Vampire movies had been out of vogue since the '90s, taking a "dirt nap" until 2008's Twilight regurgitated them back into popular culture in a big way. Now there's a whole host of vampire-themed movies and TV shows to choose from, supplanting this decade's zombie fixation with their pale-skinned supernatural brethren.
Fantasy author and movie producer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust) was recently asked about the importance of vampires in cinema, and he ultimately said that vampire movies should go back to the grave from whence they came. Gaiman gave credence to a few vampire movies, however, which he said helped to broaden the genre. One movie Gaiman cited was Roman Polanski's Dance of the Vampires (1967), which called into question the long-established belief that vampires are afraid of crosses.
Dance of the Vampires has that wonderful moment where Alfie Bass as the Jewish innkeeper has been bitten and transformed by the vampires. He comes back, he creeps into the bedroom, and she holds up the cross, and he says, ''Lady, have you got the wrong vampire." It was one of those occasions where something either crept out of the film and became a joke, or crept out of joke world and crept into the film.
Gaiman said that Lost Boys (1987) depicted vampirism as a state that's not necessarily undesirable, which is similar to the way vampirism is depicted today.
And then in a sort of continuous transmutation, you had Lost Boys, which is essentially vampirism as wish fulfillment — it was really the first time you can absolutely take a pin and point to these great vampire moments on celluloid or on video, or in print, whatever, where people really seemed to have looked around and gone, "What is the downside of this thing again? Hang on, you get to live forever, you get to be absolutely sexually attractive and you don't have zits."
Gaiman explained that vampire movies can never be about gaining power on a grand scale, using 30 Days of Night (2007) as an example.
Even when you get to things like 30 Days of Night, you're looking at people going and invading a little town that's on the edge of nowhere and that nobody's going to notice. It never seems to be about power. It never seems to be about taking over the world. Because the moment it does, it's not vampire fiction anymore.
When it comes to the new wave of vampire fanaticism resulting from the Twilight phenomena, Gaiman couldn't be bothered to comment. Instead, he predicted the imminent demise of the genre.
Vampires go in waves, and it kind of feels like now we're finishing a vampire wave; at the point where they're everywhere. It's probably time to go back underground for another 20 or 25 years.