Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hunger Pains

Peace and blessings,

As a child, I remember watching "the Lost Boys" and the "Fright Night" movies, which there about vampires. Initially, I put vampires into the same category as I put masked serial killers who can never seem to die (e.g., Michael Meyers and Jason), terrible creatures that come from beneath the ground to eat people (Tremors), and dolls and puppets that can talk (Chucky, Puppet Master). As a child, I viewed each of these "creepy" things as nothing more than the product of movie producers thinking of new ways to scare people, and to create horror movies. However, as the creatures, dolls, and "you can't kill me" serial killers tended to lose popularity over time, or at the minimum had to rely on multiple movies with the same killer (e.g., the Halloween, Jason, and Chuck sequels), vampires seemed to get more popular over time.

Not only that, but the way vampires were depicted continued to change over time. From the Blade and Evolution movies to the most recent Twilight Series and TV show True Blood, there seems to be an increasing interest in humanizing vampires, and showing different sides of them other than giving in to the hunger. For instance, Blade was part vampire, but chose to protect humans from vampires, and had to constantly take a serum that suppressed his hunger, so that he would himself would not turn into the very thing he had dedicated his life towards fighting against. Moreover, the first Twilight movie focused on a family of vampires who, through willpower and discipline, were able to curb their hunger for human blood, and survive on animal blood. Lastly, some of the vampires in True Blood are mistreated by humans from what seems to be a religious organization (I've only watched one episode, so my understanding of the show's premise and some of the details is not fully clear).

When I saw Underworld: Evolution for the first time (I saw it before I saw the first evolution movie), I found myself really interested in the storyline, and the history of the vampires. I started thinking about what it was about vampires that made them so popular? Not only are there movies about vampires, but there's vampire attire, and people even host vampire parties. So it seems like there's a real life vampire culture. I believe that reason why vampires are so popular, is because of what they potentially reveal about the human condition. From my perspective, this human condition refers specifically to the life that is enslaved to sin, and thus controlled by "the hunger."

For one, vampires (as depicted in films) have no real purpose in life, other to feed for survival. Even when they choose to order their lives around another goal or purpose, much of who they are is a function of how they handle their hunger. Vampires hunger for human blood, and therefore the most efficient and satisfying way to get it is by biting into live human flesh. Similarly, the bible clearly demonstrates the consequences of living a life enslaved by sin. One's thoughts, actions, and heart is held captive by a hunger, not for human blood, but for things of the flesh and of the world. Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, we all have "acquired" the hunger for things of the flesh, and for things that while seem good at the time, ultimately lead to our destruction. What matters is how we handle that hunger, whether we give it over to the One who died to save us from our hunger, or we hold onto it and choose to live by it.

In addition to the hunger, or blood lust, vampires have to reside in the dark, because exposure to light will kill them. I find this characteristic of vampires to be the most interesting, as it gives more meaning to the first characteristic. In other words, as long as one is enslaved to sin and thus lives for the hunger, he or she cannot tolerate, let alone embrace the light. To live in darkness is to be ruled and defined by the hunger, so it makes sense that Vampires would avoid the light at all costs, given that light casts out darkness. Throughout the bible followers of Christ are described as being a light, doing the work of Christ so that Christ's heart and mind shines in and through us. I think the vampire mythos does a good job of depicting the relationship between light and darkness, and the extent to which our humanity hangs in the balance.

What do you think? What do you like and/or dislike about the vampire mythos. Why? Stay blessed, take care and speekonit...

No comments: