prince with a bit of modern dark knight. A noble character. Desperate to love and be loved. Charming, and yet … he was still a vampire.
Does Bella understand that he could kill her at any moment? Or does she even care? In scene after scene, Bella's devotion to Edward deepened. By the movie's end, I found myself intrigued.
As the credits rolled, I gathered my things and dusted popcorn crumbs off my scribbled notes. That's when I noticed dozens of girls still seated, staring at the screen. They wanted more.
"What is behind this tremendous fascination with vampires? It is likely that there is no simple answer to this question, since the vampire embodies many aspects related to the human condition. These include death (and all of its psychological ramifications), immortality, forbidden sexuality, sexual power and surrender, intimacy, alienation, rebellion, violence, and a fascination with the mysterious."
—The Vampire Book1
In the Beginning
Several weeks ago, I walked into Borders and saw a long table piled with books on clearance. Near the top was a 960-page, hugely scary-looking paperback titled The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. An evil-looking fanged vampire stared at me from the front cover, begging me not to pick it up.
As I glanced around at shelf after shelf of books, I noticed many titles with the word vampire in them. Vampire lit is hot. When and how did this frenzy begin? And what is fueling the excitement over this material?
To be honest, my experience with vampires up to this point was limited. My connection to them before that day was the impression I'd gotten as a five-year-old on Halloween: They were fake, scary, and dangerous. As a result, I've steered clear of the fanged creatures my entire life.
Needless to say, I never dreamed I would pick up a book like The Vampire Book. But I was in the middle of researching to write this and thought it would be a good resource. So for one entire day I read, highlighted, and learned more about vampires than I ever wished to know.
Literature Grows Fangs
In April 1819, a short story by John Polidori called "The Vampyre" was published in New Monthly Magazine. It is considered the foundation of modern vampire fiction.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker ushered in the popular era of vampire fiction that continues to this day. Stoker drew heavily upon the accounts of mythical vampires in Transylvania and Romania.
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