I was reading the latest issue of my favorite periodical, Bitch Magazine, when I started having a heated discussion in my head because of one of the articles. (Shameless plug: you should check them out online www.bitchmagazine.org or better yet, subscribe to Bitch Mag!) In a short piece in the front of the magazine, the author asks “Is the war between vampires and werewolves about class?” She brings up recent examples from television and movies and I started thinking up more examples. Being a life-long fan of science fiction and someone who knows what Syfy refers to, I know a lot about this subject. These are some of my thoughts from that heated discussion in my head.
Yes, unconditionally and irrevocably yes, it is a class war.
As someone who grew up fascinated with vampires, true scary violent, ridiculously beautiful and generally selfish creatures, I think Twilight’s vampires are defanged and the werewolves are oversized dogs. The Twilight vamps may just give you a hickey. If that’s the case, go right ahead, Edward. I like a little pain.
All through high school and maybe my first two years of college I was never without an Anne Rice paperback, whether it was next to my bed or in my bag, I had to have one. I was obsessed with her vampires and still hold them to high regard.
Why are there never any old vampires, you ask? Well there are but they were turned during their youth so they’ll never age like we do and get wrinkly and gray. The class thing wasn’t really illustrated with werewolves in the Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles because there were none. But the rest of what you were describing still held true. The elite thing was explained by Rice when she wrote that the original vampires on Earth were Egyptian Pharaohs – can you get more elite than that?
That’s how humans first were turned into vampires and in the Rice books the turner and the one who is turned are intimately linked and likely to spend many years together. It was never explicitly written but “better make ‘em rich and gorgeous” is the idea I got. They physical beauty wasn’t just for the vampires to enjoy looking at themselves, though clearly they did, but it was how they got their victims. It’s sad but true and something that we may try to rise above, but people generally trust and are nice to pretty people.
Also, the original literary vampire, Dracula, is said to have been based on Lord Byron who was kind of a celebrity of his day. In the book The Monsters: Mary Shelly & the Curse of Frankenstein the authors talk about that uncommonly cold summer in Europe – the ashcloud of 1816 - when a group of friends got together to share ghost stories in Geneva. In attendance were Mary Wollstonecraft Goodwin before she became Mary Shelly and the author of the first ever vampire novel (which directly influenced Bram Stoker’s Dracula) a man named Polidori who worked for Lord Byron.
It was Lord Byron himself who played host. He was said to have been very beautiful and he knew it. He dieted and curled his wavy brown hair and worked at keeping his complexion pale. It was also said that he knew how to work a crowd, gain connections and liked to use people. Is this not what a vampire does? A vampire lures you with his beauty and wines and dines you while searching for useful information and your weakness. Really, who’s going to be entranced by a shmuck wearing an ill-fitting suit with bad grammar and follow him to his mother’s basement? So not sexy.
The Vampire v. Werewolves war was brilliantly depicted in the Kate Beckinsale movie series Underworld. We’ve got the elite and ridiculously beautiful vampires and the rough and tumble werewolves called lycans. They’re more Boflex loving than Beethoven loving. It’s a timeless works-every-time sort of love story that reaches outside of the established classes and therefore must be destroyed by the establishment. A vampire, the daughter of the head vamp, falls in love with and oh shit, has sex with a lycan - they are the Daylight Protectors of the vampire clan. But that happy little arrangement with the Daylight Protectors ends when their love is “brought to light” and the girl and her unborn abomination baby are killed in front of her lycan lover. THAT is what begins the war between the previously established classes.
Why should the werewolves always be of the meat-head variety? Well, they are part wolf which means they are part animal and everyone knows it’s an insult to call someone an animal and that Western Civilization has always seen itself as superior to animals. So, there you go.