Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vampire Defanged

Clements tackles the issues surrounding the surplus of vampire characters in entertainment culture. From books to movies to television shows, she shows how the traditional Western concept of an evil vampire has become a cultural icon of romance and power. Although I did not realize it at the time I picked this book, The Vampire Defanged is written from a Christian perspective although I would not consider it a particularly Christian non-fiction book.

Clements speaks of why it is important to examine the role of the vampire in our creative culture. Originally, the vampire was a symbol of pure evil and spiritual warfare. Now the vampire has been secularized and defanged. No longer evil, the vampire is more a representation of mystery and free will. There is no longer any religious connotation to the vampire. This is why crosses and holy water no longer are part of the vampire lore in many books and movies. Sex, power and money have become the means of controlling vampires and often the same means of being controlled by them. Even the threat of consuming blood has all but disappeared. Questions of who is really evil – vampires or humanity in general – come up time and again.

Clements spends five chapters on specific books or television series about Vampires. Then she looks at various other trends and meanings found in other shows and books. The major books/series are: Bram Stroker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer shows, the recent television series True Blood based on Charlene Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books, and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Series.

What does this have to do with my faith? According to Clements, we have lost the rich symbolism of our Christian faith. I agree with this as I see many people wear crosses as pretty jewelry but not as a sign of their faithfulness to Christ. Even what was clearly symbols of evil such as the vampire are now tamed romantic heroes. What is evil these days? Can free will always make a person good? What happened to grace, redemption and sin? Christians need to be careful that we do not secularize everything pertaining to our faith and thus lose the rich symbolism of Christianity as well as have a skewed understanding of evil.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is familiar with and a fan of vampire shows, movies and books.

Happy reading!


Copyright 2011 Amelia G. Sims

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