Tag Archives: being human

The Lure of the Vampire, or Why We Fantasize about Dead People

Vampire lore owes its popularity to Bram Stoker and the release of Dracula in 1897 at the height of the Victorian Era. At that time there were strict rules for how men and women should act in public, such as women never appearing in public or found alone with someone who wasn’t their father, brother or husband. Women’s clothing was generally quite restrictive with high necklines, bustles (to accentuate the behind) and corsets (to cinch the waistline). Necks and ankles were considered “sexy”, only because they were, for the most part, hidden from view.

In the novel, Dracula creeps into both Lucy and Mina’s rooms whilst they sleep to bite each of them on the neck. This challenged a number of social values including men and women being alone without chaperones and men seeing women in anything other than full dress. Women were expected to restrain their desires, yet the female characters in Dracula welcome his penetration (pun intended). The titillation factor was high as a result, which might account for the popularity of the novel in the long term.

Symbolically, blood and the drawing of it have sensual connotations. Blood signifies a woman’s coming of reproductive age. It is associated with the loss of her virginity and subsequent sexual awakening. It is also spilled with childbirth (Kella), all topics that were not discussed in polite company, yet implicitly referenced in vampire lore.

The main thing that’s changed since Dracula’s heyday on the literary stage is the degree of vampiric humanity. Most vampires are young and attractive. They are driven by their appetite for blood, their lust, and their emotions. Many male vampires (think Aidan from Being Human and Damon from Vampire Diaries) epitomize the leather-clad bad-boy popularized by James Dean in the fifties and which a number of ladies still find appealing.

Modern vampires are tragic figures who, lives cut short and often sired against their will, evoke pathos in their struggle against what they’ve become and what they’ve had to do to survive the ages. They are portrayed as broken brooders in search of the one person on earth who is able to fix them. Though they sometimes mate with their peers, they often desire human companionship. Even then they are forever doomed to play Romeo to a still human Juliet, taking star-crossed lover after star-crossed lover only to watch them grow old, perish and die unless he turns her.

In spite of the myriad books, movies and television shows, vampires are still hot, the object of fear and fantasy for so many of us.

Which vampire or vampire story is your favourite? What was it that attracted you to it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Being Human Send-off


I hate this bittersweet time of year, the time when all my favourite television shows come to a climax and leave me hanging. This week I watched this season’s culminating episode of Being Human, a show about a vampire, a pair of werewolves and a ghost trying to subvert their supernatural sides and…well…be human. This season saw a vampire virus, Aiden siring a son, Sally’s transformation from shredded, limbo-confined ghost to flesh-eating zombie and back to ghost, and Josh’s journey from were to human and back to were. There was a lot of murder and mayhem and sex and a marriage, but no matter the excitement level of each episode (which was stuck in high gear for the duration), it never reached the high of the season finale.

This week’s episode saw Aidan form an unholy alliance with Blake to compel Kat to forget seeing Sally’s rotting corpse in her room; Sally’s return to ghostdom while linked to Donna the Souleater’s spirit; and Josh’s seeming inability to return to (for lack of a better phrase) being human after turning, following being bit by a full-blooded were. To make matters worse, a woman has shown up that looks eerily like Aidan’s long dead wife, there’s a mutated baby vamp on the loose that Aidan suggested to Josh he’d killed, and Werejosh is about to pounce on Humannora.

On the up side, I’m satisfied. This ending promised no fewer cliffhangers than any other episode this season. On the downside, I have to wait the better part of a year before I am able to ride the Being Human roller coaster again. Being Human is one of the better sci-fi shows featuring supes out there today. It lacks the soap of Vampire Diaries, and True Blood’s gratuitous sex and violence. The characters develop every season, and the relationships are believable, which can be attributed to the chemistry of the cast and the skill of the writing. Knowing the British production has been cancelled makes me all the more grateful that this was only the season—and not the series—finale.

To my dear friends Aidan, Josh, Sally and Nora: have a great summer, and try not to eat too many actual humans while on hiatus.

About the Author
Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.

Download PHASE SHIFT for the price of a tweet. Visit http://www.eliseabram.com, click on the button, tweet or Facebook about my novel and download it for FREE!

Graphic from:http://www.bigdamngeeks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/being-human-1.jpg