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Beautiful monsters?

Tue 13 Jul 2010 In: Television View at Wayback View at NDHA

True Blood's Pam They're hated, feared, persecuted and subjected to hate crimes but they're collectively organised into their own community. Sometimes metaphors can have a certain...bite... I'm referring to the third season of Prime's HBO hit series True Blood, based on US author Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries. In this near-future/alternate fictional universe, a Japanese scientist has invented synthetic blood that enables vampires to 'come out of the coffin' and disclose their existence to previously unwary humanity. They have to put up with anti-vampire fundamentalists who attack their civil rights and vampire/human sex is considered a taboo. In addition to which, vampire blood is a potent aphrodisiac for humans. And insofar as vampire sexuality is concerned, there are lesbian and gay vampires - Eddie, the hapless fortysomething accountant in the second series, currently being repeated; and Pam, the deliciously devilish lesbian vampire bouncer at Fangtasia, a vampire nightclub in neighbouring Shreveport. She finds a nice lesbian witch in the books, which will probably happen in the television series. In fiction, lesbian vampires have existed ever since nineteenth-century Sheridan LeFanu penned the existence of Carmilla, who has been bowdlerised into a predatory entity that scares straight men in countless Hammer Horror films. However, not all lesbian vampire films are sexist cheesecake and there is some lesbian erotic value and feminist import in the depiction of powerful and independent women who don't need men for authority and everyday life. Later on, Anne Rice and Poppy Z.Brite introduced us to subtle homoeroticism and darkly romantic gay male vampires. Cleis Press has also published a series of anthologies about lesbian and gay werewolves. Speaking of werewolves, they've just been introduced in True Blood. Later this year, we'll have the pleasure of watching the hit BBC series Being Human- that is, when Prime eventually decides to schedule it. It's a more intimately scaled series compared to True Blood, set in a Bristol flat, with a straight male werewolf, vampire and ghost (although George the werewolf is played by out gay British actor Russell Tovey). Werewolves haven't had the advantage of a suitably talented author of their own. However, they 'come out' at night when they turn into ravening beasts. Sound familiar? Like our lives used to be before decriminalisation and the advent of antidiscrimination laws, for instance? Added to which, werewolves have a delightful habit of stripping off before they go lycanthrope due to the astronomical clothing bills otherwse. And there's always an element of self-hatred before they accept themselves. Welcome to the age of the beautiful monsters... Craig Young - 13th July 2010    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Tuesday, 13th July 2010 - 6:15pm

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