Today’s post is from Peter Topside, author of Preternatural – Book One and Preternatural: Evolution – Book Two.
PETER TOPSIDE is an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by trade. His books are the culmination of his own personal, life-changing journey of triumphing over the PTSD of his traumatic upbringing. He hopes to inspire readers to bravely fight their own battles with anxiety and depression.
You can find Peter Topside at his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Preternatural: Book One can be found on Amazon in e-book and print
Preternatural: Evolution is available for pre-order – releases on April 13th, 2021
Why Have Vampires Gotten So Stale?
I have always loved horror. Everything about it, from books to movies, creepy pictures, Halloween costumes, blood capsules, etc, I am just a mark for anything scary. My favorite time of year is the Fall when I can wander through the freshly stocked aisles of any Party City or Spirit Halloween store and see the new creature designs that are trending. The one thing that never seems to change are the vampire costumes and their various accouterments. You have the black capes, coffins, plastic fangs, white face paint, and just not a lot of creativity. And it’s surprising because vampires, being one of the classic staples of the genre, are just left in the dark like that (Despite liking it.). They’re so diverse and can be put across in such a multitude of ways. So why isn’t there anything new and exciting? Has it all been done? Have these blood-sucking legends become as dusty as their remains in a beam of sunlight?
I recently read Bram Stoker’s Dracula and loved it. It is literally the most vintage piece of vampire-associated horror in existence. The ideas were new in the late 1800s, and despite Stoker taking liberties with the history of Vlad the Impaler, the story was downright terrifying and brilliantly executed. As I read it, I just kept thinking to myself how many parts of this classic tale were still used today. I would be remiss to say that any type of vampire character you have ever read about or seen in the media has at least a handful of similarities with Bram Stoker’s most famous work.
So after millions of books and movies, where vampires are depicted as everything from 80s motorcycle-riding rockers, to sparkling heartthrobs, and even comedic characters, have these wondrous creatures just become overdone (And I don’t mean because they were out past dawn)? In this horror enthusiast’s opinion, the answer is no.
Mainstream media continually projects the standard vampire stories, but there are so many unique tales that embody a great deal of creativity for these monsters. Books like I Am Legend, ‘Salem’s Lot, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter all take the basic concept and mold it into their own stylized worlds. And films like Daybreakers, Stakeland, Let Me In, and yes, even Buffy the Vampire Slayer do the same. While not everyone will agree with me, you have to admit that whether you like the aforementioned examples or not, they were innovative. So there is hope for vampires after all!
The key thing is to look outside the normal modalities for your horror. So instead of reading a Stephen King book, try a newer author and see what their technique is with vampires. And instead of scanning your Amazon firestick movie list for the most popular horror movies, try out some lesser-known indie flicks. There is so much talent and imaginative concepts out there that may never get noticed unless we, as horror fanatics, encourage their works, and other like-minded individuals to keep chipping away at the basic stereotypes. And if that fails, and it truly makes your skin crawl like the sharp nails of Dracula caressing your pulsating carotid artery, you should come up with your own concept. Paint a picture of what you think a vampire should look like, write a short story that is different from the norm, decorate your house to be an updated version of Dracula’s castle for Halloween, or do something else creative. Even if you think it’s useless and will never go anywhere, you never know who or what will be the next big thing in the horror genre. As we’ve all seen, it just takes one post on one social media page and it can make someone or something a superstar all around the world. Vampires are a constantly evolving entity and need to be nourished with blood, gore, and the darkest of creative thoughts.
Like with many types of classic tale or character, there will always be periods where things may seem extremely repetitive and stale. Just like you expect Halloween to arrive every October, it loses its pizzazz after so many years. But with some of the up-and-coming authors and filmmakers that I’ve encountered, I am so optimistic that vampires will remain steadfast in their immortal journeys into our homes. And they will haunt us in ways that we may have never imagined, as we give the proper attention to exceptional, ‘out of the box’ concepts. So much like fearing sharks in the water, our trepidation of having our blood drained by undead, pale, vicious abominations every time the sun sets, is something we will all take to the grave.
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.
The examples Peter Topside supplies can be characterized as novel situations in which the vampire’s conflict is connected to ours. Dracula ties vampires into cosmic good and evil, ‘Salem’s Lot ties vampiric corruption to a small town’s corruption.