by Mauro Corso
Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to MartinLastrapes.com, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 1 of 4…
What is the main problem of immortality? It lasts more than anyone can reasonably bear. Adam, the vampire in Martin Lastrapes' vampire short "Adam & Olivia," has been a vampire for thirty years and is already bored to death. Boredom is an underdeveloped theme in vampire literature. Sometimes we get a hint of this existential problem in the life of vampire, like in True Blood when we see Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Vampire Queen of Louisiana, playing a board game. Or we may suspect that all the power play and meddling in human lives is simply a device to hide the emptiness of being a vampire.
Lastrapes’ vampire short made me feel this powerful boredom in Adam’s life right from the start, setting this tale apart from everything else I have seen or read so far. Boredom, it seems, might well be the worst part about being a vampire. For example, consider the unlife of Edward Cullen from Twilight series, who is is essentially stuck in high school for all eternity. Even if we don’t sense his boredom, I can’t possibly imagine a more powerful image of damnation. Given all this, we might ask:
What is a vampire’s main drive?
Everything else is just a pastime between survival and drinking sessions. There is sex, of course, which is a rather problematic issue in vampire physiology. I think that the sexuality of vampires is generally taken for granted. It would be hard to categorize this drive as just another pastime. While it is one of the most basic human drives, is it possible for something not living to have an erotic desire? It is quite true that love and death are strictly intertwined (thank you Mr. Freud!), but saying that a corpse feels attraction to someone else (especially living!) is something I always found dissatisfying. Possibly, a vampire not interested in sex would be too un-human to sympathize with.
I believe that sex is the only interesting thing in the delirious mayhem of twists that is True Blood (yep, I don’t like it...please bear with me). Between Sookie, Bill, and Eric, their sexuality is never questioned; vampires and humans have sex with each other without missing a beat. And in Twilight, sexuality is taken to the next level: Supernatural pregnancy. I find this concept really frightening, and not in a good way. I thought that the only way a vampire could have children was by siring a human being.
The way the TV seriesBeing Human (US version) depicts sexuality in the vampire world makes the most sense to me, because it is rough, messy, and involves a lot of blood; we so often take for granted the importance of blood in the life of a vampire. The drive for blood in sexuality is rarely clear in vampire stories such as Twilight or True Blood.
This brings to mind another problematic aspect in many vampire stories, which is the "vegetarian" vampire—a vampire who doesn't feed from humans. There is something primal and erotic about vampires feeding, which seems to have strong connections with sex, so the idea of a vampire being able to restrain himself/herself from draining someone he/she is having sex with is difficult for me to swallow.
At the risk of sounding ridiculous, I would like to see some sort of vampire sexuality that actually makes sense. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which revolves around the idea of undying love (especially in Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation), isn't very clear on how the physical part of this immortal relationship is treated—due, in large part, because Dracula’s romantic desire is doomed to failure.
Sexuality, especially in literature, should not be the easy way to engage a reader; it should have a deep, existential meaning in the economy of every novel.