Constance June 26th, 2006
(This is the first of about 6 installments that will be coming daily, reflecting the thoughts I’ve had around genre, using as a launching platform thisÂ film,Â vampires and Dracula.)
TO START WITH:Â Confession. Vampires per se haven’t much interested me, as creatures or as a genre.Â I have friends who have remained fascinated by vampires their whole lives, from childhood until now, way up in adulthood.Â My first encounter with vampires was the movie Black Sunday, when I was a little girl, at a slumber party, on our local television station’s weekend Horror Theater.Â All around the living room girls screamed, squealed and shrieked and hid their faces in quilts and sleeping bags and pillows.Â I did not understand why.Â The exotic setting with grand ruins, brooding skies, horse drawn coaches did appeal to me, but that was about it.
I did read Bram Stoker’s Dracula the first time I found a copy in my university library, and have re-read it 3 times since.Â I did read Interview With a Vampire, and liked it enormously.Â But it did not hold up to a second reading, and the subsequent volumes were of even less interest (to me, let me stress â€“ obviously a lot of readers feel quite different about that!).
On occasion, at a friend’s home, I tried to watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer, since so many people I like and respect were mad about the show.Â Couldn’t get anywhere with it, I’m so television-challenged (have lived without a television since I left high school).
Then, at the start of summer 2004 my damaged spinal column gave out, trapping me into extremely limited mobility for several weeks (not to mention pain).Â I had a terrific over-large computer monitor for my impaired vision, a high-powered multi-media computer, with dvd player capacity (I now have a much nicer dvd player, but I still watch on monitor).Â I started renting Buffy from what was then my local video store, the lamented Kim’s.Â It took me 45 â€“ 60 minutes to walk the 3 and a half blocks to Kim’s, and then the same amount of time to walk back home.Â It was the only exercise I was allowed to do for many weeks.
I believe Buffy saved my sanity as I slowly crawled backÂ to re-join theÂ mobile.Â I’m up to season four, watching the series for the second time.Â It’s even better, now that I already know what happened, and can see how they did it, as the episodes go past.
It’s interesting too, how much the Buffy writers know of Dracula and Bram Stoker scholarship.Â Did you know the Ascension was an actual historical concept?Â (It had to do with what how the Irish-English landowner aristocracy regarded itself during what is one of the Empire’s ugliest eras).
Finally, IÂ spentÂ the year 2004-2005Â in New Orleans, the last year of that city’s life as she was known.Â My house wasn’t far from Ann Rice’s home.
All of this is to say that I love Buffy, but I’m still not interested in vampires per se;Â however, I have been, and still am,Â a ballet lover, which is how I ran into the film, Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary, that I describe below, and which started me thinking about how different Buffy is from other classic vampire works, and why I don’t love them, while I love this series.Â The film also got me started thinking about what I (let me stress this againÂ â€“ I, not anybody else) think of as “deep genre” vs. ‘genre.’
All hail Joss Whedon.
Just in case you all don’t know,Â Joss Whedon’s Equality NowÂ speech is up on YouTube.