‘Vampire Diaries’ and Hollywood’s undying love for fang fantasy


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This year marks the 40th anniversary of ‘Let It Bleed,’ the classic Rolling Stones album, and how perfect is that? There has never been more bloodsucking in pop culture that right now, and Gina McIntyre reports in this fun feature on Hollywood’s vamping pursuits. Next we may ask her to consider the link between the resurgence in zombie cinema and the current condition of Keith Richards...

Forget the garlic, the crucifixes, the security of daylight. Nothing is holding the vampires at bay these days. With the wild popularity of movie, TV and literary properties including ‘Twilight’ and HBO’s hit series ‘True Blood,’ the bloodthirsty undead are dominating the pop culture landscape in ways Count Dracula could have never imagined, and the trend seems unlikely to abate any time soon.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon,’ the second film adaptation of the popular series of novels, is set for release in November, with the third installment to follow in June 2010. ‘True Blood,’ drawing some of HBO’s largest audiences since ‘The Sopranos,’ concludes its second season on Sunday. Now, the CW network is taking a stab at the genre with ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ which premieres Thursday.

‘Vampires are the bad boys,’ says series co-creator Kevin Williamson in trying to explain their popularity. ‘They’re dangerous, but they’re also just sexy and they can protect you. You can challenge them. There’s so much there -- epic love, epic romance, epic epic! Everyone wants their life to be epic.’

He admits, though, that he was somewhat skeptical at first, well aware that his new show will be compared to ‘Twilight.’ And there are plenty of similarities: Small-town girl meets good-guy vampire, falls head over heels, conflict ensues.


But Williamson said that it’s where the action goes after that point that he found particularly intriguing, and the creative possibilities ultimately convinced him to say yes. Well, that and the fact that vampire stories are just plain cool.

And they appear to be here to stay, at least through 2012. Tim Burton is crafting a ‘Dark Shadows’ movie starring Johnny Depp that is set for release in 2011, and there’s also a talked-about cinematic reboot of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ aimed for the following year.

On the page, director Guillermo del Toro and his writing partner Chuck Hogan will produce the second and third installments in their vampire series -- the first book the pair co-wrote, ‘The Strain,’ was released earlier this year to solid reviews.

Of course, this is not the first time in recent memory vampires have captivated the pop culture consciousness. In the late 1970s and ‘80s, Anne Rice’s novels sparked a resurgence in the popularity of the creatures, playing up the romantic and sexual aspects of the vampire myth more strongly than writers who had come before.

She created a dashing monster. These days, the vampire is almost always depicted as the handsome leading man (or at least the handsome, conflicted villain)...


-- Gina McIntyre

Here’s a trailer for ‘The Vampire Diaries’...



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CREDITS: Photos, starting from top -- ‘Vampire Diaries’ (The CW); ‘True Blood’ (HBO); ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ (Summit Entertainment) and the cover for ‘The Strain.’