Stephen King On Vampires

Posted by Grey Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sick of those sissy, lovey-dovey, boy band types vampires keen on mesmerizing the small town teenage girls?

Well, you sure ain't the only one, and now it's with good authority.

And what better authority than the master of horror himself, best-selling author Stephen King.

Amongst his massive body of work lies Salem’s Lot, an important piece of fiction in vampire culture that was published back in 1975 with a genuinely frightening take on the true nature of these bloodsuckers. Working with writer Scott Snyder in his first ever comic writing outing, King recently did his part in the DC/Vertigo Comics series American Vampire (mentioned in an earlier entry). While King tells the history of America circa 1880s Old West, in the eyes of its first local vampire, Skinner Sweet, in a connecting tale in the double-bill title, Snyder continues the story in the turbulent 1920s. And yes, this hard-boiled nasty vampire doesn't sparkle.

With the release of the first hardcover collection of American Vampire, Vol. 1, King, in an interview with USA Today, explains the character's violent streak as an essential American trait.

"A traditional vampire is always a taker, and that's the story of American expansion and laissez-faire and the rise of industrialism. The idea that he wants to come back and get his vengeance and he wants to get it as fast as he can and as harshly as he can, that's a very American desperado thing."

And then comes a shot at every teenage girls' favorite vampire family.

"And when I say bloodthirsty, I mean thirsty for your blood. I don't mean necessarily a bottle of Tru Blood they get in a bar, or Edward and his family going out there and basically hunting caribou to suck their blood."

In the foreword of the hardcover collection of American Vampire (thankfully eprinted at, King unsurprisingly voiced out some strong opinions yet again, taking aim on the vampires from Twilight and True Blood.

"Here’s what vampires shouldn’t be: pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and only work at night; lovelorn southern gentlemen; anorexic teenage girls; boy-toys with big dewy eyes. What should they be? Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A. Bad boys and girls. Hunters. In other words, Midnight America. Red white and blue, accent on the red. Those vamps got hijacked by a lot of soft-focus romance."

While King might seemed to be resentful towards the depiction of these currently-in-vogue vampires, he does respect True Blood with their own brand of a mix of themes from sex to intolerance.

"It's about a lot of stuff, actually, and that makes it a lot of fun to watch."

Check out the full foreword of the book at American Vampire, Vol. 1, written by King, Scott Snyder with art by Rafael Albuquerque, is available in good book stores everywhere.

Source: USA Today & via Robot 6


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