CHAPTER 15
White Trash and Teen Melodrama

Vampires belong to a modern popular folklore that few will admit
to believing but that has become part of a way of thinking about
and ordering our vision of the world around us.

—Mary Hallab, Vampire God, (2009) 9.

The decade after 2000 brought a variety of new vampires. In this chapter, I focus on the vampire lite series of novels and fi lms known collectively as the Twilight saga, in contrast with the HBO television series True Blood. The primary result of the proliferation of series fictions in the 1990s was an enormous stretch in the possibilities of what a vampire could be. The series form makes possible an embrace of both the endless stories that series provide and the addition of fantastic elements from folklore and genre fictions. Has vampire fiction become a genre in itself? It depends, of course, on how one chooses to define genre. The term, used in publishing, refers to established forms with established conventions, such as science fiction, horror, fantasy, and romance, all distinguished from nongeneric serious or literary fiction, which is not only traditionally expected to be fairly narrowly realistic in terms of subject matter, but also to use experimental and fantastic formal variations, such as stream-of-consciousness (at least in its modernist phase). For an example from movies, film noir has elements of realism in its focus on gritty cityscapes, monetary desperation, and sexual obsession, but is modernist in its expressionistic use of lighting and camera angles.

The postmodern era in fiction is generally accepted as beginning about mid-century, after World War II, and understood to signal a break with the established conventions of the modernist fiction that dominated the

-121-

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Vampires in the New World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Introduction - Taking Vampires Seriously vii
  • Chapter 1 - Vampire Scholarship 1
  • Chapter 2 - Dracula’s American 9
  • Chapter 3 - Early New World Vampires 17
  • Chapter 4 - Vamps in Hollywood 27
  • Chapter 5 - Blood and Pulp 33
  • Chapter 6 - Class-IC Horror 41
  • Chapter 7 - Urban Legends 49
  • Chapter 8 - Hammering It Home 57
  • Chapter 9 - Countering Vampire Culture 63
  • Chapter 10 - Black Vampires 69
  • Chapter 11 - Vampire Celebrities 77
  • Chapter 12 - Blood Consumers 87
  • Chapter 13 - Buffy Rules 99
  • Chapter 14 - Vampires for Children 107
  • Chapter 15 - White Trash and Teen Melodrama 121
  • Chapter 16 - Vampire Comedy 131
  • Afterword - Where Do We Go from Here? 143
  • Selected Chronological Filmography 149
  • Bibliography 163
  • Index 169
  • About the Author 177
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