Every few decades vampires crawl out of their coffins and into the blood of the mainstream. Fantasy, romanticism, and the supernatural are the obvious escapes we take during extraordinary times, but vampires aren't ordinary immortals.
Vampire tales were first written when sex could not be openly discussed so they came complete with metaphors. Because they deal with the eternal issues of sex, mortality, and exclusion, every generation can retell the stories and infuse them with contemporary politics, culture, and issues of equality. Michael Dylan Foster, a folklore professor, told the New York Times that in this post-9/11 world, people are drawn to conspiracy theories and the idea that an unknown world could exist right before our eyes.
Take True Blood. HBO created buzz before the show's debut by plastering PSA-looking ads, which said, "Vampires are people too." That was only a hint of what was to come. In the hyperreality of True Blood, vampires are "coming out" and asking for acceptance among humans in the conservative South. There are vampire haters, vampire friends, and vampire lovahs known as "fang bangers." But you know what? Vampires and humans still can't marry! Sound familiar?