My abhorrence for Twilight-esque interpretations of vampires is hardly a secret. I can deal with some, slightly romanticised versions of my beloved vampires, such as those found in the works of Anne Rice, and Angel and Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but there it ends. The fundamental difference that allows me to accept romanticised vamps in some contexts and not in others is the manner in which the vampire is dealt with, in general.
Vampires aren’t supposed to be fluffy.
They are creatures of the night. They feed on human blood. They are killers. Monsters. They should be portrayed as such. And if you’re going to have the odd one that doesn’t live up to its horrific pedigree, you’d better have a damn good explanation.
Like a gypsy curse.
The portrayal of vampires in Twilight was not only fluffy, it was utterly nonsensical, depicting their fearsome creatures as sparkling beauties with magic powers, an obsession with baseball, and a bizarre desire to spend all eternity in high school.
If I had super powers and was virtually immortal I’d be exploring the whole dang world. I wouldn’t be hiding, century after century, in a boring town where it always rained and endlessly learning algebra.
So while Twilight kickstarted a new dawn (pardon the pun) in vampire fiction, film, and television, there was a lot of backlash and a great many people felt the genre was dead. As I’ve mentioned previously, in recent years vampires have been recovering from the death knell of Twilight, with books and TV series coming out that portray the vampires in a far more authentic manner.
Vamps are scary again.
If you don’t believe me, go and watch/read The Strain.
Despite this, when I heard SyFi were doing a reboot of Van Helsing I was…skeptical. I’m delighted to say that detail have emerged which have reassured me (somewhat) that we’re not in for another incarnation of Vampire High.
Speaking at San Diego Comic Con last month, SyFy gave us a sneaky look at their new show, and to say they’ve taken a different perspective is an understatement.
Van Helsing is played by Kelly Overton, a direct descendant of legendary (and familiar figure) Arthur Van Helsing. Kelly’s Vanessa ‘Van’ Helsing lives in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by vampires as humans struggle to survive. Upon waking from a coma she finds her daughter is missing and embarks on a very Kill Bill-esque search, roping in anyone and anything that can help along the way.
At Comic Con, Overton shared that she had been heavily inspired by Sigourney Weaver’s iconic portrayal of Ripley in Aliens. Show runner Neil LaBute, meanwhile, divulged that they had completely re-imagined vampire lore and mythology for the new Van Helsing series. Vampire society apparently operates under a class system, with feral vamps at the bottom of the pecking order, vampires using humans as cattle on an industrial level, and finally an elite ruling class of vampires.
On top of this shake-up, stakes aren’t the only thing in Vanessa’s arsenal as she is…..wait for it….able to turn them back into humans by biting them.
This is such a cool concept that I’m likely to forgive the series for what is bound to be a lot of scenes involving a pretty girl running around shooting a semi-automatic one-handed.
The first episode promises to run ad-free as a special introductory treat to hook fans, after which time it will begin a more regular run of thirteen episodes, beginning September 22nd.