Monday, 11 March 2013

Using Vampires to Mirror Societies Fears: Conclusion

In conclusion I would say that that the four films I have looked at show a clear development of how the vampire myth has become a representation of society’s fears and taboos. From the classical vampire figure of Dracula representing the tragic, lone figure endlessly searching for peace, we then have a distinct change when looking at the other film texts. While various theorists have argued that Bram Stoker’s Dracula puts across more than just this idea of a tragic Romantic figure I just cannot see any way whereby these concerns outweigh the film’s love story narrative. Simply, the character of Dracula is too easy to identify with, too easy to feel sorry for and sympathise with for it to represent any fear in society.
Furthermore, the very notion that Dracula must represent a fear in society must set up, in some respects at least, the idea that the audience will be repelled or afraid of Dracula himself and this simply does not happen anywhere within the text. The main reason we are neither afraid of nor repelled by Dracula is because everything he does is validated through his search for true love, the most righteous cause to exist, especially in the realm of cinema. Therefore, anybody doing anything at all in the name of real true love will always escape any idea that what he or she is doing is wrong or evil in any way. However hard you look, and no matter how cynical you are it would be near impossible to describe the idea of true love as evil.

The Lost Boys shows how the vampire can be manipulated to fit in with the society of the time in order to sell itself to an audience. We can clearly see a step away from the idea of the lone figure, as we are now presented with a gang. Through the characters and events in the film we then perceive a number of things occurring. First of all we are presented with a dangerous gang, thus we are given a challenge to the dominant order of society. However, with the ideas of true love removed from the text, the audience will not be able to justify siding with the vampire gang for very long. This is because any acts carried out by the gang are not justified in any way; they just do it because they want to.

This representation of the vampire through the gang allows what I believe is the dominant message of the film to come through. The audience, like the character Michael in the text, is allowed at first to consider the idea of rebelling and moving over to the vampire lifestyle.  However, like Michael, the audience is likely to realise that the vampire gang’s life style is just too extreme and unacceptable to warrant moving away from the dominant ideology of forming the family unit. Instead it is likely to enforce an idea of a close escape from falling into danger, and so we must be careful not to do this in our own lives, rather than enforcing the idea that we should consider the vampire gang’s lifestyle as a realistic alternative to the dominant ideological view. 

Blade then acts not only to remove all elements of romance and love from the narrative but also the identity of ‘the vampire’ as well. What we are presented with is the complete marginalization of the vampire through the ideas of science. The text is putting across the message that in a technologically advanced society, there is simply no room for the mythological and mysterious vampire to exist. Sooner or later science will find a way to explain any mystery away and once this has occurred any attraction towards the vampire lifestyle is removed. We are shown  a ‘defective’ rather that an ‘alternative’ lifestyle neither as something dangerous nor appealing.

Blade completely reverses any notions of the vampire that we are shown in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. From being a lone, highly Romanticised, love driven figure, the vampire idea has developed into a many part, faceless parasite. The Tragic figure would not be able to raise the same level of fear around issues in society as a large, seemingly incredibly evil mass that just grows and grows like a plague. The message coming from the film is to embrace technology and science, another complete move away from the Romantic ideals of the character of Dracula.

However, Cyber City Oedo 808:The Vampire Case acts as a ray of light for the tragic vampire figure. What we are shown is a highly developed technological society that has simply gone too far, too quickly, without thinking about the consequences of its actions. What we see is that while Blade’s scientific premise is eager to completely destroy the vampire, if you follow the idea of progressing technology through, it simply ends up creating another form of vampire. Therefore, you could say that no matter what happens the tragic Dracula-like figure will always exist. The form may be changed but in the end something will always be created to replace it. Simply put, it is impossible to kill a vampire when they are searching for peace and their motivation is love because ‘true love never dies’.


Blade (Norrington, US, 1998)

Bram Stokers Dracula (Ford Coppola, US, 1993)

Cyber City Oedo 808:The vampire case (Kawajiri, Japan, 1990)

Hunger, The (Scott, UK, 1993)

Lost Boys, The (Schumacher, US, 1987)


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Stoker, Bram (Dracula, Penguin, first published in 1897)

Storey, John (An Introductory Guide to Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, Hemel Hempstead, UK 1993)

Storey, John (Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, A Reader, Hemel Hempstead, UK, 1994)

Twitchell, James (Dreadful Pleasures, Oxford, Oxford University Press, UK, 1985)

Wexham, Virginia Wright (Creating the couple, Love, Marriage and Hollywood performance, Princeton, Princeton University press 1993)


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