So you find yourself in a movie theater watching the third installment of the Twilight series and find yourself totally entranced by the deeply moving love triangle between the story’s perennially co-dependent heroine, the brooding matinee-idol vampire that glitters, and the equally moody werewolf who just can’t keep his shirt on.
Caught up in the layers-upon-layers of deeply philosophical underpinnings of the story, you can’t help but ponder upon life’s most sublime existential questions like what is love? what is true happiness? Am I Team-Edward or Team-Jacob?
Ahhh, the eternal questions to life’s greatest mysteries….
So you wonder where all these thoughts come from… what is it about vampires that capture the rapt attention of people everywhere to the point of irrational devotion?
Hmmm… fictional undead dude that rose from the dead with super-powers beyond that of mortal men… where have I heard that before…
Oh riiiiight… him….
Need more proof that they’re actually quite similar? Then here’s the :
Top 10 List Why Jesus and Vampires are Alike
- Loosely based on historical figures
- The tale gets passed on from generation to generation, each time adding a twist to the original tale until it becomes larger than life.
- Very popular in pop-culture. Every year or so, there’s bound to be another re-hashed movie or best-seller about him. Ranges from the teeny-bopper, “cool” versions popular with younger crowd to the bloodier, more R-rated versions. (and it can’t get any more bloodier than Mel Gibson’s version). Anne Rice even wrote a book about him/them.
- Came back from the grave as an immortal undead with super-powers
- Only reveals his true nature to a select few, preferably those he’s already gotten under his thrall
- Can’t enter uninvited into your house (or heart)
- Allergic to crosses, prefers not to be impaled with or into woody stuff but in the official storyline gets staked anyway.
- Likes to be called “prince”, though one prefers the moniker of “prince of peace”, the other likes the title “prince of darkness”.
- Keeps flying critters as pets which usually come out on special occasions or when specifically summoned. One like doves, the other prefers bats.
- Has his own rabid fan-base. Don’t mess with his fans, they can appear to be all nice and normal, but say one bad thing about their master and they bare their fangsssss…
– O –
Need more food for thought? Even vampire lore in general, when you think about it, sounds awfully close to Christian beliefs, so here’s the follow-up list :
Top 10 List Why Vampire Lore is like Christianity
- Lore states that you too can have eternal life. When you die, the master has the power to bring you back to life
- Your salvation is dependent on you consuming the blood of your benefactor in a special ritual
- You are not automatically born as one, you have to be converted into one via special rites
- There is a strict code of obedience to one’s sire
- Minions like to mind control more hapless victims by using their brainwashing powers
- Usually has warring sub-factions which recruits humans to use as pawns or cannon-fodder
- Hates other supernatural beings (like witches, warlocks, werewolves)
- Despite claims to having a lot of supernatural abilities, nothing really ever gets scientifically proven or recorded.
- They only reveal themselves to the public when an apocalyptic battle is about to occur, otherwise they only leave traces of unproven tales and rumors in history.
- The “good” guys are usually required to practice total and complete abstinence. The “bad” guys are often portrayed as bestial brutes who can’t suppress their instinctive urges, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground either way.
– O –
But there are alternatives to Stephanie Meyer’s bunch of mormon-inspired “vegan” vampires in the small screen. The closest approximation would be the other teeny-bopper favorite The Vampire Diaries. Though it still falls into Cliche No.10 of “good vampire totally abstaining from human blood and the bad vampire sucking everyone in sight” (aka. the PG-13 cutesy metaphor for pre-marital sex), its one redeeming value is that the heroine Elena Gilbert is no wimpy Bella Swan (who in Book 1, upon seeing how rich Edward was, thought of quitting school altogether and living with Edward in a state of co-dependent bliss… obviously, growing up to be a self-successful, independent and liberated woman was never part of Bella’s long term goals).
– O –
But another rung up the vampire band-wagon is HBO’s True Blood (now on its 3rd season!). Based on Charlaine Harris’ series of novels set in the south, the spunky heroine Sookie Stackhouse played by X-Men’s Anna Paquin is a force to be reckoned with. Even though she’s no Buffy, she holds her own against the things that go bump in the night. This is one gritty series that isn’t afraid to dip into controversy.
It deals with diverse, socially-relevant issues like interracial relationships, bigotry, xenophobia, and the like. And unlike the usual vampire stories, the twist here is that instead of protecting people from the monsters, religious people are the ones doing the oppressing. Some see this as an allegory of religious persecution against gay people. There are several hints in the show which mirror this sad reality with clever twists like “God Hates Fangs” (God Hates Fags) and “Coming out of the coffin” (coming out of the closet).
In this world, they have found a viable blood substitute – True Blood, which is the namesake of the show. Vampires have no need to prey on humans and are now trying to get accepted into mainstream society. But people still fear what is different and stoking the flames of paranoia and hatred are the religious zealots who are using scriptures to justify the eradication of all vampires… good or bad.
In a pivotal episode, the protagonists seek an audience with the Queen of the vampires who let them in on a little secret…
“They’re still waiting for the god who’ll come…”
“Does he ever come?”
“Of course not… gods only exist in the minds of men, like money and morality”
– O –
Author’s addendum: Whoops, forgot to acknowledge the help of everyone who pitched in ideas to complete the Top 10 lists, many thanks to Den, Johnster, Mack, and Mr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, hehe… though you guys are all dyed-in-the-wool, church-going Catholics, you never fail to surprise me on how far your sparkling wit can actually break into actual heretical humor… see you all guys in Hell, hehe 🙂