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Film: Vampirism: Is it in the Genes?

By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES August Online 2011


Following the release of “Eclipse”, the third film in the Twilight vampire sage, I learned with interest that teenagers have taken to biting each other. OK, I know critics have called the film “teen romantic slop” but if these films are inspiring a rash of neck lacerations isn’t that something to take seriously?  You see I don’t think this is a new phenomenon, it has occurred before but we just didn’t know what to make of it. It is very probable, you know, that incipient vampirism lurks in our genes, hidden until activated by the onslaught of adolescence much like sulky scowling and stoney-faced glares in the presence of adults (note that “twilight” vampires behave similarly , throwing in now and then heart-rendering look of anguish).

Now I don’t know if any of my five children were vampires or not but maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention during their teen years. The three girls had never expressed much interest in joining the undead as does Kristen Stewart in “Eclipse”.  The boys though were pretty good at the blank-stare routine but generally assigned to me the rank of the undead — well, the favored term was brain-dead which is much the same thing, I suppose. In reminiscing about my own teen years, a ghastly experience, I can tell you, I find a significance, which bears on the vampire gene notion.  It was a fashion for my generation then (as innocent as it was, if not backward compared to today’s bunch) to advertise their social triumphs by displaying hickeys — or concealing them from other than their best friends, as the case may be.  A hickey is clearly the iconic mark of the vampire although we didn’t recognize this at the time.  And doesn’t the now archaic, even laughable, activity called ‘necking’ have its origins in vampirism? Now that the ancient vampire gene has been nicely stirred by the Twilight films these modern devotees have simply brought this sanguinary business out in the open.  And incidentally I’m pretty sure that Robert Pattinson is a vampire reincarnation of Elvis Presley.  There’s a familiar doughy face, poofed hair, sideburns and pouty acting — all this puts to rest, I figure, any lingering questions about Elvis’ whereabouts.