Vampires and the Fall

dracula-bela-lugosiVampires seem to be more popular than ever. Underworld, Twilight and True Blood are the newest expressions of the vampire story, and at this year’s Comic Con it was announced that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will be reincarnating Dark Shadows in movie form after the Alice in Wonderland project is complete.

The vampire is a great Gothic figure, if we consider Gothic literature as that which gives us stark images and symbols of fallen humanity. Having lost immortality in the Fall, the vampire is a picture of humanity seeking deathlessness by taking the blood of others – a stark contrast to the gospel, wherein Christ gave us deathlessness by letting others take his own blood.

Looking at it this way, stories of vampires who refrain from taking human life show a fallen humanity that has evil desires (to kill and drink the blood of others) and has had evil done to them (being bitten by a vampire) striving for immortality not at the expense of others. In a strange sense, the vampire who will not kill human life to stay alive is a picture of the Christian life, battling with evil desires, previously captive to evil, now attempting to live out a freedom from that evil. This is something of George MacDonald’s concept of “making righteous use of the element of horror” (Preface to Letters from Hell, 1885).

Three links might be of interest to the fan of vampires (via The Kibitzer):

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: Why Vampires Never Die. This article takes a shot at explaining out love for the creepy immortals.

The current vampire pandemic serves to remind us that we have no true jurisdiction over our bodies, our climate or our very souls. Monsters will always provide the possibility of mystery in our mundane “reality show” lives, hinting at a larger spiritual world; for if there are demons in our midst, there surely must be angels lurking nearby as well. In the vampire we find Eros and Thanatos fused together in archetypal embrace, spiraling through the ages, undying.

Neil Gaiman explains that we’ve become over-saturated with them already, and it’s time for them to take a rest in the coffin for about 25 years.

And here’s a list of vampire novels.