See, this was about 1979, and vampires were still pretty freakin awesome. Animated corpses with diabolical powers clawing their way out of their graves, hell-bent on tearing open some throats? Come on. What’s in that scenario for a 12-year-old boy not to love?
Little did I know that pop culture vampires had already begun their steady decline into wussification (which I’ve previously touched on here).
Anne Rice — a guilty pleasure of mine, I must admit — painted them as a bunch of preening pretty-boys in “Interview With the Vampire,” published three years earlier. In subsequent decades, they would increasingly become the domain of black-lipstick-wearing goth types.
Then the “Twilight” series came along. And in retrospect, we might as well have dubbed ourselves the “Twinkly Happy Prancing Little Unicorn Patrol.”
But vampires aren’t the only folkloric creatures to make a pop culture transformation from scary and dangerous to twee and sparkly. In a previous generation, the same thing happened to fairies.
Yes, fairies. As in Tinker Bell. As in the gay slur referencing the (offensive, ignorant and untrue) stereotype of gay men as a bunch of mincing weaklings. As in the benign, childlike beings that have graced countless pieces of eye-searingly tacky home décor. Those things.
They used to be badass. (more…)