This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I recently finished reading yet another book where a vampire is the romantic hero. A friend gave it to me for my birthday, and because I trust her taste I read the whole thing even though I just don't get the vampire thing.
There. I said it out loud. LISTEN UP, AMERICA! I JUST DON'T GET THE VAMPIRE THING!
OK. I don't know if this is as blasphemous as that time I said I also don't get the "Downton Abbey" thing, but there it is. I can't help it. I always want to be a good popular culture sport and join in all the reindeer games, but sometimes I just can't. So then I slink off to the sidelines with a bad attitude and grumble until the reindeer games coach finally smacks me upside the head with his clipboard and orders me off the field.
So why don't I love the sexy vampires? I'm not sure. But I suspect it has something to do with "Nightmare Theater."
Those of you who grew up in Utah during the '60s will remember the old "Nightmare Theater." It aired late on Friday nights and featured B-horror movies. Watching "Nightmare Theater" was a rite of passage for the kids at our elementary school. It meant you weren't a big baby anymore because you could a.) stay up past your bedtime and b.) watch movies about big lizards roaming wantonly through the streets of Tokyo, chewing on skyscrapers and terrorizing Japanese people.
Anyway. When I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, I decided to stop being a baby and watch "Nightmare Theater" for the first time. My dad stayed up with me (apparently he wanted to stop being a baby, too), and together we watched "House of Dracula." In case you haven't seen it, "House of Dracula" is like a "Dancing with the Stars" episode, only with monsters. Count Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman all show up. Also, there's a hunchbacked nurse involved.
OK. Fine. Mock me if you must. But that movie completely messed with my 8-year-old brain especially the vampire parts. How could you ever go to bed at night, knowing there were dudes who turned into bats who turned into dudes again? Dudes with fangs. Who wanted to bite you. WHERE WAS THE FUN IN THAT?
Also. Weren't vampires cold? And dead? Or at least sort of dead? Which would make them (technically speaking)cold-sort-of-dead-dudes-who-wanted-to-bite-you?
Anyway. I pretty much ended up avoiding all things vampire after that, which is why I've been so surprised by the recent popularity of vampires and by paranormal romances in general, frankly, although I've enjoyed my fair share. In fact, I tried to write a paranormal romance myself a few years ago. It was about a girl who falls in love with a selkie, and for about 70 pages, I was way, way, way into it. But then one morning I woke up and went, "I am writing a book about a girl who's in love with a seal."
And I couldn't do it anymore.
Let me be clear. I am not passing judgment on vampires and the people who love them. I mean that sincerely.
It's just that "Nightmare Theater" scarred me for life, which is why I think (badda badda bing) vampires suck.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.