This article analyses the role of blood in the American series True Blood. It opens with a reassessment of sexual readings of vampires that complements previous work on their metaphorical significance for Queer Studies and focuses on the complex AIDS burger sequence,in Season One. The article then explores how artificial blood, ‘TruBlood’, may function as a radical attack on vampires which mirrors how commodity culture has adapted to suit the needs of marginal communities. Lastly, the article turns to non-genetic blood ties to show how ‘true’,blood (i.e. personal or individual) is the only substance that actually unites creatures in the series.
Vancouver is not necessarily the first topic that springs to mind when discussing the production of vampire television. In an attempt to remedy this, the vampire television series Blood Ties (2007) is considered in relation to its Canadian production context. I explore the series political economy within an international framework (its production and distribution in Canada and its scheduling/exhibition and reception in the UK), suggesting that the Canadian qualities of the series are often wilfully ignored in distribution and reception. The ultimate failure of the series (running for only one season) is then located in relationship to the recent explosion of vampire fiction on domestic screens, where I suggest that Blood Ties inspires a form of Gothic television distinct from the American vampire series True Blood (2008-).
Post-9/11 Horror and the Gothic Clash of Civilisations
Kevin J. Wetmore
Twentieth century cinema involving monster conflict featured solitary monsters in combat (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, for example). The writing of Anne Rice and the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Games introduced the idea of Gothic communities and civilisations in conflict. It was not until after the terror attacks of 11 September that the idea of a clash of civilisations between supernatural societies fully emerged into the mainstream of popular culture. This essay explores the construction of a clash of civilisations between supernatural communities as a form of using the Gothic as a metaphor for contemporary terrorism in film and television series such as Underworld, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Inevitably, it is the lycanthropes that are the disempowered and disenfranchised society and are alternately exploited by and rebel against the dominant vampire civilisation grown decadent and on the verge of collapse. Post-9/11 Gothic posits a world in which vampire society is the new normal, and werewolves represent a hidden danger within. Lycanthropes must be controlled, profiled and/or fought and defeated. Through close readings of the cinematic and televisual texts, I explore the vampire/werewolf clash as metaphor and metonym for the war on terror.
This article explores the trend in contemporary vampire media to highlight racially-charged issues, demonstrating a consciousness of the way the vampire has been used in conjunction with racial stigmatisation. While the traditional figure of the vampire spoke strongly to late nineteenth-,and early twentieth-century white American fears of miscegenation, I argue that some contemporary vampire narratives, such as Blade (1998), Underworld (2003), and True Blood (2008-), rewrite the figure in order to question and/or undo,the link between ‘monstrosity’ and racial otherness. Central to this task is not only the repositioning and characterisation of the vampire, but also — considering that the female body was once perceived as the locus for racial purity — that of the heroine.
Many vampires in popular fiction have developed a conscience that mitigates their monstrosity and makes them objects of human love and admiration. With the advent of the reformed vampire, Western culture has, perhaps, lost an icon of true horror. As the vampire has become increasingly humanized and sympathetic, the zombie has stepped up to take its place. Zombies remind us that we will soon be decomposing flesh; the zombie horde embodies fear of loss of self and individuality; zombies expose the dark side of mass consumer culture; and zombies highlight the fragility of human identity in an advanced, globalised society.
In an Expression of the
figure’s mutability, Nina Auerbach writes that ‘every age
embraces the vampire it needs’. 1 The twenty-first-century vampire is a
substantially different creature from the grotesque monsters who lurk in
the shadows of narratives from the mid-nineteenth century to the middle
of the twentieth century. The HBO television series TrueBlood
Brutishness, discrimination and the lower-class wolf-man from The Wolf Man to True Blood
era to the new millennium. Finally, two more recent depictions, in the Twilight series and in TrueBlood , will further illustrate the werewolf's decline as not only Other but a lower-class, unwanted, unredeemable Other.
The werewolf is, more often than not, not a pampered pooch but a junkyard dog. Granted, werewolves are hairy killers, but they are victims as well, attacked only to go on to attack, abused only to abuse. Nevertheless, their link to the canine, their loud howling, their smooth-to-shaggy evolution and their messiness in a kill
have established the ‘ground rules’ for how vampires act, Varney can take credit for one of the more curious recurring tropes of vampire narrative: vampire suicide. From Rymer’s un-dead omnibus, considered the first full-length work of vampire fiction, to modern vampire narratives including films such as Blacula (William Crain, 1972), Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009) and Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2014); television programs such as TrueBlood (based on the Southern Vampire Mystery series by author Charlaine Harris) and Angel (the Buffy the Vampire
younger brother. 7
The demon next door:
regionalism and the modern vampire
Zach: I know that you can’t change what you are.
But you don’t belong here anymore.
Stefan: Where do I belong? 8
Like Anne Rice’s Vampire
Chronicles , HBO’s TrueBlood and Charlaine
Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels (on which TrueBlood was
Twilight and The Vampire Diaries ( 2009 –); 1 on
artificial blood substitutes, as in Charlaine Harris’s Southern
Vampire Mysteries (2001–) and their televisual adaptation TrueBlood ( 2009 –); or simply by going
‘cold turkey’ and not drinking at all, as in the BBC TV
series Being Human ( 2009 –). While
scintillating skin may be unique to Meyer’s vampires – her