Vampires: Myth vs Legend vs Science Fiction
Perhaps the idea about vampires came from the historical figure of prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476) from Transylvania in Romania of which the first successful novel of Bram Stoker about a vampire was modeled from albeit the real prince Vlad Tepes was not a blood-sucking creature but rather a national hero. Incidentally, Vlad Tepes was also known as Vlad Dracula or roughly translated as “Son of the dragon” whose father was a member of the Order of the Dragon which is a knightly order who defended the land from the Ottoman Turks (livescience.com, 2012). From this first narrative of Stoker about vampire/Vlad Dracula sprouted the myths, legends about a vampire that they now appear from science fiction to popular culture.
The standard lore of the vampires is that they feed on the blood of their victims and that they cannot survive sunlight. They are also immortals that have extraordinary strength and speed ([email protected], nd). This was the first characterization of Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula (1897) which was later adapted into a film in 1992 and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In this narrative, Count Dracula’s character was portrayed as a blood-sucking avenging creature of evil that renounced God to give justice to his wife Elisabeta (Coppola, 1992). There, he also possessed extra ordinary strength and speed but will die in with daylight (being a creature of evil) and cannot cast reflection upon the mirror.
These characteristics of Vlad Dracula/vampire however expanded as the legend of vampires become popular. But of course, we know that these characteristics are only myths because the real vampire was a regular human being and neither evil as portrayed by the legend. Here, the success of Bram Stoker’s portrayal of Vlad Dracula as a vampire in his novel created a myth about the character. Then the character became a legend that it is consequently portrayed in various novels, movies and TV series ranging from authors Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King to films such as Twilight installments, Dracula, Interview with a Vampire to TV series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and True Blood.
Even if the idea about a vampire was conceived early in 1897, vampires still permeate in popular culture. Recently, they are being portrayed as hopelessly romantic in popular cultures such as films and televisions. For example, in the box office installment of Twilight, the lead character Edward is portrayed as a romantic vampire in love with the human being Bella. He is still fast and strong but can already go out on daylight and no longer suck human blood.
These changes have oddly replaced the horror that was typically associated with the myth of the blood-sucking vampires. Popular culture has replaced the legend of their evil characteristic with romance and chivalry (in the character of Edward) and strangely, with extraordinary sexual prowess just like how the vampires are portrayed in the pop culture TV series True Blood. Vampires even became a subject of science fiction films such as Daybreakers which used to be irreconcilable as science fiction is based on science and not legends such as Dracula.
Coppola, Francis Ford (1992). Dracula. Columbia Pictures, USA
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