Actions in D.C. Mirror Vampire Craze

Monday, 20 Jul 2009 01:44 PM

By James Hirsen

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If you’ve been able to take a few minutes break from the 12 jobs you now have to work in order to pay your tax increases, you may have noticed that our culture has become obsessed with vampires.

HBO’s “True Blood” is dominating the cable ratings. It’s a phenom that’s reaching ratings levels that “The Sopronos” did in its early seasons.

The movie “Twilight” recently did so spectacularly at the box office it’s now in franchise overdrive.

The CW’s fall television adaptation of “The Vampire Diaries” is the talk of Tinseltown. And pretty much all of the actors in the films and shows are headed for superstardom.

Focus Features is promoting its new vampire movie, “Thirst,” which incidentally opens later this month, by sending the entertainment press a red soft drink concoction that looks like a hospital blood bag. For convenience, the promo folks have included a straw.

The movie is about a priest who turns into a vampire, courtesy of a blood transfusion gone wrong.

Christian books, too, are jumping into the vampire genre, an example being Eric Wilson's “Jerusalem's Undead.” It’s a trilogy, which features creatures that have taken on the undead status because they’ve been infected with the blood of Judas.

There’s also a new book that’s a religious version of “Twilight.” It’s called "Thirsty," and the main vampire, whose name is Markus, is a kind of demon.

Public fascination with vampires has quite a spooky legacy. Traditionally portrayed as dark, sinister, and depraved, vampires have represented the eternal struggle of good vs. evil.

But with the relative morality of today, vampires are not being shown as night-stalking monsters who prey on innocent blood. They’re frequently de-fanged and presented as “complex” characters who actually struggle with ethical issues.

For example, “New Moon,” the “Twilight” sequel that is set for release in the fall, has a lead vampire, Edward, who fights against his bloodthirsty nature in search of an undead dignity. It’s the old concept of the villain with a conscience, the good vampires using their supernatural powers to fight the bad bloodsuckers in their midst.

All this vampire stuff has me thinking about why the fad has taken hold of the Hollywood biz, and our entertainment pleasure, at this particular time in history.

As children we often release our fears through fictional tales and somehow real life threats seem a little less scary.

A lot of frightening things have taken place in our country these past six months. Maybe the vampire fixation is a kind of coping mechanism.

Like with Goldman Sachs, for instance. The firm just reported profits of more than $2 billion. An article about Goldman in a recent issue of Rolling Stone characterized the firm as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Investment banking firms as real life Draculas. Where’s my remote? Is “True Blood” on yet?

Then there are the fangs protruding from our city halls, county seats, and state capitals. Folks are trying to flee to another city, county, and even state only to find the bloodsuckers have multiplied.

Time to catch “Twilight” again.

But the biggest vampire population of all is huddled together in Washington, D.C. Mostly Draculas of the Dem kind, they’re sucking the lifeblood out of us. And they’re doing a number on our spirits as well by demoralizing us with talk of crises, urgencies, and things getting even worse if we don’t heed their words and offer up our necks willingly.

How many days till “The Vampire Diaries” airs?

The lib undead dig up health scare reform to suck the soul out of the free market. G.M. is prevented from going through a normal bankruptcy process and is turned into a corporate zombie for the ghoulish unions to feed on.

Maybe I’ll catch a midnight preview of “Thirst.”

C’mon GOP. And Blue Dogs, too. Save us from death by a thousand bites.

Get the garlic, don your crosses, and bring along a few stakes just in case.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a media analyst, teacher of mass media and entertainment law at Biola University, and professor at Trinity Law School. To visit Newsmax TV Hollywood, go here now.

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