I get interview questions about vampires about 2 or 3 times a year. The most recent set of questions came from a grad student in Scotland working on her dissertation.
Q1. In your book, The Changing Vampire of Film and Television, you provide your readers with detailed information on the three cycles of the vampires film career; Malignant, Erotic and sympathetic. Which of these cycles is your own personal favorite, and why?
Tim Kane: I think my favorite movies have little to do the cycle. As child of the 80s I lean toward those films I discovered while still a teen. Films like The Lost Boys and Fright Night. Through my research, I most enjoy rewatching films from the Erotic cycle. Particularly the Hammer films.
Q2. The area I myself am most interested in, is the vampires change from monster to hero. Specifically I am looking into the recent Twilight film, and the TV shows True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, all based on novels. Although they would still appear to be part of the Sympathetic Cycle, I find myself separating them into a separate one of their own. What is your take on the current vampire craze, mainly associated with the mentioned narratives? And also, would you say they are part of a new breed of cycle/vampire?
Tim Kane: I don’t think this is a new shift just yet, although time will tell. Mostly I see this as a continuation of the genre pastiche started in the early 80s. Many of the offspring of Twilight and Vampire Diaries are a combination of the romance genre and the vampire genre. In fact there’s a whole new section in the bookstore for these: paranormal romance. True Blood strikes me as a more mystery/vampire book, as Charlaine Harris was a mystery writer before starting this series.
Q3. In your opinion, was the vampire better suited as a cold, dark predator, or as the warm hearted ‘vegetarian’ heart throb?
Tim Kane: I do think a leading man vampire has a much better change of carrying a novel or film. Instead of a 2D character, he’s been fleshed out, so to speak, in recent years. I do miss the vampire as straight forward villain, which is why I enjoy Damon so much from the Vampire Diaries TV series.
Q4. For no academic reason what so ever, and purely out of interest, what is your favorite vampire movie, and why?
Tim Kane: Fright Night. Tom Holland really did his homework and threw in lots of odes to previous vampire films. Peter Vincent was a combination of the Hammer’s Van Helsing, played by Peter Cushing, and Vincent Price. The plot is fast moving and funny. And the special effects still hold up. The only thing I’d change is that terrible 80s dance sequence in the middle. That, and maybe the clothes. LOL.
Q5 I am looking into the vampire community, what is your take on societies ‘real vampires’?
Tim Kane: For this I take it you mean the vampire posers, or LARPers (Live Action Role Players). Generally they’re annoying, but I get why they do it. As a teen I LARPed a bit, imagining myself as a vampire (The Keifer Sutherland variety). But that was a long time ago.
Q6 From Monster to Lover. The Transformation of the Vampire. Why Are We So Enthralled?: What is our fascination with the vampire? Take Stefan and Damon from Vampire Diaries. Why are we so attracted to these characters? Why do we find ourselves falling for these children of the night? What is the attraction?
Tim Kane: I think it’s the freedom involved. You get to break all the rules of society. Stay up late. Party all night. It also doesn’t hurt that most vampires tend to dress well and look fabulous. No one imagines themselves as a Near Dark vampire.
Q7 Do you believe in vampires? and to what extent?
Tim Kane: Yes, but hewn more closely to the folklore. The true Romanian and Slavic vampires I believe to be real. They’re a far cry from even Stoker’s Dracula. They’re pudgy, hairy, and ruddy in complexion. No fangs. They’re OCD and must count up all the grain of spilled seeds. See the X-Files episode “Bad Blood“. This, for me, is as close as it comes.