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Fangs, But No Fangs

Yes, vampires are popular … but keep them away from me.

Vampires leave me cold. I guess that’s sort of supposed to be the idea, right? I mean, they’re dead, or undead, or deading.


But cold as they may be to the touch, you may have noticed that vampires have never been hotter. And I don’t get it. “Twilight.” “True Blood.” “The Vampire Diaries.” Enough already! Fangs, but no fangs.


I think I get why young people are into it. Creatures who come out only at night and drink only red stuff (blood, Red Bull, whatever) could describe half the teen and early 20s population in the United States. It’s a wildly romantic notion to be so dead and yet so alive. I guess.


Maybe it’s the idea that life goes on even after it’s over, so long as you got a nice artery to suck on or a steady supply of blood oranges (probably not the same).

I know. Except for the oversized teeth thing, they’re really hunky and sexy. So what if they’re not like us? They’re so cold they’re hot!


It’s not like the Count Dracula and Nosferatu days. They weren’t nearly so sleek and suave and charismatic. They were gaunt, kind of ruddy, purplish or pale, often with blood seeping from the mouth, and had oversized teeth and hair and nails (yellow-ish and chipping).


Clearly, today’s bloodsucker is a whole other predatory animal. Yet here is a news flash: they aren’t real. Seriously. I’ve done some checking. It’s just myth and folklore and fiction.


We all have a driving need to believe in something greater than ourselves, that’s fantastic and stokes our sense of wonder. It’s why “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” and all of the comic book superhero stuff thrives.


But vampires, no matter how sophisticated, don’t really do a whole lot to move the culture or humanity itself forward. For one thing, they aren’t human.


For another, they generally don’t mean us well. They have nothing to teach us other than, you know, “Life sucks – and then you die and suck more.”


Vampires don’t live green. It’s all red with them. Their favorite baseball team is the Cincinnati Reds. Favorite novel: “In Cold Blood.” They aren’t big on politics but seem to prefer red states anyway. And when they fly, it’s always the red-eye.


I’ve never seen a vampire do well on “Jeopardy!” (“I’ll take ‘Plasma Heroes’ for $600, Alex”) or show much rhythm on “Dancing With the Stars.”


They don’t do much Tweeting, and if they did, it would just be, “Anyone know where I can drain someone of their blood supply if I’m on a strict budget?”


They never rise before dusk, so vampires can’t very well hold an office job or contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Instead, they literally and figuratively drain the economy.


I know, I know, they’re sexy. Yeah, well so is Beyonce, and you don’t see her attaching her teeth to people’s necks, do you? (Except maybe figuratively to that of Kanye West.)

It’s difficult to even gauge where all of this vampire madness came from. It wasn’t Anne Rice.


It wasn’t “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.” This latest phenomenon seemed to come on all of a sudden and shows no signs at all of abating.


Honestly, people, if I hear one more goddam thing about “Twilight” and its stars and how it’s bringing young adults back to books again, blah blah blah, I swear, my blood pressure is going to spike.


Maybe it says something about the world we live in today that we prefer our fictional icons to be deceased and all about bleeding. It’s what Wall Street and the tanked economy have brought us to: heroes who metaphorically suck the very blood from us.


Where’s Buffy now that we need her most?

An entertainment journalist since 1984, Ray Richmond has served variously as a television reporter, critic and columnist for Daily Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the L.A. Daily News, the Orange County Register and the late Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He is also the author of four books, including the bestselling "The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family." When not writing, he can often be found hustling quarters as a street mime in Spokane, Washington. Email: tvrayz@aol.com. He also regularly blogs at www.manbitestinseltown.com.