dracula

Vampires And Zombies – Marriage

Vampire bride

We know what Frank Sinatra sang. Marriage and love go together like a horse and carriage.   Marriage is the alternative to mere appetite. Vampires, preoccupied with their appetites, are compelled to feed. They have a hunger that makes them drain the blood from each other. Humans restrict themselves to vegetables and other breeds of animal.   Zombies resemble humans before Christianity. Badly dressed and with terrible breath, the zombies offer a not especially tempting pagan orgy.

Marriage assumes a specific love for someone else that will not be shared although it extends love to children and parents.   But that is the extent of love for the married. The rest, which is for those outside the family, is affection, compassion, responsibility and courtesy.

Vampires are inspired by prey. Nobody believes Dracula loved Mina. She was important to Dracula because she was essential to his needs. She would satiate hunger not yearning. In his film of the Stoker novel, Coppola reinvents Dracula as someone like himself, the romantic outsider who needs the woman that will connect his history and destiny.   The connection between history and destiny defines marriage between humans quite well. Of course, the appetites do not disappear, and if you are Frank Sinatra or Francis Ford Coppola you will be able to indulge them. This can mean seeking others outside the sanctity of the home or sometimes being crushed inside the home. Neither option is impressive. Initially, Frank Sinatra may have wanted to be faithful to beautiful Ava Gardner but once he realised he had met his match the temptation of appetites was irresistible. Coppola presented a transcendental destiny for Dracula and Mina, emotional yearning satisfied and exclusive remote bonding. But, like Sinatra, Coppola always had options. He wanted Lucy to be played in his film by his favourite porn star who was his lover.

Vampires suffer immortality because they do not have a destiny. They have appetites and these, like the appetites of Coppola and Sinatra, will inevitably become jaded and will need restoring through novelty.   Despite what capitalists say about the virtue of change, novelty, unlike growth, denies destiny. The vampire will change because that is what his dull appetites, unlike commitment and ritual, will demand. Stoker was a conservative writer, an Irish gentleman and chauvinist who insisted woman should be honoured, and rescued, with love and that the best families do not forget compassion, responsibility and courtesy. For this to prevail, not only will effort be required from the married couple but help. The Circle of Light consisted of the married couple and the supportive neighbours who soon realised they needed to procure an expert.

Destiny has a price that cannot be predicted which is why the Circle of Light has a fatal casualty. In the Coppola film, the ending suggests that destiny and appetite are compatible. Stoker said definitely no to the three vamps in the castle and Coppola said well all right, then. The inevitable happened for want it all Coppola, he forfeited destiny and settled for success.

 

Howard Jackson has had three books published by Red Rattle Books. He has written three stories for Zombie Bites, the next book to be published by Red Rattle Books. His own collection of horror stories Nightmares Ahead will be published by Red Rattle Books in 2015. If you want to read more horror click http://bit.ly/1d4L1tz

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Vampires and Zombies – The Group

dracula-1931

Crew Of Light is not mentioned in DRACULA by Bram Stoker.  The phrase was used by critic, Christopher Craft, in his study, KISS ME WITH THOSE RED LIPS.   It fits so perfectly, academics and critics have attributed the title to Stoker.  In Hammer movies, Van Helsing is alone and defiant but only because it suited the personality of the haunted actor.  Take on vampires alone and you will become a vampire.  The same happens with zombies.  Want to know why friends are important?  Watch Buffy.  Even before the vampires arrive the neighbourhood sucks.  Afterwards, everyone either becomes sensitive and heroic or a vampire.   Americans do not sacrifice individualism easily, so the hero has remote moments and needs personal resolve but the group is important.  Buffy has friends and worries if they can stay loyal to someone with superior powers.  In the Crew Of Light relationships are simpler.  The aristocrats are simply fine chaps.  Stoker insists that group approval and integration will make men of them all including his new woman, Mina.  When their antagonist, Dracula, is killed, the members of the group return to society and their families.   Mina abandons being a new woman and breeds.

Perhaps fighting vampires and zombies is what good men and women do when there are no wars to occupy the energetic.   Enemies and comrades, it is either one or the other.   The First World War arrived after the publication of DRACULA.  The success of the book was already fading.  Vampires became a cultural force after movies arrived, and after the War had ended.  PARADE’S END is the best British First World War novel.  The author, Ford Madox Ford, understood well the destructive capability of the group.   We blame individual villains like Stalin and Hitler but war and genocide are invariably decided by a committee. Ford argued that the group always provides identity, helps us distinguish comrades from enemies, which was why it was essential to fight a war.  But he also identified a tragedy other than carnage.  If the group provides identity, it dissipates authenticity and, worse again, it allows those in the group, because of their superior identity, to castigate the authentic and decent.  Christopher Tietjens is the authentic hero of PARADE’S END.  Unable to identify with the group he has nothing but the principles that are his aristocratic inheritance.  He is a gentleman and something that all the hearty comrades of battle are not.  There may be wisdom in the crowd, although the recent record of neo-conservatism suggests not, but groups are dangerous.  They are required to prevail against vampires and zombies but the damage to the decent is high.  Neither do those who need the group escape free of harm.  In DRACULA, Jonathan insists that his wife Mina is deliriously happy in her new role as mother and subservient wife.  But few readers are convinced.  Most battles eventually end, and the group perishes. Tietjens will not speak to you ever again.  Zombies have to be slaughtered but we should be wary.

 

Howard Jackson is currently working on ZOMBIE BITES, which is the sequel anthology to DRACULA’S MIDNIGHT SNACKS.

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