Jon de Vos: Something’s amiss in the belfry
I’m proud to announce that I’ve made fantastic progress toward achieving my 2006 New Year’s resolution. You’ll remember, last year I vowed to watch every vampire movie ever made. I feel that if you’re going to swear to do something, why not make it something you were going to do anyway?
Boy, do I ever love watching vampire movies. Hard to believe but I’d rather watch a bad vampire movie than, oh, say, remodel the upstairs bathroom. No, really I would, despite how much fun we all know it is to smack your thumb with a hammer.
While fun, it won’t be any piece of cake. There’s more than 200 movies out there about Count Dracula himself, another 300 with the word, “vampire,” in the title and about 2,000 movies in the entire genre, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Watching three a day would take two solid years, including weekends. Adding to the complexity of my task is another 40 or 50 new vampire movies made every year. I’d have to forego Bruce Willis and Steven Segal, no time for Rocky XCVIII, no time for Ocean’s Fourteen: The Botox Caper. I’d have to give it all up but I’d do it because I’m not a man like other men who waste their lives watching pro football.
The first vampire movie ever made was aptly titled, “The Vampire,” filmed in 1913, it promulgated a confusion created by Rudyard Kipling in his 1897 poem of similar name. The poem, in Kipling’s powerful words, described a predatory woman who takes a man “to the cleaners” and leaves him deflated and penniless; the woman was a vamp. The two words, vamp and vampire, are derived from the same term but they are subtly different in meaning. One leaves you without hope and money. The other leaves you without hope and blood.
Last year, I approached the objective of viewing all the vampire movies ever made as a dilettante, watching a couple hundred at random. This year, it will be different and I have categorized them into sub-genres to organize the task. Based upon their huge fangs and predilection for sucking blood out of victim’s necks, people tend to either fear or take an instant dislike to vampires. That fact makes it understandable that the largest category of vampire movies is, “Humans Slaying Vampires.”
The comprehensive Internet bible for moviegoers is located at http://www.imdb.com, listing almost five hundred vampire movies about vampire-slayers dedicated solely to people whittling sharp points on sticks and sneaking up on coffins.
The next biggest category, at just shy of three hundred movies, is, “Vampires Slaying Vampire.” I’m not sure why vampires would turn on themselves, but I also don’t understand why you can’t just “kill” a vampire, you must “slay” them. A dumb nuance that causes untold confusion around Christmas time.
Following closely behind is the third category, “Women Who Run with Vampires” that explores the question about why some women are attracted to men who are clearly wrong for them. Why do you think he never drops by during the day? Why don’t they get suspicious when he flosses with clothesline?
Lesser categories include “Sexy Vampires”, “Vampires from Outer Space”, “Vampire Policemen”, “Chinese Vampires”, “Vampire Detectives”, and finally, “Maybe It Was Just A Bat”. The way I figure it, cycling through the categories will keep me fresh and enthusiastic.
I admit my wife was decidedly tepid about this ambitious project, her only encouraging comment was, “So, you’re going to watch all these on the couch, right?”
“Well, yeah,” I said, searching her head for blonde hairs. “That’s where the TV is.”
She stared at me evenly, “How often would you like me to dust you?”
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The business and tourism prognosticators from across the country are saying it loud and clear: This summer will be very busy and most businesses won’t be able staff-up or expand to handle the increased demand.