Now I usually defecate at least once a day, sometimes twice depending on my meal intake, and when I do, I do what anyone else would given the circumstances – I read. Usually with any well-equipped British household there’s no shortage of reading material in the lavatory. From discarded magazines to spine-broken novels, the bathroom floor tiles of Casa del MacTingz is where paperbacks go to die. One such item has taken residence within my modest bathroom for some time now…
Living in harmony amongst this month’s Sky Magazines, this particular book has been a source of constant confusion for my already challenged mind. Every time I find myself sat atop the throne, I lift this humble slab of literature and begin to carelessly flick through the pages, skimming randomly and commencing my perusal of the content. Here I’m presented with my dilemma, for the subject matter within this novel is so lucid and thin, I don’t know whether to continue reading, or to use it as a substitute for my toilet roll. The item in question – Vampire Diaries: The Return – Shadow Souls.
Don’t be fooled by the culturally significant and elongated title. This book is not for you. This book is for young teenage girls. That’s the opinion I generate from scanning the content anyway. However this genre is rapidly expanding its audience. Vampires are back, and they’re casting their nets far and wide, snagging every one from little girls to middle-aged women. Even hopelessly metrosexual men find themselves ensnared within the bloodthirsty fabric of this incomprehensibly popular genre.
Then, once your senses have been numbed, like the merciless vampires of old, the vacuous coven of nothing within rapes your body and mind until you submit, and come to the stark realisation that you must own everything the genre has ever put out. Alas, you’re aboard the bandwagon.
Vampires used to be nothing more than a sub-genre of horror, along with creature features like Creature from the Black Lagoon, and haunted house flicks like Rose Red. But suddenly it seems the vampire sub-genre has outgrown its prefix and swollen in to a legitimate genre in its own right.
With this exponential growth comes more branches of this tall and dead tree. Vampire Romance is currently the strongest. A branch so strong that all the hormonal teenage girls in the western hemisphere could happily swing from it for a thousand years. Everyone has an appetite for vamps.
That’s exactly my problem. With a clear target audience it’s obvious who the piece is meant to be read by. With books like Vampire Diaries, Twilight and Vampire Academy it’s clear that the core demographic is teenage females.
However the stories continuously pull in adult readers, especially given the recent film and television tie-ins. Were the fans of these series to actually study their pieces, I probably wouldn’t be mindlessly typing this article. But then who am I to judge? Perhaps they do. But I can’t help but suspect that when a fan reads a book such as these, they’re not really reading it. They simply enter into a trance-like state of current chic, submitting to popular culture.
The narrative structures of these stories scarcely differs. Vampire meets girl. Vampire stalks girl. Girl falls in love with vampire. Girl gets bitten. Eternal conflict. Blah. Blah. Blah. Essentially, contained within these within these literary lies are juvenile plots dressed up with delicate 21st century issues like abstinence, adultery, love and lust. Because of the issues addressed within this juvenile fiction, older readers are given sufficient reason to justify their purchase.
They think because the topics covered are serious, it means they can proudly display their front covers amongst members of the public, presenting their sophistication to the world. It does not. I wouldn’t be seen reading Mr. Worry in the public domain, despite it being a serious tale of specialist phobias and scaremongering within 21st century media. Nor would I be seen reading Mr. Greedy, despite its significance as a damning indictment of corporate greed and economic indulgence.
I wouldn’t be so against this new wave of pointy-toothed prehistoric sex pests had they managed to preserve some of the integrity of literatures finest mythical monsters. But they simply haven’t.
Vampires used to be a sexual mixture of infinitely style and staggering terror. But the visceral threat left behind by a legacy of shrivelled and moisture-less corpses has been all but pissed away thanks to all this insipid emotion.
I blame the alarming levels of oestrogen in the water. Suddenly one of the most revered mythical creatures, a creature so badass it’s sucked more blood and had more sex than centuries worth of stag weekends in Amsterdam, has been whittled down to nothing more than an acne-riddled adolescent with 4.5 GCSEs.
Gone are the suave sophisticated vampires of old. They’re sadly extinct and have been replaced by hormonal pretenders, not fit to be members of the same species as my old mates – Drac, Vlad, Varney and the Lost Boys. Shit, even Count von Count’s got more swagger than Edward Cullen.
Article first published as Pointy-Toothed Ancient Sex Pests Tecchnorati.