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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Slate has an article about how movie vampires break the rules. Garlic - useless. Mirrors -- no problem. Crosses -- gornisht helfen.

I have to say, some movies and TV shows I like are quite cavalier with the vamp canon, to the point where we see Angel showing up at Buffy's house steaming a bit because he's run through sunlight with his coat over his head. And in BLADE, vamps can go out in motorcycle leathers and helmets.

It's fun to muck reinterpret the legend. After all, what exactly is the physics of vamps not showing up in mirrors? Makes no sense. And if every vamp bite creates a new vamp (as seems to happen in Stoker), math suggests we'd all be undead by now. So there has to be mutual blood suckage to create a new vamp.

But it's dangerous to muck with canon too much.

If vamps can go out in full sunlight with, say, sunblock on, they're not vampires any more. Why? Because losing sunlight is part of the devil's bargain of being a vamp. You gain indefinite life span, but you can't go out in the sun any more. So it's not the UV rays, dig?

Your reinterpretation should feel more true emotionally than canon. That's why it's a reinterpretation. Not "what would fit my story," but "this is the legend as we know it; but what is the reality behind it?"

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3 Comments:

I really like the take on vampires and mirrors used in Paris Immortal. People don't see vampires in mirrors not because they have no reflection, but because they're so stealthy and quick that people rarely notice them at all unless the vampire chooses to reveal itself.

Or at least that's how I understand it from reading the first book -- the author has said that the rules aren't necessarily the same for all vampires, not because the physics of vampires are inconstant, but because they can overcome some vampire weaknesses if they're powerful enough.

By Blogger Steve, at 6:09 PM  

In my vampire script I explain the differences by pointing out that the canon is just misinformation put out there by vampires to cover up who and what they are. It's just a take on the Dresden books where Stoker's book was put out by the good guys as a how to find and kill vamps.

By Blogger Michael, at 4:25 PM  

And let us not forget about the popular book and film Twilight, in which Vampires can go out in full sunlight. Instead of bursting into flames, their skin sparkles like diamonds. Now that I think about it, there's absolutely no downside to being a vampire in Twilight. I guess that's why it pales in comparison to other contemporary stories. There's no risk.

By Blogger Jesse, at 2:14 PM  

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