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?


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