AS YOU LOOK AROUND the pop-culture landscape, a question may occur to you: "What is it with all these fucking vampires everywhere? X-Men vampires! Disney vampires! Snoop Dogg is singing love songs to Sookie Stackhouse, for fuck's sake! I woke up one day and the world had popped a raging vampboner and is rubbing it on everything." But there is a method to this bloodsucking madness, and its birthplace is the 1980s.
The modern vampire has two parents: The poncey Daddy is The Lost Boys (1987), which just happens to be screening this Friday (what a coincidence!) in 35mm at the Bagdad (so funny it's happening like this!), hosted by some unemployed radio hacks and sponsored by some snark-filled weekly tabloid. The Lost Boys took the vampire, infused it with the teen movie, and amplified the hormonal appeal of both to nearly lethal levels.
The drunken, angry Mommy is Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark (1987), which imagines vampires as a family unit in a busted-ass RV—making them downtrodden, angry white trash with a sick, black sense of humor, and reintroducing the idea these monsters could be honestly scary.
When the modern vampire entered high school, it looked like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992): wiseassed, moody, and self-aware, full of one-liners and unfulfilled potential. Then it started hanging out with its lonely Crazy Aunt Interview with the Vampire (1994) after school, where it smoked cloves and learned the intricacies of fey, pretty drama.
It dabbled in visceral thrill with Blade II (2002) before deciding it needed to stop half-assing it, focus, and get scary again, like the overlong stories that Granpa—'Salem's Lot (1979)—used to tell. And thus, Let the Right One In (2008) took over the family business, and there was hope once again in the land of the undead.
Many cineastes are complaining that Matt Reeves' American remake of Let the Right One In—this weekend's Let Me In—is unnecessary, but others are saying Reeves has done for Let the Right One In what Scorsese did for Infernal Affairs when he turned it into The Departed. We should be so lucky.