Walking down the aisles of a busy supermarket, one might be forgiven for thinking that the apocalypse had come and gone. The shelves are overflowing with food that seems to scream ‘feed me now!’ However, if one stops to examine the labels, a rather different picture emerges. In truth, there is still plenty of food around for those who know where to look. It’s just that there appears to be a change in the way we are going to get it now, thanks to our new favourite fictional vampire.

The Growing Popularity Of Vampires In Pop Culture

The phenomenon known as ‘zombie cravings’ came about following the recent surge in popularity of Netflix’s new series, ‘Zombies, Werewolves And Vampires’ (also known as ‘The Witcher trilogy’ on Netflix). The show is based on the popular novels by the same name. As the story goes, the dead have come back to life and are shambling their way through the countryside, feasting on the living.

The rise in popularity of vampires in pop culture is certainly notable. In the US alone, the vampire population is now estimated to be around 16.7 million, a rise of 600,000 since 2010. The number of vampire fans across the pond has also increased, with Google searches for ‘vampire’ reaching an all-time high in the UK in 2019.

With all this in mind, it’s clear to see why Robert Pattinson, the 27-year-old English actor who plays the lead role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga, would struggle with the idea of eating humans. After all, that’s what his character does for a living in the stories. It seems that the appetite for this fictional fare is becoming real, at least in terms of pop culture. So, what is it about vampires, and specifically Edward Cullen, that has resonated with audiences for seven years now? Let’s take a look.

The Dark Side Of The Sexy

For a lot of people, vampires are the ultimate symbol of dangerous masculinity. The stories have been around for centuries, and were first adapted for the big screen in 1931 with Richard Laymon’s ‘Dracula’. The novel on which the movie is based has been credited with inspiring some of the greatest villains of all time, including Hannibal Lecter and Dr. Stephen Strange. In the novel, Count Dracula is described as having “the strength of ten men, the pace of a mountain goat and the subtlety of a vampire.”

In the 2012 reboot of the franchise, ‘Dracula Untold’, the titular character is essentially human, and it was made very clear that being a vampire was more about who he was as a person than what he could do. In that sense, the ‘Dracula’ franchise represents the dark side of sexy. More and more men are now identifying with the bloodsucking creatures of fiction, leading to an increased tolerance for vampirism as a lifestyle choice. According to an interview with British TV host Joe Tynan, the popularity of vampires in fashion and pop culture has allowed for a new era of ‘manly men’.

“The thirst for blood has never been further from our lips than it is right now,” Tynan says in the clip. “With all these celebrity vampires, it’s made the ‘vampire lifestyle’ more accessible to the average guy. As scary as it is to consider the existence of vampires, the fact that they’re now a part of mainstream culture means that it’s not quite as strange or far-fetched an idea anymore.”

Pale, Pretty And Deadly

The vampire is often depicted as being pale and having sharp teeth, which are used to drain the blood from his victims. However, that doesn’t seem to be the whole truth. Vampires in fiction have always been associated with elegance and good looks. In fact, several of them stand out as being rather beautiful. The legends surrounding the creatures seem to centre around them being handsome, or even princely. One of the most famous descriptions of a vampire comes not from fiction, but from the 18th century gothick novel, ‘Salem’s Lot’, with its infamous, “smile took her breath away,” line. The same can be said about the creatures of fiction that inspired it, the werewolves. The fictional creatures that audiences love to hate most are almost always described as being ugly or unattractive. Just take a look at some of the villains from ‘Game Of Thrones’ for example.

Vampires Aren’t As Sexy As You Think

It’s important to note here that not all vampires are created equal. Some of them are actually quite friendly, and some of them may even seem like decent people at first. The key difference is that they’re not really interested in interacting with the people around them. Instead, they feed off of human blood, and that is usually how their entire existence revolves around. Vampires like this are often depicted as being lonely, and they’re also very much a ‘thing’ to avoid if you’re ever planning on dating someone. So, if you want to be with a vampire, make sure you’re not one of these two kinds!

Nowadays, there are many friendly, sweet vampires out there — like the ones in the much-loved ‘Legion’ TV series — but the majority of them are still depicted as being pretty much the same as the creatures that gave ‘Dracula’ such a hard time. This is something that audiences across the world have come to expect from the vampire genre, and it is a feature that has made the creatures so iconic. The good news is that this doesn’t mean that all vampires are the same. As the saying goes, there’s room at the top for all of us. So, if you want a taste of the bloodsucking life, but perhaps don’t want to give up your human side, there are options available to you! Just make sure that you’re not a victim of the false advertising, and that you do know the difference between kindness and thirst.