Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Troux Blood -Sucking up the vampire craze

When a young girl named Howard Allen O’Brien walked into the former Grenada Theatre on Baronne Street many years ago, she was immediately transfixed by what she saw on the silver screen. The black and white film, Dracula’s Daughter, starred Gloria Holden as the lead character: “a beautiful, doomed countess who hated herself because she was a vampire and fought her desire for blood. I thought: How glamorous, how tragic, how beautiful.” The woman of mystique changed O’Brien’s life: Today O’Brien is better known as Anne Rice, the bestselling author of Interview with the Vampire, its sequels in “The Vampire Chronicles,” and multiple other cult classics involving the supernatural, a few of which have also been translated onto film (Interview with the Vampire, Exit to Eden and Queen of the Damned).

Now, in the humid summer of 2010, 34 years after Rice published Interview, vampires are experiencing blazing popularity. The current bunch of bloodsuckers is a far cry from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and even Dracula 2000, the campy “sequel” set here 10 years ago.

Our interest in the eternally undead is an addiction, seemingly insatiable. The pre-teen, pre-“Gossip Girl” sector swoons for CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” based on the eponymous book series by L.J. Smith. And older TV viewers are anxiously counting down to June 13, when they’ll suck up to their friends with premium cable to catch the third season of HBO’s “True Blood,” based on the bestselling “Sookie Stackhouse Novels” by Charlaine Harris. On June 30, movie theater revenues will defy the recession during the third installment of the “Twilight” movies, Eclipse, based on the also-bestselling novels by Stephenie Meyer. While Meyer’s characters have been especially embraced by teenage girls, and often their older sisters and mothers (after all, her vampires sparkle when sunlight hits them, a glamorous departure from the popular belief that they crumble to ash), it’s undeniable that this genre is experiencing a new heyday.

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