Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On Vampires

I remember saying that I'm not into vampire stories. But the last few I've read, I've really enjoyed, so I guess I need to rethink that generalization. Back in college some of my friends were into the Ann Rice vampire books, and they were too dark for my tastes. I never really cared for any of the versions of Dracula I've seen over the years either. That's probably why I thought it must be the vampires I didn't like.

Then with the popularity of the Twilight series, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I think it took me three weeks to read all four books, I was so into them, and they were easy reading. Shortly thereafter I was sad to hear one of my favorite writing podcasts routinely making fun of the series, and putting it down in almost every episode. Some of it, I think, is that when anything gets to be too big, too popular, some will always have to come with negativity to balance things out. But, I listened to their criticisms anyway, hoping to learn.

Just this week I listened to an episode in which the host admitted, to my disgust, that he had never actually read any of the Twilight books. All his criticisms were based on watching the first movie. I would have thought that a writer would know better than to judge a book by its movie.

Anyway, one complaint I've heard from a few sources is that the vampires are too tame. Vampires, some feel, are monsters, not just dead people who may be nice or may be jerks. Since vampires are made up creatures, I guess they can be whatever any of us want to imagine them to be. It's really a matter of personal preference, right? So then I thought that maybe that's what I like. Nice vampires. I don't like monster stories.

Then again maybe not.

My good friend Amanda just had a vampire story produced on the Shadowcast podcast. I think it definitely falls into the 'vampires are monsters' camp, and I loved it anyway. Maybe because I was pulled along with the heroine's hope to find the nice vampires. I wanted a nice vampire as much as she did, even though her limited experience with a vampire was definitely of the 'monster' variety. I won't tell you what she found at last, so you can enjoy listening to the podcast or reading the story:
Letty by Amanda B. on Shadowcast.

The moral of this post is that I've learned not to make blanket statements like, I don't like fill-in-the-blank stories. If I'd stuck to my guns against vampires, I would have missed out on an awful lot of enjoyment. Each story should be judged on its own merits (but remember a story should never EVER be judged on its movie!)

3 comments:

Amanda B. said...

Thanks for the plug, Kara. :)

You are so right about not judging a book by its movie. Movies are watered down versions of their books. Plus, the story is run through the brain-filter of the director and everyone else making it.

Did you read Stardust and see the movie? I think to make the movie, they glanced through the beginning of the book, tossed it aside, and said, "Ok guys, let's just wing it from here."

Anyway, great post!

karabu said...

After I read Stardust, I decided no movie would do it justice. After the Hitchikers movie, I've kinda decided not to see any movie based on a book I like.

I guess I do make an exception for the Harry Potter movies though. While a lot of the plot changes bug me, the world is just so beautiful to look at, I'll go to watch the owls fly around, and hear the music and stuff.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Well, if you look at the movies as completely different animals than the books, it's easier to take. I liked Stardust the movie, but I saw it before I read the book.

The HP movies are good for the reasons you describe, plus the actors bring something else to the characters. Brendan Gleeson as Mad Eye is just amazing! And Jason Isaacs actually makes Lucius Malfoy sexy.

And I actually enjoyed the HG2G movie even with the change of romance plot. Or maybe it was just an emotional. I just liked the fact that, after that, thousands of people started reading DNA, who wouldn't have. And the fact that suddenly my family was sitting around the living room with me watching Hitchhikers Guide with me. The fact that now when I make a HG2G reference, my daughter gets it... most of the time. LOL