The Corner

Vampire Issues

From a reader:

Jonah,

I’m very concerned about Tony Woodlief’s critique of the “Twilight” books/movie on the front page of NRO today? Now, I know nothing about “Twilight,” and Woodlief’s analysis makes perfect sense. But his bashing of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” cannot go unchecked. I hope to see a Corner discussion of this very soon, as Buffy deserves a vigorous defense. I’m sure KJL will understand.

Here’s the relevant passage:

We have fully reversed the symbolism of Stoker’s vampire, who represented a demonic assault on a virtuous community. Today’s vampire is the hip Other, and the community around him is either bungling, intolerant, or simply a source of comedic relief (as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Lost Boys, and Fright Night, for example). The modern vampire is in touch with his sexuality, but the community suppresses it. The modern vampire is coming to take away your girlfriend, and she kind of likes it. The modern vampire is the guy you wish you had been in high school, or the guy you wish you’d dated in high school, and Meyer has turned that into gold.

All due respect to Woodlief, I am with the reader on this. I think Woodlief is certainly right about Lost Boys and Fright Night and his point would certainly apply to True Blood and other vampiric fare. But that really isn’t what’s going on in Buffy the TV series. Vampires are thoroughly, irredeemably evil in the Buffy series. The exceptions, of course, are Angel (and, later, Spike) who are re-ensouled. Indeed, that might the source of confusion here. Woodlief is listing other movies, so perhaps he’s discussing the Buffy movie. In which case he’s right. But distinctions must be made!

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