Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vampires and Purity

Why are we forever fascinated by vampire stories? The legend has evolved and adapted to new people and new societies so many times and we are left hungry for more. I think there is something magically tragic and romantic about a vampire. First of all, the idea of living forever is something that humans have been searching for, yet dreading at the same time, since the introduction of the “fountain of youth.” Stories of the holy grail, magical plants, even Harry Potter’s sorcerer’s stone, are evidence that people are enchanted by everlasting life. There is also a romantic and sensual element about vampire stories that keeps us intrigued. Old Dracula movies always showed the young beautiful woman lying on a bed with Dracula hovering over her long, white neck. The neck itself, already a very sexual area of the body, gives the vampire story a stimulating twist. I believe that these two factors will never stop fascinating the human race and we will continue to fall in love with vampires.

Yet, the film “Let The Right One In” has a couple new introductions that differ from the typical vampire horror movie. Most importantly, the vampire is a child. Innocence has hardly been represented in vampire legend before and it brings a whole new view to the genre. The setting of the film with its white snow and children’s playgrounds shows a purity amidst the blood and death. Eli and Oskar are both outcasts: Eli because she can never be like the average child in many ways and Oskar because he is bullied at school and has no friends. They are able to form a perfect friendship because they accept and help each other. Eli has no hesitation when it comes to killing and the fact that she holds herself back from hurting Oskar says a lot about how she feels for him. But the sexual factor of the typical vampire film does not come into play here. Oskar and Eli love each other in an innocent, child-like way. When Eli climbs into bed with Oskar, it is not a sexually-charged moment, but rather a sweet and tender one. The fact that the movie is missing this element, however, does not detract from it in any way. Instead, I think it gives the vampire story a whole new meaning. Vampires have never been associated with purity and wholesomeness, but the director does an amazing job of embedding those qualities to make a new story that we have never seen before.

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