Thomas Garza, a University of Texas professor who has taught a class on the subject, "The Vampire in Slavic Cultures," for the last 12 years, said the metamorphosis of the vampire from repugnant fiend to alluring Lothario was a natural and necessary update for the modern era.He also has something interesting to say about keeping the vampire a frightful figure in Chris Garcia's "Fangs Bared: A Vampire Expert Bites into the Undead Mythology":
"You see the devil standing before you looking all hideous and grotesque, you're not going to walk over and join him," Garza said. "But if the devil appears to you looking like some romantic character and speaking beautiful British English, you might want to sit down and have a cup of coffee."
On books and movies making vampires more human-like and easy on the eyes (or: What's wrong with today's vampires): "It's exactly the antithesis of where we should be going with vampires. We've been trying slowly but surely to get them away from this count (Dracula) from a faraway country and making him a guy down the street, sort of Joe the Plumber, only a vampire.
"As a movement of the whole mythology of the vampire, it's wrongheaded. The vampire had to be created out of what is not of this earth. These are mortal men who have moved to another plane of existence, another dimension. What made that first great vampire movie 'Nosferatu' so incredibly uncanny was that there is nothing about this creature that's of this world. There's nothing about him we find attractive. He's horrific. That to me is the myth and where the story begins. It's the Dracula story. It's the epitome of how creepy this creature should be.
"As long as we can tap into our xenophobia, then we get into the kind of vampires that make us squeal and jump."
He's also commented on TV series, True Blood in Tara Dooley's "Power, Money and Blood" for the Houston Chronicle:
The theme may not be an entirely new one for vampire stories, though True Blood updates the story line with themes about a vampire rights amendments and interspecies dating. In Season Two, it delves into story lines about the boundaries and bonds of faith, community and cult.
“It also does play on the questions of our concerns about sexuality and what is right, what is ethical and moral,” said Thomas J. Garza, chairman of the Slavic and Eurasian studies department at the University of Texas.
There's also a listing for the book its publisher's site, Cognella. Helpfully, they've also added a pdf "sneak preview" of the book. But somewhat disappointingly, it reveals that the majority of the book's contents are composed of extracts from other works covering the subject.
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is an anthology. Ah, dammit.
Still, it could still be useful as a springboard to the original works.
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