The year 2017 has seen a surge in pop culture’s interest in vampires. From Netflix’s popular series “Stranger Things” to YouTube and TikTok’s #vampiregame, fans around the world are obsessed with vampires.
One of the most popular characters from “Stranger Things” is undoubtedly the eponymous monster. Matt Duffer drew inspiration from several films, including “Let Me In”, the “Twilight” series, and the 1975 classic “The Supernatural”. While some see the monster as representative of the #MeToo movement, others view him as a metaphor for climate change or simply as a villainous intergalactic invader.
Meanwhile, YouTube’s #vampiregame challenges players to become the ultimate vampire by gaining a “vampire soul” and “undead” status.
These “vampire meme” characters have captivated our attention as fans of Stephen King’s book series “The Vault of Madness”. Can these memes also spark discussions on health issues? Should we be talking about mental health issues when describing these phenomena?
Is the mainstream media responsible for bringing these issues to the forefront, as some have suggested? Are these debates about vampires a symptom of our current societal climate, or are we seeing a cultural shift?
What do these scheduled appearances by Robert Pattinson mean for his fans?
Let’s start at the beginning. On January 25th, Robert Pattinson posted an image of himself with the caption “January 25th”.
This was an apparent reference to Jan Van Capelle, a Dutch reality television series that follows the lives of urban dwellers in The Netherlands. The show’s creators decided to change the name of one of their characters, Julep Zeggenstra, to “Jan Pietersen Bramm”, after Robbie Pattinson.
This new character is loosely based on a real person named Jannet Pieters. She owns a flower shop in Amsterdam called “[Title]: De Zoelenhaven” (lit. “The Flower Garden Village”)”
Jannet Pieters is a pseudonym for Jannet Pattinson, Robbie’s mother. The name Jannet Pieters was chosen as a combination of Jannet Pattinson and Piet Moer, a Dutch surname. These are all references to R. Pattinson or R. Pattinson’s family, who are prominent in Amsterdam and own a florist shop there called “A Primrose Without Pimientos” (a play on the “Primrose Without Pimientos” rose variety, which bears the family name).
Besides the jan van capelle episode, “The Vault of Madness” also references Gaston Bachelard, a 19th century French literary critic. Bachelard is best known for The Psychological Construction of Reality, a book in which he analyzes how we perceive and experience the world. In the book, Bachelard defines “poisoned reality” as “a state of perception in which the perceiving subject is caught up in the activity of representing something that is other than what it is”.
Thus, “The Vault of Madness” involves a group of people who believe that they are monsters inspired by Jason Voorhees, the character from the “Friday the 13th” movie series. This is a reference to the #MeToo movement, in which people identify with the central character, a film professor who becomes a feminist hero when defending women’s rights in “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning”.
The #MeToo and #Vampire meme phenomena are similar in that they both involve a group of people who believe that they are monsters, or parts of monsters, based on characters from pop culture. The key difference is that the #MeToo fans identify with Katrina Van Voorhees, the daughter of Jason Voorhees, while the #Vampire fans identify with Bram Bramm, the character from the Jan van Capelle show. Moreover, Van Voorhees and Bram Bramm are both women. This is significant, as the vast majority of #MeToo and #Vampire fans are women.
This shows that these fans are identifying with powerful women from pop culture because they think that these women can offer them an identification device. The fact that Katrina Van Voorhees is a daughter of Jason Voorhees makes her a hybrid of masculinity and femininity. This is significant, as Katrina Van Voorhees is a metaphor for an independant woman who defies stereotypes of female weakness such as passivity, submissiveness, and fear, which are portrayed in the media as powerful tools in a woman’s toolbox.
So, Katrina Van Voorhees is both a daughter and a rebel against traditional gender roles. As a result, she represents the metaphoric “new beginning” of the #MeToo movement. In this way, “The Vault of Madness” pushes the discussion of #MeToo and #Vampire culture onto the forefront of the entertainment industry.
We can also attribute this cultural shift to the significant growth of social media in recent years. With the rise of social media, content creators can now reach audiences across continents and international borders. As a result, we are now seeing characters and storylines that reflect the modern world, with its multicultural diversity, international connectivity, and social media obsession.
Why Do Fans Care About Vampires?
As mentioned above, 2017 has seen unprecedented interest in vampires because of popular culture’s interest in this subject. Vampires are undoubtedly one of the most popular topics on Twitter and its cloned copy Hootsuite (called Hootsuite Nos. 1-3). In fact, “vampire” is the second most searched term on the platform, right behind “pizza” (which, if you’re joking, is a bit more than a coincidence).
Here are just a few of the topics that #vampire was tweets about in 2017: