CHAPTER 16
Vampire Comedy

Hollywood’s stock-in-trade is the romantic combination of genres,
not the classical practice of generic purity. In one sense, this is
hardly surprising; by definition, genres are broad public categories
shared across the entire industry, and Hollywood studios have little
interest in anything that must be shared with their competitors. On
the contrary, they are primarily concerned to create cycles of films
that will be identified with a single studio. […] studios prefer to
establish cycles (which are proprietary), rather than genres (which
are sharable).

—Rick Altman, Film/Genre (1999, 59)

To look at vampire comedies in fi lm, we must fi rst take on the ques tion of genres. Genres date back to the Greek and Roman classical period when conceptions of literary categories, which were still associated with the oral tradition, tended to be based on content. These were comedy, tragedy, lyric, and epic categories, terms that still carry meanings for us today, although we tend to see them as subcategories of the major distinctions that we use to categorize written literature, such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. These categories are based on written form rather than on content, and demonstrate that our understanding of literature tends to be about written (and printed) texts rather than about oral or performed ones. The resurgence of the performed and visual text through film, television, and internet, as well as the survival of older performative forms, such as live drama and opera, tend to complicate our understanding of genres further.

For film, genres (or subgenres) have continued to evolve, creating new hybrids such as screwball comedy and film noir, as well as genre

-131-

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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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