Lifting the Lid on the Coffin: An Examination of Attitudes Towards Vampires in Popular Culture

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by Jessica Garland
WRIT 1733: Examining Monstrosity Through the Lens of Media Ecology Theory | Professor Kara Taczak

INTRODUCTION
Vampires have pervaded popular culture across a wide range of media for centuries and continue to remain relevant, their popularity and appeal seemingly peaking with the recent Twilight novels and movies. Historical examinations of vampires reveal a significant change in society’s perception of them. Only recently in media have vampires occupied celebrated positions such as the emotionally supportive ally, the engaging love interest, and even the noble hero. Original vampire myths depicted the undead as repulsive, abhorrent, unholy creatures of the night. The stark difference between earlier “monstrous demon” imagery and the emotionally fraught protagonists that populate culture today reflects a dynamic evolution within our society. This essay investigates society’s evolving response to vampires, attempting to explain the two distinct stages of vampire portrayals and to explore the possibility of a newly developing third stage.

The first stage of society’s response to vampires can best be described in one word: fear. Originally, people believed that a messy death—such as deaths related to suicide, birth defects, and plagues—would result in a messy afterlife (Atwater 72). Cheryl Atwater, in her anthropological study of vampire evolution, examines how vampires were originally considered to be hideous, soulless, unholy, animalistic predators because they were manifestations of society’s fears of the ugly, the unnatural, the dangerous, and the abnormal (72). In extremely religious historical time periods, rejection of God or religious tradition constituted a catastrophe frightening enough to turn people into vampires. Hence, people believed that even the death of an atheist or a funeral performed without a priest could create a vampire (Atwater 72). Tracy Betsinger and Amy B. Scott, in their analysis of early vampire lore, notes how people believed that “those who were ‘great sinners’, the ‘god-less’, which included those of different, non-Christian faiths, and those who practised [sic] witchcraft were all considered risks for becoming vampires” (473). Religious fears attached to vampires spawned the concept that vampires were devoid of souls. In these deeply religious eras, soulless entities automatically represented pure evil. Thus, the vampire was treated as a purely evil or demonic entity.

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The fear connected with soullessness manifested in a number of superstitions, including that vampires were unable “to see [their] own image in a mirror” (Hall 361). On top of creating superstitions linked with soullessness, fear of the vampire led to particular burial practices. Burial rituals in historically pagan and Christian regions, which emphasized the importance of the soul, were designed to prevent the rise of potential vampires by appeasing deceased people who might have turbulent afterlives, thus warding the dead from potential demonic invaders and “barricad[ing] the dead so they are unable to return” (Betsinger and Scott 470). Fear of vampires also resulted in an increase of strength within the Christian Church, as people gradually equated demons with vampires and thus relied more heavily on the Church for protection (Betsinger and Scott 474).

During this first stage of responding to the vampire with fear, vampires evolved to match society’s evolving fears. In times when society worried about extravagance, for instance, the terrifying vampire evolved to embody these fears by possessing excessive wealth. Similarly, in time periods concerned with promiscuous women, the wives of Dracula were often depicted as physically attractive yet repulsive to the human protagonist. In such narratives, as Carol Senf notes, “the voluptuous woman [was] transformed into a carnivorous animal” (41). Vampires characterized by their seductive and dangerously attractive features were categorized alongside vampires as animated rotting corpses since both were received by society with fear, suspicion, and caution.

The second stage of society’s response to vampires is vastly different from the first stage, in that society began to welcome the vampire as a fellow victim. Morgan Jackson expertly summarizes the second stage as populated by entities who “transitioned from mindless, soulless, and monstrous creatures into creatures possessing a conscience and having the ability to make choices between good and evil” (para. 30).  As the vampire’s struggle became internalized, the vampire narrative evolved to follow the emotional conflict and tragedy of the vampire. Most famously perhaps, this internal struggle manifested itself within the vampire’s need to drink blood in order to stay alive, despite how the vampire often despised killing. Angela Tenga jokes that the “troubled conscience” of a second-stage vampire weakens its monstrosity to such a point that the modern vampire “is more a superhero with special powers” than a monster (77). Due to the “advent of sympathetic vampires” and their depiction as tragic victims and noble sufferers, vampires were no longer depicted only as villains, according to Tenga, because now the monster was a victim of its own monstrosity (78).

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Anne Rice’s series The Vampire Chronicles is considered the turning point in vampire literature and the beginning of second-stage vampires, as one of her protagonists is praised as the first “sympathetic” vampire, specifically in Interview with the Vampire. The protagonist of Interview with the Vampire is one of the first vampires to intentionally struggle to stay human despite his nature because he “detests what it means to be a vampire” (Jackson). As the vampire is treated with increasing sympathy, the vampire hunters are “on the run for their lives, outed publically, and hated for their destiny of slaying demons” (J. Meyer 29). This new and complicated relationship between the vampire and its surroundings is also evident in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which a vampire is the love interest of a vampire hunter, and in the novel I Am Legend, in which the last man on earth realizes “that in fact it is he, the last specimen of humankind, who is the real monster” and the vampires are his victims (Smetana 175).

However, it’s important to note that vampires today are still characterized as
villains. Loathing for overly romantic vampires surfaced at the same time that Stephenie Meyer’s book series Twilight reached incredibly high levels of popularity amid widespread complaints that vampires had become too “soft” or “wimpy.” That’s not to say society is cycling back towards fearing vampires, but it seems to be growing bored with the emotionally tortured vampire of the second stage. I believe this marks a new, third stage in our cultural response to the vampire. If the first two stages were opposites of each other, then this third stage, if it exists, most likely represents a compromise of fear and attraction—in essence, the ultimate monster. Yet, before a third stage can be identified, public perception of vampires must be measured.

METHODS
To explore how society’s reaction to vampires has changed, society’s current reception of the vampire must be gauged. I used a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to reduce the possibility that the medium of my research (i.e., a survey, an interview, etc.) would significantly influence the data towards a particular conclusion. This combination entailed a survey completed by fifty people across a range of ages, interviews with two professionals in the field of psychology, and observations of four students’ responses to vampire movies. The survey and observations were conducted to examine participants’ reactions to the entity of the vampire in media. The interviews were conducted to investigate possible explanations for society’s various reactions to vampires.

The survey was created online and distributed through Facebook and email so that, through ease of accessibility, it could reach a wide demographic. Fifty respondents, ranging from fourteen to seventy years of age, participated in the survey in order to document a wide range of generations and their responses to portrayals of the vampire. Though potential respondents were randomly selected, considerably more females participated than males (approximately 81% of the survey was answered by females and 17% by males) and the majority of respondents were between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine (58% of survey respondents).

The survey asked a range of questions so as to obtain a well-rounded picture of each respondent’s perspective. The styles and types of questions included demographic questions (specifically age and gender identity), questions rating levels of interest in traits of the vampire, questions pertaining to respondents’ favored depictions of vampires in film and television, and open-ended questions about interpretations of the vampire. An example of an open-ended question from the survey is “What is your favorite interpretation of a vampire and why?” Answers to open-ended questions about level of interest in vampire traits (such as attractiveness, emotional torment, predatory prowess, etc.) were sorted into various categories such as “positive second stage,” “negative second stage,” “positive first stage,” and “negative first stage” to delineate the relationship between first- and second-stage vampire reception. Though the distinctions between categories seem vague, a standard was implemented to consistently code open responses. For example, responses to open questions that only expressed dissatisfaction with the second stage were grouped into the “negative second stage” category, whereas responses that expressed dissatisfaction with second-stage vampires and satisfaction with first-stage vampires were grouped into both “negative second stage” and “positive first stage” categories.

As for the observations, I recorded the reactions of four individual volunteers during a seven-hour vampire movie marathon of three movies. The three movies—Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Interview with the Vampire (1994), and Fright Night (2011)—were selected for their unique portrayal of vampires and their relationships with human characters. The respondents shared different levels of familiarity with the films. Observations were conducted in the Projector Room in the Centennial Towers Residence Hall and a dorm room in the Centennial Halls Residence Hall, both of which are located on the University of Denver campus. Four University of Denver students, three women and one man (ranging from eighteen to twenty years of age), participated by reacting to the films they saw and reflecting aloud on the movies. This age demographic was chosen because the participants would have been raised during the second stage, but aware of the first stage; a younger demographic might have been less familiar with the first stage, and an older demographic might have been less immersed in the second stage. The four participants’ verbal, physical, and behavioral responses, as well as comments, were recorded on paper during the movie viewing event and during an informal interview, twenty minutes after the last movie was finished, to better capture responses to the vampire movies as they viewed them and after they’d had time to be affected. Though the observed individuals may have acted differently than normal because they were aware of being observed for a study, their actions seemed authentic and their opinions seemed genuine.

Two interviews conducted with professionals in the field of clinical psychology were also performed to ascertain possible explanations for the shift between stages one and two of society’s response to vampires. The two interviewees were females with doctorates in clinical psychology, Interviewee A specializing in mental illness and Interviewee B specializing in social relationships. One interview was conducted by telephone, lasting twenty-seven minutes, and the other through email. Interview questions were open-ended and centered on potential social and psychological factors that might reinforce or inhibit change in cultural response to “others” or “entities [society] believe are threateningly different than themselves.”

RESULTS
In the survey, the top three rated television shows were Buffy the Vampire Slayer, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. The top two rated movies were Interview with the Vampire and The Twilight Saga, with twenty and eighteen respondent votes respectively; Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter tied for third place with fifteen votes. Shortly after the movie viewing, during an informal interview, the respondents each stated that Interview with the Vampire was their favorite movie of those that they saw, with Fright Night entertaining them as a “guilty pleasure.” It should be noted that respondents who had not read the original Dracula novel liked the Bram Stoker’s Dracula movie overall more than respondents who had read the original source material, yet none of the participants said that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was their favorite film during the movie viewing. During the interviews, both interviewees remarked that the increase of scientific knowledge within our culture likely played a significant role in the transition between the first and second stages, in that it combatted the superstitions that fueled the first-stage reactions.

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DISCUSSION
The primary research suggests that a third stage of vampire reception might indeed exist, as the survey and observations reveal clear yet contradictory trends; both the first and second stages remain influential and prevalent despite their seemingly exclusive nature. During the movie viewing, a few participants remarked that part of why they didn’t enjoy Bram Stoker’s Dracula was because of the movie’s interpretation of Abraham Van Helsing. In the original novel Dracula, Van Helsing is an eccentric but reliable professor enlisted to save Lucy from her mysterious illness. Van Helsing eventually identifies that her sickness is associated with vampires, and he goes on to help the main characters of the book defeat Dracula. On the other hand, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in addition to portraying Dracula as a victim cursed by love and passion beyond his control, depicts Van Helsing as a less likeable character than in the book, with exaggerated eccentric behavior; he cackles, makes insensitive remarks about Lucy’s death, and even seemingly teleports in one scene. This second-stage adaptation of a first-stage book altered the characters so that Dracula becomes a noble and tragic character while Van Helsing becomes the erratic and violent entity. Jenna Meyer, whose thesis is on the evolution of the vampire, would most likely consider this a realistic symptom of movies that emphasize the sympathetic vampire, inherent to the second stage, because she remarks that “vampires have gained society’s sympathy, meaning the slayers are on the run for their lives, outed publicly, and hated for their destiny of slaying demons” (29). In a second-stage movie viewed during the historical second stage, the vampire and vampire hunter are at odds, often forcing the audience to align themselves with one side or the other; the audience members inevitably identify with the sympathetic vampire over the cruel hunter. The mediocre reception Bram Stoker’s Dracula garnered at the movie viewing, especially in light of the fact that the movie received impressive reviews in the past, could imply that society is beginning to drift away from the second stage and into a new, third stage.

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The responses to Twilight within the survey also reinforce the concept that society is growing progressively bored with the romantic vampire. Twenty-five respondents answered the question “What is your least favorite interpretation of a vampire and why?” with references to Twilight and the fact that the vampires were, in their opinions, too romanticized or tame. Respondent 30 remarked hating the vampires from Twilight because they were too “watered down”: “They were almost too human. They lost a lot of the primal characteristics that vampires normally possess, in a sense castrating their vampireness.” It should be noted that Twilight, despite its pervasive presence in pop culture, was excluded from the movie viewing event because several of the respondents absolutely refused to watch it, protesting that they’d leave the room for the duration of the movie if it were played against their request. The intense rejection of the Twilight series and the vehement criticism of the fact that Edward Cullen “defeats the purpose of a vampire, [because] he can go into the sun and sparkles which defeats the limitation on vampires’ strength” (Respondent 10) especially indicates that society is, at least partly, losing its fascination with the romanticized and very human-like vampire.

However, the decomposition of the second stage does not necessarily imply a resurrection of the first stage. The data hints at the emergence of a third stage, instead of a repetition of the first stage of fear, because the “romantic connotation” associated with the vampire is still popular (Atwater 77). In both the movie viewing and the survey, Interview with the Vampire received the most praise. Participants at the movie viewing all agreed that it was their favorite movie of the three shown and continued to quote the movie after it had finished, even miming scenes they found entertaining. In the survey, Interview with the Vampire was the most consistently picked movie when respondents were tasked with picking their three favorite vampire movies. This movie, celebrated as the initial movie (and book series) and epitome of the second stage, evidently still resonates with its audiences. The sheer popularity of this movie, in both the survey and observations, seems to signal that the second stage has not lost its potency.

The relevance of the second stage to society’s current perspective on vampires can also be potentially extracted from the responses to the 2011 remake of the movie Fright Night, a first-stage narrative in a second-stage time period. The main vampire does very little to hide his identity, and the audience receives nearly immediate confirmation that the protagonist is not only bloodthirsty but also predatory and remorseless. Just like the first-stage vampires before him, Jerry, the vampiric antagonist of Fright Night, is not a creature to be reasoned or sympathized with; he is a dangerous enemy to be killed for the good of the community. Participants laughed aloud several times and quoted funny lines after the movie had ended, as Fright Night had produced enough humor to generally entertain its audience. Yet, participants also emphasized that the movie was a “guilty pleasure” rather than an objectively enjoyable film. When respondents were tasked with choosing their three favorite vampire movies, the 2011 adaptation of Fright Night ranked 15th, which is considerably low as there were only eighteen positions. This data suggests that Fright Night’s close parallels to first-stage themes and absence of second-stage elements ultimately harmed its popularity. When the support and appreciation for Interview with the Vampire is paired with the mediocre and underwhelming response to Fright Night, the data suggests that the second stage is far from dead. Indeed, despite the complaints that Bram Stoker’s Dracula changed the characters to fit second-stage roles (Participant H looked confused as she stated, “I don’t understand why they did that, trying to make him relatable.”), the movie still managed to tie with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for third place on the list of respondents’ three favorite vampire movies. Even Twilight, which was so vehemently rejected, came in second on that same list, reinforcing the idea the second stage is still quite prevalent.

This contradictory data is why I suggest that a third stage exists or is at least emerging. It seems that society wants both vampires to hug and vampires to kill. This appears evident in the popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was ranked in first place on the list of respondents’ three favorite vampire television shows by a wide margin. In the show, some monsters are “creatures that must be destroyed or made into sexual fetishes” while other monsters are “potential ‘life’ partners and members of a community in which difference and the most extreme varieties of other-ness prove no barrier to companionship” (Poole 211). This interesting duality, a fundamental component of the potential third stage, is especially relevant to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series because the monsters shift between the two stages, with certain creatures seeking redemption after their acts of “legendary evil” and other relatable creatures lapsing into episodes of cruelty (Poole 211). In the survey, thirty-eight respondents ranked the series among their top three favorites, which is more than twice the number of the second closest competitors: True Blood and Vampire Dairies. All three of these shows combine relatable and sympathetic vampire hunters with vampires that are equally sympathetic and emotional, while also incorporating the evil, animalistic vampires. These shows, especially Buffy the Vampire Slayer, signal our society’s rising desire for dynamic vampire/human relationships in popular media.

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Though awareness of the stages is important for cultural research, the reasons for the transitions between stages are especially significant. If the stages changed for completely arbitrary reasons, then the shifting reactions of society to vampires would contain no deeper meaning. According to two professionals in the field of psychology, the evolving knowledge of science and increased globalization contributes to and continues to shape our responses to monsters; the fact that two psychologists with differing backgrounds ultimately came to similar conclusions about the causes for such a transition reinforces the credibility of their conclusions. Both interviewees remarked that empathy is a powerful catalyst for acceptance, and empathy is best attained through direct interaction. Interviewee B, a clinical psychologist specializing in social relationships, noted that, of the “people who have a bias against LGBTQ people, the vast majority do not have a single personal relationship with a person who identifies as LGBTQ” and asserted that “exposure to the ‘other’…[and] positive interaction with the ‘other,’ ideally maintained over time…has a very strong effect on changing opinions.” This concept also implies snowball effect, in which increased interaction with a minority group or “other” leads to more sympathetic portrayals of the other, which would in turn encourage further interaction.

The diminishing fear of the other or monster through interaction and exposure may also be reinforced through expanding scientific knowledge. Interviewee A, a clinical psychologist who specializes in mental illnesses, suggested that the decreasing influence of superstitions directly contributes to the shift between the first and second stage:

Early on I think these perceptions were fear-based and also spawned from ignorance. There was also a lot more magical thinking in the past when huge groups of people were dying from plagues, etc. I think they were trying to make some sense of what they were experiencing. These days, I think people don’t take these beliefs seriously (as they once did), so there have been variations created for sheer entertainment.

The prevalence of scientific mindsets over mystical beliefs affects the culture as a whole in that, as Interviewee A later addressed, vampires aren’t the only monsters to receive a more sympathetic makeover; popular plays and movies, like Wicked and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, portray their monstrous protagonists as misunderstood, well-meaning, and likeable characters trying to overcome a society that rejects or attacks them (Interviewee A). When the fear of witches and aliens is diminished, narratives with such monsters begin “breaking down the socially constructed barriers between people” and come to resemble the second and third stages of reactions to vampires (Interviewee B).

According to Interviewee B, scientific knowledge also contributes directly to society’s evolving reactions towards the vampire because science has allowed humans to live for longer amounts of time. The second stage of vampires may have started because “baby boomers have created that youth culture to deny death” and vampires are symbols of the undead (Interviewee B). Sympathetic, suffering vampires may have been born from the complex cultural state that is an obsession with immortality combined with the fear of loneliness that accompanies outliving your loved ones. Science has granted increasingly long life expectancies, and cultural movements, such as social media, may have caused a fear of loneliness since they keep everyone connected 24/7. Thus, “more and more people are seeing their own lives in the context of social isolation and in the context of the fear of growing old alone” (Interviewee B). The vampire, as Interviewee B notes, has become the “ultimate metaphor for social isolation,” while “the symbol of sucking someone’s blood…can [be] read as a desperate cry for connection.” Because our culture simultaneously craves immortality and fears isolation, the vampire has become a sympathetic and tortured character. According to my research, the cultural forces that affected the transition from the first stage to the second stage may include the youth culture of society, advances in science, and increased empathy toward others through expanding globalization and interaction.

LIMITATIONS
None of this data should be construed as conclusive. In addition to my own biases as a researcher, the sample size of fifty respondents, two interviewees, and four observation participants is much too small for any significant conclusions to be made about society’s reaction to the vampire. Along with expanding the sample size, further research should also incorporate more diverse demographics. There were an overwhelming number of females in each category of research (82% of survey respondents, 75% of observation participants, and 100% of interviewees) and though the survey targeted people from ages fourteen through seventy, 58% of survey respondents were ages eighteen to twenty-nine. In order for the survey to truly reflect the perceptions society as a whole, other gender and age demographics need better representation. It’s also important to remember that the primary research of the survey was conducted in a very limited period of time—fewer than four weeks. More time allotted to the primary research would likely produce more accurate and representative results, as the researcher could explore broader themes and investigate trends in greater depth. The researcher could conceivably ask more questions on the survey, target a more diverse and representative participant pool, include more movies in the viewing event, and interview more professionals in varying social and psychological fields.

With these potential limitations in mind, further research should be pursued. One extended research path might be to investigate small shifts within the two large stages, so as to better understand why, how, and when the first stage began its transition into the second stage. Another path of future research might be to link the progression of the response to vampires with widespread cultural movements, such as the trend of women’s increasing sexual freedom and its possible effects on sexuality within vampire narratives. Since an exploration and enhanced understanding of society’s reactions to its monsters are inherently a study of society and culture, further insight on this topic will ultimately contribute to a better understanding of society as a whole and the manner in which it operates. In essence, this research has pried back the coffin lid; it’s time to exhume the body.

Featured Image © Kiselev Andrey Valerevich | Shutterstock.com


A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
As a child, I was raised on science fiction and fantasy. I learned to read by slowly wading through the Harry Potter series. My favorite possession was a book on dragons, and I have very distinct memories of cowering under my sheets in elementary school, convinced the sound of my accelerating heartbeat was actually the increasingly rapid drumbeat of a horde of orcs from Moria drawing closer.

Science fiction and fantasy have shaped me into the person I am today, so of course I leapt at the chance to take a first-year seminar on monstrosity. In my very first FSEM class, I analyzed the more recent film Star Trek Into Darkness in relation to the original. Comparing the two iterations of the villainous Khan, I realized that he had evolved from a domineering and intelligent foreigner into a powerful terrorist, so as to better match contemporary society’s fears. This wasn’t a change that took place over hundreds of years and generations; this significant evolution happened in fewer than forty years, and yet both movies were praised by their generations as having excellent villains.

While the idea of monsters changing to fit their society fascinated me, I didn’t explore it further until my second course on monstrosity. In my WRIT 1733 class, we learned about media ecology theory and the concept that information is altered by the media that convey it—just as monsters and their cultural significance alter across time, media, and society. Society is the medium through which the monster narrative evolves, and we can measure cultural changes through changing responses to the monster.

I hope my exploration of the society’s evolving response to the vampire encourages others to consider the history behind their favorite monsters, and what that says about the culture they live in.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica BioJessica Garland came to DU from Greenwood Village, Colorado. She is a sophomore, pursuing degrees in English and Political Science. In her free time, you’ll find Jessica reading, writing, watching copious amounts of television, geeking out over movies, or hanging out with her friends. Fun fact about Jessica: she can sing the first fifty prepositions of the English language, in alphabetical order, from memory.


WORKS CITED

Atwater, Cheryl. “Living in Death: The Evolution of Modern Vampirism.” Anthropology of Consciousness 11.1–2 (2000): 70–77. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

Betsinger, Tracy K., and Amy B. Scott. “Governing from the Grave: Vampire Burials and Social Order in Post-medieval Poland.” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 24.03 (2014): 467–76. Cambridge Journals. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dir. Francis F. Coppola. Screenplay by James V. Hart. By Bram Stoker. Perf. Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins. Columbia Pictures, 1992. DVD.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Fourth Season. Dir. Joss Whedon. Warner Bros., 2003. DVD. Fright Night. Dir. Craig Gillespie. By Marti Noxon and Tom Holland. Perf. Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell. DreamWorks Picture, 2011. DVD.

Hall, Robert L. “Ghosts, Water Barriers, Corn, and Sacred Enclosures in the Eastern Woodlands.” American Antiquity 41.3 (1976): 360–64. JSTOR. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Interview with the Vampire—the Vampire Chronicles. Dir. Neil Jordan. By Anne Rice. Perf. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, and Kirsten Dunst. Geffen Pictures, 1994. DVD.

Jackson, Morgan A. “Mindless Monsters: The Evolution of Vampire Mythology in Modern Fiction.” The Alexandrian 1.1 (2012): n. pag. The Alexandrian (Troy University Journals). Troy University, 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. New York: ORB, 1995. Print.

Meyer, Jenna. “‘You’re a Vampire… Was That an Offensive Term? Should I Say Undead American’?’ The Evolution of the Vampire in Popular Culture.” University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 2010. ProQuest Thesis. ProQuest. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2005. Print.

Poole, W. Scott. “Undead Americans.” Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Waco, TX: Baylor UP, 2011. 193–217. Print.

Senf, Carol A. “‘Dracula’: Stoker’s Response to the New Woman.” Victorian Studies 26.1 (1982): 33–49. JSTOR. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Smetana, Erik. “Books with Bite: The Evolution of the Vampire in Contemporary Literature.” The Missouri Review 34.1 (2011): 173–80. Summon. Web. 25 Apr. 2015.

Tenga, Angela, and Elizabeth Zimmerman. “Vampire Gentlemen and Zombie Beasts.” Gothic Studies 15.1 (2013): 76–87. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

Whedon, Joss, dir. “Lie to Me.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Warner Bros. Network. 3 Nov. 1997. Television.


Appendix A
By completing the following questions, you are also granting consent for this information to be used as part of a research project that I am completing for a course at the University of Denver.  Your participation is completely voluntary.  The information you provide may be used in a project and may be published online and/or in print, but your identity will remain anonymous.  While profile information you volunteer in this survey may be included in my writing project (i.e. your age, sex, class standing, etc.), your name and identity will NOT be used or reported.  If at any time you do not want to answer a question, or do not want to complete the questionnaire, you do not have to.

1. Please select your current age from the options below.
Garland age

2. What gender do you identify as?
Garland gender

3. How interesting are the various traits of the vampire to you?
Garland chart

4. Select your three favorite vampire movies.  (Note: Some of these movies are related to books and television shows. This question only focuses on the movie-aspect so please only select your choices based off your opinion of the movies themselves.)
Garland films

5. Select your three favorite vampire television shows.  (Note: Some of these shows are related to books and movies.  This question only focuses on the television-aspect so please only select your choices based off your opinion of the shows themselves.)
Garland shows

Open-ended questions:
6. When you hear the word “vampire,” what comes to mind?
(Be as brief or descriptive as you want.)

7. What is your favorite interpretation of a vampire and why?  (This can be a creature from lore, movie character, book character, television character, etc.) (Be as brief or descriptive as you want.)

8. What is your least favorite interpretation of a vampire and why? (This can be a creature from lore, movie character, book character, television character, etc.) (Be as brief or descriptive as you want.)


Appendix B
Below are the three basic interview questions administered to both Interviewee A and Interviewee B. The phone interview had extra clarification questions to confirm answers. In order to maintain the confidentiality of the interviewees, the Informed Consent documents of each are located in a separate, private space.

1.Why are people capable over time of shifting their perception of monsters or entities they believe are threateningly different than themselves?

2.Are there other examples where a group of people altered its reaction to a creature perceived as an “outsider” or “foreign other?”

3.Are there social and psychological factors that prime or prepare people for accepting an “outsider” as similar to themselves and if so, what are these factors? Are there social and psychological factors that discourage this type of assimilation, and if so, what are they?


Figure 1
Below is a graph of the survey responses to the question “How interesting are the various traits of the vampire to you?” Respondents rated each trait as extremely uninteresting, uninteresting, kind of uninteresting, no opinion, kind of interesting, interesting, or extremely interesting (which corresponded with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 respectively). Their aggregate numbers were calculated and averaged, as represented in this graph.
Figure 1

Figure 2
Below is a graph of the survey responses to the question “Please select your three favorite vampire movies. (Note: Some of these movies are related to books and television shows. This question only focuses on the movie-aspect so please only select your choices based off your opinion of the movies themselves.)”
Figure 2

Figure 3
Below is a graph of the survey responses to the question “Select your three favorite vampire television shows. (Note: Some of these shows are related to books and movies. This question only focuses on the television-aspect so please only select your choices based off your opinion of the shows themselves.)”
Figure 3

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