Vampire Pride

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While I still haven’t watched this week’s True Blood (9 pm EST found me at the laundry mat, trying not to strangle somebody’s kid on a skateboard), the hubby and I did watch Interview With a Vampire. He likes it, but I had never seen it before, so he asked me to add it to the Netflix queue and bump it to the top.

From Brad Pitt looking hella pretty to Kirsten Dunst as the perfect evil-woman-trapped-in-a-little-girl’s-body, it was great. But just ten minutes in, I found myself asking out loud, “Does this seem a little homoerotic to you?” Tom Cruise’s Lestat was biting Pitt’s Louis, and the embrace looked more than a little tender. By the time the vamps hit Paris (and Louis gets extra cozy with Antonio Banderas’ Armand), I realized that the movie was totally a gay romance!

So that got me thinking: this isn’t the first time pop culture has linked vampirism to homosexuality. From Blood and Roses (which focuses on lesbian vampires) to Parlour favorite True Blood (what’s with Eric’s makeover and attachment to Lafayette?), it’s a recurring theme. Vamps have always been portrayed as being sexually open (and talented), and mixing it up seems to go with that openness. Many would argue that all of Anne Rice’s books (including the source material for Interview), the movie Dracula’s Daughter, The Lost Boys and even Twilight all include either overt or covert gay themes. Rice has even been quoted as saying that.

But why? Perhaps, as portrayed in True Blood, vampires represent a portion of the population that has traditionally been seen as social outcasts; whose “deviant” behavior earns them the scorn of religious types, even as they struggle to make sense of their urges? Perhaps, then, we delight in seeing them finally free to live the lives they want to live, and like cheering them on from a safe distance, as bloodletting scenes substitute for those of the backdoor variety?

Or perhaps we’re more Puritanical than we’d like to admit, and we liken the vamp lifestyle not to freedom, but to evil, and revel in paralleling homosexuality and the “dark gift” because it lays plain the sin we dare not name?

I guess it depends on whom you ask, so I’m asking you: Do you think we associate vamps with gays because we revile them, or because we want to cheer them on? Know of any other examples of this connection?

—Kenrya

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  • Sarah

    My impression is that vamps represent society’s outcasts, not specifically gays, just “others”. Choose your own closet — whatever happens to be the verboten du jour.

  • most vamp movies feature a damsel being seduced by a tortured male. there’s usually a female vamp on the side that went into that lifestyle willing but that’s a whole ‘nother story. pardon me for sounding all kinds of geeky but in the monster world, vampires have always been portrayed as either stone cold killers or sensitive, tortured, tragic heroes. sensitivity is usually seen an a female trait, thus the homoerotic slant. werewolves are usually portrayed as more bestial, aggressive… manly. in fact, the whole story behind that mythology is a man trying to find his balance between being an animal & running free and being a man. each monster personafies a human trait that we secretly long for but have to shun because of society so i guess most people are cheering vamps on as they damn them. anyway, i think i’ve said enough. time to put my geek back up, lol.

  • Diane

    It’s about forbidden love – and no different than cheerleader going out with the rough & tough biker in the 50s/60s. If you look at ‘Angel’ or ‘Moonlight’ – these guys all have souls of sorts – and yep, there are those who chose to be the ‘un’dead – and those that had it chosen for them. It’s about the eternal struggle of being good/right and having evil/wrong urges. It’s playing with morality. But because they have such a ‘bad’ side – the bad that may happen always seems to be forgiven because overwhelmingly, they are ‘good.’ And heck, women love it because they can ‘help’ the guy – ya know, like enable????

    It’s us living through them – we may never have the guts to do that something bad, or hang with someone that bad – but we can do it vicariously by enjoying some plot laid out on celluloid or in the pages (not kindle, not kindle) of a good book.

    But the theme is not new, just the characters. Don’t we all want a little ‘Charmed’ life? Don’t we all secretly think of ‘Mists of Avalon’ and ponder ‘what if’ we could change things? Don’t we all want a little ‘Love at First Bite?’

    There’s Bloodrayne, and Vampires (JWoods, MMadsen)… we don’t even like the ‘good guys’ who are hunting these creatures. Geez, and I never thought I was into these.

    I’m not sure I splained this well…

    Sarah, hi!

  • I think you hit the nail on the head! very insightful piece! Loved it!! I never did like Interview with the Vampire… I like Brad Pitt though.