Category Archives: horror

“Hi, My Name Is Mary Sue, and I’m a Vampire.”

There’s really no good way for me to ease into this, so I’m just going to come out and say it: Vampires, at least many modern interpretations of vampires, are little more than Mary Sues.

anne-rice-vampiresUntil recently, I wasn’t familiar with the concept of the Mary Sue, even though  it’s fairly common in the world of fanfiction, a corner of fandom that I have never really had any interest in visiting. Anyway, in brief, a Mary Sue is an overly idealized, hackneyed character who functions as a kind of wish-fulfillment for the author or the reader. A Mary Sue can be either male or female and, despite originating in the realm of fanfiction, several canonical characters can be considered Mary Sues (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Men‘s Kitty Pryde have both been classified as Mary Sues in the past). There’s a pretty good explanation of the Mary Sue phenomenon here.

So, where do I get off calling vampires the Mary Sues of film, TV, and literature? Well, I think the prevailing depiction of vampires in fiction leans heavily on the “overly idealized” and “wish-fulfillment”parts of the definition. When I was growing up, vampires were monsters. They were evil, bad. They hung out in castles and abandoned crypts, killing and feeding on people. Then, somewhere along the line, an author by the name of Anne Rice showed up (perhaps you’ve heard of her?), and vampires experienced a thematic shift. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying Rice was the one who created the new, Mary Sue-ish vampires–in fact, I’m pretty sure she isn’t–but, she’s probably the writer who is most associated with the Sue-pires.) No longer were they monsters to be feared, hunted, and killed in the name of humanity. No. Now, they were to be pitied. And, in most cases, fucked. This is where the Mary Sue bit comes in. These new vampires were bad boys…but, bad boys who felt soooooo tortured by what they’ve done, that all they need is the love of the right mortal woman to put them on the path to righteousness and redemption. In the real world–y’know, the place we all live; the place we keep our stuff–guys who spend their time killing people probably don’t give a shit about redemption. No, they’re more likely to beat the crap out of you or throw you down a flight of stairs.

Now, I’m not knocking the whole “bad boy” thing. I get it. Bad boys can be wicked cool. Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, John Wayne: they all played a variation of the bad boy. Wolverine? Jayne Cobb? Logan Echolls? Yeah…they’re all awesome. I also understand because I suffer from the male version of the Bad Boy Fixation–the Crazy Girl Dilemma. River? Parker? Kara? Faith? Yes, please. I understand the draw, the excitement of never knowing what’s going to happen next. The truth is, in real life, both the bad boy and the crazy girl would fuck your shit up as soon as look at you. However, in the world of Mary Sue-pires, the tortured, immortal bad boy is easily tamed by the mortal woman, thereby providing the reader (and, possibly, the writer) with the best of both worlds: they get their bad boy who is dark, mysterious, and brooding, but all of the danger that would come with a real bad boy has been safely removed: “He may be a vampire, but he’ll never hurt me. He feels bad about all the killing and will never do it again.”

In closing, while I may not like the current crop of emo, metrosexual vampires plaguing modern fiction (don’t even get me started on the sparkly ones), that doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t. In fact, I insist. If you like something, by all means enjoy it…drink from the well of entertainment ’til your thirst is slaked. But, I think you should realize (and accept) that the tortured vampire bad boy is complete and total wish-fulfillment. In reality, this guy would be the abusive boyfriend, the rapist, or the wife beater.

Happy Birthday, Poe!

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday.  Or, would be if he were still alive.  Of course, since it’s Poe we’re talking about, maybe he is still alive.

The New York Times has a nifty little slide show to celebrate the occasion.  Not to be outdone, I wanted to post a clip of Poe’s The Raven.  But, which one?  Sure, there’s the awesome Homer Simpson version.  Or the Vincent Price/Peter Lorre version.  In the end, though, I think I picked the right one:

“Even a Man Who is Pure in Heart…”

According to this story in the New York Daily News, 2009 is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf.”  A week or so back, Entertainment Weekly made a similar pronouncement.

I love werewolves.  They are, hands down, my favorite monster.  Need proof?  Well, some of my favorite movies are The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, and Ginger Snaps (bet most of you have no idea what that last one even is).  I’ll even go so far as saying that, as bad as Van Helsing is, it had a pretty sweet looking werewolf:

the_wolfman_from_van_helsing1

So, while I’m happy that 2009 may be “The Year of the Werewolf”–yes, I’m pretty psyched about Benicio Del Toro’s remake of The Wolf Man and hold out hope that 2009 might see Ginger Snaps 4–I’m a little annoyed that most of the projects mentioned in these articles are actually vampire series.  TwilightTrue BloodUnderworld.  All vampire series.  So, even if it is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf”, Hollywood is still forcing our furry brothers to ride the foppish coattails of those pasty-faced bloodsuckers.

And, in this Era of Change, that’s just wrong.

Just Because I Can

I love Halloween.  It’s my favorite time of year.  And, for the last few days, I’ve had these songs stuck in my head.  Now, so do you:

“He Is Coming to Your Little Town!”

In honor of Halloween–and to check out the new poll feature on WordPress–here’s today’s question:

Hasta La Vista, Stan

Stan Winston, the Oscar-winning special effects and make-up artist, has passed away at the age of 62.

Winston is probably best known for his work on the Terminator movies, Predator 1 and 2, and Aliens.  But, his company–Stan Winston Studio–also provided effects for Edward Scissorhands, Jurassic Park, and The Monster Squad.  He recently worked on the armor for Iron Man.

Stan will be missed by lovers of aliens, killer robots, dinosaurs, and werewolves everywhere.

The Big Red Monkey Is Back!

Yahoo has posted the new trailer for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.  Take a gander:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, and this one looks just as good (if not better).  It looks like Mignola and the Powers That Be really let Del Torro make this his movie.