Vampires are in fashion across the United States, encouraged by the hit TV series “True Blood,” now in its third season, the “Twilight” movies and “Vampire Diaries.” Stories about feeding on blood are greedily consumed and eagerly published.
For a pastime with dark, anti-religious overtones vampire fashion is itself becoming oddly like an organized religion. There are rules, priests, private gatherings and large-scale celebrations.
Hundreds of “vampires” attend balls every few months, with the next vampire ball taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31.
Believers in this sect-like lifestyle range from teenage devotees of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” to adults who got hooked on Ann Rice’s “Vampire Diaries” in the 1970s.
Rice is the author credited with turning the European model vampire — exemplified by Dracula, the horrific character at the center of Bram Stoker’s 19th century novel set in Transylvania — into a more user-friendly American version.
Sociology professor Robert Thomson, who teaches at University of Syracuse in upstate New York, said “the vampire culture has been around for a long time, long before ‘Twilight’ and ‘True Blood.'”
However, “‘Twilight’ has completely domesticated it. It got rid of the Eastern European monster.”
According to Thomson, vampires are surprisingly marketable. They are “mysterious, dark, very, very attractive and erotic,” he said.
“The vampire movement is a style, an attitude, there’s a sense of belonging to a community. It can also be a branding.”