Why teens love to sink their teeth into vampire books, movies

Last Updated: Sun, Jun 13, 2010 10:30 hrs

An English lecturer has examined why teenage vampire books and movies have gripped youngsters' imaginations nowadays and taken the crowd by storm.

Jolene Zigarovich, Cornell visiting lecturer in English, says, "The reasons for the teen vampire craze are multifold. There is a Shakespearean, tragic element, in the sense that not only is young love forbidden in teen vampire films, but also that love and death are conjoined. Sacrificing oneself for love seems to be a perpetual, human theme.

"The addition of the supernatural and the promise of immortal love that the vampire symbolizes, complicates this very human trope. Love goes beyond teen angst and tragedy in these films; it is literally soul wrenching and otherworldly.

"I believe that the common thread is the Gothic literary tropes of the Byronic, anti-hero, sexual threats, and the disruption of gender stereotypes. In these scenarios, there is typically an attractive social other pained by his immortal plight and doomed to prey on innocent, female victims who find him a tragic, irresistible figure.

"The archetypal plots often revolve around male crusaders 'saving' women from the sexual liberation and corruption the vampire invites, and conclude with the reassertion of traditional gender roles through the violent destruction of the threat. Screenwriters like Joss Whedon and novelists like Stephenie Meyer take these scenarios a step further by creating female 'slayers' and inserting rivalries within the supernatural cast, such as that between the vampires and werewolves."

When asked whether the craze might ever recede, she says "Absolutely not. The vampire has persisted in literature since the Romantic era, and in our own technologically driven, postmodern world, the fad will continue to evolve as the teen vampire finds a variety of media outlets. We already see this evolution in video games, manga, social networking sites, and so on. Just as Stoker's 'Dracula' quickly learns to assimilate and navigate London, there will be no lack of cultures or media formats for the vampire fad to adapt to or inspire." (ANI)