Some of Flavorpill's favorite pop culture vampires
FP: What are those like?
OP: The dinners? Well, like any large group who knows each other and sees each other once a year, it’s a lot of renewed friendships. Sitting around, talking to each other and drinking. The interesting — or sometimes deadly — part of the evening is when people read papers. Scholarly papers examining some element of the Sherlock Holmes stories. If it’s interesting, well-written, and well-delivered, it’s the highlight of the evening. If it’s dull, people start nodding off.
FP: Why do you think vampires have taken over our culture?
OP: It comes in waves. The same thing happened when Anne Rice wrote Interview With a Vampire. Suddenly vampires were huge again. They remade Dracula, and so on.
There seems to be a character, or a literary element that never really goes away. It ebbs and wains from time to time. Why does it do that? Why is it so enduring? Good question, I’m not always sure I know the answer. I have theories. First of all, I think people like to be scared. But they like to be scared in a safe environment. You get a on a roller coaster, which is scary. They scream, and they’re scared of death, but they laugh. They know they’re safe because the thing’s not going to go off the rails.
It’s the same way with horror movies or horror stories, and certainly vampires are in the top of that area of being terrifying. Why now? Stephenie Meyer. She appealed to an audience who probably hadn’t read a lot of vampire fiction — by which I mean older girls and young women. Why do they like it so much? I have a real theory about this: All of them are in love with the vampire. Why is that? Because he’s cool. He has got good manners. He’s good looking. He’s thoughtful of his girlfriend. Whereas most teenage boys are lame. They’re at the mall with their baseball caps on backwards and they act like idiots. Girls are looking for someone a little more sophisticated and a little cooler.
FP: You’ve read so many vampire stories. Who pops into your mind when you think of the genre now?
OP: I think everybody thinks of Dracula. It’s always Dracula. Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris — they’re all very successful and popular, and you know, in many ways very good, but it’s Dracula. If I were a 17-year-old girl, I don’t think I’d say Dracula. I’d say whatever the vampire’s name is in those Stephenie Meyer books.
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