Friday, December 10, 2010

Badass Vampires are Still Possible, Right....?

By now everyone has already been acquainted with the way that crap sucky god-awful substantially below par but ridiculously successful megafranchise involving sparkly gay emotionally complex vampires has ruined the reputation of vampires forever.

I grew up with the notion that vampires were evil and badass, (no) thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel. (Remember those, 80s and 90s kids? :D) When those shows were around, vampires kicked butt and were the epitome of dark, brooding, lethal, and most importantly, sexy.

Though the reputation of the vampire as bloodsucking hunks is still (somewhat) upheld by shows like The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and (for those who still remember and cherish) Moonlight, the first thing that comes to mind these days when one mentions 'celluloid vampires' is sparkly Edward and his spineless companion. And that, my good people, is just plain WRONG.

Judging by the number of novels possessing titles of Vampire This and Vampire That and thinly-disguised allegories of vampire-related dangers that are populating the market, people seem to have forgotten what vampires are and how best to represent them, as humanised monsters and not monsterised humans, for vampires are, in essence, monsters. And as always the word 'monsters' should go hand in hand with 'gore' and 'violence'. While I do agree that vampires are somewhat romantic creatures (tragic occurrence that led to transformation into vampires, good looks, special abilities, tortured for not wanting to hurt the ones they love, yadda yadda), these books have not just romanticised them, they have softened and neutered them.

The vampires of 30 Days of Night and Daybreakers are new but close to the original concept of vampires. Of course, the former type are vicious creatures with nothing but blood on their mind and the latter have made themselves masters of humans; in short they have evolved, but they are in essence, close to the original vampires in that they want human blood and they will stop at nothing (or at least go to great lengths) to obtain it.

But let's face it. In short, vampires are old news, and are fast becoming stale.

My concern as an aspiring writer and (well okay, MOSTLY) as someone who fantasises and daydreams a lot, is how to reinvent the vampire and still make it sound fresh.

Reading Seth Grahame-Smith's excellent book, 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' has given me a lot of inspirations to continue my fruitless crusade to come up with my own brand of vampires that are true to their bloodthirsty origins but don't sound cliched. His brand of vampires are plausible, and I also really liked the way he tied them into Abe's and, consequently, America's history. Quite genius, really.

And let's not forget Anne Rice's brand of vampires. They are the shiznit of vampires; charming, impossibly good-looking, seductive, sex-driven bloodsuckers with lots of airs and graces. They're awesome, really, but as much as I admire Ms. Rice, those aren't exactly the vampires that I could empathise with, and doesn't come off as 'overly emotionally complex' (read: angsty over teensy things).

I've got a story and a concept in my head, but it needs loads of tweaking and reconsidering before I dare to put it up. :P But in short, it's quite related to religion; it kind of messes with a man's sense of time (imagine seeing the girl you loved thirty years ago again looking exactly the same as she did when you left her, and you get the picture); and it is going to be badassss (well, as badass as I can make it, at least... XP). Was Elizabeth Bathory badass? Was the original Count Vlad the Impaler badass? Then yes, my vampires will probably be badass, since they are basically a technicicalised extension of those infamous historical figures.

Characters and stories usually don't take off in my brain until I've attached some faces to them, and what could be better than assigning completely unexpected people to become vampires? Here's a few:

Jason Statham? A vampire? Are you friggin' nuts? Well no, because having seen 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', 'Revolver', 'Snatch' and 'Crank' (yes, CRANK), I actually believe that there is a good, comedic actor behind that Transporter facade. And he doesn't have to change accents either, because the story will be set in good ol' Britain. 

But he's not the hero of the story, don't worry. He'll be playing a very good friend, a sidekick of sorts, to our main character.

Eva Green possesses just the right sort of mystic quality with make up and a fresh youthfulness without. She could be an exotic temptress one minute and vulnerable sophistication the next. She's my top choice for heroine. :P

Oh and yes, the main character shall be a female vampire. About time we had one of those, didn't we?

I know what you're thinking. No, I don't have a fetish for bald men at the moment, thank you very much. Mark Strong is one actor I've admired for some time ever since watching 'RocknRolla'. At the moment he's being very much underused as a go-to villain ('Sherlock Holmes', 'Kick-Ass', 'Robin Hood', and 'The Green Lantern' - seriously, Mr. Strong? I know how much you love being a villain, but, really?).

Well this time he's got a place in my made-up, nonexistent story as a patriarch (yes yes, how boring that we should get a vampire dad). But in all seriousness, I've got some good stuff lined up for his character. Well, hopefully good, that is.

I've liked Jeremy Northam as an actor since I've watched 'The Tudors' and chanced upon the 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle 'Emma'. (Coincidentally, Mark Strong played the same character as Mr. Northam in the BBC adaptation of Emma, also released in the same year. Oh, Mr. Knightley. *sighs*). 

This time, Mr. Northam's face will be utilised as the Oxbridge lecturer who never forgot the girl (our dear Ms. Green) who was the 'fire of his loins' three decades ago, even though he's moved on from his restless-youth days and has gotten married with a docile woman with whom he has begotten children. 

And of course, what would a happy family be without its token black sheep? Ed Westwick's pre-dapper Chuck Bass would make a good base, I think, for a young adult who despite the many centuries of walking the earth, still refuses to grow up and thinks that a little sex, drugs, blood and rock and roll won't hurt anyone. But as papa's influential colleagues and elder sister is making the push to quell murders created by rogue (read: evil) vampires that are slowly but surely alerting the police and Interpol and whatever to their presence, dear Ed rebels for good and leaves their side.

Will he ever go back to the light? We shall never know, until I have thought about it. XP

I don't have any plans for Mr. Benedict Cumerbatch, but he was epicly awesome as Sherlock Holmes in the new BBC show, and so suited to be a vampire that I can't help but want to include him, utilise him in the story. He could be one of the rogue vampires, a charismatic, peerless libertine who just wants the world to leave him to his vices and is fed up with the tedious procedures a vampire needs to employ in order to survive in the modern world. He yearns for the old times when a man of considerable wealth could run around without needing to carry an identification card, but at the same time, he totally despises being away from culture and civilisation. Well, I'm afraid that's just about it. Possibly he inspires Ed Westwick's character to join him in temperament and accidentally unleashes a little bloody war between vampires that involves all sorts of gangsters (Russian, Chinese, the like; all lackeys of vampire drug lords and gangster bosses).

Well there you have it, some of the things that have been running around in my head for quite some time now. Do leave a comment if you have any opinions which you would like to express. Sharing is caring, you know! *wink wink nudge nudge is desperate for comments AHEM*

Time for a little nostalgia. The culprit for firing up my vampire obsession when I was much younger. In my opinion the original David Boreanaz-Charisma Carpenter-Glenn Quinn-Alexis Denisof cast was the best that was assembled throughout the show. Erm, yeah, everyone has had their awkward inspiration phases (mine consisted of this, and Charmed), so, yeah. Just watch it. Enjoy.

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